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Chapter 12 Outline Recovery and Rebirth: The Age of the Renaissance

I.Meaning and Characteristics of the Renaissance

A.Urban Society
As a result of its commercial preeminence and political evolution, northern
Italy by the mid-fourteenth century was mostly a land of independent cities
that dominated the country districts around them.
These city-states became the centers of Italian political, economic, and social
A secular spirit emerged as increasing wealth created new possibilities for
the enjoyment of worldly things.
B. Age of Recovery
The Renaissance was an age of recovery from the calamitous fourteenth
Italy and Europe began a slow process of recuperation from the effects of the
Black Death, political disorder, and economic recession.
C.Rebirth of Classical Culture
Italian intellectuals became intensely interested in the Greco-Roman culture
of the ancient Mediterranean world.
Affected activities as diverse as politics and art and led to new attempts to
reconcile the pagan philosophy of the Greco-Roman world with Christian
Thought, as wells as new ways of viewing human beings.
D.Recovery of the Individual
Men can do all things if they will
A high regard for human dignity and worth and a realization of individual
potentially created a new social ideal of the well-rounded personality or
universal person who was capable of achievements in many areas of life.
II. Making of Renaissance Society
A.Economic Recovery

Hanseatic League
As early as the thirteenth century, a number of North German coastal towns
had formed a commercial and military association known as the Hansa, or
Hanseatic League.
More than 80 cities belonged to the Hansa.
It had a monopoly on northern European trade in timber, fish, grain,metals,
honey, and wines. Its southern outlet in Flanders, became the economic
crossroads of Europe in the fourteenth century, serving as the meeting place
between Hanseatic merchants and the Flanders Fleet of Venice.
2. Wool and Silk
By the beginning of the fifteenth century, the Florentine wool industry had
begun to recover.
Italian cities began to develop and expand luxury industries, especially silk,
glasses, and hand worked items in metal and precious stones.

3. Banking
The House of Medici was the greatest bank in Europe, with branches in
Venice, Milan, Rome, Avignon, Bruges, London, and Lyons.
The Medici were also the principal bankers for the papacy, a position that
produced big profits and influence at the papal court.
After a rather sudden decline at the end of the century due to poor leadership
and a series of bad loans.
B. Social Changes
Domination of the Nobility
2-3 percent of the populations in most countries were nobles, they managed
to dominate society as they had done in the Middle Ages,serving as military
officers and holding important political posts as well as advising the king.
Members of the aristocracy pursued education as the means to maintain their
role in government.
2. Courtly Society in Castigliones Courtier
The Renaissance ideal of the well-developed personality became a social
ideal of the aristocracy. Nobles were expected to make good impressions;

while being modest, they should not hide their accomplishments but show
them with grace.
The aim was to serve his prince in an effective and honest way.
3. Peasants and Townspeople.
They constituted 85-90 percent of the European population.
At the top of urban society were the patricians, whose wealth from capitalistic
enterprises in trade, industry, and banking enabled them to dominate their
urban communities economically, socially, and politically. Then the petty
burghers, and finally the propertyless workers.
4. Slavery.
Slavery existed, but had declined for economic reasons, and had been
replaced by serfdom by the ninth century.
Slaves were used as skilled workers, making handcrafted goods for their
masters, or as household workers. Girls served as nursemaids, and boys as
Their owners for humanitarian reasons had freed many slaves, and the major
source of slaves dried up as the Black Sea slave markets were closed to
Italian traders after the Turks conquered the Byzantine Empire.
5. Families.
A family meant the extended household of parents, children, and servants
and could also include grandparents, widowed mothers, and even unmarried
Parents, often to strengthen business or family ties, arranged marriages.To do
so, the parents of the wife would pay a dowry to determine their status in
The father-husband was the center of the Italian family.

