For Written Period Summaries go to:
For Multiple Choice Questions on Time Periods go to:
http://cwx_prenhall.com/bookbind/pubbooks/kagan3/ -click on fact finder
http://www.history.wadsworth.com/spielvogel/student/undex.html -click on student resources
http://www.homestead.com/chaffeyaphistory/european.html possibly the best AP Euro site on the web.
Awesome notes, great setup of review and test questions all at one place. The site I would build if I had
time. Go here.
http://thecaveonline.com/APEH/ another great site, search out the good stuff and it will help
http://www.historyteacher.net/ multiple choice and matching quizzes plus well designed short notes. Go
AP European History Prose Notes
Taken from George Burson – Aspen High School on the net
I. The Meaning and Characteristics of the Italian Renaissance
Renaissance means “rebirth.” Although the Renaissance does not represent a sudden or dramatic cultural
break with the Middle Ages, the period can be viewed as a distinct period of European history that
manifested itself first in Italy and then spread to the rest of Europe. Renaissance Italy was largely a land of
independent city-states. Within these new urban societies, a secular spirit emerged as increasing wealth
created new possibilities for the enjoyment of worldly things. Above all, the Renaissance was an age of
recovery from the disorder of the 14th century. Recovery was accompanied by a rebirth of the culture of
classical antiquity that led to new ways of viewing humans. Though not entirely new, there was a revived
emphasis on individual ability. These general features of the Italian Renaissance were primarily the
preserve of the wealthy upper classes—it was an elite, not a mass movement.
Beginning in the late 11th century the agricultural foundation of Western civilization began to be
transformed. The new agricultural practices and the subsequent increase in food production, which freed
part of the European population from the need to produce their own food, allowed diversification in
economic functions that led to a revival of trade, considerable expansion in the circulation of money, a
restoration of specialized craftspeople and artisans, and the growth and development of towns.
By the 14th century, Italian merchants were carrying on a flourishing commerce throughout the
Mediterranean and had also expanded their lines of trade north along the Atlantic seaboard. In England and
the Netherlands the Italians came into contact with the Hanseatic League. Hard hit by the plague, the
Italians lost their commercial preeminence while the Hanseatic League continued to prosper until the 15th
century when the League proved increasingly unable to compete with the developing larger territorial
states. The Hanseatic League had been formed as early as the 13th century when some north German towns
began to cooperate to gain favorable trading rights in Flanders. By 1500, more than 80 cities belonged to
the League. As the Hanseatic League began to decline in the 15th century, the Italians, especially the
Venetians, continued to maintain a wealthy commercial empire. Not until the 16th century, when the
overseas discoveries gave new importance to the states facing the Atlantic, did the Italian city-states begin
to suffer from the competitive advantages of the more powerful national territorial states.
The aristocracy constituted between 2 and 3 percent of the population in most countries, but they managed
to dominate society. They served as military officers and held important political posts. By 1500, certain
ideals came to be expected of the noble or aristocrat. First, nobles should possess fundamental native
endowments, such as impeccable character, grace, talents, and noble birth. The perfect courtier must also
cultivate certain achievements. Primarily, he should participate in military and bodily exercises since the
principal profession of a courtier was arms. He was also expected to have a classical education and to adorn
his life with the arts by playing a musical instrument, drawing, and painting. Finally, the aristocrat was
expected to make a good impression. While being modest, he should not hide his accomplishments, but
show them with grace. The purpose these courtly standards was so the courtier could win “the favor and
mind of the prince whom he serves, so that he may be able to always tell him the truth about everything he
needs to know, without fear or risk of displeasing him, and that when he sees the mind of his prince
inclined to a wrong action, he may dare oppose him so as to dissuade him of every evil intent and bring him
to the path of virtue” (The Book of the Courtier, 1528).
Peasants constituted as much as 85 to 90 percent of the total European population. During the 14th century
the manorial system and serfdom continued to decline, although in many places lords were able to retain
many of the fees thy charged their peasants. While serfdom was declining in western Europe, eastern
Europe experienced a reverse trend. The weakness of eastern rulers enabled nobles to tie their peasants to
the land and use servile labor in the large-scale production of grain for the ever-growing export market.
At the top of urban society were the patricians, whose wealth from capitalistic enterprises in trade, industry,
and banking enabled them to dominate their urban communities economically, socially, and politically.
Below them were the petty burghers, the shopkeepers, artisans, guildmasters, and guild members who were
largely concerned with providing goods and services for local consumption. Below these two groups were
the property less workers earning pitiful wages and the unemployed, living squalid and miserable lives.
These people constituted as much as 30 or 40 percent of the urban population. Beneath them were the
slaves, especially in the Italian cities.
