PDF Playing at Monarchy: Sport as Metaphor in Nineteenth-Century France

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Prior to the French Revolution, sports and games were the exclusive domain of the nobility. The revolution, however, challenged the notion of noble privilege, and leisure activities began spreading to all levels of society. Games either evolved from Old Regime spectacles into bourgeois pastimes, such as hunting, or died out altogether, as did trictrac.

During this period, sports and games became the symbolic cultural battlefield of an emerging modern state. Corry Cropper examines what shaped these games of the nineteenth-century and how they appeared as allegory in French literature in the fiction of Balzac, Merimee, and Flaubert , and in newspapers, historical studies, and even game manuals. Throughout, he shows how the representation of play in all types of literature mirrors the most important social and political rifts in postrevolutionary France, while also serving as propaganda for competing political agendas.

Though its focus is on France, "Playing at Monarchy" hints at the way these nineteenth-century developments inform perceptions of sport even today. Additional Product Features Dewey Edition. Like Robert Darnton's The Great Cat Massacre , Cropper investigates historical 'ways of thinking' with wit and whimsy-in prose congenial to a twenty-first century American audience.

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Save on Nonfiction Trending price is based on prices over last 90 days. You may also like. Frank Baum Hardcover Children. Hardcover Frances Hodgson Burnett Books. France Hardcover Books with Dust Jacket. The 12th and 13th centuries, which saw the rise of relatively free, self-governing communes, produced literature that the humanists disliked, while the literary revival they praised took place in 14th-and 15th-century Italy, when most of the free communes had come under despotic princes or small oligarchies of wealthy businessmen.

Giorgio Vasari — 74 , who coined the word rinascita rebirth , expressed views similar to those of Bruni in his famous Lives of the Painters, first published in Although beginning with Cimabue, he gives an introductory section explaining his views on earlier art, describing its rise and perfection in the ancient world, and then its decline, beginning about the time of Constantine. For him, medieval art was unworthy because it was unclassical. He wished to discuss art before Cimabue in an introductory way merely in order that the readers might see that, just as it is with human beings, so also it is with the arts: they "have their birth, growth, age, and death.

It is understandable that the deprecatory view of the Middle Ages among the humanists and art historians would continue in the historical opinions of the leaders of the Protestant Reformation especially in the light of Luther's theological objections to medieval philosophy and theology. Luther also saw the literary Renaissance as preparing the way for his religious revival. It is perhaps understandable, too, that the 18th-century Enlightenment, in view of the hatred of the Church that is evident in many of its leaders, would continue the deprecatory view of medieval civilization.

In his Essai sur les moeurs et l'esprit des nations, et sur les principaux faits de l'histoire, depuis. Scholasticism, he considered as a "bastard off-spring of the philosophy of Aristotle, poorly translated and poorly understood, which had done more harm to reason and to polite studies than had the Huns and Vandals. As a cause for this, he noted the wealth of Italy, coming from the commerce of her cities.

He emphasized the importance of Florence in this revival, and spoke with great praise of the Medici rule there. Voltaire noted not only the revival in intelligence, but also the moral shortcomings of Renaissance men, the widespread assassinations, poisonings, and such; but this did not disturb him, for he viewed Renaissance irreligion as a factor in the destruction of Christianity; he held this to be a gain, since he considered the loss of religion as a necessary step for the progress of reason.

The interpretation of the Renaissance in G. Hegel's Philosophie der Geschichte and Geschichte der Philosophie — 36 is similar to that of Voltaire. For hegel the Middle Ages meant a period. The medieval Church and feudalism made freedom impossible. An antithesis to this came at the end of the Middle Ages, as men became free again, "having the power of exercising their activity for their own objects and interests. In the seventh volume of this work, which he entitled La Renaissance , he said that the 16th century must be considered as the age that brought about, more than any previous age, "the discovery of the world and the discovery of man.

