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The Italian Renaissance in the 14 th Century Definition: Renaissance = the revival of antiquity (the golden age of Greco-Roman culture) Renaissance means.

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Presentation on theme: "The Italian Renaissance in the 14 th Century Definition: Renaissance = the revival of antiquity (the golden age of Greco-Roman culture) Renaissance means."— Presentation transcript:

1 The Italian Renaissance in the 14 th Century Definition: Renaissance = the revival of antiquity (the golden age of Greco-Roman culture) Renaissance means rebirth and it refers specifically to the intellectual and artistic flowering that began in Italy in the 14 th century, and eventually spread across the Alps to all over Europe

2 + architecture, theology, science, and technology (anatomy) for example: Leonardo da Vinci Mona Lisa, The Last Supper, + anatomy (graphic of a baby in the mother ’ s womb)

3 We may employ the term, however, in a more general sense to describe the entire process of change that transformed medieval into modern Europe (that ’ s why, sometimes this period is also called the Early modern Europe).

4 Renaissance man was heir of Medieval man, but more secular (but there was a continuity, yet further development and transformation)

5 Historical background: Italy, the symbol of Roman civilization, in the 14 th century, was not united. There were city-states or republics. Medieval feudalism was waning (fading out). There were freedom of trade, and even international trading. [cf. Shakespeare, Merchant of Venice]

6 The rise of mercantile economy Commerce and industry created a group of wealthy middle-class laymen, who were concerned with everyday problems of politics and business than with questions of faith, salvation, and the relationship of the soul to God. Thus, we may say that Renaissance man was more attracted to the beauties of nature than the piety of saints + a new kind of individual, self-conscious, and many sided universal man + the discovery of the world and of man

7 14 th century Florentine upper class society was many-sided: 1.secular (but not clerical nor feudal) 2.based on wealth and political influence only

8 Social mobility: Individuals had the opportunity for personal success, and the surest road to success was business and politics (unlike earlier, but just like today!)

9 Florence Was the focal point of the Italian Renaissance culture In Florence, enterprising individuals and families grew wealthy from the profits of international commerce and banking

10 The Bardi, the Peruzzi, and the Medici were the great Florence banking families and great patrons of art Renaissance people tended to be this worldly, materialistic, ambitious, practical, competitive, individualistic, middle class, + patronizing artists and writers

11 3 Florentines: Dante ( ), Divine Comedy Boccaccio ( ), The Decameron Petrarch ( )

12 Dante ’ s Divine Comedy was an allegory of man ’ s search for salvation -- from Hell, through Purgatory, and finally to Heaven; with criticism of the times, and was written in Italian poems. Introduction = 1 chapter Hell= 33 chapters Purgatory= 33 chapters Heaven= 33 chapters Total= 100 chapters

13 Humanism may be defined as an intellectual movement that stressed the study of the classics and imitation of classic modes of thought and expression Studying grammar, rhetoric, history, poetry, and moral philosophy

14 Petrarch (the founding humanist in the mid-14 th century), “ When the darkness breaks, the generations to come may manage to find their way back to the clear splendor of the ancient past. ”

15 The humanists sought the answers to their questions in the classics. The ancient writers became authorities. Favorite sources were: Cicero and Plato, etc.

16 Machiavelli ( ) was the son of a Florentine family that had been in the Florentine politics for generations

17 Machiavelli, The Prince, seems to advocate tyranny as the only sure antidote to man ’ s natural egoism and contentiousness Domestic peace is to be sought at all costs, even to the exclusion of liberty. In practice, any action by a dictator is good, so long as it serves the state. It is only by means of a strong and ordered state that man ’ s dangerous natural qualities can be curbed. This recognition of the state as a sovereign entity was one of Machiavelli ’ s greatest contribution to modern thought -- national state.