Although some domestic slaves remained, slavery in European society had largely disappeared by the 11th
century. It reappeared in Spain, where both Christians and Muslims used captured prisoners as slaves
during the lengthy reconquista. In the second half of the 14th century, the shortage of workers after the
Black Death led Italians to reintroduce slavery on a fairly large scale. Slaves were obtained primarily from
the eastern Mediterranean and the Black Sea region. Between 1414 and 1423, 10,000 slaves were sold on
the Venetian market. Most slaves were females, many of them young girls.
By the end of the 15th century, slavery had declined dramatically in the Italian cities. Many slaves had been
freed by their owners, and the major source of slaves dried up as the Black Sea slave markets were closed
to Italian traders after the Turks conquered the Byzantine Empire. Prices rose dramatically, further cutting
demand. Moreover, a general feeling had arisen that slaves-the “domestic enemy” as they were called—
were dangerous and not worth the effort. The Portuguese shipped about 140,000 black slaves into Europe
from Africa between 1444 and 1505. Most of these slaves were kept as curiosities at court.
The extended family played an important role in Renaissance Italy. Families that were related and bore the
same surname often lived near each other and might dominate an entire urban district. Old family names
conferred great status and prestige. The family bond was a source of great security in a dangerous and
violent world, and its importance helps explain the vendetta in the Italian Renaissance. A crime committed
by one family member fell on the entire family, ensuring that retaliation by the offended family would be a
bloody affair involving large numbers of people. Marriages were arranged by parents, often to strengthen
business or family ties. The important aspect of the marriage contract was the size of the dowry. The size of
the dowry was an indication of whether the bride was moving upward or downward in society. With a large
dowry, a daughter could marry a man of higher social status, thereby enabling her family to move up in
II. The Italian States in the Renaissance
By the 15th century, five major powers dominated the Italian peninsula—the duchy of Milan, Venice,
Florence, the Papal States, and the kingdom of Naples. Besides the five major states, there were a number
of independent city-states under the control of powerful ruling families that became brilliant centers of
The frenzied world of the Italian territorial states gave rise to a political practice of the balance of power.
This system was designed to prevent the aggrandizement of any one state at the expense of the others. This
system was especially evident after 1454 when the Italian states signed the Peace of Lodi, which ended
almost a half-century of war and inaugurated a relatively peaceful era until 1494. The breakdown of the
balance power encouraged the French and Spanish to move into Italy. Feeling isolated, the duke of Milan
foolishly invited the French to intervene in Italian politics. The French took advantage of the offer in 1494,
and with an army of 30,000 men, advanced through Italy and occupied the kingdom of Naples. Other
Italian states turned to the Spanish for help and for the next 15 years, the French and Spanish competed to
dominate Italy. Beginning in the decade of the 1510s, the war was continued by a new generation of rulers
as part of a long struggle for power throughout Europe between the Valois and Hapsburg dynasties. The
terrible sack of Rome in 1527 by the Spanish army brought a temporary end to the Italian wars. Hereafter,
the Spaniards dominated Italy. Few Italians conceived of creating an alliance or confederation of states that
could repel foreign invaders. Italians remained fiercely loyal to their own petty states, making invasion a
fact of life in Italian history. Italy would not achieve unification and nationhood until 1870.
III. The Intellectual Renaissance in Italy
During the 14th through 16th centuries Italy was the cultural leader of Europe. This new Italian culture was
primarily the product of a relatively wealthy, urban lay society. One of the most important movements we
associate with the Renaissance is humanism. Renaissance humanism was a form of education and culture
based on the study of the classics. Humanism was not so much a philosophy of life as an educational
program that revolved around a clearly defined group of intellectual disciplines or “liberal arts”—grammar,
rhetoric, poetry, ethics, mathematics, astronomy, music, and history—all based on an examination of
classical authors. Crucial to all liberal studies was the mastery of Greek and Latin. The purpose of a liberal
education was to produce men who followed a path of virtue and wisdom and possessed the rhetorical skills
to persuade others to take it.
Petrarch (1304-1374) has often been called the father of Italian renaissance humanism. He was the first
intellectual to characterized the Middle Ages as a period of darkness, promoting the mistaken belief that
medieval culture was ignorant of classical antiquity. Petrarch’s interest in the classics led him on a quest for
forgotten Latin Manuscripts and set in motion a ransacking of monastic libraries throughout Europe.
Petrarch worried at times whether he was sufficiently attentive to spiritual ideals. His qualms did not
prevent him from inaugurating the humanist emphasis on the use of pure classical Latin, making it
fashionable for humanists to use Cicero as a model for prose and Virgil for poetry. As Petrarch said,
“Christ is my God; Cicero is the prince of the language.”
