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Common Themes Theory

Throughout the history of humanity, there is a theory that contemplates the developments throughout the history of humanity. This theory is the Common Themes Theory, and this theory states that everything revolves around having a problem, solution, and an effect. An example of how this theory works is the creation of the Medici Bank during the Early Renaissance. The Medici Bank was created because of a problem that occurred, so the Medici Bank was the solution, and in the end there were many positive and negative effects that the bank left.

Since the beginning of humanity, people have always traded goods or services for another good or service, and this evolved into the creation of having a medium to exchange, which is known as money now. Now the people before the creation of the bank had money, but did not have anywhere to put it, so they carried it with them. This created a problem that could be classified as an economic problem and can be examined further as an economic safety situation. It could be classified as this because since there was no way to protect money if no one was continuously watching it.

Now this was not the main reason why Giovanni de Medici founded the Medici Bank. Giovanni’s father was not the greatest businessman and lost a good amount of the Medici fortune. Giovanni did not want to become his father and wanted to rebuild his family’s fortune and wealth. In the Oxford journal “The Medici Bank and the World of Florentine Capitalism”, written by Richard Goldthwaite, it was stated that “The main line of the Medici of the fifteenth century descended from Averardo, but he seems not to have founded a fortune that assured his immediate descendants of clear upper-class status” (Goldthwaite 7).

When Averardo passed, there was little fortune left for his sons, so Giovanni did not want the same thing to happen to his descendants. This can be considered as another problem on its own that led to the creation of the Medici Bank. The first part of this theory is complete. There is an obvious problem, which leads into the next step of the theory which is solution. In this theory, there are five different solutions that either a culture of specific person can choose to solve their problem, which are to move, invent, domination, accommodate, or to tolerate.

In this situation, the founded of the Medici Bank, Giovanni di Bicci de’ Medici, choose to invent the Medici Bank. Before he founded the Medici Bank, he worked for Vieri di Cambio. It was stated in the Oxford Journal “The Medici Bank and the World of Florentine Capitalism” that Vieri, who was Giovanni’s distant cousin, formed a bank in Rome to work aside the Roman Curia and that Giovanni worked for him to become one of the highest ranked papal bankers (Goldthwaite 7). Now the first part to the formation of the Medici is bank is complete.

Giovanni worked under Vieri to get experience, and revived contacts at the Curia and decided to create his own independent business. Goldthwaite states, “One of these brothers was Giovanni di Bicci, the father of Cosimo pater patrzae; and de Roover considered the transfer of his headquarters to Florence in 1397 as the foundation of the great Medici bank of the fifteenth century” (Goldthwaite 7). When he decided to separate from Vieri, The Medici bank was formed, and by 1410, the bank rose to complete power when his friend, Baldassare Cossa, was elected Pope.

The solution to Giovanni’s problem has been completed, but since the Medici bank was formed, there are many positive and negative effects that follow in the years to come. In the Common Themes Theory, there is always an effect that follows a solution, and in this example the greatest effect is that the Medici family dominated Florence from 1434 to 1492. In the theses “Medici Power and Patronage under Cosimo the Elder and Lorenzo the Magificant”, Kelly Gilbert states, “While he controlled the city indirectly, he was still the acting head of the government even if he did not hold such a title.

The wealth that was available to him through the Medici bank allowed him to expand upon his power and control in the city of Florence” (Gilbert 4). When Cosimo took over the bank, he gain power over the city by being in control of the money that was in the bank. The Medici family had a voice in government because they either paid people or had friends in government positions to get Florence to run the way they wanted. This effect could be seen as a negative effect for the population of Florence.

The population had to be careful when dealing with the Medici family because they could lose everything or “lose face” if they did the Medici family wrong. Now not all the effects were negative. The Medici family supported the arts and gave patronage to many artists that have created art that is still enjoyed today. The most famous artists that the Medici family gave patronage to were Brunelleschi, Michelangelo, Raphael, Donatello, and Leonardo da Vinci.

It was stated by Lawrence Cunningham in the book Culture & Values: A survey of the Western Humanities that Michelangelo worked on the Medici Chapel in the Florentine Church of San Lorenzo under patronage from the Medici family (Cunningham et al. 402). This shows that since the Medici family enjoyed the arts, they gave many artists opportunities to produce beautiful artwork, and since they did this, these pieces can still be observed today. The control that the Medici family had over Florence and the creation of many art pieces were effects from the Medici bank being created.

The Medici bank gives a great example of how the Common Themes Theory works in the history of humanity. In the beginning there was a problem with the economic safety of money and Giovanni wanted not to become his father. This lead to the solution of Giovanni inventing the Medici bank which the following generations of the Medici bloodline continued to work for. In the end, there were two main effects that the Medici bank created. They were that the Medici family had control of Florence and that many talented artists got their chance to make art pieces for the Medicis that are still viewed in today’s society.

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