Chapter 12
Renaissance is French word meaning
 Late 14th and early 15th centuries seen as both a
continuation of Middle Ages and as beginning
new era
 Historians have debated for many decades
 Most historians see a clear distinction between
the two ages
▪ One of our tasks—to identify what they were
Italians living 1350 to 1550 believed they were
living rebirth of the Greco-roman civilizations
The 1000 years preceding was termed the
“Dark” or “Middle” Ages due to lack of
classical culture
Swiss historian/art critic Jacob Burckhardt
created the modern concept in his book The
Civilization of the Renaissance in Italy
Burckhardt called the Italians “the first born
among the sons of modern Europe”
 “Birth place of the modern world”
 He exaggerated the era’s level of secularism and
 There was still a strong commitment to religion
 He established framework for modern
interpretations of the period
 Identified Renaissance as a distinct period
Renaissance Italy was largely an urban
 Commercial success and political advancements
Northern Italy made up of independent cities
 City-states became centers for Italian political,
economic, and social life
 New wealth and independence fostered ideas of
enjoyment of worldly things
Recovery from the Black Death, political
disorder, and economic recession
 Rediscovery of Greco-Roman culture along the
 Attempts to reconcile pagan philosophy with
Christian thought and new ways of looking at
human beings
 A high regard for human dignity and worth—
realization of individual potential
 Concept of ideal person, well rounded, capable
of many diverse talents
General features of Italian renaissance limited
to upper classes—small percentage
Achievements were products of elite, not
mass movement
 Movement did have indirect impact on the
▪ In the cities
▪ Artistic impact
Trade and Manufacturing Increases fostering economic recovery
By the 14th century, Italian merchants were
successfully trading with ports along the
Mediterranean and up to England and the
Hard hit by the plague, Italians lost their
trade preeminence as the confronted the
Hanseatic League
North German coastal towns formed military/
commercial association called Hanseatic league
 Established settlements in Denmark, Norway, and
 Developed 200-year monopoly on many products
 The city of Bruges in Flanders was European
economic crossroads
▪ Silt-ridden Bruges caused Hanseatic trade to decline
 Italians trade recovered dramatically in the 15th
century—city-states did well until the 16th century
While the depression effected the woolen
industry, 15th century Italian cities developed
luxury items
New machinery, techniques, and technology
fostered other industries- Printing
 Mining
 Metallurgy
Mining produced copper, iron and silver
Metallurgy skills produced firearms
Florence regained banking prominence through
Medici family
 Medici family expanded from cloth into commerce,
real estate, and banking
 In 15the century, the House of Medici became the
greatest bank in Europe
 Primary bank for the papacy, fostering great influence
in papal court
Bad loans and loans not collected led to collapse
of bank—French expelled bank in 1494
Renaissance social structure inherited from
Middle Ages: Three Estates
 First Estate: The Clergy
▪ People should be guided by spiritual ends
 Second Estate: The Nobility
▪ Privileges based on nobles provided security and justice
 Third Estate
▪ Peasants and inhabitants of towns and villages
A restructure of the nobility was underway by
the 1500s
 Old and new nobility still dominated society
 Consisted of 2 to 3 percent of population
▪ Military officers, political posts, pursued education
Ideals became expected of nobility
 Baldassare Castlione wrote The Book of the
▪ Described the three basic aspects of the courtier
Three attributes of the perfect courtier
 Fundamental native endowments: character,
talents, noble birth, etc
 Cultivate achievements: bearing arms, knowledge
of the arts, play an instrument, etc.
