took advantage of the changing work opportunities made more money, which
allowed them to pay for luxuries and hire artists through patronage to produce
specific art. The wealthier the people became, the more art that was created.
Italy became rich from overseas trade, and flourished during the
Renaissance. Merchants loaned and
invested money and created banks to store their money.
2 Italian City States
Northern Italian cities were communes, or sworn associations of free men who wanted economic and political freedom from the nobles. Italian nobles began marrying into commercial families. This merger
resulted in an oligarchy, a small group of people who ruled the city and the
countryside around it. The rest of the common people, or popolo, were very upset at the high taxes that had fallen on
them. They used violence to take over the governments and create a republic, where
representatives of the people make the decisions. Eventually many cities became signori, where a man passes his power to his son.
2.1 5 Powers
The five powers
that dominated the Italian peninsula were Venice, Milan, Florence, the Papal
States, and Naples. These large city states ruled over the weaker and smaller
ones. They worked to create a balance of powers, in which all city states were
equally as powerful. The main diplomatic contribution to society was the
creation of embassies with ambassadors.
Humanism is a
program of study that used the critical study of Latin and Greek literature in
order to understand human nature. Humanism emphasized the potential of humans
to learn and experience many different things.
that education should not be for private or religious reasons, but for the
greater good of the public. The Courtier was written to instruct
young men on how to be an intelligent gentleman. It was the one book of the Renaissance that
had the most influence on education.
4 The Prince
emphasizes the idea that the man job of a ruler is to preserve order and
security. Weakness of that ruler can
lead to war and disorder, and possibly invasion. Everything the ruler does must be for the
good of the state, not for his own personal good.
the belief that the church should not be involved in the state’s affairs. The Renaissance thinkers did not believe that
secularism conflicted with their religious beliefs. They thought that Christianity is not a set of laws but Christ, his life and the mark he has made on humanity.
6 Christian Humanism
Christian Humanists used ancient Italian texts and humanism to deepen the spiritual life of
the people. They were hoping to use
these ideas to help people deepen their relationship with God and eventually to
help reform the church. The people who
began these ideas were Ficino and Pico, and later, people like Thomas More and
Desiderius Erasmus added their ideas as well.
7 Movable Type
allowed multiple copies of books and other publications to be printed at a
time. This meant that the common people
could now afford their own books.
Schools could better instruct their students, and urban literacy
In the beginning
of the Renaissance, corporate groups sponsored art; but by the late fifteenth
century, rulers and individuals paid artists to glorify themselves and their
families. The individual portrait became
a distinct form of art and also showed human ideals, which is relative to the
ideas of humanism.
In the Middle Ages and the beginning of the
Renaissance, art mainly portrayed religious scenes. As people could afford to
pay artists to create art, the styles changed to individual portraits. These portraits emphasized human ideals by
using a realistic style. These changes relate to the ideas of humanism and
secularism. The artists Francesca and
Mantegna were the first to really use perspective and the linear representation
of distance in their art. Classical
styles of architecture were brought back by Filippo Brunelleschi. He designed a
hospital carefully and thought it out proportionally.
8.3 Status of Artist
Some artists were paid very well, while others
became famous and well-known. Before the
Renaissance, people saw art as something done through God, and recognized no
originality in the piece. During the Renaissance, however, people recognized
the art as a work created from a unique and creative personality.
9 Ethnic "Races"
Ethnic groups were categorized using the words
“race,” “people,” and “nation” to describe different nationalities or religious
groups. Africans began to be imported by
Christian and Muslim groups and sold into slavery. Slaves were in high demand, and they were
used to do work and sometimes to entertain.
So many blacks were imported by the Portuguese that by the mid-sixteenth
century, ten percent of Lisbon were of African ethnicity.
10 Social Hierarchy
The word “class,” used in “middle class” and
“lower class” were not used in the medieval period. In the Renaissance era, a social hierarchy
based on wealth was developing with the medieval idea of orders. Most people were in the “Third Order,” or
“those who work.” However, the weakest
nobles were still classified as above the wealthiest commoners, to separate the
nobles from the common people. Commoners
could only move upward in the social ladder if they married the noble’s
11 Debate about Women
de femmes, or “debate about women,” was a debate about the women’s nature
and character. Misogynists argued that
women were devious, domineering and demanding.
Others made lists of famous and intelligent women in history. The debate began to question female rulers
also. They asked if a girl is raised to
rule, should she be allowed to rule and overcome the limitations of her gender?
Also, women weren’t receiving the credit they deserved for raising a family or doing the same work as men. The conclusion to these debates was that women were not equal to men, and would only tend to the home and other private affairs.
12 French Monarchy
Charles VII reconciled neighboring groups, the
Burgundians and the Armagnacs, who had been in a civil war for thirty
years. He expelled the English from
French land except for Calais by 1453.
Charles reorganized the royal council, and increased the influences of
lawyers and bankers. He strengthened royal finances through taxes like the gabelle and taille on salt and land. He also created the first permanent royal
13 English Issues
The English population was still declining from
the plague and other issues. Henry didn’t trust the nobles and lords to run the
royal council, so instead he elected smaller landlords and urban residents
trained in law.
14 Spain + Inquisition
Ferdinand and Isabella excluded nobles from the
royal council, and instead appointed lesser landowners. They trained men in
Roman law. With the money from
ecclesiastical states, the Spain was able to regain the southern land they had
lost to the Arabs. The Jews fled to
Spain after being banished from France and England. The Christians used influence, money, and
intelligence from the Jews to help royal power.
In the fourteenth century, however, anti-Semitism became more popular,
fueled by anti-Jewish preaching and economic dislocation. The northern Europeans saw the Jews as
scapegoats for the Black Death. New
Christians were the fraction of the forty percent of Jews who were either
killed or converted. The poor hated the converso, or New Christian, tax
collectors and the church questioned the sincerity of their conversions. Queen Isabella and Ferdinand received
permission from the pope to create their own Inquisition to search and punish
the New Christians. People began to
believe that Jews could never be Christians because Judaism was in their blood.