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C.W. Post Mummy Expert Dr. Bob Brier to Lecture on Secrets of the Medici

Reveals new clues about old stories of murder among ruling dynasty of Renaissance Italy


Rita Langdon,Associate Provost and Director of Public Relations
C.W. Post Campus,
Long Island University

Dr. Bob Brier, world-famous mummy expert and a research fellow at the C.W. Post Campus of Long Island University, will present the findings of his investigation into tales of murder among the Medici family, rulers of Renaissance Italy, in a lecture on Tuesday, March 8, 2005. The investigation was chronicled on "60 Minutes" on CBS and on "Mummy Detective: Crypt of the Medici" on TLC television. Dr. Brier will present a slide lecture, titled "A Renaissance Murder Mystery: Secrets of the Medici," at 12:30 p.m. in the Hillwood Commons Lecture Hall on the C.W. Post Campus, 720 Northern Boulevard (Route 25A) in Brookville.

Last summer, Dr. Brier was granted exclusive access to the Medici crypt in the Church of San Lorenzo in Florence, Italy, where he and Italian scientists exhumed the skeletal remains of Grand Duke Cosimo I, his wife Eleonora and their teenaged sons, Garzia and Giovanni -- the characters in one of the more sensational tales of murder in the Italian aristocracy.

Garzia, the legend goes, stabbed his brother to death. Cosimo then supposedly killed his son in rage, and Eleonora subsequently died of a broken heart. The bones of the Medici tell a less dramatic story, Dr. Brier said. "The bones of the two brothers are very well preserved and there are no signs of knife or sword wounds," he said. "We now know the myth started by the family’s enemies is not true." Through DNA analysis, the Medici Project team hopes to prove the new theory that the brothers and their mother actually died of malaria.

However, other tales of murder among the Medici family are probably true, Dr. Brier told "60 Minutes" interviewer Morley Safer — brother poisoning brother, stranglings at the dinner table, even a slaying in church.

"They weren’t perfect people," Dr. Brier said in the "60 Minutes" interview. "I think these were people who were beyond the law." Aside from settling lurid legends of murder, Dr. Brier’s research is aimed at learning more about the evolution of diseases such as TB, malaria, cancer, gout and arthritis.

Dr. Brier’s lecture is free and open to the public, but reservations are required. Contact the C.W. Post Community Relations Office at (516) 299-3500 or for more information.

Posted 02/09/2004

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