 Follow standards of conduct: while modest, show
talents with grace
Primary duty of the courtier—to serve his
prince in an effective and honest way
Peasants and townspeople made up 85 to 90
percent of European population—the
exceptions: Flanders and northern Italy
Two economic trends of significance
 Decline of the manorial system
 Continuing elimination of serfdom
Decline of the manorial system
 Begun 12th century with introduction of money
▪ Money could buy freedom and pay rents
▪ Money eliminated need to be paid in kind or labor
Decline of serfdom
 Black Death also caused contraction of peasant
 Lords found it better to deal with peasants by
granting freedom or accepting rents
The remainder of the Third Estate centered
around the bourgeoisie
 Merchants and artisans
▪ Patricians: on the top, trade, industry, banking
▪ Burghers: shopkeeper, artisans, guild masters, etc
 Propertyless workers
▪ Lived in squalid conditions
▪ 30-40 % of city workers
For the most part, agricultural slavery in
Europe was replaced by serfdom and had
disappeared by the 11th century
Slavery reappeared in Spain through
Christians and Muslims capturing prisoners
during the Reconquista
Slavery was reintroduced in 14th century
resulting from Black Death
 In 1363, Florence authorized unlimited
importation of foreign slaves
Italian slaves used as skilled workers and
often held positions in the family household
Italian merchants found a lucrative market in
transporting slaves
 Between 1414 and 1423, ten thousand slaves were
sold on the Venetian market
By the end of the 15th century, slavery had
declined significantly: humanitarian reasons,
expense, and some found them dangerous
The family played an important role
 Household of immediate family
 Extended household of grandparents, unmarried
sisters, slaves, etc.
 Old family names (e.g. Medici) conferred high
 A crime committed by one family member fell to
the entire family—bloody revenge falls to many
▪ Importance explains the vendetta of the Italian
Prearranged marriages fostered business and
family ties
 The future wife’s dowry was important factor
▪ Dowry size could indicate a societal move upward—
marrying above her status if she had money
▪ Marrying at lower status for bride produced smaller
dowry; the family status uplifted the spouse’s family
The husband was the center of the family
 Made all family decisions
 Controlled the money
 Father’s authority over children was absolute until
death or he freed them before a judge—age didn’t
Women ran the household and, the wealthy,
bore many children
 Dangerous—10% of mothers died at childbirth
 Surviving mothers faced the death of their
children—in Florence, about 50% died by age 20
 Due to survival rates, families tried to have many
children to ensure a surviving male heir
Arranged marriages fostered infidelity
Norms for men and women were different
Males married much later; large number of
young males available
 Encouraged extramarital activities and
Milan, Venice, Florence, the Papal States, and Naples
In late 14th century, Italy was a land of five
major states and numerous independent citystates
Prosperity and supportive intellectual climate
created atmosphere for mid and upper
classes to “rediscover” Greco-Roman culture
Francesco Sforza, one of the leading
condottieri at the time (1447), conquered the
city of Milan and became its new duke
Both Visconti and Sforza families created
highly centralized state
 Creative at devising taxes that brought great
revenue for the state
Maritime republic
Extremely stable oligarchy, governed by
Commercial empire brought enormous
revenues—gave Venice international power
Venice made efforts to expand its territory
north to protect trade routes and food supply
 Milan and Florence attempted to counter those
The Republic of Florence dominated the
region of Tuscany
 Dominated by a small merchant oligarchy by mid
15th century
 In 1434, Cosimo de’ Medici took control
▪ Kept republic forms of government for appearance
▪ Ran government behind the scenes
▪ Cosimo, later Grandson, Lorenzo the Magnificent,
dominated center of cultural Renaissance--Florence
Papal states were located in central Italy
 Somewhat under the political control of the
popes, the papal residency in Avignon and the
Great Schism enabled cities such as Urbino,
Bologna, and Ferrara to become independent
 Renaissance popes of the 15th century spent much
time attempting to reestablish their control over
the Papal States
Kingdom of Naples encompasses most of
southern Italy and Sicily
 Fought over by the French and Aragonese during
the Renaissance
 Mostly backward region with unruly nobles and
poverty-stricken peasants
 Very little cultural glories of the Renaissance
There independent city-states controlled by
