12.4 The Intellectual Renaissance in Italy

  1. I.                   Individualism and Secularism
    • a.      Two characteristics of Italian Renaissance
    • b.      Italian culture matured
    • c.       Italy= cultural leader of Europe
    •                                                               i.      Product of wealthy urban lay society
    • d.      Most important literary movement associated with Renaissance was humanism
  2. I.                   Italian Renaissance Humanism
    • a.      Renaissance humanism= intellectual movement based on study of Classical literary works of Greece and Rome
    •                                                               i.      Humanists examined the studia humanitatis—grammar, rhetoric, poetry, moral philosophy or ethics, and historyà humanities
  3. I.                   Italian Renaissance Humanism 
    Central importance of literary preoccupations

    • a.      Central importance of literary preoccupations in Renaissance humanism evident in professional status or occupations of humanists
    •                                                               i.      Some teachers of humanities and gave lectures and held permanent positions as professors
    •                                                             ii.      Others secretaries in chancelleries of Italian city-states or at courts of princes or popes
    •                                                           iii.      All occupations=m secular
    •                                                           iv.      Most humanists= laymen
  4. I.                   Italian Renaissance Humanism
    • a.      father of Italian renaissance humanism
    •                                                               i.      Rejected dad’s desire to become lawyerà literary career
    •                                                             ii.      Lived in Avignon, but spent last decades in Italy as guests of princes and governments
    •                                                           iii.      First intellectual to characterize Middle Ages as dark, promoting mistaken belief that medieval culture was ignorant of Classical antiquity
    •                                                           iv.      Interests in classics led him on quest for forgotten Latin manuscrips and set in motion ransacking of monastic libraries throughout Europe
    • 1.      Inaugurated humanist emphasis on use of pure Classical Latin
  5. I.                   Italian Renaissance Humanism
    Humanism in 15th C. Italy
    In Florence
    •                                                               i.      In Florence, humanist movement took new direction at beginning of fifteenth century when closely tied to Florentine civic spirit and prideà civic humanism
    • 1.      14th c humanists (Petracrch) said intellectual life lonely
    • a.      Rejected family and life of action inc ommunity
  6. I.                   Italian Renaissance Humanism
    Civic World of Florence
    •                                                               i.      In civic world of Florence, intellectuals began to take a new view of their role as intellectuals.
    • 1.      Classical Roman Cicero became model
    • a.      Leonardo Bruni, a humanist, Florentine patriot, and chancellor of the city, wrote a biography of him (The New Cicero)
    •                                                                                                                                       i.      Waxed enthusiasm about fusion of political action and literary creation in Cicero’s life
  7. I.                   Italian Renaissance Humanism
    What was considered inspiration for Renaissance ideas
    1.      From Bruni’s time on, Cicero= inspiration for Renaissance ideal that was duty of intellectual to live active state life
  8. I.                   Italian Renaissance Humanism
    Civic humanism
    •                                                               i.      Civic humanism reflected values of urban society of Italian Renaissance
    •                                                             ii.      Humanists believed that study of humanities should be put to service of state
    • 1.      Chancellors, councilors, advisors
  9. I.                   Italian Renaissance Humanism 
    Growing Interest in Classical Greek civilization
    •                                                               i.      One of first to gain knowledge of Greek= Bruni, who was pupil of Byzantine scholar Manuel Chrysoloras, who taught in Florence from 1396 to 1400
    •                                                             ii.      Humanists perused works of Plato and Greek poets, dramatists, historians, orators, etc.
  10. I.                   Italian Renaissance Humanism

    a.      15th century: consciousness of being humanists: Lorenzo Valla
    • 1.      Brought up in Rome and educated in Latin and Greek
    • 2.      Became papal secretary
    • 3.      The Elegances of the Latin Language
    • a.      Tried to purify medieval Latin and restore Latin to proper positon over vernacular
    • b.      Examined proper use of Classical Latin and created new literary standard
    •                                                                                                                                       i.      Early humanists: took any author before the 7th c. asClassical model
    •                                                                                                                                     ii.      Valla identified different stages in development of Latin language and accepted only Latin of last century of Roman Republic and first century of empire
  11. I.                   Italian Renaissance Humanism

     a.      Humanism and Philosophy: 2nd half of 15th c./ Cosimo
    •                                                               i.      Second half of 15th c.: dramatic upsurge of interest in Plato occurred
    • 1.      Florentine Platonic Academy
    •                                                             ii.      Cosimo de’ Medici: de facto ruler of Florence
    • 1.      Became Platonic Academy patron and commissioned translation of Plato’s dialogues by Marsilio Ficino, one of the academy’s leaders
    • a.      Dedicated life to translation of Plato and exposition of the Platonic philosophy known as Neoplatonism
  12.   Italian Renaissance Humanism a.      Humanism and Philosophy: Ficino
    • 1.      In two major wokers, undertook the synthesis of Christianity and Platonism into single system
    • 2.      Neoplatonism based on two ideas:
    • a.      Neoplatonic hierarchy of substances
    • b.      Theory of spiritual love
  13. a.      Neoplatonic hierarchy of substances 
    •                                                                                                                                       i.      Postulated idea of hierarchy of substances from lowest (plants) to purest spirit (God)
    • 1.      Humans link between material and spiritual world and their highest duty was to ascend toward that union with God that was the ture end of human existence
  14. a.      Theory of spiritual love
                                                                                                                                          i.      Just as all people bound together by love, so too are parts of universe
  15. a.      Renaissance Hermeticism
    •                                                               i.      Another product of Florentine intellectual environment of late 15th century
    •                                                             ii.      At request of Cosimo de’ Medici, Ficino translated into Latin the Greek Corpus Hermeticum
    • 1.      Hermetic manuscrips contained two kinds of writings
    • a.      Stress on occult sciences
    •                                                                                                                                       i.      Emphasis on astrology, alchemy, and magic
    • b.      Other focu on theological and philosophical beliefs nad speculations
  16. Pantheism
    1.      Some Hermetic writings espoused pantheism, seeing divinity embodied in all aspects of nature nad in the heavenly bodies as well as earthly objects
  17.                                                               i.      For Renaissance intellectuals, the Hermetic revival offered new view of humankind
    • 1.      Belief that humans created as divine beings with divine creative power but who had freely chosen to enter material world
    • a.      They could recover divinity through regenerative experience or purification of soul
    •                                                                                                                                       i.      Regeneratedà true sages or magi who had knowledge of God and truth
    • 1.      In regaining divinity, they reacquired intimate knowledge of nature and ability to employ powers of nature for beneficial purposes
  18.                                                               i.      Italy’s most prominent magi were __and __
    • Ficino
    • Giovanni Pico della Mirandola
  19. Pico
    • 1.      Pico produced Oration on the Dignity of Man
    • a.      Looked at many philosophical works of different backgrounds for common truth that he believed to be part of God’s revelation to humanity
Card Set
12.4 The Intellectual Renaissance in Italy