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The Renaissance in Italy

Uploaded by Tecknetium on Sep 13, 1999

The Italian Renaissance was called the beginning of the modern age. The word Renaissance itself is derived from the Latin word rinascere, which means to be reborn. Many dramatic changes occurred during this time in the fields of philosophy, art, politics, and literature. New emphasis was placed on enjoying life and the world around you. Talented individuals sought self-gratification through art, literature, and architecture, and their achievments would influence future generations for centuries to come. This great new movement was originated and centered in Italy, and without Italian contribution, would never have launched European society into the dawning of a new era. At the beginning of the Renaissance, Italy was divided into some 250 self- governing city-states, ranging from small towns of 2,000 individuals, to some of the largest cities in Europe of that time, such as Florence, Milan, and Venice, each with 100,000 citizens each. These city-states were loosely organized under the Pope, ruling out of Rome, although he had no real political control over the divided Italy. During the mid- 1300s and early 1400s, many large Italian cities came under the control of one family, such as the Visconti and later the Sforza families in Milan. The form of government established by the ruling families of the various Italian cities came to be known as signoria, with the chief official being called the signore. Soon , elaborate court systems, controlled by the ruling families, began to spring up in each city-state. At these courts, leading artists, intellectuals, and politicians gathered under the sponsorship of the signore and families. Other city states had a form of republicanism, such as Florence and Venice did. In these cities, a group of upper class families controlled the government, and often looked down upon the common residents of the town, considering them to be inferior. A Venetian observer wrote about Florence during this time: "They are never content with their constitution, they are never quiet, and it seems that this city always desires change of constitution as so the government changes every fifteen years"(Cole p.218) In Florence, which is perhaps considered the most important center of Renaissance learning in history, the Medici family dominated the ruling class. Under Medici domination, Florence became a signorial power and a cultural gem stone. It was during the reign of Lorenzo de' Medici , that many great painters, sculptors, and architects flocked to the Medici family looking for sponsorship, knowing that...

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Uploaded by:   Tecknetium

Date:   09/13/1999

Category:   History

Length:   8 pages (1,794 words)

Views:   1741

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