HIST 255 Primary Readings

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Queen's University
HIST 255
Anthony Francis D' Elia

Primary Readings “Canticle of the Creatures” – Francis of Assisi, ca. 1220 • Canticle of Brother Sun o Praised god for brother sun, sister moon, earth o Seen as first poem in Italian • Ravenous wolf in Gubbio, eating children o Francis went to wolf’s cave, made an agreement with the wolf • Soon had many followers, Church had to deal with him o Francis did not want to become monk, bound to a parish  Wanted to establish new rules for brothers in secular/lay world  Went to Rome to ask the Pope • Pope Innocent III disgusted by Francis, told him to preach to pigs in the mud, did not belong with men • Church was fighting war against heresy of Cathars and Waldensians o Francis said the world was good, had absolute obedience to the pope  Admired poverty, but obedient to the pope  Pope Innocent III found a way to adapt Church to profit economy through Francis • Merchant wealth could be used for good (charity), merchants no longer automatically condemned to hell • Franciscans stayed in cities, allowed lay participation in religion o Popularized religion and revolutionized Christianity “The Divine Comedy: Inferno” – Dante, 1314 • Corruption, need for church reform • All of Florence in Hell • The Divine Comedy as compendium of Christian religious beliefs about sin, redemption, and the hereafter o Religion as a part of everyday life, importance of patron saints, public images for worship, blasphemy as a public offense • In Dante’s Hell o Upper hell and lower hell o Canto 28: “Contrapasso” – punishment fits the crime o Dante’s conversion from earthly to spiritual things • Inferno as an autobiography o Canto 5: story of Paolo and Francesca  Sexual sins, little importance, lust not considered excessively serious  Dolce stil nuovo – Italian style of love poetry  Dante writes love poetry until 1290 when Beatrice Portinari dies o Canto 15: Brunetto Latini  Convivio (1304-1308) • Dante’s philosophical poems o Canto 26, Ulysses o Canto 34, Brutus, Cassius, Judas o Central theme was conversion from pride to humility  Dante’s conversion was slow, as he was still attached to worldly possessions • Purgatory o Each soul experiences virtue opposite their sin  When purged of the sin, reaches paradise • Paradise o The soul’s return, inexplicable • Structure shows society in Italy o Society based on patronage and community solidarity, rife with mistrust o Betrayal of one’s benefactor was the worst sin  Judas, Brutus and Cassius in the lowest level of hell “The Decameron” – Boccaccio, ca. 1350 • The Decameron (1349-52) o 100 tales told over 10 days by 7 girls and 3 boys  7 young women meet in Santa Maria Novella and plan to escape the plague and the moral corruption • Suggest they retreat to a villa, but Filomena sees a problem, that they are all women and need the guidance of men o Each day had a king or queen with a chosen theme (or open theme) o General themes  Love  Beffa (practical joke) – Calandrino the simpleton  Cleverness praised (Melchizedek, Chichibio, Madonna Filippa)  Deceit of priests and monks usually to cuckold husband • Adultery as a crime of women and priests • Stress of anti-clerical themes  Corrupt church • Attacks corrupt priests and superstition, but advocates natural religious devotion that acknowledges human weakness  Gaudium – joy, positive thinking vs. plague  Love sickness – Galeotto and chivalric romance  Women – idleness and pain of unfulfilled desire • Boccaccio: positive or negative view of women? o Need men to guide them, but women constantly overpower men, have acute minds, little shame  Says society is unequal o Sex is natural and good in moderation o Could be seen as proto-feminist, but are also fictional  Human nature and sex o Day IV – Prologue: Filippo Balducci and Women  After his wife died, Filippo tried to protect son from corruption of city • Lived on mountain, eventually son had to go into Florence to trade with his father • Son saw women, wanted one, could not be dissuaded “Ascent of Mont Ventoux” – Petrarch, 1336 • Petrarch climbed with his monk brother to the top, wrote a letter about his climb to Dionisio sa Borgo San Sepolcro • Motive of climbing just to see the top as a mark of the new Humanist spirit of the Renaissance o Climb as allegory for cleansing the soul, Petrarch taking the easier path and being forced to return to the bottom 3 times  Brother, a monk, took more difficult path o Many others also climbed the mountain, but for practical purposes • At the top, takes in the whole view of Italy o Petrarch confesses to himself, torn between inner life and the world around him • Brought Augustine’s Confessions, read biblical passage that expresses his own ideas Letters, Sonnets – Petrarch, ca. 1370 • Letters to Marcus Tullius Cicero in Hades, 1345 o Mark of the Renaissance  Scholars conversed with ancient authors - wrote multiple letters as if Cicero were responding  Made the past present • Changed the image of Cicero from a stoic philosopher to a man intensely involved in the