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HIST 255
Anthony Francis D' Elia

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1 MIDTERM Notes: Main Ideas and People Week 1 St. Francis of Assisi (1881-1226) - Sought spiritual solitude after a prolonged illness, became horrified with greed/consumerism - Devoted himself to the poor and lepers, assumed peasant’s clothing - All members of his following were forbidden to even handle money, and worked for a living - Patron Saint of animals, of ecology (1980), wrote in vernacular Italian, making him one of Italy’s earliest vernacular poets - Known as “mendicants” – meaning to beg – similar to another mendicant order, Dominicans - Reaction to the wealth and corruption of the clergy, which can also be seen in Dante’s writing, in which certain Popes, i.e. Boniface VIII and Clement V are condemned to hell for simony, the selling of church offices - Rather than expounding on spiritual exercises or prayer, St. Francis found expression for his spirituality in a simplicity of life that preserved the environment, experienced exultation at God’s creation, and love and protection for all creatures – preached to the animals, nature - Writings include avoiding anger an guilt, strength of patience and humility, conquer the body (physical indulgence), speak not through hope of reward, and humble among the humble Dante and the Inferno (Dante Alighieri (1265-1321) - Inferno part of the three part poem, Divine Comedy, written between 1308 and his death in 1321; voyage through the 9 circles of hell, poetic justice of contrapasso, or the “punishment fits the crime” – story begins in Easter week 1300 - Dante meets the Roman poet Virgil as his guide through hell, after becoming lost in a forest of doubt and confusion (realising his own sinfulness?), unable to scale the mountain, virtue - Exile became a central theme of his poverty, after being exiled from Florence and never returning – confronts his banisher in the Inferno, member of the Black Guelf Party (Blacks returned to power in 1301 with the help of Pope Boniface VIII - Written in vernacular (Tuscan), from the roughest slang to the tenderness of poetic love - Though he lashed out at Church corruption, Dante was a devout Christian; he wanted to see the Church return to a purer, less worldly form - Advocated separation of Church and state i.e. the Pope renouncing all temporal power o Boniface VIII was condemned as a simonist, as he envisioned vast control for himself over all of Europe - 1 circle: Limbo, home of the unbaptized and the virtuous pagans, who were not sinful, but did not accept Christ i.e. Homer, Cicero, Plato, Aristotle, Socrates o All those beyond Limbo are judged by the serpent Minos, with contrapasso - 2nd circle: Lust, “carnal malefactors,” eternally blown to and fro by winds of a violent storm o Helen of Troy, Cleopatra, Achilles rd - 3 circle: Gluttony, forced to lie in ceaseless, foul rain, symbolizing their cold selfishness - 4 circle: Greed, hoarders, and subsequent squanderers, including avaricious clergymen - 5 circle: Anger, the wrathful fight each other on the river Styx, while the sullen lie beneath th - 6thircle: Heresy, i.e. Epicureans (“soul dies with the body”) trapped in flaming tombs - 7 circle: Violence, against the self, against people and property, against God (blasphemers and sodomites) Dante encounters an acquaintance of his, Brunetto Latini, in the inner ring of violators of God – yet Dante sthaks with much respect, as his “teacher” - 8 circle: Fraud, sorcerers, false prophets, corrupt politicians, hypocrites, etc. sinners of different levels – also in the 8 circle, Pope Nicholas III who, in the Inferno, can see the future, and mistakes Dante for Boniface, cthe to Hell before his time (died 1303) - 9 circle: Treachery, i.e. ring one is named after Cain, who killed his brother - In the very centre of Hell is Satan, condemned for committing the ultimate sin, personal treachery against God; Satan is waist deep in ice, unable to escape, and his three mouth’s chre on prominent traitors i.e. Julius Caesar’s assassins - Dante was active in public life, but turned from staunch republican to reactionary monarchist – saw rule of Henry of Luxembourg as only hope for instability and discord in Italy Week 2 The Plague 2 - Long-term climate change led to a “Little Ice Age” in which temperatures dropped and there were torrential rains across Europe - Even under the best of conditions, then-contemporary farming methods could barely sustain Europe’s population (prosperity of medieval Commercial Revolution led to pop. explosion) - In 1320, an epidemic broke out in