December 21, 2003

Medici exhumations

This is big news:

The bodies of 50 members of Florence's Medici dynasty - some of whom are believed to have been poisoned - are to be exhumed for forensic tests to determine how they lived and died.

The first members of the family who ruled Florence from the 15th century to 1737 will be removed from the Medici Chapels in Michelangelo's church of San Lorenzo in June [The main church is Brunelleschi's; the New Sacristy is Michelangelo's -- D.].

Experts say DNA testing could yield some "sensational surprises" and also provide a true family tree, showing who was related - and who not - and who their natural fathers were.

The bodies, including eight grand dukes, will be submitted individually to medical and scientific tests for biological and genetic data under a programme run by the Universities of Florence and Pisa and Florence's museum authorities.

From the Telegraph. The article notes that Cosimo il Vecchio was already exhumed not long ago -- something I was unaware of.

UPDATE: This Discovery News article notes:

The most well-known Medicis, such as Lorenzo the Magnificent (1449-1492) and Cosimo the Elder (1389-1464), founder of the Medici political dynasty, will not be exhumed as they rest beneath beautiful Michelangelo tombstones too fragile to move.
Don't know how that jibes with the report of a recent previous exhumation of Cosimo.

Posted by David on December 21, 2003 8:21 PM

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