politics of his day o Became the model for active citizenship o Petrarch chastised Cicero for his involvement of politics  Glory was for younger men o Uses many allusions to gods and famous men (Caesar, Antony, Pompey, Brutus) • New kind of love poetry, Sonnets o Il Canzoniere – Petrarch and Laura  Collection of love poetry written in Italian  Divided into two sections: before and after Laura’s death • Physical woman vs. spiritual ideal (like Dante)  Praises Laura’s beauty, but the focus is always on himself o Oxymoron, contradiction, as the mark of the Petrarchan sonnet o Self-awareness and introspection became themes of the Renaissance • Letter to Posterity (ca. 1370) o Demonstrates obsession with constructing how he would be perceived in the future  Talks about life, worries about how he portrayed himself • The Secret (1343) o Imaginary conversation with Saint Augustine  Do I save my soul or seek fame? o Petrarch in a state of restlessness “Dialogues” – Leonardo Bruni “Lives of Dante and Petrarch” – Bruni, 1436 • Life of Petrarch (1436) o Petrarch as father of humanism Panegenic of Florence” – Bruni, 1404 • Florence as liberty and equality • Propaganda distributed throughout Italy nd • Modeled on Asistides’ Panegyric of Athens (2 c. CE) “On the Donation of Constantine” – Lorenzo Valla, 1440 • Foundation document for Pope’s temporal power and ownership of Roman Empire • Valla’s critique was politically motivated o Working for king of Aragon, who was at war over claim of part of Italy • Determined that many of the words and constructions used were not 4 century Latin o Corrupt, 8 century Latin uses • The author of the donation was ignorant of the customs, clothes, th th culture of the 4 century, so must be a forgery written in the 8 century “On Wifely Duties” – Barbaro, 1416 • Dedicated to Lorenzo de’ Medici • Family as fundamental unit of social and political order • Duties towards husband o Love husband, modesty of life, complete care in domestic matters • Education of children most important • Obedience, moderation, modesty in dress o Only in public with husbands • Avoid public speaking • Women given everything needed for motherhood o Given an overwhelming love for children, so must look after them o Body built for childrearing • Should breastfeed own child o If cannot, with someone of good character • Many stories and allegories of Greeks (esp. Plutarch’s writings) “Of the Equal and Unequal Sin of Adam and Eve” – Isotta Nogarola, 1453 • Female writer, discussion between Ludovico Foscarini and Isotta Nagarola • Sinned unequally according to sex, but equally according to pride • Ludovico – Eve sinned more because she caused Adam to sin • Isotta – Eve created ignorant by God, so can excuse sin o Eve, inferior, could not have forced Adam to act against free will • Male opponent said Eve had received additional punishment o Woman had to suffer the pains of childbirth • Ludovico won the argument o Isotta’s argument relied on Eve being inferior to Adam  Shows deeply-ingrained social values and views of women “Letters” – Laura Cereta, ca. 1485 • Written between ages of 16-18, central event was her marriage at age 15 o Husband died 18 months after marriage • Letters written 6 months after husband’s death o Consolation in grief in turning towards learning o First letter critiques obsession with beauty, preference for modesty • Many said she could not have written what she did, that her father wrote it for her o 2nd letter complains that the praise she received from some was false, was a contempt for women by singling Cereta out as an exception  Gives examples of other learned and talented women in history • 3 letter, addresses jealous and angry women who resent her o Breaking social norms o Women who insult female intellects are insulting themselves o “Against women who disparage educated women”  Invective, women crueler than men • One of the first feminists • Boccaccio, On Famous Women o Genre, often plagiarized “Letters” – Alessandra Strozzi, ca. 1460 (most in 1466) • 8 children over 10 years o Of 5 sons, only 2 survived to adulthood  Filippo and Lorenzo • Florentine widow, wrote letters to sons o Family in exile because of crimes of Alessandra’s husband Matteo o Alessandra lived in Florence and wrote to her children in exile  Kept them informed, arranged marriages • Alessandra Strozzi advised children on household affairs, treatment of slaves and real estate, informs them of political news in Florence o Complete devotion to her children and their futures • Complained of her dislike of writing letters, but wrote in great detail and length o Had basic literacy o Not necessary to write, as sons had cousins who kept them informed o Letter writing not a common activity of women “The Pazzi Conspiracy” – Poliziano, 1478 • Great supporter of Medici, leaves out their negative actions o Commends Giuliano in life • Shows Florentine people as supporting Medici, active in punishing conspirators o Did not heed the call to revolt when Lorenzo and Giuliano attacked o Flocked to Lorenzo in support afterwards • Conspirator punishment, dismemberment, as