powerful ruling families
 Urbino was the most significant and powerful
 Most significant ruler was Federigo da
▪ Ruled using his money to offset poverty
▪ Hired themselves out as condottiere
▪ Honest and reliable
For the smaller Renaissance courts, women
often took the place of men at court while the
men were away
 Many were honest and showed good judgment
 Most famous was Isabella d’Este
▪ Called “first lady of the world”
▪ One of finest libraries in all Italy
Italian world was fragmented by territorial
Fragmented states gave rise to strategy
called “balance of power”
 Designed to prevent aggrandizement of one state
over another—especially evident after 1454
 Initiated under the Peace of Lodi
▪ Milan, Florence, and Naples vs Venice and papacy
▪ Initiated 40 years of peace
Growth of powerful monarchies in France and Spain
caused trouble for Italians
 The breakdown of balance of power in caused the wars
 Also, the Duke of Milan invited the French to intervene in
Italian politics
▪ Charles VIII of France was eager to oblige and entered Italy with
30,000 men
▪ Other Italian states turned to Spain for help and Philip of Aragon
was eager to help
For 15 years, the French and Spanish fought it out in
Few Italian conceived of creating an alliance
or confederation to stave off other nations
Italians remained fiercely loyal to their own
petty states
The modern diplomatic system was a product
of the Italian Renaissance
The concept of an ambassador changed
during the Renaissance from a person acting
for everyone and for peace in general to
agents representing specific states
 Small states in particular wanted to exchange
information for their own protection
 Practices used today such as ambassador rights in
host countries and certain protocols
Machiavelli gave the best
expression to political power
sought during the
 He served as a secretary to
the Florentine Council of Ten—
a diplomatic post
 Made numerous diplomatic
 After the Spanish victory in
Italy, republicans like
Machiavelli were sent into
Machiavelli was forced to give up politics
 He turned his attention to political thought
 He wrote The Prince
▪ Based on his concerns for Italy’s political problems and
his knowledge of ancient Rome
▪ All about “the acquisition and expansion of political
power as a means to restore and maintain order in his
▪ Political activities should not be restricted by morality
Machiavelli was one of the first to abandon
morality for analysis of political activity
 Machiavelli didn’t believe the normal policy of
taking political action only if it contributes to the
common good of the people you serve
 A prince’s use of power must be based on human
nature—which he believed to be self-centered
▪ People were ungrateful, fickle, deceptive, deceiving,
avoiders of danger, eager to gain, etc
Political activity should not be restricted to
moral considerations
 “A ruler…cannot conform to all those rules that
men who are thought good are expected to
respect…he is often obliged to break his word, to
be uncharitable, inhumane, and irreligious…he
should do what is right if he can; but he must be
prepared to do wrong if necessary”
 It is better to be feared than loved
Individualism and secularism—two characteristics of the Italian Renaissance
Based on the study of classical works of the
Greeks and Romans
 Humanists studied the liberal arts
▪ Grammar, poetry, ethics, and history
Occupations of the secular humanists:
 Teachers
 Professors of rhetoric
 Secretaries in the chancelleries
Petrarch has been called the father of the
Italian Renaissance
 Spent most of his time in Italy as guest of various
princes and governments
 Did more than anyone in 14th century to foster
Renaissance humanism
 First to characterize the Middle Ages as period of
Petrarch’s interest in the classics led him to
seek forgotten Latin manuscripts
 His search led to a sacking of monastic libraries
 He worried about his pursuits of secular content
▪ He wanted to properly attend to his spiritual ideals
▪ His allegory, The Ascent of Mount Ventoux, describes
his struggle to achieve a higher spiritual state (see text)
 He did, however, emphasize the humanist use of
classical Latin: Cicero, the model for prose; Virgil
for poetry
In Florence, the humanism movement gave
rise to civic humanism
 Civic Humanism was tied with civic pride,
responsibility, and spirit
 Petrarch had emphasized the intellectual life was
one of solitude—family and community life had
been rejected
 The classical Roman Cicero, statesman and
intellectual, became their model
Leonardo Bruni (1370-1444), humanist,
Florentine patriot, and chancellor of the city
wrote a biography of Cicero titled The New
 Enthusiasm for fusion of political action and
literary creation
