December 28, 1503: Is it all in the Name? Piero the Unfortunate Drowned

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A Brief History

On December 28, 1503, the exiled Gran Maestro of Florence, Piero di Lorenzo de Medici, known as Piero the Unfortunate, drowned in the Garigliano River while trying to escape the advancing French and Spanish armies that had just defeated the Italians in a battle over the control of Naples.

Digging Deeper

Piero was the son of Lorenzo de Medici, also known as Lorenzo the Magnificent (a much more positive sounding moniker) who died of natural causes at the age of 43 (not good, but better than Piero who died at the age of 31).  The elder Medici was the Gran Maestro of Florence, a job inherited by his unfortunate son who bungled things severely enough to flee into exile after only 2 years in charge.  The peace among Italian city states so carefully brokered by Lorenzo  was allowed to disintegrate under Piero, which precipitated the invasion by the French and then the Spanish.

The King of France, Charles VIII, known as Charles the Affable (now that is a right catchy sobriquet) was convinced to invade Italy and attempt to seize the kingdom of Naples by Ludovico Sforza (Duke of Milan), the hereditary enemy of the Medici clan.  France certainly had a thing for giving their kings goofy names, as evidenced by Charles the Bald, who became Emperor Charles II of the Holy Roman Empire.

What is important in this story are the colorful names applied to these leaders, as we have written in the past about goofy names of various kings, queens, and other royal personages.  Names such as The Fat, The Short, The Boneless, Man Afraid of his Horse,  and the like are just great, and make us wish our leaders today were given such tags that would attach to their names in such a descriptive way for the ages.

Question for students (and subscribers): We ask you, Dear Reader, to submit colorful and descriptive such nicknames that you think would be appropriate for some of today’s leaders.  Some you may consider could include President Obama and other US presidents, John Boehner, Donald Trump, Sarah Palin, Anthony Weiner, Hillary Clinton, and any other national or world leader you find appropriate for such a dubbing.  Feel free to explain your choice of nicknames.  Please let us know in the comments section below this article.

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Historical Evidence

For more information, please see…

Hibbert, Christopher.  The House of Medici: Its Rise and Fall.  William Morrow Paperbacks, 1999.


About Author

Major Dan is a retired veteran of the United States Marine Corps. He served during the Cold War and has traveled to many countries around the world. Prior to his military service, he graduated from Cleveland State University, having majored in sociology. Following his military service, he worked as a police officer eventually earning the rank of captain prior to his retirement.