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The European Renaissance Part A. The Economic Origins of the Italian Renaissance. What does the term Renaissance mean? Rebirth Or…”born again” 2. What does the term rebirth suggest? Something once lived Something once died Something became alive again.

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the european renaissance part a

The European RenaissancePart A

The Economic Origins of the Italian Renaissance


What does the term Renaissance mean?

  • Rebirth
  • Or…”born again”

2. What does the term rebirth suggest?

  • Something once lived
  • Something once died
  • Something became alive again

3. In Europe, what was reborn?

  • An understanding of ancient Greek and Roman (Classical) arts and learning

4. In terms of religion, what is significant about this rediscovery of Classical (Greek and Roman) arts and learning?

  • In addition to Christianity, Renaissance Europeans were looking to Pagan (non-Christian) cultures for inspiration
ancient roman structures still standing
Ancient Roman Structures still standing

The Coliseum of Ancient Rome

The Pantheon of Ancient Rome


5. Where was the European Renaissance born?

  • For the most part, in city-states on the Italian Peninsula
  • Florence was one of the more notable Italian city-states

6. In Italian city-states, what type of economic environment became dominant?

  • Commerce (Buying and selling)

7. What historical period prompted the growth of business in the Italian city-states?

  • The Crusades (1096 A.D. to the Late-1200s)

8. What were the Crusades?

  • A series of attempts by Medieval Catholics to retake the Holy Land for Christendom.
  • By the 11th Century A.D., Muslims controlled much of the Holy Land, i.e. the lands of Ancient Israel/Judea, the lands of Christ and the Apostles

9. How did the Crusades influence the development of commerce in Italy

  • Christian crusaders came into contact with Middle Eastern and Asian goods such as spices and silks
  • In short, Christian Europe developed new appetites for goods not previously experienced

#9 continued…

  • Christian Europe also learned better sailing and navigation techniques along with better mathematics, advances learned from Muslims
  • As a result, the desire for goods from the Near East and Far East inspired the development of European merchants who could deliver such goods for profit

10. The growth of merchant trading also led to the development of what European business improvement?

  • The growth of money as a medium of exchange
  • The growth of modern banking
  • The rise of double-entry bookkeeping and financial accounting

11. How do banks prosper?

  • By renting out money for a fee (interest)

12. Prior to the mid-1800s, was Italy a unified nation-state?

  • No…Italy was a place, not a nation

13. What were three important Italian city-states during the Renaissance?

  • Milan
  • Venice
  • Florence

14. What was another reason why Renaissance Italians were interested in ancient Roman culture?

  • Roman ruins (old buildings, outdoor theatres, pillars, ancient roads, etc.) were all over Italy

15. What merchant family became rulers of Florence, beginning in 1434?

  • The Medici family, led first by Cosimo de Medici

16. Who was Cosimo de Medici’s grandson, a man who ruled Florence in the late 1400s and financed numerous art projects?

  • Lorenzo the Magnificent

17. Who was Girolamo Savonarola?

  • A Dominican monk who preached against the “worldliness” of Florence
  • He preached against Church corruption
  • At one point he presided over a “bonfire of the vanities,” a burning of unapproved writings and art
  • He drove out the Medici but he was later accused of heresy and put to death
  • The Medici returned to power

18. What were the Italian Wars of the late 1400s and early 1500s?

  • A series of wars between France and Spain for control of the Italian peninsula

19. In 1527, what did Spanish troops do to Rome, the capital of Catholic Christianity?

  • They sacked Rome

20. What did Niccolo Machiavelli argue in The Prince?

  • In order for a prince to maintain power it is important to do what works, not what is right
  • Machiavelli’s outlook was secular (this-worldly) and practical, not Christian and moral
  • Machiavelli’s writings signal a shift to a worldview less concerned with Heaven and Hell, and more concerned with the here-and-now

21. Who were the movers-and-shakers of the European Renaissance?

  • Nobles (Aristocrats who were born into an honored social position, and born into power)
  • Bourgeoisie (a merchant class whose money brought power)

22. What was an important Renaissance invention that began an information revolution?

  • The Printing Press, a device invented by Johann Gutenberg in Germany in the 1450s
  • The Gutenberg Bible was one of the first printed Bibles