Aim what were the intellectual hallmarks of the italian renaissance part 2
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Aim: What were the intellectual hallmarks of the Italian Renaissance? (part 2). Pico della Mirandola (1463-1494) – “On the Dignity of Man”

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Aim: What were the intellectual hallmarks of the Italian Renaissance? (part 2)

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Aim what were the intellectual hallmarks of the italian renaissance part 2

Aim: What were the intellectual hallmarks of the Italian Renaissance? (part 2)

  • Pico dellaMirandola (1463-1494) – “On the Dignity of Man”

    • “Thou, constrained by no limits, in accordance with thine own free will, in whose hand We have placed thee, shalt ordain for thyself the limits of thy nature…Thou shalt have the power to degenerate into the lower forms of life, which are brutish. Thou shalt have the power, out of thy soul’s judgment, to be reborn into the higher forms, which are divine.”

      What is Mirandola saying about humanity in this passage?

      How does he put humanism in a Christian context?


Secularism extension of humanism

Secularism  Extension of humanism

  • Involves basic concern with the material world instead of the eternal world of the spirit.

  • Connected to economic developments in Italy. How?

  • Lorenzo Valla (1407-1457): Wrote On Pleasure. Believed man had the right to be happy and achieve fame and fortune. Questioned church documents (Donation of Constantine)

  • Papacy of the late 1400s / early 1500s (Popes Alexander VI, Julius II) is not bothered by this emerging secularism. Why?

St. Peter’s Basilica


Niccol machiavelli 1469 1527

NiccolóMachiavelli (1469-1527)

1. Diplomat from Florence. Lived in a time of great political unrest.

2. Wrote The Prince (1513): Guide for rulers on how to gain, maintain and increase political power in a world where most people are selfish and corrupt.


Niccol machiavelli 1469 15271

Niccoló Machiavelli (1469-1527)

  • Does Machiavelli believe it is better for a ruler to be loved or feared? Why does he feel this way?

  • Why does Machiavelli warn that a ruler must be careful not to become hated?

  • What does Machiavelli mean when he states that a ruler must “imitate both the fox and the lion?”

  • What does Machiavelli mean when he says “the end justifies the means?”

  • In discussing religion, Machiavelli states that “nothing is more necessary than to seem to have this last quality, for men in general judge more by the eyes than by the hands, for every one can see but very few have to feel?” What does he mean by this?


Niccol machiavelli 1469 15272

Niccoló Machiavelli (1469-1527)

  • Why is Machiavelli a product of the Renaissance?

    1. Believed that human behavior and human nature were worth studying and understanding (very humanist)

    2. Rulers should do what they have to in order to control their subjects and create a stable society, even ignoring moral considerations (a more secular, less religious view).


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