 It was the duty of an intellectual to be active in
one’s state
 Humanists believed their study of the humanities
should be put to the service of the state
The growing interest in
classical Greek
civilization was a major
part of the humanist
Humanists studied the
works of Plato and Greek
poets, dramatists,
historians, and orators
like Thucydides,
Euripides, and Sophocles
 All were ignored in the
High Middle Ages as
A consciousness of being humanists
Lorenzo Valla (1407-1457) became a papal
secretary and wrote The Elegances of the
Latin Language
 An effort to purify medieval Latin and restore
Latin to its position of dominion over the
Second half of 15th
century saw upsurge in
interest of the works of
 Florentine Platonic
Academy was lead group
 Cosimo de’ Medici, defacto
ruler of Florence, was
major patron
 Exposition of the Platonic
philosophy was called
Marsilio Facino dedicated his life to
translation of Plato
 Merged Christianity and Platonism into one
 Postulated the idea of hierarchy of substances
from lowest form of physical matter to purest
spirit, God
 Humans were seen in middle position—highest
duty was to ascend to God
Hermeticism was another product of the
Florentine intellectual environment of the
late 15th century: emphasized two kinds of
 Occult sciences: astrology, alchemy, and magic
 Theological and philosophical beliefs
▪ Pantheism: seeing divinity in all aspects of nature and in
heavenly bodies and in earthly objects
Giordano Bruno was prominent 16th century
Hermeticists, stating, God as a whole is in all
Hermetic revival offered new view of
 Humans had been created as divine beings with
endowed with creative power
 However, humans had chosen to enter the
material world
Humans could recover their powers, but they
had to go through a regenerative process
 Regenerated, they became true sages or magi
 Magi had knowledge of God and truth and could
employ nature’s powers for good purposes
Ficino and friend/pupil Pico della Mirandola
 Pico produced one of the most famous writings of
the Renaissance, Oration on the Dignity of Man
 Drawn from “nuggets of universal truth”
 Believed were part of God’s revelation to man
 Believed in unlimited human potential
 Pico: “To him it is granted to have whatever he
chooses, to be whatever he wills”
 Pico: “At last the knowledge of all nature”
Renaissance humanists believed that human
beings could be dramatically changed by
 They wrote books on education and founded
 Most famous of schools was founded at Mantua
▪ Founded by Vittorino da Feltre
▪ Ruler of small Italian state was Gian Francesco I Gonzaga
The core of academic training in Vittorino’s
school was “liberal studies”
 Pietro paola Vergerio wrote, Concerning Character
▪ The importance of liberal arts as the key to true freedom
▪ Enabling humans to reach their full potential
▪ “We call those studies liberal which are worthy of a free
man; those studies by which we attain and practice
virtue and wisdom; that education that calls forth,
trains, and develops those highest gifts of body and
mind which ennoble men”
Liberal studies included history, moral
philosophy, eloquence (rhetoric), letters
9rammar and logic), poetry, mathematics,
astronomy, and music
The purpose was to produce individuals who
followed a path of virtue and wisdom and
possessed the rhetorical skills with which to
persuade others to do the same
Following the Greek precept of sound mind in
a sound body, the Mantua school stressed
physical education as well
Humanist schools were primarily for the elite
Few females attended the schools
 Those females who did attend were discouraged
from mathematics and rhetoric
 Religion and morals were thought to “hold the
first place in the education of a Christian lady”
Education was preparation for life
The aim of education was not create scholars,
but to produce complete citizens who could
participate in their communities
Vittorino: “…all are destined to live in society
and to practice virtue”
The combination of the classics and
Christianity was seen as the best education
for Europe’s ruling classes
Humanist historian chronicled history
different from Middle Age historians
 Humanists believed the classical period was
followed by an age of barbarism (Middle Ages)
 The Middle Ages were succeeded by their own
▪ They began thinking in terms of the passage of time—
the past as the past
▪ They began thinking of the “periodization” of history
Humanists were also responsible for
secularizing the writing of history
 Reduced or eliminated role of miracles in history—
not as anti-Christian, but as new approach
 Emphasized documents and critical thinking
 Attention was paid to political events
 Emphasis moved to causation of history,
deemphasizing divine intervention and looked to
human motives
