A Letter Written by Lorenzo De Medici to His Son Giovanni in 1491

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A letter written in 1491 by the ruler of Florence Lorenzo de Medici to his son Giovanni is full of advice to the young cardinal to refrain from engaging in sinful and luxurious behavior. The letter brings out the idea of corruption and sinfulness in the Catholic Church during that time. In the letter, the father begins by asking his son to thank God for the favor of becoming a cardinal at such a young age. According to Lorenzo, the favor from God of becoming a cardinal at fourteen years can only be repaid by living a chaste, pious and exemplary life. 

            Lorenzo tells his son to be wary of the iniquities in Rome because the influence to engage in vices will be prevalent. Apart from that, Lorenzo mentions to his son to guard his early achievement because some people may be driven by envy to influence Giovanni to engage in unacceptable social behaviors that may hinder him from continuing with his pursuit to serve in the priestly order. The father asks his son only to emulate the character of college mates who uphold virtues.

            Furthermore, the father discourages his son from hypocrisy an indication that some cardinals in the college only pretended in the eyes of the public, but their deeds were not virtuous. Besides, the father considers his son's young age and asks him to behave respectfully when dealing with others and the Pope. Lorenzo also advised his son not to overindulge in food consumption and to exercise as a way of maintaining good health. What comes out of the letter is that most of the cardinals and others who served in the church lived luxurious and sinful lives.

Works Cited

De Medici, Lorenzo. "Paternal Advice to a Cardinal (C. 1491)". Sourcebooks.Fordham.Edu, 1996, https://sourcebooks.fordham.edu/source/lorenzomed1.asp. Accessed 20 Nov 2018.

November 13, 2023

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