Medici, Alessandro de'

Medici, Alessandro de'

(älĕs-sän`drō dā mĕ`dĭchē, Ital. mā`dēchē), 1510?–37, duke of Florence (1532–37); probably an illegitimate son of Lorenzo de' Medici, duke of Urbino. His prominence began when Pope Clement VIIClement VII,
c.1475–1534, pope (1523–34), a Florentine named Giulio de' Medici; successor of Adrian VI. He was the nephew of Lorenzo de' Medici and was therefore first cousin of Pope Leo X.
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, then head of the Medici family succeeded (1530) in restoring the Medici to power in Florence after a three-year banishment. With Clement's support Alessandro was made head of the republic (1531) and hereditary duke (1532) by Holy Roman Emperor Charles V, whose illegitimate daughter Margaret of Austria (later known as Margaret of Parma) he married. His arbitrary rule brought him general hatred. The Florentines sent (1535) his cousin Ippolito to appeal to Charles V against the duke, but Ippolito died en route, apparently of malaria, although he may have been poisoned at Alessandro's orders. Alessandro, who continued to enjoy imperial favor, was murdered in turn two years later by a relative, Lorenzino de' MediciMedici, Lorenzino de'
, 1515–47, member of the cadet branch of the Medici family. A boon companion of Alessandro de' Medici, he secretly plotted the duke's murder—possibly out of republican convictions.
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 (see separate article). The elder Medici line was then extinct, and the headship of the family passed to Cosimo I de' Medici.
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