Francesco Guicciardini (1483-1540) achieved
the high point of Renaissance historiography
 His History of Italy and History of Florence
represent the beginning of “modern analytical
 Guicciardini: the purpose of writing history was to
teach lessons
 Emphasized military and political history
The Renaissance witnessed the invention of
printing, one of the most important
inventions of Western civilization
 Its impact was immediate
 Hand-carved wooden blocks had been done in the
West since the 12th century and in China before
 New to Europe in the 15th century was metal
movable type--culminating between 1445-1450
Johannes Gutenberg played important role in
bring process to completion
Gutenberg’s Bible (1455 or 1456) was the first
true book in the West produced from
movable type
The new printing spread rapidly throughout
Europe in the second half of the 15th century
Especially well known as a printing center
was Venice
By 1500, there were over 1000 printers in
 Published almost 40,000 titles
 Eight to ten million copies
 Probably half of the books were religious
 Next in importance were Greek and Latin classics
 The printing of books encouraged the scholarly
research and desire to attain knowledge
More positive results of printing
 Facilitated cooperation among scholars
 Produced standardization and definitive texts
 Expanding reading by all
 Brought the new religious ideas of the
 Fostered science
Humans as the Focus of Attention
Leonardo da Vinci counseled that artists
should use real subjects in nature, not copies
of other artists
Renaissance artist pursued naturalism
 A primary goal was to imitate nature
 They tried to persuade onlookers of the reality of
their creation
Ultimately, human beings became the cental
focus of art
Most Italian artists maintain that Giotti of the
14th century began the imitation of nature
Masaccio followed Giotti with a cycle of
frescoes in the Brancacci Chapel, long
considered the first masterpiece of the Early
Masaccio’s massive three dimensional human
figures provided a model for later Florentine
Masaccio emphasized a more realistic
relationship between figures and landscape
and more visual representation of laws of
A new realistic style of painting was born
The ideals of the human being in natural
surroundings prevailed
The new Renaissance style took other forms
but basically headed in two directions: Space
and Movement
 Space
▪ Mathematical side of painting
▪ Working out the laws of perspective
▪ Organization of space
 Included anatomical structure
 Attempt to portray human body under stress
 Realistic portrayal of human nude became a
foremost preoccupation
Sandro Botticelli, with his interest in Greek
and Roman mythology was well reflected in
his work, Primavera
 Well defined characters, yet they possess an
otherworldly quality far removed from the realism
that characterized early Renaissance
Advances by Florentine painters were
matched by Florentine sculptures and
 Donato di Donatello’s statue of David
▪ First known life-size freestanding bronze nude in
European art since antiquity
▪ Celebrated Florentine heroism
▪ Radiated simplicity, strength, and the dignity of
Filiippo Brunelleschi drew inspiration from
Roman antiquity
 He worked hard on the creation of a new
▪ First challenge was to complete the 140-foot opening of
the Cathedral of Florence
▪ He devised a dome of less weight and 24 ribs
Brunelleschi created a better example of his
new architecture when he built the Church of
San Lorenzo
 Inspired by Roman models
 Interior very different from medieval designs
 Created amore human-centered space
▪ Classical columns, rounded arches, and coffered ceiling
▪ Didn’t overwhelm the worshipper
The emphasis on human individuality in the
Renaissance came out in an emphasis on
 Prominent people had portraits on tombs and
other places
 Renderings depicted accurately the facial features
plus the inner qualities of the individual
By the 15th century, Italian painters,
sculptures and architects had mastered
scientific applications and were now moving
toward more personalized creative
The High Renaissance was marked by
increasing importance of Rome as the new
cultural center of the Italian Renaissance
Dominated by three artistic giants: Leonardo
da Vinci (1452-1519), Raphael (1483-1520),
and Michelangelo (1475-1564)
Leonardo da Vinci
 A transitional artist
 Fifteenth century tradition of complete study of
▪ Dissected bodies to ensure his anatomical portrayals
were correct
 Stressed the need to advance beyond realism
 Emphasis was on moving to idealized form of
 In Leonardo’s Last Supper, he hoped to reveal an
individual’s inner self through gestures and
The Artist High
Leonardo attempts to move
from a realistic to idealized
portrayal of the human figure.
