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Chapter 10

Textbook Notes - Chapter 10


Department
History
Course Code
HIST 1010
Professor
Peter Goddard
Chapter
10

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Chapter 10 – Renaissance and Discovery
*period of the vernacular; humanism, voyages,
With the fall of Constantinople to the Turks in 1453, Italy’s once unlimited trading empire began to
shrink. City-state soon turned against city-state and by the 1490s, French armies invaded Italy
The Renaissance in Italy (1375-1527)
*Jacob Burckhardt “Civilization of the Renaissance in Italy” – gave rise to new secular and scientific
values
*period in which people began to adopt a rational and statistical approach to reality and to rediscover the
worth and creativity of the individual
*most scholars agree that the Renaissance was a time of transition from medieval to modern times
*Medieval: fragmented feudal society with agricultural economy, church dominated thought and culture
*Renaissance: growing national consciousness and political centralization, urban economy based on
organized commerce and capitalism, growing lay and secular control of thought and culture, including
religion
*Two events coincide with the beginning of this period: the deaths of Petrarch (father of humanism in
1374) and Giovanni Bocaccio (author of the Decameron in 1375)
*Florentine humanist culture spread throughout Italy and into northern Europe thereafter
*creative expansion ended in 1527 when Spanish-imperial soldiers looted and torched Rome
*French king Francis I and Holy Roman Emperor Charles V made Italy battleground for mutual
dynastic claims to Burgundy and parts of Italy.
- The Italian City-State
oTrade-rich cities became powerful city-states, dominating the political and economic life
of the surrounding countryside
oWarfare between pope and emperor and propal and proimperial factions assisted the
growth of Italian cities and urban culture. Instead of focusing on subduing one another,
they chose to weaken one another, which strengthened the merchant oligarchies of the
cities.
oUnlike the great cities of northern Europe, which kings and territorial princes dominated,
the great Italian cities remained free to expand on their own.
o5 major competitive states evolved: the duchy of Milan, the republics of Florence and
Venice, the Papal States, and the kingdom of Naples
osocial strife and competition for political power became so intense within the cities that
most evolved into despotisms just to survive.
oVenetian government – 300 members and a ruthless judicial body; Council of Ten quick
to anticipate and suppress all rival groups
oSocial Class and Conflict: Florence example of social division and anarchy: grandi (old
rich), popolo grosso (fat people); middle-burgher ranks of guild masters, shop owners,
etc; popolo minuto (little people – lower class – uprising of he poor in 1378 Ciompi
Revolt established a chaotic 4-year reign of power by the lower Florentine classes;
stability did not return to Florence until he power of the Florentine banker and statesman
Cosimo de’ Medici in 1434
oDespotism and Diplomacy: Cosimo de’ Medici wealthiest Florentine and natural
statesman; controlled city from behind the scenes; Signoria was a council of 6-8 members
governed the city, members represented major clothing industries, banks, jusges, doctors,
informal; Cosimo was able to keep councillors loyal o him; grandson Lorenzo the
Magnificent (1449-1492) ruled Florence in almost totalitarian fashion; assassination of
his brother in 1478 by rival Pazzi family made Lorenzo a cautious and determined leader;
despot held executive, military and judicial authority but could not count on the loyalty of

