HIS109Y1 Lecture Notes - Secular Education, Classical Antiquity, Coluccio Salutati

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Published on 31 Jul 2011
School
UTSG
Department
History
Course
HIS109Y1
HIS109
Oct. 4th, 2010
The Rise of Humanism
Fundamental shifts where the mind of Europe is moving to other places
Rise of towns, money, development of urban bourgeoisie how this class became
increasingly influential, found itself with enormous influence ability to make
deals with centralized powers to work against the feudal nobility
Urban townsmen wanted to use instruments of city government to benefit their
social and economic condition
Many were cooperatively structured; guilds that worked in the same crafts; able
to use these to turn the city to their advantage
Growing new perspective that was ideological ideology required to define what
they were doing, replacement of value structure
Humanism
Class ideology of mercantile patricians
Values that pertain to living an urban, secular life
Was the product of social mobility in a world that defined itself as static
These were people who worked and made their own wealth, rose from obscurity
(ancestors were once peasants/serfs)
Did not fit in the third estate; they were part of the 2nd b/c they did not own vast
estates, but were not artisans or servants; didnt have a place that was easily
definable in European society
Were educated
Clergy had to be educated; nobility had no desire to be educated
Educated in different ways; in part instrumental (trained to do particular tasks,
but also useful to the structure of this new group)
Owned wealth and power, BUT they worked
Needed their own philosophy of being; their own ideology
Had nothing in common with feudal nobles nor the traditional educated clergy
Secular education became significant in their lives
Italy
Trading cities benefitted from the crusades enormously, gave towns a great deal
of wealth
Italian cities began to develop a dynamic culture of secular life
Secular education never completely died out in these cities
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They were sustained in part due to trade
Italy had wealth, opportunity, & secular education
As urban life grew & economic world expanded this group benefitted
Saw the churches ban on usury (taking money on interest) merchants lived by
lending money with interest if they followed the laws of Church, subjected to a
level of discomfort
Dynamic of this powerful class led to a need for a new ideology
Urban merchants allowed them to take their idea and apply them to the
circumstances classical antiquity
Needed a skill-set that they werent getting from a traditional education
Italians had access to secular learning & classical antiquity
Look to the laws of ancient Romans rather than Medieval laws
Saw people like themselves in the latter era of the Roman Empire (worked out
your own morality, rather than having everything written down for you in a single
book)
Cicero led a secular life, product of social mobility; merchants were able to
identify
Connection to the ancient world
Elements of Humanism better Latin style, use of secular values rather than
religious, ethics over theology, ability for the individual to create own destiny
Problem was that men like Cicero were born before the time of Christ
Living for today, rather than focusing on the next world
Petrarch
Realized that men like Cicero, as with other Pagan ancients were good people to
help you get through the day, gave an ethical background
Despite the fact that they were Pagan, Petrarch came to realize that they were
still good people nonetheless
Was the product of a classical & ethical culture based on Pagan literature
What really matters is the nature of the individual person, the world that can be
controlled by human agency
Adopt ideas as guides for our life, God cannot intervene, but human agency can
create a society that reflected certain ethics and values
We create ourselves - who we are, concept of the constructed individual
One of the first Europeans since antiquity to go deep into himself (secular)
Words become extraordinarily important to Petrarch
Begins to privilege some of the elements of the human condition (wrote poems of
his emotional life, anatomizes human erotic love)
Intense and complicated thoughts, require language to express this
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Document Summary

 fundamental shifts where the mind of europe is moving to other places.  rise of towns, money, development of urban bourgeoisie how this class became increasingly influential, found itself with enormous influence ability to make deals with centralized powers to work against the feudal nobility.  urban townsmen wanted to use instruments of city government to benefit their social and economic condition.  many were cooperatively structured; guilds that worked in the same crafts; able to use these to turn the city to their advantage.  growing new perspective that was ideological ideology required to define what they were doing, replacement of value structure.  values that pertain to living an urban, secular life.  was the product of social mobility in a world that defined itself as static.  these were people who worked and made their own wealth, rose from obscurity (ancestors were once peasants/serfs)