In Florence, the humanist movement took a new direction at the beginning of the 15th century when it
became closely tied to Florentine civil spirit and pride. Fourteenth-century humanists such as Petrarch had
described the intellectual life as one of solitude. In the busy civic world of Florence, intellectuals began to
take the classical Roman Cicero, who was both a statesman and an intellectual, as their model. Cicero
served as the inspiration for the Renaissance ideal that it was the duty of an intellectual to live an active life
for one’s state, and humanists began to serve the state as chancellors, councilors, and advisers.
Also evident in the humanism of the first half of the 15th century was a growing interest in Greek.
Humanists eagerly perused the works of Plato and Greek poets, dramatists, historians and orators (e.g.
Thucydides, Euripides, and Sophocles), all of whom had been ignored by the scholastics of the Middle
Ages as irrelevant to the theological questions they were examining. Italian humanists were very critical of
the Catholic church at times, but fundamentally they accepted the church and above all wished only to
restore a simpler, purer, and more ethical Christianity. To the humanists, the study of the classics was
perfectly compatible with Christianity.
The period of the Renaissance witnessed the invention of printing with movable metal type. This
development was a gradual process that culminated sometime between 1145 and 1450. Johannes
Gutenberg’s Bible, completed in 1455 or 1456, was the first real book produced from movable type. By
1500, there were more than 1,000 printers in Europe who had published almost 40,000 titles (between 8
and 10 million copies). Probably 50 percent of these books were religious in character. Next in importance
were the Latin and Greek classics, medieval grammars, legal handbooks, works on philosophy, and an
ever-growing number of popular romances.
Printing became one of the largest industries in Europe, and its effects were soon felt in many areas of
European life. It encouraged the development of scholarly research and the desire to attain knowledge. It
facilitated cooperation among scholars and help produce standardized and definitive texts. Printing also
stimulated the development of an ever-expanding lay reading public. Without the printing press, the new
religious ideas of the Reformation would never have spread as rapidly as they did in the 16th century.
IV. The Artistic Renaissance
Renaissance artists considered the imitation of nature to be their primary goal. The new artistic standards
reflected a new attitude of mind in which humans became the focus of attention. The realistic portrayal of
the human nude became one of the foremost preoccupations of Italian Renaissance art. The new assertion
of human individuality was reflected in the new emphasis on portraiture. Patrons appeared in the corners of
sacred pictures, and monumental tombs and portrait statues honored many of Florence’s prominent citizens.
By the end of the 15th century, especially talented individuals, such as Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519),
Raphael (1483-1520), and Michelangelo (1475-1520), were no longer seen as craftsmen, but as artistic
geniuses. Artists became heroes, individuals who were praised more for their creativity than for their
competence as craftspeople. Michelangelo, for example, was frequently addressed as “the Divine One” (II
Divino). As society excused their eccentricities and valued their creative genius, the artists of the
Renaissance became the first to embody the modern concept of the artist. As respect for artists grew, so too
did their ability to profit economically from their work. They mingled with the political and intellectual
elite of their society and became more aware of new intellectual theories, which they then incorporated into
V. The European State in the Renaissance
France-- The 100 Years War had left France depopulated and prostrate. Unruly nobles made it difficult for
the king to assert his authority. But the war also developed a strong degree of French nationalism. The need
to prosecute the war provided an excuse to strengthen the authority of the king. Charles VII (1422-1461)
with the consent of the Estates-General established a royal army. He received from the Estates-General the
right to levy the taille, an annual direct tax usually on land or property, without any need for further
approval from the Estates-General. Losing control of the purse meant less power for this parliamentary
body. Under Charles VII the French king also began to assume control over the church in France.
The process of developing a French territorial state was greatly advanced by King Louis XI (1461-1483).
Some historians have called Louis XI the founder of the French national state. He retained the taille after
the 100 Years War as a permanent tax. This tax enabled the king to have a sound, regular source of income.
When the duke of Burgundy was killed in 1477 fighting the Swiss, Louis added the duchy of Burgundy to
his own lands. In 1480 the provinces of Anjou, Maine, Bar, and Provence were brought under royal control.
Louis also encouraged the growth of industry and commerce. For example, he introduced the silk industry
England--The 100 Years War also seriously strained the English economy. Moreover, the end of the war
brought even greater domestic turmoil to England when the War of the Roses broke out in the 1450s. The
civil war pitted the house of Lancaster, whose symbol was a red rose, against the house of York, whose
symbol was a white rose. Many aristocratic families were drawn into the conflict. Finally, in 1485, Henry
Tudor defeated the last Yorkist king, Richard III and established the new Tudor dynasty.