an act of justice • Describes mutilation of Jacopo Pazzi’s body • 1478, Pazzi Conspiracy o Lorenzo’s brother Giuliano is murdered, Lorenzo escapes o Rival banking family, Pazzi, planned to end the tyranny of the Medici  New deal with Pop Sixtus IV, 1471-1484  Planned to assassinate them during Mass at the Duomo o Francesco Pazzi, Bernardo Baroncelli, Napoleone Francesi, Archbishop Salviati  Conspirators o Pazzi embraced Giuliano to make sure he was not wearing any armour o Lorenzo and Giuliano knelt before the altar  2 corrupt priests drew knives behind them • Lorenzo’s assassin nervous, touched his shoulder first o Lorenzo immediately turned and was only scratched  Lorenzo jumped the altar and ran to safety  Giuliano killed and stabbed violently  Conspirators tried to take over the government, but the standard bearer of justice realised what was happening • Locked the conspirators in 2 separate rooms, sounded crisis bell o Gathered armed guard and butchered them • When word of Giuliano’s murder reached the police, threw the men out the windows, strung up • 2 corrupt priests castrated and hanged • Baroncelli escaped to Istanbul, but sent back in chains o Ferrante of Aragon, king of Naples  Pope Sixtus IV denied knowledge of conspiracy • But war declared • Ferrante sent his son with an army to support Sixtus  Lorenzo sailed to Naples • Mutually beneficial treaty, Lorenzo returned to Florence in 1480 o For the rest of Lorenzo’s life, acted like a prince “The Pazzi Conspiracy” – Machiavelli, 1525 • From The Florentine History, commissioned by Pope Leo X o Tried to be frank and honest about the pros and cons of Medici rule, book still commissioned by Medici pope  Less opinionated than Poliziano, more detailed • Spoke of preference of citizen militias over mercenary armies • End with speech by Lorenzo the Magnificent o May not have actually occurred  Common rhetorical device to stress a main theme • Strength and popularity of Medici rule “The Conspiracy of Stefano Porcari” – Leon Battista Alberti, 1453 • Stefano Porcari, republican rebel o Publically declared that ancient romans had become slaves of priests  Call to end the tyranny of the clergy o Exiled to Bologna o Plotted to kill the Pope  Rode back to Rome, brother held a banquet • Lamented Rome’s servitude to priests, promised his accomplices riches  Meant to take place on Jan 6 • Would take over Castel Sant’ Angelo and the senate  Counted on help of public uprising  Warning reached the pope, sent guards to Porcari’s house • Carried Porcari in chains to the Vatican o Executed, body hung from the Castel “On the Fall of Constantinople” – Kritovoulos, 1453 • Shows admiration of the sultan while lamenting over loss of Byzantine Empire • Describes events of the Fall from Mehmed’s speech to his troops to the death of Constantine and the sack of the city • Siege of Constantinople o Begins May 29, 1453 o Janissaries crack Christian slave-soldiers in Sultan’s army o 100,000 Ottomans vs. 7000 defenders  Not enough to defend the 14 miles of walls around the city • 3 sets of walls for protection, but barely enough men for one • Concealed numbers by moving constantly  12,000 Janissaries • Taken from Christian parents as children • Known for fanaticism in battle o Key to success was artillery  Urban, a Hungarian Christian, cast largest cannon ever for Mehmet • Threw a ¼ ton cannonball over a mile o Walls did not stand a chance o Giustiniani, Genoese captain of 700 soldiers in Constantinople  Manned the outer walls of the city • Doors to inner city were locked, had to win or die o First sent in unorganized irregulars, then the janissaries  Could not break through, recalled  Canon used next o Kerkoporta: small side gate  Gate of Saint Romanus  Mehmet found it to be a weakness and burst through • Raised Ottoman flags in the gate o Disheartened the Christians  Giustiniani wounded and left the battle • Further disheartened the Christians  Rumours spread that the Ottomans had broken the wall o Constantine XI Palaiologos (1405-1453)  Last reigning Emperor of Byzantium  Chose to die fighting among the defenders o City offered freedom if surrendered, did not  Ottomans given 3 days to do as they wanted • City pillaged and plundered • Called off after one day for excessiveness o Venice informed one month later  Pope told after o Fugitives flooded into Italy o Popes tried to organize a crusade, but no one was interested  Pius II spent most of his papacy trying to organized • Died alone o 1480, Otranto, southern Italy, invaded by Ottomans  Occupied for almost a year “On the Dignity of Man” – Pico della Mirandola, 1486 • Introductory oration to his 900 theses • Most famous representative writing of the Renaissance • “Man is a miracle” o Man’s great capabilities and divine nature • Renaissance optimism, human freedom to choose o Angels and devils cannot change, but humans can • Genre on praise of man o Popular because of humanism and recovery of pagan philosophy  Philosophical and religious ideas at odds with dominant Christianity “Sermon on t
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