The Renaissance at Play; Witchcraft; The End of the Renaissance LEC 11

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Lecture 11
The Renaissance at Play; Witchcraft; The End of the Renaissance
1. The Renaissance at play
a. The Renaissance love of spectacles, sports (crazy sports), processions (wanted one
for anything they could - whole city could participate), celebrations [they loved fun;
everyone had something to look forward to even the poor]
b. Occasions that served as pretext for a popular celebration
i. The feast day of a saint [every city would have a saint- on the day of their
death there would be a celebration]
ii. The arrival of a foreign dignitary
iii. The anniversary of an important historical event [find ways to amuse
themselves - any reason for fun - when there was no event]
c. Other kinds of amusement
i. Animal hunts
ii. Ball games (football or soccer - old school)
iii. Horse races
iv. Boxing matches
v. Snowball fights (!)
d. Popular form of public celebration
i. The city procession (Vincenzo Rustici’s Procession of the Contrade [Siena,
the Day of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary]) [very big festival]
ii. Sport [rediscovered the Roman's love for sport (healthy body = healthy
mind) so they strongly appreciate it]
1. An essential part of a child’s education
2. Necessary for the young and useful for the old
3. Tennis (and the Medici) [so appreciated that the Medici wouldn't
even allow people of state interrupt his game]
iii. Spectator sport
1. The Palio [horse race; they run within the city - always injury]
a. In Florence [specially held on the city feast day for St.John
(their saint)]
b. In Siena [so popular that they needed gunpowder for the
city's fireworks to celebrate the Palio]
iv. Traditional sports
1. Bullfights, joust, donkey race
2. The regattas of Venice [because of the canals (water)]
3. The mock battles of Pisa
4. Boxing and football in Florence
e. Pomp and pageantry [always wanted to show off, their clothes - but be careful not
to arouse envy - shown through giving money to the arts]
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i. In aristocratic circles [have feasts or..musicians]
ii. Musicians [paid musicians]
1. Elaborate costumes and masks
2. Musicians as permanent members of the household staff [their
iii. Acrobats [like a circus, invited to perform at all the formal events - specially
plays: sometimes people just came to see them instead of the play]
iv. Acting performances
1. Costumes and scenery [in fancy costumes]
2. What happened between the scenes was often more amusing [the
3. Wine-drinking cooks, pots, fireworks, and animal-like costumes
[tried to make scenes as interesting as possible (even set scenes on
fire or set off fireworks) or dress like animals life like costumes]
v. The hunt [only for aristocracy - but also had their staff with them on the
hunt] - a wholes day event involving drink and food.
1. Limited to the upper-crust
2. The gift of a well-trained hunting falcon
3. The hunting party [so appreciated that a good hunting party was a
great gift]
4. The stag was the most sought-after quarry [most prized prey]
5. Paolo Uccello’s The Hunt
a. The hunters [aristocratic]
b. Kennelmen [staff who take care of the dogs - lean and fast]
c. Beaters [run around and beat the bushes to make sure to
gather the wild animals]
2. Witches and witchcraft [late 16th-early 17th century - beginning of scientific revolution]
a. Increase in witch hunting in the period of religious wars following the Protestant
Reformation [dramatic increase, witchcraft and the devil are linked - a witch was
someone who was in league with the devil]
b. London’s chief justice defines a witch as a person who associates with the devil “to
consult with him or to do some act” (15550’s)
c. Belief in witches was not limited to the uneducated
d. What is the connection between the Reformation and the increase in witch-hunts
e. Religious wars created a deep sense of insecurity and even fear
f. The connection between witchcraft and heresy
g. The persecution of witches reaches its zenith in the late 16th and early 17th centuries
[persecuted because they did not believe in the truth of their religion - Catholics and
Anabaptists Vs witches (natural target due to the war and religious problems)]
h. Explanations for the outbreak of the witch-hunt craze
i. Fewer trials in areas where legal standards were more strictly applied [more
restricted in accusing witches and putting them on trial]
j. English law did not allow torture [people are usually forced into saying they are a
witch therefore English law said no torture or anyone would confess]
k. Self-incrimination
l. Witchcraft trials in the Holy Roman Empire
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