The Beginnings of Modern Europe (1250-1450)

By Ephraim Emerton | Go to book overview

CHAPTER IX
THE RENAISSANCE IN ITALY

If we compare the movements in European society which we have thus far studied, we shall easily perceive that they have one characteristic in common. Whether we consider the politics of Germany resulting in the practical destruction of the mediæval Empire, or the progress of feeling within the Church which brought the mediæval Papacy to a point where men were seriously questioning its claims upon their allegiance, or the vast movement of trade and industry by which a wholly new element in society had come to have rights and know how to enforce them, we are equally impressed with the growth of individualism in thought and action. In distinction from the all-important traditions that had regulated the life of the Middle Ages we find in every sphere a new importance given to ideas because they seem to be practical, adapted to new conditions, and not the less worth attention because they have no tradition behind them.

This new individualism finds its highest expression in the movement of thought to which we give the names of "Renaissance," "Revival of Learning," or "Humanism" according to the point of view we may have in mind. No one of these terms quite sufficiently expresses the whole character of the intellectual enthusiasm which from about the middle of the fourteenth to the middle of the sixteenth century gives new life and purpose to the thought of Europe. We must employ them all, sometimes in connection, sometimes in contrast, if we are to avoid a narrow and one-sided understanding of a great historical phenomenon. We gain our most instructive point of view, perhaps, if we begin with some brief comparison of

The Mediæval and the Modern Spirit

-461-

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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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