The Medici family governed Florence as unofficial despots from 1434-94 and 1512-27 and as official hereditary rulers from 1530-1737. Lorenzo di Pierfrancesco de Medici (or "Lorenzo the Magnificent"), who was in power in 1485, was a great patron of artists, poets, and philosophers, including Sandro Botticelli. However, he antagonized Pope Sixtus IV who supported an assassination plot against the family in 1478 by the rival Pazzi family. Lorenzo survived the attempt and restored order by exterminating his opponents. He was popular despite his autocratic method of ruling.

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