As the first Tudor king, Henry VII (1485-1509) worked to reduce internal dissension and establish a strong
monarchical government. The English aristocracy had been much weakened by the War of the Roses
because many nobles had been killed. Henry eliminated the private wars of the nobility by abolishing their
private armies. Since England, unlike France and Spain, did not possess a standing army, the king relied on
special commissions to trusted nobles to raise troops for a specific campaign, after which the troops were
Henry VII was particularly successful in extracting income from the traditional financial resources of the
English monarchy, such as crown lands, judicial fees and fines, and customs duties. The king avoided war
and he did not have to call parliament on any regular basis to grant him funds. By not overburdening the
landed gentry and middle class with taxes, Henry won their favor, and they provided much support for his
monarchy. Henry also encouraged commercial activity.
Spain--During the Middle Ages, several independent kingdoms had emerged in the course of the long
reconquest of the Iberian peninsula from the Muslims. Aragon and Castile were the strongest; in the west
was the independent monarchy of Portugal; in the north, the small kingdom of Navarre oriented toward
France; and in the south, the Muslim kingdom of Granada.
A major step in the unification of Spain was taken with the marriage of Isabella of Castile (1474-1504) and
Ferdinand of Aragon (1479-1516) in 1469. This marriage was dynastic union of two rulers, not a political
union. Both kingdoms maintained their own parliaments (Cortes), courts, laws, coinage, customs, and
political organs. Nevertheless, the two rulers worked to strengthen royal control of government. They also
reorganized the army, making it the best in Europe by the 16th century.
Ferdinand and Isabella recognized the importance of controlling the Catholic church. They secured from
the pope the right to select the most important church officials in Spain, and the church became an
instrument for the extension of royal power. In 1492, flush with the success of the conquest of Muslim
Granada, Ferdinand and Isabella expelled all Jews from Spain. It is estimated that 150,000 out of possibly
200,000 Jews fled. Muslims were “encouraged” to convert to Christianity after the conquest of Granada. In
1502, Isabella issued a decree expelling all professed Muslims from her kingdom. To be Spanish was to be
Catholic, a policy of uniformity enforced by the Inquisition.
During the reigns of Ferdinand and Isabella, Spain (or the union of Castile and Aragon) began to emerge as
an important power in European affairs. Both Granada and Navarre had been conquered and incorporated
into the royal realms. Nevertheless, Spain remained divided in many ways. Only the royal dynasty provided
the centralizing force, and when a single individual, the grandson of Ferdinand and Isabella, succeeded
both rulers as Charles I 1n 1516, he inherited lands that made him the most powerful monarch of his age.
The Holy Roman Empire--After 1438, the position of Holy Roman Emperor remained in the hands of the
Habsburg dynasty. Having gradually acquired a number of possessions along the Danube, known
collectively as Austria, the house of Habsburg had become one of the wealthiest landholders in the empire
and by the mid-fifteenth century began to play an important role in European affairs. Through marriage, the
Habsburgs gained Luxembourg and a large part of the Low Countries. The addition of these territories
made the Habsburg dynasty an international power and brought them the undying opposition of the French
monarchy because the rulers of France feared they would be surrounded by the Habsburgs.
Although the Holy Roman Empire did not develop along the lines of a centralized monarchical state, within
the empire the power of the independent princes and electors increased steadily. These German states such
as Bavaria, Hesse, Brandenburg, and the Palatinate, posed a real threat to the church, the emperor, and
other smaller independent bodies in the Holy Roman Empire, especially the free imperial cities.
The Ottoman Turks and the end of Byzantium--Beginning in northeastern Asia Minor in the 13th century,
the Ottoman Turks spread rapidly, seizing the lands of the Seljuk Turks and the Byzantine Empire. In 1345,
they bypassed Constantinople and conquered the Balkans. In 1453, Constantinople fell to the Turks after a
siege of several months By the end of the 15th century the Turks were threatening Hungary, Austria,
Bohemia, and Poland. The Holy Roman Emperor, Charles V, became their bitter enemy in the 16th
VI. The Catholic Church in the Renaissance
Two widespread heresy movements—Lollardy and Hussitism—posed new threats to the church. English
Lollardy was a product of the Oxford theologian John Wyclif (c. 1328-1384), whose disgust with clerical
corruption led him to a far-ranging attack on papal authority and medieval Christian beliefs and practices.
Wyclif alleged that there was no basis in Scripture for papal claims of temporal authority and he advocated
that the popes by stripped of both their authority and property. Rejecting all practices not mentioned in
Scripture, Wyclif condemned pilgrimages, the veneration of saints and other common church practices. His
attacks on church property were especially popular, and he attracted a number of followers who came to be
known as Lollards (the term means “mumblers of prayers and psalms,” and refers to what they criticized).
