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The Black Death 1347-1351. The Culprits. The Disease Cycl e. Flea drinks rat blood that carries the bacteria. . Bacteria multiply in flea’s gut. . Human is infected!. Flea bites human and regurgitates blood into human wound. Flea’s gut clogged with bacteria. The Famine of 1315-1317.

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The black death 1347 1351 l.jpg
The Black Death1347-1351

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The Disease Cycle

Flea drinks rat blood that carries the bacteria.


multiply in

flea’s gut.

Human is infected!

Flea bites human and regurgitates blood into human wound.

Flea’s gut cloggedwith bacteria.

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The Famine of 1315-1317

  • 1300: Population crisis

  • Excessive rain produced 3 years of crop failures

  • Peasants, poor urban dwellers suffer most

  • But things get worse . . .

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From the Toggenburg Bible, 1411

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The Decameron

The victims ate lunch with their friends and dinner with their ancestors.

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Attempts to Stop the Plague

Flagellanti:Self-inflicted “penance” for sins

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Attempts to Stop the Plague

Pograms against the Jews

“Golden Circle” obligatory badge

Identifying hat

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The Mortality Rate

35% - 70% of Europeans died

(depending on where you lived)

25,000,000 dead

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Reinventing Christianity

  • General Loss of Faith

    • Plague

    • Great Schism (1309-1378)

    • Scholasticism

    • Heretics/reformers

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The Renaissance


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The Renaissance

  • Renaissance = “rebirth”

  • Where? N. Italy, post-Plague (1350)

  • What was reborn?

    • Renewed interest in classical learning and legacy of ancient Greece and Rome

      • Deliberate rejection of advances made during the Middle Ages

    • Rebirth of spirit and creativity

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Emphasis on reading a source, examining related documents

Primary purpose is to find an answer to a question through a logical process

Emphasis is on finding the one correct answer


Individuals should find the truth, don’t wait for it to be handed to you

Humans have a “spark”

Many ways to discover an answer

Rarely just one answer


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System of dependence between manor lords and those who work the land

Barter Society

Goods and services are exchanged. No money is exchanged.

Merchant Princes

Extremely wealthy

De Medici: powerful banking family from Florence

Wealth = political power

Money, power create greed and abuse of power

Money Economy

“Commercial Revolution”


Networks of international trade (including the New World)

Winners:Portugal, Spain, England, France


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Reciprocal obligations between the three major groups of Medieval society

City-states in Northern Italy

No strong monarchies

Good: wealthy patrons, interested in civic improvement

Bad: Greed, jealousy amongst wealthy families

Emergence of Nation-States in Northern Europe

State = political entity

Nation = cultural or ethnic entity

United by common language, culture, and values


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Stylized, religious themes

Art is created to inform, teach

Stiff, less realistic


Harmony, balance, proportion

Modeled after Classic Greece and Rome

Less emphasis

on strictly religious


Influenced by Humanism

Art is created to delight and please the viewer

The Arts

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Birth of Venus -- Botticelli

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Medieval = God Centered

Domination of Catholic Church

People are told what to think about scriptures

Church is seen as the most reliable source of information

Clergy are revered, trusted

Renaissance = Man centered

Individual interpretation of scriptures



Great Schism (Avignon)

Groundwork laid for Protestant Reformation

Reform the Catholic Church

Martin Luther, 1517


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System of protection, strict hierarchy


Code of Knighthood

Emphasizes virtues such as honor, bravery, loyalty, humility, and sacrifice


Humans possess the ability to think and discover


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Why Italy

  • Latin roots, heritage never completely abandoned

    • Latin = language of law and business

    • Plentiful ruins, reminders of the past

  • Universities

  • France and England: 100 Years War

  • Spain: fighting the Muslims

  • Feudalism had never been strong in Italy

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Why Italy?

  • Italian cities = trade

    • Firenze, Pisa, Venezia

    • Wealth = trade and banking

    • Rise of merchant families = support of the arts

    • Strong and numerous elite urban societies

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Fall of Constantinople -- 1453

  • Byzantine Emperor outnumbered: 7000 vs. 200,000 Turkish troops

  • Greek scholars move to Italy

  • Brought knowledge of Hebrew

    • Comparison between biblical translations began comparisons in other areas: politics, history, philosophy

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Why Florence?

“Athens of the Renaissance”

  • Art and literature center

  • 1425: population = 60,000

  • Self-governed, independent city-state

    • Strong sense of responsibility to state

  • Strong economy,

    strong government

    -- Banking is important

    industry (no port, like Venice and Genoa)

    -- Gold coin (the Florin)


    Currency of Europe

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Role of Other Cities

  • Venice

    • End of Silk Road

    • Outfitted Crusaders

    • Doges = opulence, power

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Important PeopleofThe Renaissance

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  • 1300s

  • Italian poet, writer

  • Wrote in the vernacular

  • “To be able to say how much you love is to love but little”

  • Father of Humanism

    • Traveled widely

    • Collected Latin manuscripts

    • Re-discovered Cicero

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A Word about Cicero

  • 106-43 BC

  • Roman statesman, political scientist, philosopher, orator

  • Denounced corrupt government

  • Revered by Humanist scholars

    • Example of l’uomo universale

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Pico della Mirandola

  • Oration on the Dignity of Man

  • Noble = human quest for knowledge

  • Man is better than animal

    • ability to think = elevated place in the “great chain of being”

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Borgia Family

  • Alexander VI: nephew of a Pope

  • Cesare Borgia: commander of papal armies, model “prince”

  • Lucretia Borgia: pathetic pawn

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  • Being Christian = being good and virtuous. Avoid excess.

  • Goal: correct the Pope and all abuse

  • Preached that the end of the world was coming (1500)

  • Bonfire of the Vanities

  • Excommunicated, burned as a heretic (1498)

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De Medici Family

  • Cosimo

    • Founder of dynasty

    • Merchant, Banker

  • Lorenzo (The Magnificent)

    • politician, patron

    • Life = golden age of renaissance

    • Ruled Florence indirectly

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Adoration of the Magi– Botticelli, 1475

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Catherine de Medici

  • Great grand-daughter of Lorenzo

  • Wife of Henry II of France

  • Regent for 2 sons, mother of 3 kings of France

    • Political upheaval

    • Machiavellian