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the divided populace; Milant Viconti family came to power in 1278 and Sforza family in
1450, ruling without constitutional restraints or serious political competition
oItalian Renaissance culture was promoted as vigorously by despots as by republicans and
as enthusiastically by secularized popes as by the more spiritually minded.
- Humanism
oPaul O. Kristeller – humanism was not a philosophy or value system but an educational
program built on rhetoric and scholarship
oHumanism based on scholarly study of Latin and Greek classics and of the ancient
Church Fathers – embracing grammar, rhetoric poetry, history, politics and moral
philosophy – celebrated dignity of humankind and prepared people for a life of virtuous
action
oLeonardo Bruni – humanitas (humanity) to the learning that resulted from such scholarly
pursuits; Bruni was a start student of Manuel Chrysoloras (opened the world of Greek
scholarship to Italian humanists)
oFirst humanists were orators and poets, wrote in classical and vernacular languages;
taught rhetoric in universities; when not employed as teachers, princely and papal courts
sought their talents as secretaries, speechwriters and diplomats
oStudy of classical and Christian antiquity – Carolingian renaissance in 9th century,
Chartres in 12th century, Aristotelian revival in 13th century ~ latest renaissane more
secular and lay dominated, broader interests, more recovered manuscripts, less bound to
recent tradition, made manuscripts available to contemporary scholars
oPetrarch Dante and Bocaccio
Francesco Petrarch (1304-1374), father of humanism; left legal profession to
pursue letters and poetry; lived mostly in and around Avignnon; involved in
popular revolt in Rome (1347-1349); served the Visconti family in Milan;
“Letters to the Ancient Dead”, “Africa”, “Lives of Illustrious Men”; letters to
Laura; classical and Christian values coexist uneasily in his work; more secular
than Dante Alighieri
Dante Alighieri (1265-1321), “Vita Nuova”, “Divine Comedy”
Giovanni Boccaccio (1313-1375), “Decameron”
oGoal of education: was wisdom eloquently spoken, both knowledge of good and ability to
move others to desire it; better to wil the good than to now the truth
Pietro Paolo Vergerio (1349-1420) “On the morals that befit a free man”
Quntilian “Education of the Orator”, basic classical guide tfor the humanist
revision of the traditional curriculum
Vittorino da Feltre exemplified the ideals of humanist teaching
Guarino da Verona, rector of U of Ferrara, another student of Greek, under
Manuel Chrysoloras, streamlined study of classical languages
Baldassare Castiglione “Book of the Courtier” rediscovered knowledge of the past
– model and challenge to the present; practical guide for nobility, highest ideals of
Italian humanism
Christine de Pisan, daughter of physician and astrologer French king Charles V –
expert in classical, French and Italian languages and literature “The Treasure of
the City of Ladies” – how to handle your husbands
oFlorentine “Academy” and the Revival of Platonism
Revival of Greek studies stands out the most, especially works of Plato
Greek scholars fled to Florence for refuge
Florentine Platonic Academy evolved under the patronage of Cosimo de’ Medici
and Marsilio Ficino and Pico della Mirandola
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Academy was not a formal school, but informal gathering of influential Florentine
humainists devoted to the revival of the works of Plato and the Neoplatonists
(Plotinus, Proclus, Porphyry, Dionysius
Pico’s “Oration on the Dignity of Man”, Platonic influence; introduction to his
pretentious collection of 900 theses published in Rome served as the basis fr
public debate on all of life’s important topics
oCritical Work of the Humanists: Lorenzo Valla (1406-1457)
Author of “Elegances of the Latin Language” in 1444, explosive character of new
learning; a good Catholic who became a hero to later Protestant reformers –
expose of the “Donation of Constantine” and his defense of predestination;
fraudulent “Donation”; discoveries did not make Valla any less loyal to the
church
oCivic Humanism
Basic humanist criticism of Scholastic education was that much of its content was
useless, should promote individual virtue and public service - Coluccio Salutati,
Leonardo Bruni, Poggio Bracciolini – used their skills to rally the Florentines
against the aggression of Naples and Milan; Bruni and Poggio wrote adulatory
histories of the city; Alberti (noted Florentine architect and builder) – did the 3
famous humanist chancellors of Florence want to simply exercise power; Niccolo
Machievelli and Francesco Guicciardini wrote in Italian and made contemporary
history their primary source and subject matter
- Renaissance Art
oHigh Renaissance 1450-1527; art and sculpture reached their full maturity
oGiotto, father of Renaissance paiting; admirer of Saint Francis of Assisi painted a more
natural world
oMasaccio – painter, & sculptor Donatello portrayed the world around them literally and
naturally
oLeonardo da Vinci (1452-1519) – painter, advised Italian princes and French king Francis
I on military engineering, inventive mind, variety of interests so great, famous Mona Lisa
oRaphael (1483-1520) – painter, tender madonnas and fresco at the Vatican “School of
Athens”, depicts Plato and Aristotle surrounded by great philosophers and scientists of
antiquity
oMichaelangelo (1475-1564) – sculptor “David”, 4 popes commissioned his works;
frescoes in Sistine Chapel most famous;
- Slavery in the Renaissance
oSlavery flourished as extravagantly as art and culture
oSpanish sold Muslim slaves captured in raids and war to wealthy Italians and other
buyers
oContemporaries saw slavery as a merciful act as captors could have killed captives
oCollective plantation slavery developed in High Middle ages
oBlack death reduced supply of labourers everywhere and slaves were needed
oImported from Africa, Balkans, Constantinople, Cyprus, Crete and around the Black Sea
oHardly a well-to-do household in Tuscan without at least one slave by end of 14th century,
brides bought them as part of their dowry, doctors accepted them as fees, even in the
service of a priest
oOwners had complete dominion over their slaves
oTatars and Africans were treated the worst; it was in their interest to keep slaves healthy
and happy
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