A marriage between the royal families of England and Bohemia enabled Lollard ideas to spread to
Bohemia where they reinforced the ideas of a group of Czech reforms led by the chancellor of the
university at Prague, John Hus (1374-1415). In his call for reform, Hus urged the elimination of the
worldliness and corruption of the clergy and attacked the excessive power of the papacy. Since the Catholic
church was one of the largest landowners in Bohemia, and since Germans dominated the Czech church
hierarchy, many Bohemians supported Hus. When Hus, given a safe conduct by the emperor, presented his
ideas to the Council of Constance, he was arrested, condemned as a heretic and burned at the stake. This
action turned the unrest in Bohemia into revolutionary upheaval. The resulting Hussite wars combined
religious, social, and national issues and wracked the Holy Roman Empire until 1436. Both Wyclif and Hus
can be seen as forerunners to the Reformation.
The primary concern of the papacy is governing the Catholic church as its spiritual leader. but as heads of
the church, popes had temporal preoccupations as well, and the story of the Renaissance papacy is basically
an account of how temporal concerns came to overshadow the popes’ spiritual functions. To further their
territorial aims in the Papal States, the popes needed increased financial resources. Since they were not
hereditary monarchs, popes could not build dynasties over several generations and they came to rely on the
practice of nepotism (the word nepotism is derived from nepos, meaning nephew) to promote their
families’ interests. For example Pope Alexander VI (1492-1503), a member of the Borgia family, raised
one son, one nephew, and the brother of one mistress to the cardinalate. Alexander scandalized the church
by encouraging his son Cesare to carve a territorial state in central Italy out of the territories of the Papal
States. The Renaissance popes were great patrons of Renaissance culture, and their efforts made Rome the
focal point of the arts at the beginning of the 16th century.
Background to the Renaissance
Crisis of the Later Middle Ages:
² Black Death (1347): loss of 1/3 of European population (mostly in cities)
Causes: bubonic plague carried by fleas on Asian black rats; poor sanitation, overcrowded
homes, poor health, poor hygiene, poor housing
Results: Severe impact on European economy; in some areas workers enjoyed higher wages;
best of clergy died (staying behind to help the sick); Jews blamed; serfdom ended in
many areas; first enclosure of fields in Britain
Population did not reach pre-plague level until the mid-16th century.
² Hundred Years’ War (1337-1453): cause—English lays claim to some French land
Joan of Arc: led French army to victory at Orleans during crucial stage of the war
Results: France kicks England out; creation of modern nation states begin (“New Monarchs”)
Causes: taxation during Hundred Years’ War, desire for higher wages, hostility toward
aristocracy, and higher expectations among peasantry.
English Peasant Revolt (1381):
Jacquerie in France (late 14th-early 15th c.)
Results: revolts crushed; end of serfdom in England c. 1550
² Nationalist literature of the Later Middle Ages – use of the vernacular (national tongue)
Dante Alighieri (1265-1321), The Divine Comedy (1321) (also a Renaissance figure)
Geoffrey Chaucer (1340-1400): Canterbury Tales – portrayed English life
Francois Villon (1431-1463): Grand Testament (1461) – greatest poet of Medieval France
portrayed ordinary French life with humor and emotion.
² Crisis in the Catholic Church
Early Criticisms of the church
Marsiglio de Padua: Defender of Peace – Church should be subordinate to the state
Church should be governed by a council of laity and priests superior to pope.
John Wyclif (1320-1384): church should only follow Scripture; English
translation of Bible; his later followers were Lollards
John Huss (1369-1415): ideas similar to Wyclif; nationalist party in Czech (Bohemia)
Hussites: followers of Huss who staged large rebellions in 14th century.
