Introduction to The Renaissance Text Chapter 12 (pages 375-381) The Italian Renaissance • Renaissance means rebirth • Many Italians between 1350 and 1550 believed they had witnessed a rebirth of the ancient Greek and Roman worlds • Historians later called this the Renaissance or Italian Renaissance- a period of European history that began in Italy and spread to the rest of Europe Characteristics of the Renaissance • Urban society • An age of recovery from the disasters of the 14th century (plague, political instability, and a decline of church power) • Emphasis on Individual ability – The well rounded, universal person was capable of achievements in many areas of life. For example, painting, sculpting, architecture, mathematics, inventor, etc… The Italian States • Italy was unable to develop a monarchy during the Middle Ages. • Three city states remained independent and played a critical role in Italian politics – Milan – Venice – Florence Milan • Located in Northern Italy • One of the richest city states in Italy • In the 14th century, members of the Visconti family established themselves as the dukes of Milan. • Sforza the new duke in 1447 was the leader of a band of mercenaries – soldiers who sold their services to the highest bidder Venice • • • • A link between Asia and Western Europe Drew traders from all over the world A republic with an elected leader called a doge Venice’s trade empire was tremendously profitable and made Venice an international power. Florence • Dominated the region of Tuscany • Small but wealthy group of merchants established control of the government • The Medici family controlled the politics of the city. • Florence was a cultural center of Italy MACHIAVELLI Machiavelli and the New Statecraft • Niccolo Machiavelli wrote The Prince • It is one of the most influential works on political power in the Western world. • Central thesis is how to acquire and keep political power. • According to Machiavelli, political activity should not be limited by moral principles • A prince must act on behalf of the state, even if that meant abandoning his conscience • Among the first to abandon morality as the basis for politics Renaissance Society The Nobility • Only 2-3% of the population • Born not made • Classical education & enrich his life with the arts • Live gracefullycertain standards of conduct Peasants & Townspeople • Peasants made up 85 – 90% of the population • By 1500, more and more peasants became legally free • Townspeople made up the rest of the third estate • Mostly merchants & artisans Urban Renaissance Society • Patricians- wealthy from trade, industry, and banking • Burghers- the shopkeepers, artisans, and guild masters and guild members • Workers- earned pitiful wages and made up 30-40 % of the urban population • Late 1300’s and early 1400’s poverty increased dramatically. Family and Marriage • Family bond was a source of great security • To maintain the family, parents carefully arranged marriages, often to strengthen business or family ties • Details worked out way in advance, sometimes when children were only 2 or 3 years old • Father- center of the Italian family; Mothersupervised household- no share in father’s wealth • Father’s authority absolute until his death or he formally freed his children in court. Age of adulthood ranged from early teens to late twenties.