The Beginnings of Modern Europe (1250-1450)

By Ephraim Emerton | Go to book overview

CHAPTER V
THE ITALIAN REPUBLICS TO 1300

The greatest achievements of the Middle Ages were the product of that ancient Frankish stock which had its home in what is now the north and east of France. It is there that we must look for the origins of organized feudal society, for the highest intellectual culture, for the splendid energy which found expression in the Crusades, and for the marvelous sense of beauty and constructive skill displayed in the Gothic building of the late twelfth and the early thirteenth century. In the period we are now studying, this leadership in the thought and in the productive capacity of Europe passes from France to Italy. Henceforth, during a period of three hundred years, the Italian genius gives direction and example to every form of human energy. Only in one aspect of Italian life do we of the modern world seem to see nothing but weakness and incapacity; that is, in its perpetual party conflicts and its failure to develop any principle of outward political unity. It will be part of our problem to make clear the real elements of Italian unity, rather than to dwell upon the features of disorder and disunion. Nationality, which in France and England was expressing itself in highly centralized political structures, was none the less marked in Italy. It is only that this principle of unity found other ways of showing itself and did not feel the need so strongly felt elsewhere of a compact political organization. Indeed, we may well doubt whether, if Italy at the close of the twelfth century had gone straight onward to any conceivable form of political unity, it would ever have made the wonderful record of individual achievement which is its greatest glory.

Italy the Leader of Europe

-215-

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The Beginnings of Modern Europe (1250-1450)
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page i
  • Preface v
  • Contents xiii
  • LIST OF MAPS xiv
  • The Beginnings of Modern Europe 1
  • Chapter II- The New Empire 47
  • Chapter III- (1300-1409) 106
  • Chapter IV- The Rise of a Middle Class 164
  • Chapter V- The Italian Republics to 1300 215
  • Chapter VI- The Hundred Years'' War 252
  • Chapter VII- The Age of the Councils 311
  • Chapter VIII- The Age of the Despots in Italy 358
  • Chapter IX- The Renaissance in Italy 461
  • Chapter X- The Northern Renaissance 509
  • Index 535
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