Babylonian Captivity (1309-1377): 7 successive popes resided at Avignon, France
Damaged papal prestige (esp. in England & Germany); Rome’s economy damaged
Great Schism (c. 1377-1417): Further conflict led to election of two popes—one in Rome,
one in France; further hurt prestige of church
Conciliar Movement (1409-1418): ended schism; failed as movement to put power in a
church council; pope’s power still supreme
Life in Later Middle Ages
Marriage: avg. age for men = mid-20s; women = 16-18
divorce was unheard of
economic reasons most important for marriage (love not until 18th-19th centuries)
prostitution in cities (men didn’t marry until later)
agricultural cycles and church ritual closely linked
small % of men were artisans in towns; protected by guilds
Serfdom reduced in many areas
Recreation: aristocracy – jousting tournaments; common people—archery, wrestling, bull-
baiting, bear-baiting; alcoholism rampant
Laity increasingly managed parish lands
Fur-collar crime: corrupt nobles (esp. England) took advantage of peasantry
Medieval philosophy: scholasticism (St. Thomas Aquinas)
Attempted to reconcile faith and reason by using logic to support Christian doctrine
Worked to reconcile Aristotle’s ideas with Christianity
The Modern World; contrast with the Later Middle Ages (see separate study guide)
Renaissance: mainly in Italy (1300-1600)
Origins of Renaissance: Jacob Burckhardt – claimed period in distinct contrast to Middle Ages
Northern Italian cities developed international trade: Genoa, Venice, Milan
popolo (middle class) took power in 13th century; republican gov’t short-lived
signori (despots) or oligarchies (rule of merchant aristocracies) by 1300
commenda: Contract between merchant and “merchant-adventurer” who agreed to
take goods to distant locations and return with the proceeds (for 1/3 of profits)
These cities had dominating trade routes because of their location between Eastern and Western
Europe & between Europe & the Middle East.
Politics among the Italian City-States
² Major city-states and figures
Republic of Florence (Included Republic of Genoa) – Medici family
Cosimo De’Medici (1389-1464): allied with other powerful families of
Florence and became unofficial ruler of the republic
Lorenzo the Magnificent (1449-1492): lavish patron of the arts
Duchy of Milan -- Sforza family (Caterina Sforza (1463-1509), great art patron)
Rome, the Papal States – papacy (“Renaissance popes”)
Naples, Kingdom of the Two Sicilies
Venice, Venetian Republic
Isabella d’Este (1474-1539): most famous Renaissance female ruler (ruled Mantua)
condottieri: leaders of private armies hired by cities for military purposes
Girolamo Savonarola (1452-1498) – theocracy in Florence 1494-98; (predicted French
invasion due to paganism and moral decay of Italian city-states); burned at the stake
Charles VIII (1483-1498), French invasions of Italy; Italy became battleground for
Niccolo Machiavelli (1469-1527) -- The Prince (1513) – Cesare Borgia
² ² Charles V, sack of Rome in 1527: symbolizes end of Renaissance in Italy
²Humanism -- Revival of antiquity (Greece and Rome) in literature- subjects concerned with humankind
& culture, as opposed to science. Language and literature,composition, history and philosophy. Music and
mathematics were sometimes studied as well
Petrarch—“Dark Ages” metaphor; “father of humanism” and 1st modern writer, literature no
longer subordinate to religion
Boccacio – Decameron: aimed to impart wisdom of human character and behavior.
Pico della Mirandola (1463-1494) Oration on the Dignity of Man; Platonic academy
Education: (emphasis on Latin and Greek)
Baldassare Castiglione (1478-1529) – The Book of the Courtier
Leonardo Bruni (1370-1444) – wrote history of Florence; division of historical periods;
narrative form; civic humanist; first to use term “humanism”
Lorenzo Valla (1407-1457)—On the False Donation of Constantine (1444); study of Latin
Individualism/ secularism: “man is the measure of all things”
virtú: the quality of being a great man in whatever noble pursuit
Printing press: Johann Gutenberg – spread of humanistic literature to rest of Europe.
1. Interest in earthly life - Thinkers in the middle ages, such as Scholastics, had tried to use ideas
borrowed from the ancient writer's to support the church.
2 .Medieval thinkers had thought of earthly existence chiefly as preparation for an afterlife but The
people of the Renaissance believed life on earth should be lived as fully as possible.
a. a popular characteristic of classical times was the appreciation of the individual.
b. interested in the unique qualities that made one person stand out.
c. Men and women who were rich benefited from the new spirit of the times.
3. Public Service and politics.
a. Upper- Class Italians valued public service & praised those who were useful to society.
b. They believed that an education in the humanities was a sound preparation for a rewarding life.
Features of Renaissance Art
1.Individualism - The expression of art that was manly expressed through the creativity of the
artists who expressed their religious feelings.
2.Balance & proportion - The Renaissance artists tried to show people,trees, buildings &
mountains in their proper sizes.
3.Use of Perspective - the impression of depth & distance on the flat surface of a painting.
.A way of using mathematical laws in planning the paintings
4.New Materials - Oil based paints became more popular because it didn't dry so fast so they could
change whatever they painted
Florence the leader in Renaissance art esp. in quattrocento (1400s_
Giorgio Vasari (1511-1574) – contemporary Renaissance art historian.
Giotto (1266-1336) – considered 1st Renaissance artist, use of chiaroscuro
Filippo Brunelleschi (1377-1446) – architect of cathedrals (il duomo in Florence)
Leon Battista Alberti (1404-1472), architect of cathedrals.