He attempted to depict a
person’s inner character
through gesture and
In his fresco, he used an
experimental technique which
led to its physical deterioration
The Artistic High
Perhaps Leonardo’s most
famous work, the painting,
Mona Lisa
The Artistic High
One of Leonardo’s many
drawings, this one of a flying
The Artistic High
Leonardo’s drawing and
explanation of an embryo and
Raphael Sanzio was regarded as one of Italy’s
best painters at age 25
Acclaimed for his numerous madonnas
 Attempted ideal beauty, above human standards
Well known for his frescoes in the Vatican
 His School of Athens reveals a world of balance,
harmony, and order
The Artistic High
Raphael, School of Athens
This is one frescoe Raphael
painted for Pope Julius II for the
papal apartment in the Vatican
Raphael created an imaginary
gathering of ancient
In the center stand Plato and
At the left is Pythagoras,
showing his system of
proportions on a slate
At the right is Ptolemy, holding
a celestial globe
Balance, harmony, and order
Buonarroti, an
accomplished painter,
sculptor, and architect,
was another giant of the
High Renaissance
Highly motivated to
create, completed
numerous projects
Influenced by
Neoplatoism, especially
depiction of figures on
ceiling of the Sistine
In 1508, Pope Julius II called Michelangelo to
Rome, commissioning him to decorate the
Sistine Chapel’s ceiling
 Project not completed until 1512
 Nine scenes from the book of Genesis
 In Creation of Man, Adam awaits the divine spark
 Figures were fashioned ideally, with excellent
proportions and beauty reflecting divine beauty;
the more beautiful, the more God-like
The Artistic High
Michelangelo’s Creation of
Adam awaits the divine spark
The more beautiful the body,
the more God-like the figure
The Artistic High
Michelangelo’s statue of David
was commissioned by the
Florentine government in 1501
and finished in 1504
Michelangelo: “I only take away
the surplus, the statue is
already there”
The statue is 14 feet high.
David proudly proclaims the
beauty of the human body and
the glory of human beings
The Renaissance was well known for its
architecture, particularly that Donato
Bramante (1444-1514)
He captured the grandeur of ancient Rome
through his design of the Tempietto (Little
Temple) at the site of Saint Peter’s martydom
His design impressed who Pope Julius II
commissioned him to design Saint Peter’s
By the end of the 15th century, a
transformation in the status of artist occurred
 Artists were no longer considered just artisans
with certain skills
 Gifted artists were considered artist geniuses
 Artists were seen as heroes, e.g. Michelangelo
was frequently referred to as “II Divino”—the
Divine One
The artists of the High Renaissance were the
first to embody the modern concept of artist
Artists profited both economically and in
social status
By now mingling with upper classes and
political elites, artists learned the new
intellectual theories which they embodied in
their art
Human form took the primary form of
expression in the north
Emphasis was on stain glass windows and
wooden paneled paintings for alter pieces
Flanders had most influential school of art
Oil painting, popular in the north, permitted
artists to project staggering details in their
precise portraits
Jan van Eyck was one of first to use oils
Painters painted more “the outward
appearance of things”
 Empirical observation of visual reality
 The accurate portrayal of details
Albrecht Durer (1471-1528) from Nuremberg
was effected by the Italians
 Made trips to Italy
 Captured laws of perspective and proportion
 However, he did not reject minute details
characteristic of northern artists
 Integrated his artistry into a careful examination
of the human form
The Dukes of Burgundy attracted some of the
best artists and musicians of the time
Guillaume Dufay, most important composer
▪ Lived in medieval France and early Renaissance Italy
▪ Combined the best of both worlds
▪ Changed composition of Mass—replaced Gregorian
chants with secular tunes to form the basis of Mass
▪ Served as a reminder that music ceased to be just in the
service of God
The Renaissance madrigal was a poem set to
 Origins: 14th century Italian courts
 Twelve-line poems written in vernacular
 Theme was emotional or erotic love
 Employed “text painting” with 5 or 6 voices
▪ Melody would change with emphasis on certain words
or phrases
The “New Monarchies” attempt to impose their will as Europe takes shape. They try to
improve their states from the early 15th to later 15th century, particularly in France,
England, and Spain
The Hundred Years War had left France prostrate
 Depopulation, desolate farmlands, ruined
commerce, unruly nobles, etc.