north-eastern China; eventually, almost two-thirds of the population of China (5,000,000) would die in the pandemic - The plague spread quickly westward along well-developed trade routes i.e. the “Silk Roads” through India, reaching the city of Kaffa on the Black Sea in 1346 - When Genoese sailors, who controlled an important port in the Black Sea, returned home to Italy in late 1347, they brought the disease with them to Europe - The population succumbed quickly, already weakened due to famine and with lowered resistance to disease - By 1420 almost two-thirds of Europe’s population had died from it, and densely populated areas were reduced by as much as 80% - nearly 90% mortality rate, doctors powerless o Physicians began to do away with ineffectual remedies (i.e. balancing the four humours through bloodletting) and, little by little, through direct observation, developed strategies to combat the disease - Shock and panic often led to mass hysteria; marginalized groups such as foreigners, prostitutes, Jews and lepers were accused of spreading the disease and blamed for the disaster, as groups of flagellants penitent efforts to expiate the sins that brought the plague - Dramatic shifts in social behaviour caused by the plague i.e. women losing their modesty, the breaking of family ties - Government response: establishment of quarantines, forbidding peasants to leave their farms in the countryside, passing of inheritance laws in the case of no will, as well as new sanitary precautions put in place - *After the first outbreak, the Black Death recurred on average about every 10 years, and over the next 200 years hardly a generation passed that was not affected by it - Social Mobility: Because entire families had been wiped out, opportunities arose for survivors and wealth was redistributed i.e. demand for workers outstripped supply, wages rose and agriculture was plentiful (fewer mouths to feed) and prices dropped - Universities: fewer students, but colleges emerged to replace skilled labour lost Giovanni Boccaccio and The Decameron - Born in Paris (1313-1375) to a Florentine father and a French mother - Decameron deals with “humanity in all of its homely disorder,” such that it has been called an escape from the Inferno - Probably began composing in 1349-1351 approx. - 14 century allegory, encompassing 100 tales by ten young people in ten days; tales of love range from the erotic to the tragic; tales of wit, practical jokes, and life lessons – a “mosaic” documenting life in 14 century Italy - Is Boccaccio sympathetic to women, or masochistic? o Appears to be sympathetic to women, confined to their homes and, at times, lovesick and deprived of free speech and social liberty o However, i.e. “Griselda,” the trial’s her husband subjects her to, and she takes him back happily and patiently o “Nastiagio” – at the end, the lesson is that out of fear, the women of the town were much more compliant to men’s wishes than they had been before - Plot: In Italy, at the time of the Black Death plague, a group of seven young women and three young men flee plague-ridden Florence to an empty villa - To pass the evenings they tell stories, and have told 10 at the end of the fortnight (2 weeks) - Each of the ten is charged as the King or Queen for one of the 10 working days, a charge that extends to choosing the theme of the day’s stories i.e. tragic love, clever replies that save the speaker, wit, love that ends happily, wives who play tricks on husbands, rural beauty - Commercial and urban values of quick wit, sophistication and intelligence are treasured, while the vices of stupidity and dullness are either cured or punished - Boccaccio had been educated in the tradition of Dante’s Divine Comedy, which used various allegory to show the connections between the literal events of the story and the Christian message o However, Decameron uses Dante’s model not to educate the reader but to satirize this method of learning – the Church, priests, and religious belief become the satirical source of comedy throughout i.e. clergy tricking husbands, sleeping with their wives o Part of wider discontent with the Church at this time (Boccaccio not a heretic) 3 - Emphasized the naturalness of sex by combining sexual experiences with nature, placing sex in the natural world, emphasizing its normalcy? - Borrowed the plots of almost all his stories, some already centuries old – however updated them to his period in th the 14 century and altered them such that readers might not know that some were originally from a foreign lands - Decameron is full of contrast and paradox, “by a man who in many ways embodied the times in which