Lorenzo Ghiberti (1378-1455) -- sculptor: bronze doors for Florentine baptistry
Donatello (1386-1466 – sculptor: David (young)
Masaccio (1401-1428) painter: real, nude human figures
Giovanni Bellini (1430-1516) – Portrait of a Condottiere
Sandro Botticelli (1444-1510) – painter: Birth of Venus
Benvenuto Cellini (1500-1574) – goldsmith and sculptor
“High Renaissance” centered in Rome (1500-1527) – cinquecento (1500s)
Most worldly of Renaissance popes – Alexander VI (1492-1503); Julius II (1503-
1513); and Leo X (1513-1521)
Characteristics: classical balance, harmony, restraint
Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519) – Last Supper, Mona Lisa; “Renaissance Man”
Raphael Santi (1483-1520) – School of Athens
Michelangelo Buonarroti (1475-1564), “universal man”; Sistine Chapel; David;
pieta: Mary holding limp body of Christ considered most perfect marble sculpture
Titian – Venice painter known for his special tint of red
Women: Christine de Pisan (1363?-1434?): The City of Ladies; The Book of Three Virtues
Perhaps Europe’s first feminist
Blacks: exotic and highly prized
² Christian Humanism: emphasis on early church writings for answers to improve society
Desiderius Erasmus (Erasmus of Rotterdam) (1466-1536) – In Praise of Folly most
famous intellectual of his times; respected influential humanist; trained as a Catholic
priest, he studied both the humanities & the Christian teachings.
he thought that the Church was getting greedy & corrupt & he called for a return to the
simple faith of early Christianity.
c. In The Praise of Folly, Erasmus criticized scholars scientists, philosophers, & clergy of his time
for being narrow minded.
criticized the church: “Erasmus lay the egg that Luther hatched”
Thomas More (1478-1536) – Utopia (Greek for nowhere), – creates ideal society on an
island; but to achieve harmony and order people have to sacrifice individual rights ; also
contained criticism of the politics, society, & religion of the times.
Jacques Lefevre d’Etables (1454-1536): leading French humanist; produced 5
versions of the Psalms that challenged a single authoritative Bible.
Francesco Ximenes de Cisneros (1436-1517): reformed Spanish clergy and church,
Grand Inquisitor of the Spanish Inquisition
Northern Renaissance Art
Low Countries produced especially important artists
Jan Van Eyck – Flemish painter, detailed realistic works
Peter Brueghel the Elder (1520-1569)—focused on lives of ordinary people
Bosch –master of symbolism and fantasy; religious and folk legends as themes
Albrecht Durer (1471-1528) German – foremost northern Renaissance artist.
Hans Holbein the Younger (1497-1543): Erasmus of Rotterdam, Thomas More
Francois Rabelais’ (1494-1553) Was a monk, who wrote a five- volume book Gargantua
& Pantagruel which made fun of those who did not take the humanist point of view."Let
nothing in the world be unknown to you"
Montaigne (1533-1592) – developed essay form; modern skepticism
Regiomontanus; Nicholas of Cusa: mathematics
Copernicus : heliocentric theory
Cartography: Behaim and Schoner
Fugger family in Germany (esp. Jacob Fugger (1459-1525): international banking,
patronized the arts
Myscticism: Meister Eckhart, Thomas á Kempis, Gerard Groote: belief in personal
relationship with God
Include other Germans listed above
Jacobean Period (James I)
Authorized Bible, 1604
Spain: Miguel de Cervantes (1547-1616): Don Quixote
Domenikos El Greco (1541-1614): painter: mannerism
² “New” Monarchs: consolidated power and created Europe’s first modern nation-states
French recovery after 100 Years’ War: Valios line of monarchs
Louis XI “Spider King” (1461-83): large royal army, taxes, power over clergy
Francis I (1515-1547): Condordat of Bologna, taille
England: after 100 Years’ War
War of the Roses – victorious House of Lancaster = rise of Tudor dynasty:
Henry VII (1489-1509): Star Chamber (nobles tried w/o jury; often tortured)
Henry VIII (1509-1547): English reformation
Marriage of Ferdinand of Aragon (1478-1516) & Isabella of Castile (1474-1504):
1492: unified Spain; Reconquista—removed last of Moors; expulsion of
hermandades: alliance of cities to oppose nobles
Spanish Inquisition: monarchy enforced authority of the national church
Habsburg Empire: (Holy Roman Empire)
Maximilian I (1493-1519): gained much territory with marriage to Mary of Burgundy
Charles V: most powerful ruler in Europe (1st Holy Roman Emperor)
ruled Spanish and Austrian Hapsburg branches, sacked Rome in 1527
sought to prevent spread of Protestant Reformation in Germany
Life in the 16th and 17th centuries
Countryside: manorial lords, peasants, landless workers
Cities: merchants (bourgeoisie), artisans, laborers
education or wealth became means of moving up social ladder (for the fortunate few)
Demography: population growth leveled by 1650; cities saw larger increase than countryside
Family: nuclear family; patriarchal; avg. lifespans – men = 27, women = 25!; divorce rare
Witch Hunts: as many as 100,000 executed between 1500-1700; mostly elderly women
Food and Diet: commoners relied on bread (& beer); upper-classes enjoyed meats, cheese,
sweets; English ate the best; famines were reality in many parts
introduced by Portuguese
blacks seen as exotic, highly prized in certain areas
slavery existed in Mediterranean sugar plantations
Alexander VI - (1492-1503) Corrupt Spanish pope. He was aided militarily
and politically by his son Cesare Borgia, who was the hero of The Prince.
