Yes, you read right - a complete set of my notes which you can use to fill any gaps in your own. Bear in mind that at 24,000 words these will still need refining with appropriate revision diagrams etc. My reward to you for using the website!!
In this essay, I hope to analyze the issue of women’s economic status from a different perspective. I will use a variety of sources – guild records, population surveys, and literary evidence – to explore the lives of working women in Renaissance Florence and their relation to paid employment. By looking at this one aspect of the lives of working women in one city, I hope to illuminate broader questions of women’s economic power, although obviously the plight of working class women ought not to be equated with that of women of other classes, and the direction of change in one city does not preclude different developments in other areas of Europe. Furthermore, access to paid employment is not only, or even the most important, determinant of economic power. As scholars continue to work on this subject they will undoubtedly considered class, property rights, marriage relationships, and many other social and economic factors before they can arrive at any broad interpretations of the economic and social status of Renaissance women.
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Abstract: Prior to the Renaissance the anatomist was restricted to the cadavers of condemned criminals and the goal of dissection was essentially to learn ways to prolong suffering during execution. Over time the autopsy was utilized in public health to determine the cause of death and later developed a role in forensics by the 1300’s. The earliest dissections took place in the homes of the wealthy and became quite common by the 1400’s. However, dissections were still only performed on criminals of low birth and were regarded as a great humility. By the 15th century, some anatomists were employed directly as the executioner; some prisoners were said to prefer the opium of the physician to a public hanging. At the same time, interest developed in anatomy as an area of research and the artists of the period were also dissecting cadavers. Demand for cadavers grew to the point that individuals acquired them by any means possible. With the revival of antiquity, the artists tried to portray man as beautiful and in doing so wanted to understand the human form completely. The patron families, such as the Medici’s, helped to bring the two groups together. Perhaps the key difference between the two was their goal in dissection; the artist to accurately produce beauty and the anatomist to gain scientific knowledge. In the end, the artist’s goal for perfection took the art of anatomy to a higher level and in the end produced some of the most magnificent productions.
The early sixteenth century marked a watershed period for political writings on the art of governing. In 1516, Erasmus placed into the hands of a printer the manuscript of The Education of a Christian Prince. Also printed in 1516 was Thomas More’s Utopia, which he also wrote while was a houseguest on one of his frequent visits to England. And far to the south in a suburb of Florence a man unknown to either Erasmus or More, Niccolo Machiavelli, out of work and out of favor with the newly powerful Medicis, was at work on The Discourses. He had completed his more famous work, The Prince, three years previously in hopes that it would win him prestige and power with the Florentine elite. The book was not printed
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Some good podcasts on the background to the Reformation from the HA:
What were the key elements that led to the Reformation?
Martin Luther and John Calvin
What was the response of the Holy Roman Empire?
Other important national figures and groups
What were the social and cultural implications of the Reformation?
My goal in this paper is to ilustrate a relatively simple point in a hopefully entertaining manner. I intend to show how, in the sixteenth century, image of the Other could have been used in order to gain very concrete political profit. Of course, I am far from denying that images of the Other frequently were more or less “spontaneously” created cultural facts without any obvious instrumental value. Yet there were also instances in which they were consciously modified and even fully fabricated in order to serve the interests of those in power.
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In his Eulogy of Florence (Laudatio Florentinae Urbis) Leonardo Bruni praised her constitution for giving first place to justice, “without which no city can exist or deserve the name.” Moreover, he said, “Not only citizens, but aliens as well are protected by this commonwealth. It suffers injury to be done to no man, and endeavors to see to it that everyone, citizen or alien, shall receive the justice that is owing to him.” During Bruni’s own tenure as chancellor of Florence, however, we hear of a Jewish banker who was ruined by the heaviest fine in the history of the city after a trial that one modern scholar has described as a monstrous miscarriage of justice.
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The old debate about the vigour of the spirit of capitalism in late medieval Italy wore itself out long ago, not having generated enough really interesting questions to keep it going. It is generally conceded that the Italian merchant was driven by the acquisitive instinct to make more money, that he was prepared often to take great risks to turn a quick profit, that he had carefully worked out the business techniques for proceeding rationally towards this goal, and finally that he was none the less passionately involved in this activity for all the ranting and raving of clerics about his abuse of the usury doctrine and about the moral dangers inherent in the business world. Since the beginning of business history as a distinct discipline within the realm of economic history, all these qualities of the early capitalist have been emphasized by economic historians of the period out to disprove notions that capitalism did not arise until the sixteenth century or later. Doubts linger on in some quarters about the existence in Italy of a positive and articulated those of capitalism, like the socalled work ethic and ascetic spirit associated with Protestantism and there is a general tendency to regard the merchant in this early stage of commercial capitalism more as a speculator, a kind of gambler, than as a planner with long-range goals. Generally speaking, however, discussions of capitalism in Italy have not succeeded in defining the term with sufficient precision to render it a useful tool for historical analysis.
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The 16th-century instruments in the Museum of the History of Science in Florence provide one of the most attractive records of contemporary mathematics, significant for having been formed in the period, rather than assembled later by a museum or a collector. This lecture presents the results of cataloguing these instruments.
As Renaissance culture grew more secular in the wake of the Reformation, painters and poets expanded their thematic repertoires to include subjects drawn from the natural world and from daily life. In the visual arts, landscape and still life slowly emerged from narrative representation despite the low status held by such subjects in the aesthetic hierarchy. With history painting remaining so dominant, artists drawn to genre frequently “justified” their efforts by overlaying them with historical and allegorical allusions. Thus, in the realm of still-life painting, some pictures were made in imitation of ancient xenia, others incorporated relevant moral and social commentary, and still others fashioned clever visual puns from ordinary foodstuffs. One sixteenth-century artist, Giuseppe Arcimboldo, went so far as to make a career of creating human “portraits” out of common produce, while a handful of painters made pointed references to the sexually suggestive shapes of certain fruits and vegetables. Highlighting the erotic associations of figs, peaches, melons, and squash was particularly common in the era that began with Raphael (1483–1520) and ended with Caravaggio (1571–1610).
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