he lived” – born the illegitimate son of a respected Florentine merchant and groomed for a career in business Baccaccio’s account of the Plague: “each citizen was repulsed by the other, and hardly anyone cared for their neighbour… fathers and mothers abandoned their children… so disgusted were they to touch or wait on them… and thus the sick were abandoned… the churches were turned into cemeteries; then, when all those were filled, enormous pits were dug into which hundreds of stricken were thrown… layer upon layer…” * There is little in the way of judgement or moralizing in Boccaccio’s tales; the author presents the full spectrum of human behaviour as he observes it, and wants the reader to simply enjoy the spectacle i.e. find humour in adulterous housewives hiding their lovers in unlikely places * Because Boccaccio sets the story within the framework of a society whose morals have been broken down by the plague, he allows readers to suspend judgement on the transgressive behaviour of the characters – the reader accepts that 10 well-brought-up young people would tell such tales because of extraordinary circumstances Petrarch - Francesco Petrarca (1304-1374), a Tuscan who moved to Avignon in 1313 - A cosmopolitan city, which had become the home of the Papacy, Petrarch learned classic authors, was taught grammar, and discovered the beauty of the countryside - Studied law, but his desire was to become a man of letters - When his father died leaving little inheritance, he had no choice but to become a priest - 1327, the sight of a woman called Laura stirred in Petrarch an outpouring of passion in Italian sonnets for over twenty years – may be addressed to abstract ideal of women in general o Love poems full of contradictions, the extreme psychological conditions of love - 1341 received the poet’s laurel crown in Rome – harking back to ancient Rome, and from this time on he was highly regarded for his work - Petrarch remained devoutly Christian, but his most enduring influence was the resurrection of humanistic studies; correspondences with Cicero were some of his most important works - 1350, became friend of Boccaccio, counselling the younger man in life and literary matters - Petrarch’s friendship with Cola di Rienzo, who had a humanist passion for ancient Rome - Climbing of Mount Ventoux: from St. Augustine’s Confessions… “And men go abroad to admire the heights of mountains, the mighty waves of the sea, the broad tides of rovers, the compass of the ocean, and the circuits of the stars, yet pass over the mystery of themselves without a thought.” – he had originally climbed the mountain simply for visual pleasure, but now the ascent became metaphor for journey or state of Petrarch’s soul - Petrarch called the papacy in Avignon the “Whore of Babylon” - “All history is the history of Rome” – recovery and fascination with ancient texts and classicism esp. Cicero - King Robert the Wise of Naples, patron of Petrarch, widely regarded as a “cultivated” Renaissance man - Not an antiquarian but a utilitarian interest in Antiquity? - Canzoniere: collection of poems by Petrarch & the Petrarchan sonnet Medieval Papacy - 312CE Battle of the Milvian Bridge: Constantine vs. Maxentius o Constantine had a vision of the cross, and the words “in this sign, conquer” o Constantine went defeated Maxentius and went on to become Emperor of Rome, and he sought toleration of Christianity in Europe - 313CE Edict of Milan: Constantine proclaimed religious toleration in the Roman Empire - 325CE: Council of Nicaea: Convened by Constantine, first steps to a defined doctrine - The Donation of Constantine: FORGED Roman imperial degree by which the Emperor Constantine supposedly transferred authority over Rome and the western part of the Roman Empire to the Papacy; often cited in the middle ages as support of Church’s claims to temporal and spiritual authority Lorenzo Valla (1405-1457) - Took orders as a priest, but was unsuccessful in receiving an appointment; instead, immersed himself in the study of law 4 - Argued against the Christian values of self-sacrifice and avoidance of physical pleasure, advocating instead Epicureanism, an ancient philosophy emphasizing life in the here and now o The Church condemned these beliefs, i.e. Dante placed Epicureans in Hell o Under the patronage of Alfonso of Aragon, Valla produced some of the most important scholarly works of the Renaissance o Discourse on the Forgery of the Alleged Donation of Constantine o Debunks the document upon which the papacy had for centuries rested its claims to the papal states, and indeed all of Europe o Since when do scholars accept such a document without real evidence?  