Dante Alighieri - Italian poet wrote Inferno and Divine Comedy.
Boccaccio - (1313-1375) Wrote the Decameron which tells about
ambitious merchants, portrays a sensual, and worldy society.
Botticelli - One of the leading painters of the Florentine renaissance,
developed a highly personal style. The Birth of Venus
Brunelleschi - (1377-1446) Italian architect, celebrated for work in
Florentine. He was anti-Gothic. Foundling Hospital in Florence.
Michalangelo Buonarroti - (1475-1564) Worked in Rome. Painted the Sistine Chapel. Sculpted the
statue of David.
Castiglione - Wrote The Courtier which was about education and manners
and had a great influence. It said that an upper class, educated man should
know many academic subjects and be trained in music, dance, and art.
Leonardo Da Vinci - (1452-1519)Artist who made religious paintings and
sculptures like the Last Supper.
Lorenzo de Medici - r(1469-1492) The Medici’s were a great banking
family in Florence in the 15th century. He ruled government of Florence from
behind the scene.
Miguel De Cervantes - (1547-1616) Spanish writer. Wrote Don Quixote.
Pico Della Mirandola - Wrote On the Dignity of Man which stated that man
was made in the image of God before the fall and as Christ after the
Resurrection. Man is placed in-between beasts and the angels. He also
believed that there is no limits to what man can accomplish.
Donatello - (1386-1466) Sculptor. Probably exerted greatest influence of
any Florentine artist before Michelangelo. His statues expressed an
appreciation of the incredible variety of human nature.
Erasmus - (1466?-1536) Dutch Humanist, religious education. Wrote In
Praise of Folly.
Jacob Fugger - Headed leading banking/trading house in l6th century Europe.
Giotto - (1276-1337) Florentine Painter who led the way in the use of
Hans Holbein the Younger - Painter noted for his portraits and religious
Humanism - Humanists studied the Latin classics to learn what they reveal
about human nature. Humanism emphasized human beings, their
achievements, interests, and capabilities.
Individualism - Individualism stressed personality, uniqueness, genius, and
the fullest development of capabilities and talents.
Julius II - r(1503-1513) Pope - very militaristic. Tore down the old Saint
Peter’s Basilica and began work on the present structure in 1506.
Niccolo Machiavelli - (1469-1527) Wrote The Prince which contained a
secular method of ruling a country.
Montaigne - (1533-1592) Michel de Montaigne is the finest representative
of early modern skepticism. Created a new genre, the essay.
Sir Thomas More - (1478-1535) Englishman, lawyer, poilitican, Chancellor
for Henry VIII. Wrote Utopia which presented a revolutionary view of society.
Executed for not compromising his religious beliefs.
"New Monarchs" - Monarchies that took measures to limit the power of the
Roman Catholic Church within their countries.
Pazzi Conspiracy - Conspiracy to overthrow the Medici’s.
Petrarch - (1304-1374) Father of the Renaissance. He believed the first two
centuries of the Roman Empire to represent the peak in the development of
Quattrocento - The 1400’s.
Cinquecento - The 1500’s.
Rabelais - French satirical author.Gargantua and Pantagruel.
"Renaissance Man" - A man that is multitalented and is well educated.
Revival of antiquity - The awakening from the dark ages and the focusing on
Fra. Girolamo Savonarola - (1452-1498) Dominican friar who attacked
paganism and moral vice of Medici and Alexander VI. Burned at stake.
Secularism - The belief in material things instead of religious things.
Lorenzo Valla - (1406-1457) On Pleasure, and On false Donation of Constantine. Father of modern
Vernacular - Everyday language.
Virtu - The striving for excellence.