III. Italian States in the Renaissance

Major States: Milan, Venice, Florence, Naples, and the Papal States
Northern Italy was divided between the duchy of Milan and the republic of
Venice. The maritime republic of Venice remained an extremely stable

political entity of governed by a small oligarchy of merchant-aristocrats.

The republic of Florence dominated the region of Tuscany. It was governed by
a small merchant oligarchy that manipulated the apparently republican
The Papal States lay in central Italy. Nominally under the political control of
the popes, papal residence in Avignon and the Great Schism had enabled
individual cities and territories to become independent of papal authority.
The kingdom of Naples, which encompassed most of southern Italy and
usually the island of Sicily, was fought over by the French and the Aragonese
until the latter established their domination in the 15th century.
B. Examples of Federigo da Montefeltro and Isabella dEste
Federigo rule Urbino from 1444 to 1482, and received a classical education
typical of the famous humanist school in Mantua run by Vittorino da Feltre.
He was a rather unusual condottiere by 15th century standards as he was
reliable and honest.
Isabella was the most famous of the Renaissance-ruling women. She was the
daughter of the duke of Ferrara, and married Francesco Gonzaga.
She was known for her intelligence and political wisdom, and attracted artists
and intellectuals to the Mantua court and were responsible for amassing one
of the finest libraries in all of Italy.
C.Birth of Modern Diplomacy
There were ambassadors in the Middle Ages, but they were used only on a
temporary basis. This concept of an ambassador changing because of the
political situation.
A large number of states existed, many so small that their security was easily
threatened by their neighbors. To survive, the Italian states began to send
resident diplomatic agents to each other to ferret out useful information.
D.Machiavellis Prince
His major concerns were the acquisition and expansion of political power as
the means to restore and maintain order in his time.
From Machiavellis point of view, a princes attitude toward power must be
based on an understanding of human nature, which he perceived as basically
IV.Intellectual Renaissance in Italy

(1304-1374) He has been called the father of Italian Renaissance humanism.
He rejected his fathers desire to become a lawyer and took up a literary
career instead. He was the first intellectual to characterize the Middle Ages as
a period of darkness, promoting the mistaken belief that medieval culture
was ignorant of classical antiquity.
2.Leonardo Bruni
(1370-1444) He was a humanist, Florentine patriot, and chancellor of the city,
wrote a biography of Cicero.
One of the first Italian humanists to gain a thorough knowledge of Greek and
became an enthusiastic pupil of Manuel Chrysoloras, a Byzantine scholar.
3.Lorenzo Valla
(1407-1457) He was educated in Latin and Greek, and eventually achieved
his chief ambition of becoming a papal secretary.
Wrote The Elegances of the Latin Language, which was an effort to purify
medieval Latin and restore Latin to its proper position over the vernacular.
4.Ficino and the Platonic Academy
(1433-1499) Ficino was one the academys leaders. He dedicated his life to
the translation of Plato and the exposition of the Platonic philosophy known
as Neoplatonism.
The Platonic Academy was an informal discussion group.
5.Pico della Mirandola
(1463-1494) The most prominent magi in the late fifteenth century.
He produced one of the most famous pieces of writing of the Renaissance,
the Oration in the Dignity of Man.Pico took an avid interest in Hermetic
philosophy, accepting it as the science of the Divine
1.Vittorino da Feltre and the Liberal Studies
(1378-1446) He founded a secondary school at Mantua in 1423 when the
ruler of a small Italian state wanted education for his children.