18 The Prince -- most controversial in the West -- satire? real? Or an expression of an idealistic man ’ s disillusionment with the failure of republican institutions even in his beloved Florence

19 Like ancient Athenians, Renaissance men were many-sided (all-rounded), such as Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo ( ), a universal man -- a writer, poet, sculptor, painter, and an architect -- supremely gifted in everything that he undertook

20 Later, Renaissance spread to the north and then to England = the Northern Renaissance Sir Thomas More ( )[England] Utopia

21 Conclusion: By the time of the Italian Renaissance in the 14 th century, the emphasis had shifted, from the medieval stress on the omnipotence of God to a new vision of man ’ s own grandeur in the heavenly scheme + printing, gunpowder, compass from China 1492, Christopher Columbus -- the discovery of the New World -- started a new era!

22 The Black Death Main References: Scott, Susan, et al. Biology of Plagues: Evidence from Historical Populations. Cambridge: Cambridge U. Press, Kohn, George C., ed. Encyclopedia of Plague & Pestilence: From Ancient Times to the Present. Rev. ed. New York: Checkmark Books, Hollister, C. Warren Medieval Europe. New York: McGraw-Hill, 2006.

23 According to Prof. Warren Hollister, Medieval Europe (New York: McGraw-Hill, 2006), pp. 327 ff. The term Black Death is popular today, but it is a modern term that was first introduced in Medieval people spoke about this catastrophe as the Great Pestilence, Great Death, or Great Plague. It was primarily a combination of three related diseases: (1) bubonic plague, which is carried by rats and spread by the fleas the rats carry and infect; (2) pneumonic plague, which combines bubonic plague with respiratory infection and is therefore spread easily by coughing and sneezing [cf. SARS in 2003?]; and (3) septicemic plague, which attacks the bloodstream and can be transmitted by flees from one human to another.

24 Bubonic plague came first, arriving in Sicily and Sardinia from the Crimea during the winter of aboard rat-infested merchant ships. It spread swiftly among a population already weakened by malnutrition, and it was quickly followed by its pneumonic and septicemic varieties.

25 The Great Plague ’ s swift expansion can be largely explained by the comfortable living circumstances that medieval castles, townhouses, and cottages offered to rats, and also by the lively European train in grain carried by rat-infested ships. In medieval Europe, rats were everywhere.

26 The plague advanced across Europe with terrifying speed in 1348 and The death toll cannot be determined with any precision, but about one-third of Europe ’ s population perished. In many crowded towns the mortality rate exceeded 50 percent. Monasteries were also especially hard hit; priests, many of whom stayed for the dying, also died in large numbers. People who lived in isolated rural areas suffered comparatively less.

27 Europeans were stunned by the onset of the plague, especially because fourteenth century physicians and healers were at a loss to explain the process of infection. Some attributed to astrological forces; others blamed earthquakes or fogs; … Although some sought to control the plague through flight or quarantine [cf. SARS in 2003?], no one considered rats and rat control. Almost everyone agreed, however, on one major cause: the horrors of the plague were a sure sign of God ’ s anger.

28 The plague offered its victims a gross death, horrible to see, to smell, and to nurse. So many people died so swiftly that proper burial was impossible. One observer spoke, for example, of ships floating aimlessly on the Mediterranean with dead crews. And, in any case, fear drove many people to abandon the sick, thereby also abandoning many basic social obligations. … In these first, frightening years, the Great Plague killed social ties as well as people.

29 By the end of 1349, the Great Plague had run its first course, leaving its survivors traumatized and grief stricken but somewhat protected by immunities built by exposure to the disease. It is possible that unusually large number of marriages and births occurred in the years just after 1349, as people tried to preserve family lines and repopulate deserted lands and villages. But the plague was not done -- and would not be done for a long, long time.

30 In the plague returned to some parts of Europe, striking especially hard at young people born since the Great Plague, who lacked any immunity from prior exposure. This children ’ s plague was only the first of a long series of revisitations: in 1369, , 1379, 1390, 1407, and every decade throughout the fifteenth century.

31 And the population of Europe, having dropped drastically in the wake of the plague ’ s first onset, stayed low for a long time. In 1500, there were still many fewer people in Europe than in 1300.

32 … the Great Plague provided a sudden, radical solution to the problem of rural overpopulation. With one of every three people deal within two years, there was, by 1350, an abundance of arable land for those who survived. There was also a labor shortage, with many jobs and few workers.


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