 The war also engendered a sense of loyalty--the
understanding of a common enemy
 The war permitted strengthening the king’s
 Charles VII was able to secure permission for a
royal army from the Estates-General
King Charles VII…
 The Estates-General also permitted a taille,
annual tax—usually from land or other property
 Ensured certain amount of power
King Louis XI (1461-1483), (known as “the
spider” for his wily ways)
 Charles the Bold, duke of Burgundy, was problem
 Charles tried to create middle kingdom between
France and Germany
Charles the Bold…
 He died in battle and Louis took Burgundy for
Louis added Anjou, Maine, Bar, and
Provence, and was given credit for
development of strong French monarchy
The Hundred Years War also hurt the English
Even more domestic turmoil broke out with
the War of the Roses
 The House of Lancaster (red rose) verses the
House of York (white rose)
 Many aristocratic families brought into conflict
 Henry Tudor, Duke of Richmond, defeated the last
Yorkish king, Richard III, and established the new
Tudor dynasty
The first Tudor King, Henry VII reduced
dissension and established strong monarchy
 Abolished private armies of the aristocrats
 Special commissions to trusted nobles raised
armies for special campaigns then were
 Established the Court of Star Chamber which did
not use juries and permitted torture to extract
Henry VII managed the monarchy well
 Extracted resources from traditional sources
 Use diplomacy to avoid wars
 Kept taxes low
Henry’s policies left England with stable,
prosperous government and gained status for
the monarchy itself
After the conquest of the Iberian Penisnsula
from the Muslims, the peninsula was divided
into several smaller states, the largest which
was Aragon and Castile
Isabella of Castile and Ferdinand of Aragon
were married in a dynastic (not political)
 The two states maintained their own parliaments
Ferdinand and Isabella worked to build a
strong central government for both states
They reorganized the military and created
and built the best army in Europe by the 16th
They achieved permission from the pope to
select the most important church officials
 They realized the importance of the Church’s
Ferdinand and Isabella received permission to
institute the Inquisition in Spain
 Converts were effected, but not Jews or Muslims
 Thus, they expelled all Jew and Muslims
 The two “Most Catholic” monarchs had achieved
absolute religious orthodoxy—to be Spanish was
to be Catholic
 Uniformity policy was enforced by the Inquisition
The Holy Roman Empire failed to develop a
strong monarchy
The Empire remained in the hands of the
Habsburg dynasty
The Habsburgs instituted dynastic marriages
 Through marriages, the Hapsburgs gained
international power
 Rulers of France feared they would be surrounded
by the Hapsburgs
Much was expected of Maximilian I
He had strong opposition from German
Through a series of marriages and untimely
deaths, Charles, Maximilian’s grandson,
became heir to the Habsburg, Burgundian,
and Spanish lines, making him the leading
monarch of his age
The rulers of Eastern Europe had many
obstacles in the way of control
 Different ethnic and religious groups could not get
 Much of the problem with Poland until the later
15th century revolved around disagreements
between crown and the landed nobles
 Hungary became one of the most significant
countries in Europe under King Matthias Corvinus
King Mathias…
 Broke the power of the wealthy lords
 Patronized the humanist culture
 Brought Italian scholars and artists to his capital
Since the 13th century, Russia had been under
the domination of the Mongols
Ivan III (1462-1505) was able to take
advantage of dissention within the Mongols
to through off their yoke by 1480
Eastern Europe was increasingly threatened
by the Ottoman Empire
The Byzantine Empire had served as a buffer
between the Muslim Middle East and the
Latin West for centuries
The Empire was weakened by the sack of
