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Influences on the Italian
Marco Polo
The Black Death
The Hundred Years’ War
The Growth of Italian City-States
The Black Plague
• What was the
Bubonic plague
– From 1346 – 1352
the disease killed
1/3 of Europe
– Pneumonic
– Bubonic
– Septicemic
How did the Black Death spread
throughout Europe
• Originated in Mongolia
and spread to Black Sea
along Silk Road
• Bacteria carried by fleas
lived on black rats
• Italian merchant ships
brought rats to Europe
along with infected trade
goods that were
transported to different
• First appeared in Sicily
How did the Black Death change
life in Europe?
• Killed one half of the
• Forced farmers to
diversify their crops
• Peasants revolted and
demanded more freedom
• Working class moved to
cities to earn better wages
• Reduced the power of
feudal lords
Why couldn’t people stop the
spread of the Black Death?
• People were ignorant
about its cause; they
blamed the stars,
God’s anger, and the
• They tried ineffective
cures such as
flagellation, and
repentance of sins
The Hundred Years’ War
How did the war begin?
• French king Charles IV
died in 1328 with no male
• Two men attempted to
claim the vacant throne
– Edward III of England, sonin-law of Charles IV
– Philip of Valois, nephew of
• English armies attacked
How did the nature of warfare
• Longbows eliminated
advantages of armor
• Cannons could be
used to blast holes in
• Monarchs used armies
recruited from
common people
Who was Joan of Arc and how
did she change the course of the
Young French peasant
woman who was inspired
by God to save France
• Convinced Charles VII to
let her lead an army
against the English in
• Helped push the armies
out of central France
• Captured, accused of
heresy, and burned at the
stake in 1431; sainted in
How did the war contribute to the
end of feudalism in France?
• People became more
patriotic, more
devoted to the
monarch than their
feudal lord
• Monarchs built huge
armies with the taxes
they collected, which
reduced the power of
What was the 100 years war?
Why should we know about it?
How did it contribute to the
The Growth of Italian City-States
How did Florence become the
most influential city-state?
• Maintained thriving
industry in wool and
silk trade
• Purchased luxury
items from the East
and sold them for a
large profit
• Sold insurance to sea
traders to protect their
overseas investments
How did Florence become the
most influential city-state?
• Created numerous
banks that made loans
or exchanged
• Medici family
promoted trade,
banking, the arts,
scholarship, and civic
Why were Italian city-states rich
and powerful?
• Had strong ties with
Byzantine and Muslim
• European monarchs
and nobles sought
loans from merchants
Why were Italian city-states rich
and powerful?
• Each city-state
specialized in one
commercial activity
– Milan: metal good and
– Florence: banking and
– Venice: Asian goods
Milan: Metal goods and armor
Florence: banking and textiles
Mr. Botkin’s senior yearbook photo.
Venice: Asian goods
What was the Renaissance and
why did it begin in Italy?
• Renaissance is a
French word meaning
“rebirth;” refers to
revival in arts and
• Period when scholars
became interested in
ancient Greek and
Roman culture
What was the Renaissance and
why did it begin in Italy?
• Italian city-states
displayed their wealth
by giving financial
support to artists who
created works with
classical themes
The Spirit of the Renaissance
Why People Became Interested
in Ancient Culture
• Knowledge of ancient
Greece and Rome was
rediscovered by scholars
• The Crusades made
Europeans eager to learn
about the world around
• Scholars thought ancient
Greek and Roman
writings would help solve
A Fascination with Classical
• Artists used ancients art as
• Donatello created statues
that copied the Roman
ideal of the human body
• Brunelleschi designed
buildings after studying
ruins in Rome
• Revolutionary innovations
were made
A Belief in Human Potential:
• Believed each person
could achieve great
• Claimed that people
educated in the
classics could create a
better world
• Emphasized human
achievement on earth,
rather than the afterlife
A New Type of Scholar Called a
• Humanists devoted
themselves to studying
ancient writings
• They tried to learn about
many subjects such as
Latin, Greek, history, and
• Petrarch, a Florentine, was
the first great humanist
A New Way of Life
• People acted like children;
there was very little
personal upkeep or manner
• Women were excluded from
many social “gatherings”
• Birth was the defining point
for social standing and
• Education and personal
capability didn’t exist within
the social developments of
medieval society
• Humanists believe one
should uphold personal
manners and good-behavior
• Many humanists published
guides and manuals for
being a successful courtier
• Believe that education and
universal capability should
contribute to social success
Renaissance Humanism
• Curriculum based on Liberal studies:
grammar, poetry, rhetoric, history, politics,
and moral philosophy
• Belief that study of the classics is path to
virtuous and balanced lifestyle and
• Importance in human, not divine, matters
Renaissance Humanism
• Information gathered from source, not
• Devoted majority of life to the discovery
and practice of the classics
• Anti-”scholasticism”, which was the
educational curriculum of the medieval