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Renaissance Politics
• Renaissance (rebirth) is considered the
beginning of modern European history (13001600)
• Influenced the upper classes more than the
middle classes
– Peasants were illiterate and too concerned with
the dealings of daily life
Life in the Late Middle Ages
• Marriage
– Economic reasons were most important for marriage
– No divorce
• Work
– Farming cycles and church ritual were closely linked
– Small percent of men in towns were artisans
• Recreation
– Aristocracy – jousting tournaments
– Common people – archery, wrestling, bear-bating,
alcoholism was rampant
Rise of Italian City-States
City-State Politics
• Balance of power system
among city-states
– If one gained enough power, then
others would gang up on them
• Such competition did not allow
the city-states to unify into one
political unit
– With the city-states divided, they
would be susceptible to attack
Major City-States
• Florence
– Center of Renaissance during the 14th/15th
– Dominated by the Medici family
Major City-States
• Milan
– A major enemy of Venice and Florence until the Peace of
Lodi (1454) created a peace for 40 years
• Effect of fall of Constantinople
– Ruled by the Sforza family
• Rome, the Papal States
– Ruled by the Pope as a political leader
• Venice
– Greatest maritime power in Italy and
trading hub
• Naples, Kingdom of the Two Sicilies
– Controlled by France and Spain
French Invasions
• Milan’s ruler invites French king
Charles VIII to invade Naples
– With its foot in the door, France
will look to take more
• Florence is threatened and the
Medici are removed from power
• Girolamo Savonarola comes to
control Florence
• Pledged to rid Florence of
decadence and corruption
• Had earlier predicted French
invasions and the death of
the Pope…gives him credit
with the people
• Aided the French in their
efforts in Italy…burned at
the stake when France is
booted from Italy
Italy in Peril
• In 1525 – 32K French and 100K Spanish in Italy
• Rome is sacked in 1527 by armies of the Holy
Roman Emperor Charles V
• Effects
– Long wars drain treasuries
– French invasion hurts Italian confidence
– Humanism spreads to Northern Europe
• The Sacking of Rome symbolizes the END OF