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The Italian Renaissance

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1 The Italian Renaissance

2 Useful definitions Renaissance is a French word meaning rebirth- rebirth in that they resumed a civilization like that of the Greco-Romans The basic institutions of Europe originated in the Middle Ages Renaissance marked a new era in thought and feeling It pertained to high culture and hence to a limited number of persons

3 Definitions Continued
Italian Renaissance involved the whole area of culture which is neither theological nor scientific but concerns moral and civic questions about what man ought to be or ought to do. Purely secular attitude appeared Life was no longer seen by leading thinkers as a brief preparation for the life after

4 Why Italy? Geography is Destiny Benefits of Medieval trade routes
Venice and Genoa

5 Why Italy Continued Merchants made fortunes in commerce
Lent money to Princes and Popes and thus made more money as bankers Rejoiced in the beautiful things and psychological satisfactions that money could buy Outlook was secular

6 Why Italy Cont. Italian towns were independent city –states
Italy did not exist as a unified state Towns competed against each other-civic pride

7 Changing Attitudes What arose in Italy was a new conception of man himself This world was so exciting that another world need not be thought of What captivated the Italians was a sense of mans tremendous powers. Formerly there was a disdain for the things of the world. Now a life of involvement was also prized.

8 Terms and Quotes “The whole glory of man lies in activity” Leonardo Bruni Virtu: The quality of being a man- demonstration of human powers

9 The Birth of “Literature”
Italian Humanism The Birth of “Literature” The greatest writers wrote about man, not God, placing man in the foreground, exalting him, praising him, questioning him, criticizing him, but not despising him and his worldly city as the Augustinians had been doing for a thousand years.

10 Birth of Humanism The literary movement of the Renaissance
Modern literature first appeared in the 14th and 15th centuries in Italy A class of men who saw themselves as writers Humanists used writing to please and amuse their readers

11 Humanism: Thoughts Humanism was the scholarly study of the Latin and Greek classics and the ancient Church fathers for both their own sake and in the hope of a rebirth of ancient norms and values Unlike their scholastic rivals, Humanists were less bound to tradition; they did not focus all of their attention on summarizing and comparing the views of recognized authorities on a text or a question, but went directly to the original sources themselves. Their most respected sources were classical and biblical, not medieval.

12 Humanists Wrote a good deal in Latin
Preferred Latin style of the classical Roman period Complained that Middle Age Latin was too monkish, scholastic Also wrote in the Vernacular, Italian Definition: Vernacular Using a language native to a region rather than a literary language (Italian in place of Latin) In the ancient writers the humanists found a new range of interests, discussion of political and civic questions

13 The birth of Italian Humanism Petrarch, Dante, Boccaccio

14 Francesco Petrarch 1304-1374 “The first man of letters”
First Italian humanist Trained for law and the clergy he criticized both professions for their “Scholasticism” Wrote Sonnets to Laura-clearly meant to be literary productions Wrote in Italian to popularize his ideas Along with Boccaccio sought to create the renaissance

15 Outside events The invention of the printing Press
The fall of Constantinople in 1453

16 Petrarch His critical textual studies, elitiism and contempt for the allegedly useless learning of the scholastics were features that many later humanists shared

17 Sonnets to Laura May or may not have existed Lara in Latin means fame
Married to another man Inspiration for Poetry

18 Petrarch, Cont. Literature became a kind of calling
A consideration of moral philosophy no longer subordinate to theology How human beings should adjust to the world what a good life could or ought to be, where the genuine rewards for living were to be found


20 Euro trivia In what European country would you find the city of Antwerp? Belgium

21 Other Italian Humanists
Christine de Pisan The city of ladies chronicle of great woment in history Leonardo Bruni- Florentine Historian. Showed a need for authentic sources Pico della Mirandola Oration on the dignity of man Baldasare Castiglione The Book of the Courtier “must converse with facility, be proficient in sports, know how to dance and appreciate music, should know Latin and Greek Macchiavelli The Prince 1513


23 Boccaccio 1313-1375 Friend of Petrarch Pioneer in humanist studies
Decameron, 100 often bawdy tales told by three men and 7 women Stinging social commentary and a sympathetic look at human behavior



26 Humanist Education Medieval schooling had been chaotic and repetitious
Renaissance separated students by age and class Latin was the Principal subject with Greek added Learned Latin and Greek to read the ancient writings

27 Dante Alighieri 1265-1321 Divine Comedy written in Italian in 1300
Broken into three parts, Hell, Purgatory and heaven The classical poet Virgil leads him through Hell and Purgatory His muse Beatrice leads him through heaven Allegorically, symbolically and mystically his vision of a universe structured by reason and unified by faith came together and worked

28 Neo Platonism Plato had expressed a very flattering view of human nature Eternal sphere of being and a perishable world in which humans actually lived Pico Della Mirandola’s oration on the dignity of man was very platonic.    Neo Platonism is based on one central doctrine: the human soul is immortal and the center of the universe. It is the only thing that sits midway between the abstract realm of ideas and the physical world—as such, it is the mediator between these two worlds.

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