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Italian rebirth in the 1300-1500’s
The word itself means “rebirth”. This period of
time was marked by the return to the ancient
greek and roman ways of doing things.
3 characteristics of the Renaissance
1. Urban Society
2. Age of recovery
3. Individual Ability
Urban Society
• City states become the center of life
• Political, economic, and social
• Wealth becomes a motivator to create new possibilities with
the enjoyment of material items.
Age of Recovery
The 14th century was very harsh with many disasters.
• The Plague
• Decline of church power
• Political instability.
The Renaissance marked the period when Italian thinkers
became aware of their Roman past. They worked past
these problems to rebuild what was once the great
Individual Ability
“Men can do all things if they will” Leon Battista Alberti
• Italians began to believe that a well-rounded, universal
person was capable of achievements in many areas.
• Leonardo da Vinci was perfect example.
Italian States
Milan- North Italy at the crossroads of main trade routes
• One of the richest city-states in Italy
• Francisco Sforza conquered Milan after the death of
the last Visconti ruler. Set up a tax system to generate
revenue for Government.
Venice- Along the Adriatic Sea. Gateway to Asia
• International power because of location and trade
• Had an elected leader called a Doge
Italian States
Florence- located in the region of Tuscany, North-Central
• Cultural center of Italy during the 1400’s.
• Led by the Medici family. Cosimo and later Lorenzo
• A preacher named Girolamo Savonarola led a small
rebellion against the Medici’s because of a decline in
the economy. Savonarola angered the pope and was
put to death in 1498, putting the Medici family back in
Italian Wars
French King Charles VIII led an army into Italy in 1494. The
Italians turned to the Spanish for help.
For 30 years, Italy was the battleground for a war between
the Spanish and the French
The Spanish destroyed Rome in 1527 demanding money
for their help, ending the war and giving Spain a lot of
control in Italy
Niccolo Machiavelli
• Wrote the book “The Prince”. One of the most
influential works on political power in the western
• Rejected ethical ruling in favor of being self-centered,
the “nature of man”.
• Believed that man cannot rule with a conscience or
morals, but must be prepared to act on behalf of the
• His ideas influenced many leaders to follow.
Society was divided into 3 classes
• Nobility- the upper class. Born into Nobility, be
trained as a warrior and well-educated, and follow a
standard of conduct
• Peasents and Townspeople- 85-90 percent of the
population. Merchants and artisans.
Marriage- Dowry- a sum of money given to the husband
by the wife’s family at time of marriage.
Man ruled society.