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HIS109Y1 (536)
Lecture

The Rise of Humanism / Renaissance Italy

7 Pages
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Department
History
Course Code
HIS109Y1
Professor
Kenneth Bartlett

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HIS109 Oct. 4 , 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) nd Did not fit in the third estate; they were part of the 2 b/c they did not own vast estates, but were not artisans or servants; didn’t 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 www.notesolution.com 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 weren’t 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 www.notesolution.com Father of Humanism –interprets the world as a place in which humans can create their own being Model of democracy began to develop in Florence Petrarch’s ideas became quite powerful Boccaccio – took ideas of Petrarch to Florence, established the roots of these ideas Study of human condition in the political environment Salutati - applied Petrarch’s ideas to the condition of his own life, money could improve the lives of those on earth (secular thought); loved Pagan literature felt guilty Hired people imbued with the ideas of Humanism Group of individuals grew in Florence who upheld humanist ideas Didn’t draw a wedge btw Catholicism and Paganism Christianity was still a frame of reference, a model of secular values allowed people to make decisions w/o feeling guilty Bruni Overcame guilt of love for Pagan literature Humanism as a mechanism of the republic Civic humanism as applied to the community itself Ability of the individual to achieve great things on earth; used to improve the human conditions on earth Ability to use secular values to achieve concrete goals Humanism does NOT reject religion Goals of the state should be secular Ideology that galvanizes the Italian cities Values of the urban mercantile secular class – changed the dynamic of European society, setting the scene for the scientific revolution for example
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