Constantinople in 1204
The threat of the Ottomans finally doomed
the Byzantine Empire
The Ottoman Turks moved quickly through
the lands of the Seljuk Turks and the
Byzantine Empire
Bypassing Constantinople, they moved
through Bulgaria and into the lands of the
 At the battle of Kosovo, Ottoman forces defeated
the Serbs, both leaders dying in battle
Battle of Kosovo (1389) became a battlefield
long remembered and revered by the Serbs
Not until 1480 were Bosnia, Albania, and the
rest of Serbia added to the Ottoman Empire
in the Balkans
The Ottoman Turks completed the demise of
the Byzantine Empire by defeating the army
at Constantinople
The Turks began to pressure the West
By the end of the 15th century, they were
threatening Hungary, Austria, Bohemia, and
The Holy Roman Emperor, Charles V, became
their bitter enemy in the 16th century
The Council of Constance ends the Great Schism, but finds the issues of
heresy and reform more challenging
While inquisitions had dealt with heresy in
the past, the Lollardy and Hussitism fostered
Wyclif and Lollardy
 English Lollardy was a product of the Oxford
Theologian John Wycliff
 Disgust with clerical corruption led to attacks on
Christian beliefs and practices
John Wycliff…
 Led attack on papal authority
 Attacked Christian beliefs and values
 Urged the Bible to be made available in the
vernacular of all languages
 Condemned pilgrimages, the veneration of saints,
and rituals and rites developed in medieval church
 His followers were called Lollards
Hus and the Hussites
 Royal marriage between England and Bohemia
enabled Lollard ideas to spread to Bohemia
 John Hus, chancellor of the University of Prague
urged the elimination worldliness and corruption
in the clergy
 Hus also attacked the excessive power of the
papacy within the Catholic Church
John Hus…
 Strong support from German clergy and Czechs
 The Council of Constance summoned Hus
 Hus was granted safe passage by Emperor
 Hoped for free hearing but was arrested,
condemned as heretic and burned at the stake
John Hus
 His death started revolutionary upheaval in
Bohemia resulting in the Hussite wars wracking
the Holy Roman Empire until a truce in 1436
Reform in the Church
 The Council of Constance passed two reform
decrees: Sacrosancta and Frequens
 Stated a general council of the church got its
authority from God
 Every Christian, including the pope, was subject to
its authority
 Provided for the holding of general councils to
ensure that church reform could continue
Popes refused to cooperated with decrees
that diminished their authority
Popes worked for 30 years to defeat the
counciliar movement
Finally, Pope Pius Ii issued the papal bull
Execrabilis , condemning appeals to a council
over the head of a pope as heretical
The line of popes from the end of the Great
Schism to the beginnings of the Reformation
in the early 16th century
While the primary function of the popes was
spiritual, the manner popes pursued their
political activities was shocking
 The use of intrigue and bloodshed was not
Julius II was known as the “fiery pope”
because he led troops into battle
Popes could not build dynasties over
generations of offspring, so they relied on
nepotism to promote the families’ interests
Pope Sixtus made five nephews cardinals, for
Renaissance popes were great patrons of
Renaissance culture
 Julius II began construction on Saint Peters
 Leo X commissioned Raphael to do paintings and
sped up the construction of Saint Peters
 Rome became literary and artistic center of the
Renaissance was a period of transition
 Economic, political, and social trends started in
High Middle Ages
 A new vision of humankind
 Fundamental questions on the value of the
Renaissance ideas were mostly for the upper
classes—the elite
New questions were raised about medieval
Humanists raised fundamental questions
about the Catholic Church—a powerful and
important institution

Recovery and Rebirth: The Age of the Renaissance