Apology for a Murder

By Lorenzino de' Medici

Translated by Andrew Brown

ISBN: 9781847497925

128 pages

RRP: £4.79

Famed for having killed his cousin Alessandro, the Duke of Florence, in 1537, but also for writing accomplished literary works, including a comedy and several poems, Lorenzino de’ Medici remains one of the most enigmatic figures of Italian literature. In his masterpiece, Apology for a Murder, he reveals the inner motives behind his act, portraying himself as a hero to be numbered alongside the great tyrannicides of ancient Rome and Greece.

Lorenzino himself, in 1548, was murdered by two soldiers hired either by the emperor Charles V or by Cosimo, Alessandro’s successor as Duke, and this volume includes the dramatic account of his killing by Francesco Bibboni, one of the assassins, as well as a selection of Lorenzino’s poems, giving a fully rounded image of the antihero of Alfred de Musset’s Lorenzaccio.

Part of 101-Page Classics series of Great Rediscovered Classics


  • A wonderful Renaissance curiosity. It’s a little gem of moralising spin, in defence of pre-emptive violence

    The Independent

  • It is a beautifully written – and translated – piece of writing, but interesting chiefly insofar as it was written at all

    The Independent Online

Lorenzino de’ Medici

Born into a cadet branch of the powerful Medici family, Lorenzino de’ Medici (1514–48) was a politician and a writer, who is today remembered as the man who killed the Duke of Florence in 1537.