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A Rebirth of what??
The Greeks and Romans
Ancient Culture
The Middle Ages
The Modern World
“By celebrating the beauty of nature and the
dignity of mankind, Renaissance artists and
scholars helped shape the intellectual and
cultural history of the modern world.”
Nations as we know
them today did not exist 
City States
What is a City State?
What are the advantages? Disadvantages?
1. Executive Bodies
– dominated by
the most powerful
2. Legislative or
advisory councils
3. Special
2% - 12% (depending
of the city) of the
male population in
these city-states
actually had the
right to vote.
Examples: Venice,
Siena, Lucca and
Florence (until the
Medici family)
Signori – run by
a single family.
Example: Milan
was ruled the
Sforza family
What does this
seem like that
exists in today’s
Example: Venice –
its constitution had
a balance of
political interests
The doge – an
official elected for
life by the Senate –
executive authority
(like a monarch)
The Great Council
– 2,500 patricians –
elected a Senate
which represented
nobility - No one
represented the
peasants who were
½ the population
 Pope – the spiritual
 He was elected for
life by cardinals
 Ran just like any
other city-state
 There was a
declining role of the
papacy over the
city-states after the
Babylonian Captivity
Why was it so
necessary in
this type of
environment to
have a strong
 Development of
banking – How
does this help to
stimulate the
 Florence’s
currency the gold
florin became the
standard currency
in European trade.
They were able
to provide credit to
purchasers –
stimulating trade.
Risky – the King of
England had forced
Florentine merchants
to loan him money –
he defaulted when he
failed during an
invasion of France in
the 100 years’ War –
many bankers went
into bankruptcy.
POPULO GROSSO: “fat people” – 5%
of the population – elite/nobles,
wealthy merchants, and
MEDIOCI: middle – smaller
merchants and master artisans.
POPULO MINUTO: “little people” –
bulk of the urban population.
There was some social mobility – Why?
What were the social classes based
 Center of the Southern Renaissance
 Why? Why did it become the center of the
1. The Arno Rivier – which flowed through the
port of Pisa, helped trade and commerce
(Florence conquered Pisa)
2. Medici Family – encouraged a cultural
3. City honored accomplishments of citizens
4. Education – many schools(civic as well as
private) – university – highest literacy rate
in Europe
Wealthy Banking Family – provided
Banished rival clans
Manipulated electoral process
Cosimo’s Grandson – survived an
assassination attempt – hours later enemies
of the family were hanging upside down
from a government building – including the
archbishop of Pisa
Botticelli was commissioned to paint
them as they swung.
Petrarch – Tuscan poet – copied
ancient works from manuscripts
Discovered texts no one new
Inspired successors to find and
copy other classical manuscripts
Gutenberg – development of
Diffusion of a variety of
Autobiographies and poems
Scholasticism  Humanism
The study of law, medicine
and theology
The study of grammar,
rhetoric, and metaphysics
Petrarch mocked scholastics:
They can tell you “how many hairs there
are in the lion’s mane. . . With how many arms
the squid binds a shipwrecked sailor. . . . All
these things or the greater part of it is wrong
. . . . And even if they were true, they would
not contribute anything to the blessed life.
What is the use, I pray you, of knowing the
nature of beasts, birds, fishes and serpents,
and not knowing, or spurning the nature of
man, to what end we are born, and from were
and whither we pilgrimage.”
What is a Renaissance Man?