Points out many anachronisms/unlikely characteristics of the text o Enraged the Church, but his proof was irrefutable - Used logic i.e. “They say, it was because he (Constantine) had become a Christian. Would he therefore renounce the best part of his empire?” as well as other historical/textual evidence, errors of terminology and of fact in the Donation - Christian humanism opened the way for future scholars to analyze Biblical texts critically 800CE Charlemagne and Pope Leo III: Charlemagne crowned “Emperor of the Romans,” effectively nullifying the legitimacy of the Emperor in Constantinople tho Charlemagne’s Franks removed the Lombards from power in Italy - 11 century Investiture Controversy: Principally a conflict between Pope Gregory VII and Henry IV, Holy Roman Emperor in the late 1000s o Pope claimed sole, universal power, i.e. over Church appointments, and that the state had no business appointing church officials – Henry IV making important appointments of his own accord o Controversy led to 50 years of strife in Germany, as imperial power was undercut when Henry had to concede and apologize to the Pope Boniface VIII and Philip IV of France - In France, in process of centralizing royal power, Philip surrounded himself with the best civil lawyers and expelled the clergy from all participation in the administration of the law, as well as began taxation of clergy in France – Boniface took a direct stand against this - Unam Sanctam (1302) Papal Bull: declared that both spiritual and temporal power were under the pope’s jurisdiction, and that kings were subordinate to the power of the papacy - Philip’s lawyer Sciarrillo Colonna was ordered to arrest the pope, demand his resignation and bring him to France to stand trial o Boniface replied that he would “sooner die,” and in response, Colonna allegedly slapped Boniface – known as the “Anagni slap” – Boniface died 3 weeks later - After Boniface, Clement V essentially withdrew Unam Sanctum and was very compliant with the French monarchy, a radical change in papal policy Papacy in Avignon (1309-1377) - Known as the “Babylonian Captivity,” seven (French) popes resided in Avignon - Papal court was splendid, the pope lived in luxury and security in the Papal Palace - Intellectuals everywhere were drawn to the papal court, creating a unique and cosmopolitan, if not religious atmosphere - Papal tax collectors travelled throughout Europe collecting the taxes that financed luxury - The Italian cities that comprised the papal states resisted, and the Avignon popes ordered troops there to bring them to obedience - The Avignon popes seized the right to appoint bishops and abbots of monasteries, sweeping aside the traditional local elections and making way for corruption i.e. simony & indulgences - How could the Bishop of Rome be away from the city of the Apostle Peter and still claim to rule the church? The longer the popes remained in Avignon, the more damage to legitimacy - 1377, papacy returned to Rome under Pope Gregory XI o Relations between Italians and the Pope were tense, and when Gregory died Italy clamoured for the election of an Italian pope - The Great Schism: Two popes elected that year – the French returned with their pope to Avignon, while the Italians installed their pope in Rome - Both popes had been elected by a majority of cardinals, and the Western world was divided over who to recognize as the actual, legitimate pope - Decades of the Conciliar Movement to resolve the situation Week 3 5 Humanism - Tuscan standard: Dante, Petrarch Boccaccio - Leonardo Bruni (1370-1444): Latin translations of Greek literature, incl. Aristotle, Plato etc. o Bruni argied that a republic was an inherently superior form of government over monarchy; many humanists in Florence began to view their republic as a reflection or continuation of the Ancient Roman Republic rd o 3 generation of Italian humanist scholars (beginning with Petrarch, moving to Salutati who was honoured to participate in civic life, in contrast to Petrarch) o His writings included learned woman, the importance of reading and guidance from the past, all with an emphasis on virtue - Marsilio Ficino (1433-1499), philosopher, translated all known Platonic dialogues into Latin – hired by Cosimo to tutor his grandsons, Lorenzo and Giuliano - Civic Humanism: Tide was beginning to turn in the long-standing debate over which was better, the contemplative life or the active civic life o Throughout the Middle Ages, the quiet life of contemplation was generally held to be more virtuous and appropriate for a thoughtful person i.e. the active life of a merchant or