Italy in the Age of the Renaissance: 1300-1550

Italy in the Age of the Renaissance: 1300-1550

Italy in the Age of the Renaissance: 1300-1550

Italy in the Age of the Renaissance: 1300-1550

Synopsis

The twelve essays in this volume, each written by a leading specialist, present an accessible and comprehensive introduction to Italian Renaissance society, intellectual history, and politics, with each contribution reflecting the most recent innovations in the way that historians view and study the period.

Excerpt

Italian history between 1300 and 1550 is ineluctably tied to the Renaissance. Yet each is in a sense larger than the other. Italy’s history encompasses more than the cultural Renaissance, and the Renaissance similarly extends beyond Italy in its ramifications and influences. But neither can be understood without the other. The chronological parameters of this volume coincide with a broad definition of the Renaissance in Italy, and one of our purposes is to raise the question of how the one is related to the other. In introducing the politics, society, religion, culture, economy, and intellectual history of Italy in these centuries, we seek to depict the environment in which the Renaissance occurred and some of its chief manifestations. But this is a history of Italy in the period of the Renaissance, not a history of the Renaissance. Knowing however that many readers will come to these pages from an interest in the Renaissance, it seems appropriate in this introduction to sketch a broad interpretation of the larger connections between Italian history and the Renaissance over these two and a half centuries.

The period encompasses a particular phase in the history of Italy’s relationship to the rest of Europe: one of relative autonomy between two eras in which Italian politics and culture were heavily conditioned by influences from outside the peninsula, before 1300 from Germany and France, and after 1530 from Spain. North-central Italy was part of the Holy Roman Empire, and from the mid twelfth to the mid thirteenth century, Italian history was dominated by the ambitions, first of Emperor Frederick I (‘Barbarossa’) Hohenstaufen, who . . .

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