The Liberal Studies referred to the Renaissance view of the value of the
liberal arts influenced by a treatise on education. IT included history, moral
philosophy, eloquence, letters, poetry, mathematics, astronomy ,and music.
2. Pietro Paolo Vergerios Concerning Character
The work stressed the importance of the liberal arts as the key to true
freedom, enabling individuals to reach their full potential.
He stated that the purpose was not to create great scholars but rather to
produce complete citizens who could participate in the civic life of their
communities.C.Humanism and History
1.Secularization of History
Humanists were responsible for secularizing the writing of history. They
reduced the role of miracles in historical interpretation because they took a
new approach to sources.
They wanted to use documents and exercised their newly developed critical
skills in examining them.
2.Francesco Guicciardini
(1483-1540) Some Renaissance scholars have called him the greatest
historian between Tacitus, and Voltaire and Gibbon.
To him, the purpose of writing history was to teach lessons, he was so
impressed by the complexity of his historical events that he felt those lessons
were not always obvious.
D.Impact of Printing
1.Johannes Gutenbergs Bible
Gutenberg had invented the first printer with hand-carved wooden block
creating movable type. The Bible was the first true book in the West produced
from it.
2.Scholarly Research and Lay Readership
The printing of books encouraged the development of scholarly research and
the desire to attain knowledge. Printing facilitated cooperation among
scholars and helped produced standardized and definitive tests.
Without the printing press, the new religious ideas of the Reformation would
never have spread as rapidly.
V.Artistic Renaissance

A.Early Renaissance
(1401-1428) He demonstrated a more realistic relationship between figures
and landscape, and visual representation of the laws of perspective, a new
realist style of painting was born.
(1397-1475) In his work, figure became mere stage props to show off his
mastery of the laws of perspective.
(1445-1510) Had an interest in Greek and Roman mythology, which was well,
reflected, in one of his most famous works, Primavera
(1386-1466) He spent time in Rome studying and copying statues of
antiquity. His subsequent work in Florence reveals how well he had mastered
the essence of what he saw.
(1377-1446) was a friend of Donatello and accompanied him to Rome.He
drew much inspiration from the architectural monuments of Roman
antiquity.6.Piero della Francesca.(1410-1492) provided accurate
representations as wells as a sense of both the power and the wealth of the
rulers of Urbino.
B.High Renaissance
1.Leonardo da Vinci
(1452-1519) represents a transitional figure in the shift to High Renaissance
principles. He carried on the 15th century experimental tradition by studying
(1483-1520) Raphael blossomed as a painter at 25; he was already regarded
as one of Italys best painters.
(1475-1564) He was an accomplished painter, sculptor, and architect,and was
another giant of the High Renaissance. Neo-Platonism inspired him.

(1444-1514) He came from Urbino. He designed a small temple on the
supposed site of Saint Peters martyrdom. Inspired by antiquity,Bramante had
recaptured the grandeur of ancient Rome.
C.Artist and Social Status: Artist as Hero
In the early Renaissance, artists started out as apprentices and worked
themselves up to masters. Here, artists were still considered as
artisans.However at the end of the 15th century, the talented individuals
were artistic geniuses with creative energies akin to the divine.
D.Northern Artistic Renaissance
1.Jan Van Eyck
(1390-1441) He was among the first to use oil paint, a medium that enabled
the artist to use a varied range of colors and makes changes to create fine
2.Albrecht Durer
(1471-1528) He wrote detailed treatises on the laws of perspective and
Renaissance theories of proportion.

E.Music in the Renaissance

1. Dufay
(1400-1474) the most important composer of his time. He was the first to use
secular tunes to replace Gregorian chants as the fixed melody that served as
a basis for the Mass.
The chief form of secular music. The Renaissance madrigal was a poem set to
music, and its origins were in the 14Th century Italian courts.
VI.European State in the Renaissance

A.New Monarchies

Renaissance States was the time in which recovery set it, and attempts
were made to reestablish the centralized power of monarchical governments.
B.Growth of the French Monarchy

