The Politics of Renaissance Italy - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

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The Politics of Renaissance Italy
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The Politics of Renaissance Italy

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  1. The Politics of Renaissance Italy

  2. Italy in the 1400s • Era of bankers, particularly Medici family of Florence. • Made their money by control of papal banking and by currency conversion • Rise of city states • Five main powers dominated the Italian peninsula: Venice, Milan, Florence, the Papal States and kingdom of Naples

  3. Politics • Political power started to shift from feudal nobles to urban areas. • The competing cities/states tried to maintain a “balance of power” –no one state allowed to get too powerful • In the midst of shifting alliances, formed mechanisms of modern diplomacy, including resident ambassadors • Some city-states were called “republics” but were in reality dominated by a small, wealthy elite. In Florence, the Medici family held power from 1434-1494

  4. The Medicis • Bankers • Patrons of the arts • Ruled informally in Florence • Produced Popes, queens and dukes

  5. Niccoló Machiavelli: 1469-1527 • Historian • Writer of discourses, plays, poems • Philosopher • The Prince, 1513, dedicated to Lorenzo de'Medici

  6. The Prince, 1513, dedicated to Lorenzo de'Medici • “Everyone sees what you seem to be, few know what you really are; and those few do not dare take a stand against the general opinion.” • “…the ends justify the means”* • *”One must consider the final result” • “it is much safer to be feared than loved because is preserved by the link of obligation which, owing to the baseness of men, is broken at every opportunity for their advantage; but fear preserves you by a dread of punishment which never fails.”

  7. Please discuss these question with your partners • How does Machiavelli approach his subject and what assumptions does he make?  • Do you agree with his analysis of human nature? • How do Machiavelli’s writings reflect humanism? • How does what Machiavelli is saying reflect the politics of the Italy at the time? • “Machiavellian” has made its way into the English language as an adjective that means: characterized by subtle or unscrupulous cunning, deception, expediency, or dishonesty: He resorted to Machiavellian tactics in order to get ahead. Do you think this is deserved or consistent with what Machiavelli is saying in this excerpt?