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The Medici

Cosimo de' Medici

Cosimo (on the left) with his uncle Carlo de' Medici (in the centre) and his cousin Giuliano (on the right), 1459

A story about Cosimo and his grandfather Cosimo the Elder: "There is a story related by his contemporary, Lodovico Carbone of Ferrara, that one day, when Cosimo [the Elder] was discussing some matter of state with an embassy from Lucca, the boy [his grandson Cosimo] walked into the room with a bundle of sticks, interrupting the conference to ask his grandfather to make him a whistle. Much to the annoyance of the Lucchese delegates, the meeting was promptly adjourned while Cosimo [the Elder] set to work; and no further business was discussed until the whistle had been made to the boyís satisfaction. 'I must say, Sir', the leader of the delegation felt constrained to protest when recalled to Cosimoís presence, 'we cannot be other than surprised at your behaviour. We have come to you representing our commune to treat of grave matters, and you desert us to devote your time to a child.' 'Oh, my lords,' Cosimo replied, not in the least abashed, throwing his arms round the ambassadorsí shoulders. 'Are you not also fathers and grandfathers? You must not be surprised that I should have made a whistle. Itís a good thing that the boy didnít ask me to play it for him; because I would have done that too.' (in: Christopher Hibbert: The Rise and Fall of the House of Medici. London 1974, p. 96)