notary was looked down upon, the reclusive life in monasteries esteemed o Humanists would now change this, raising the service of one’s republic to among the noblest of occupations - Whereas Petrarch had criticized Cicero for dirtying his hands in politics, many humanists of the next generation felt it an honour to participate in the political sphere - Bruni became leader of the generation of Florentine scholars inspired by humanist Coluccio Salutati (1331- 1406) who overlapped slightly with Petrarch’s generation - 1450: Gutenberg invents movable type/printing press, and Niccolo Niccoli (1364-1437) uses private wealth to travel Europe, hunting down classical manuscripts Women - Leon Battista Alberti (1404-1472), epitome of the Renaissance man (philosopher, writer, architect, mathematician, and excelled in Greek and Latin, etc.) o Among his texts, a humorous dialogue in which an older, rich man gloats about his superb choice of wife; “husbands who take counsel with their wives… are madmen if they think true prudence or good counsel lies in the female brain…” - Alberti’s old friend, now Pope Nicholas V, dreamed of rebuilding Rome and enlisted Alberti to survey the streets and study its ancient architecture – began to focus on design & architecture now, following many ancient Roman motifs and techniques and established architecture as an original, creative genius not just a trade (unlike the hands on Brunelleschi, Alberti had little involvement with the actual construction of his buildings) - Advice to Lorenzo de Medici: On Wifely Duties, written by Francesco Barbaro on the occasion of Lorenzo’s marriage in 1416 – he hoped to teach the youth of Florence through Lorenzo’s example and through circulation of his treatise o Included chapters on the importance of obedience, even to an unfaithful husband, on love, virtue, modesty and propriety, on speech and silence of the wife, and on domestic matters such as managing servants, etc. o Wanted to stress the importance of marriage to the maintenance of the aristocratic ruling families of Italy A Third Order of Monasticism for Laypeople - Popular enthusiasm for mendicant orders swept through Italy in the 13 century i.e. Assisi - Many laypeople wanted to do more than attend Mass/Confession, and felt the urge to perform Christian charity – many of the things nuns do, while still leading formally secular lives - Esp. for lower class women with religious calling, who could not afford the convent dowry - i.e. Saint Catherine of Siena, a Dominican tertiary (third order) Female Holiness in an Age of Living Saints - Between 1200 and 1500 there were more Christian holy women than any other time - Catherine of Siena (1347-1380), made a saint by Pius II in 1461 o Refused to marry, living a hermit-like existence and fasting rigorously and experienced visions, most famously of her mystical marriage with Christ o Engrossed in spiritual exercises and cared for the sick in Siena’s hospital o Concerned with the violence around her, used her spiritual authority to make peace o Died at age 33, body wasted away by fasting 6 o Not all women famous for their piety were virgins like Catherine, but general avoidance and denial of sensual pleasures - Common arguments for contraception: to avoid the pains of birth, to escape the poverty of many children in the lower class, and to preserve beauty and health - Motherhood: infanticide (common practice “overlaying”) Marriage in the Renaissance - Dowries skyrocketed among the wealthy - Advantageous marriages (over which love and compatibility had no influence) between Renaissance elites; girls were closely scrutinized, esp. for purity and whether the match would open up new possibilities for the two families o Many sheltered teenage brides and younger, to whom husbands were initially more like a father figure – raised from an early age to be utterly obedient, yet, women exerted authority within the household itself (domestic sphere) as well as in their children’s education Alessandra Strozzi: Marriage in the Renaissance, A Serious Business - Alessandra (1408-1471) was married at 14 to her husband of 25; she came from a wealthy Florentine family and brought with her a large dowry - She gave birth to 8 children, three of which and her husband died in the Plague - She was no older than 28 when she was widowed, but she never married again and dedicated the rest of her life to caring for her family, a shrewd, realistic matriarch of the highest class - When the Strozzi family fell out of favour, male members were exiled but Alessandra and her daughters were exempt from the ban
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