Charles VII and the Taille

(1422-1461) He was crowned king at Reims. He established a royal army
composed of cavalry and archers
A taille is an annual direct tax usually on land or property, without any need
for further approval from the Estates-General. Losing control of the purse
meant less power for this parliamentary body.
2. Louis XI and Commerce
(1461-1483) He was known as the Spider because of his wily and devious
ways. By retaining taille, he secured a sound, regular source of income.
C.England: Civil War and New Monarchy
War of the Roses
Broke out in 1450s. It pitted the ducal house of Lancaster, whose symbol was
a red rose, against the ducal house of York, whose symbol was a white rose.
2. Henry VII and the Tudors
(1485-1509) Henry VII worked to reduce internal discussion and establish a
strong monarchical government. He ended private wars of the nobility by
abolishing livery and maintenance, the practice by which wealthy
aristocrats maintained private armies of followers dedicated to the service of
their lord.
D. Unification of Spain
Ferdinand and Isabella
The marriage between the two was a dynastic union of two rulers, not a
political union. They recognized the importance of controlling the Catholic
Church, with its vast power and wealth.
They also pursued a policy of strict religious uniformity.
2.Expulsion of Muslims and Jews
The increased persecution in the 14th century led the majority of Spanish
Jews to convert to Christianity. They were largely tolerated in medieval Spain.
Complaints about the sincerity of these Jewish convert prompted Ferdinand
and Isabella to ask the pope to introduce the Inquisition in Spain in 1478.

It worked with cruel efficiency to guarantee the orthodoxy of the converts,

but had no authority over practicing Jews.
E.Holy Roman Empire: Success of the Habsburgs
Unlike France, England, and Spain, the Holy Roman Empire failed to develop a
strong monarchical authority. The Habsburg, though, was very successful.
Notmilitary, but because of well-executed policy of dynastic marriages.
Maximilian attempted to centralize the administration by creating
newinstitutions common to the entire empire.
F.Struggle for Strong Monarchy in Eastern Europe
In Eastern Europe, rulers struggles to achieve the centralization of their
territorial states but faced serious obstacles
Through their control of the Sejm or national diet, the magnates reduced the
peasantry to serfdom by 1511 and established the right to elect their kings.
The Polish kings proved unable to establish a strong royal authority.
Since the 13th century, Russia had been under the domination of the
Mongols.Gradually, the princes of Moscow rose to prominence by using their
close relationship to the Mongol khans to increase wealth.
G. Ottoman Turks and the End of Byzantium
The steadily advancing Ottoman Turks increasingly threatened Eastern
Europe.The Byzantine Empire had, of course, served as a buffer between the
Muslim Middle East and the Latin West for centuries. It was severely
weakened by the sack of Constantinople in 1204 and its occupation by the
VII. Church in the Renaissance
Heresy and Reform
John Wyclifs Lollards
(1328-1384) His disgust with clerical corruption led him to a far-ranging
attack on papal authority and medieval Christian beliefs and practices.
Wyclif alleged that there was no basis in Scripture for papal claims of
temporal authority and advocated that the pope's be stripped of their
authority and advocated that the pope's be stripped of their authority and
their property. The followers were called Lollards
2. John Hus

(1374-1415) He urged the elimination of the worldliness and corruption of the

clergy and attacked the excessive power of the papacy within the Catholic
3. The Doctrine of Sacrosancta
It stated that a general council of the church received its authority from God;
hence every Christian, including the pope, was subject to its authority.
4. Pius II and Execrabilis
Pope Pius II issued the papal bull Execrabilis, condemning appeals to council
over the head of a pope as heretical.
Renaissance Papacy
Sixtus IV and Alexander VI
Pope Sixtus IV (1471-1484) made five of his nephew cardinals and gave them
an abundance of church offices to build up their finances.
Alexander VI (1492-1503) was a member of the Borgia family who was known
for his debauchery and sensuality.
2. Julius II and the New Saint Peters
(1503-1513) Was most involved in war and politics. Known as the fiery
warrior-pope, and seen as a spiritual leader.
3. Leo X and Raphael
Leo X (1513-1521) was a patron of Renaissance culture, not as a matter of
policy, but as a deeply involved participant.
Raphael was commissioned to do paintings, and the construction of Saint
Peters was accelerated, as Rome became the literary and artistic center of
the Renaissance