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Building The Grand Duchy

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Chapter Summary

On the ceiling of the Salone dei Cinquecento in the Palazzo Vecchio in Florence is a painting by Giorgio Vasari and Jan van der Straet of Cosimo I Studying the Plans for the Conquest of Siena. The war with Siena is carefully presented as Cosimo's personal initiative. During the reigns of Cosimo, Francesco, and Ferdinando, the duchy retained its independence, expanded its territory, rose in status, and cultivated its military, administrative, and fiscal resources. Whilst the grand dukes and their ministers were astute rulers, this was a complex and confusing system. It is only by first analysing how the grand duchy was built diplomatically, militarily, administratively, economically, and ecclesiastically that one can fully understand the complicated development of the Studio Pisano and the Studio senese. The grand dukes's ability to control the Church in Tuscany was occasionally hampered by difficult relations with occupants of the major sees.

Keywords: Cosimo; Ferdinando; Francesco; grand duchy; Tuscany



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