Catherine de Medici: Background information when reading The Confessions of Catherine de Medici

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The Confessions of Catherine de Medici

A Novel

by C. W. Gortner

The Confessions of Catherine de Medici
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  • First Published:
    May 2010, 416 pages
    May 2011, 432 pages

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Catherine de Medici

Catherine de Medici was born on April 13, 1519 in Florence, Italy. Her mother, Madeleine de La Tour d'Auvergne, died a few days later either of plague or of syphilis contracted from her husband, Lorenzo II de Medici, Duke of Urbino (a sovereign state in northern Italy), who died from the disease a few weeks later. Madeline and Lorenzo had been married just a year, and Catherine was their only child. Catherine's care fell to her aunt and maternal grandmother, who raised her in the Palazzo Medici.

The House of Medici was a political dynasty that came into prominence in the 14th century. Having acquired great wealth first in the textile trade and later as bankers, the Medici family became the unofficial rulers of the republic of Florence, and later the recognized sovereigns of Tuscany. When the family was overthrown in 1527, Catherine was taken hostage and placed in a series of convents. After Florence surrendered to Charles V in 1530, Pope Clement VII (Cardinal Giulio de' Medici) helped ...

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