An echo of Hegel's interpretation is found also in Georg Voigt's Die Wiederbelebung des classischen Altertums , which noted "the corporative tendency" as the characteristic that especially distinguished the Christian Middle Ages, when the great men who arose " — seem so only as representatives of the system in which they lived. The full development of this line of interpretation, coming down from the Renaissance humanists themselves, through Voltaire, Hegel, and others, was presented in in Jacob Burckhardt's work, Die Kultur der Renaissance in Italien.

He credited the Renaissance with the beginning of individuality, and the beginning of the objective treatment of this world. He granted that there had been some examples of "free personality" in medieval Italy, but for the most part, he saw the Middle Ages as a period when a "ban" had been "laid upon human personality. In 14th-century Italy the state became a "calculated, conscious creation … a work of art. In "the character of these states, whether republics or despotisms, lies not the only but the chief reason for the early evolution of the Italian in the modern man," As to the moral crisis that he considered a part of this movement, he did not welcome it in the same way that Voltaire did, but considered that the "excessive individualism" of the Renaissance Italian came upon him not "through any fault of his own, but rather through an historical necessity.

Indeed, though he admitted that Renaissance developments were "colored in a thousand ways by the influence of the ancient world," yet the "essence of the phenomena might still have been the same without the classical revival. Burckhardt's interpretation in many of its aspects had been developing from the age of the Renaissance humanists.

A different view, however, already began to appear in the Romantic school in the early 19th century. One may or may not agree with these Romantics in their glorification of chivalry, Gothic architecture, and medieval life in general. But, after F. Chateaubriand insisted upon the superiority of medieval culture because he was convinced that Christianity gave a truer, more fruitful basis for understanding human nature and emotions, and for the depiction of them in literature and art than had the beliefs underlying the literature and art of the classical world.

In addition to the reaction of the Romantics, 20th-century historians, such as C. Haskins, J. Medieval men had a much better understanding of and appreciation for classical Latin literature than the Renaissance humanists suspected. One who reads the works and letters of Alcuin d. The profundity of Dante's understanding of human nature could hardly have come about if Dante and the men from whom he drew his intellectual and spiritual roots had been separated from reality by the "veil … woven of faith, illusion, and childish prepossession" of which Burckhardt spoke.

Consequently, a study of the works of medieval men and of recent historians who have devoted themselves to the intellectual history of the Middle Ages makes it clear that the Michelet-Burckhardt formula of attributing to the Renaissance the discovery of the world and of man is an exaggeration that is false. It is, nevertheless, true that the men of the Renaissance placed a much greater and more exclusive emphasis upon man and this world than had medieval men. This tendency is discernible first, perhaps, in the works of the 14th-and 15th-century humanists.

At the outset it should be noted that there were links of a professional nature between the Renaissance humanists. Kristeller has stated that the Renaissance humanists were "the professional heirs and successors of the medieval rhetoricians, the so-called dictatores … ," the professional writers of the Middle Ages, who wrote letters and prepared documents of various kinds in accordance with the ars dictaminis "Humanism and Scholasticism in the Italian Renaissance," in Kristeller — Thus, there is a marked similarity in function between Petrus de Vineis, who served the Emperor Frederick II as dictator , and Coluccio Salutati, the humanist chancellor of Florence from to When Salutati was given Florentine citizenship in he was cited as one skilled in the ars dictaminis see Hay n.

Weiss has pointed out The Dawn of Humanism in Italy , it must be noted, too, that a large proportion of the early humanists were connected with the legal profession in some way. Thus, Lovato dei Lovati d. Albertino Mussato — of Padua, the most important of these early humanists, who wrote the Senecan tragedy, Ecerinis , and who was crowned poet laureate in , was also connected with the law. The Ecerinis deals with the 13th-century tyrant Ezzelino da Romano, and apparently Mussato hoped to influence the Paduans to oppose the aggressive moves of the Can Grande della Scala.

It would be unwise, however, to attempt on this basis a generalization respecting the political aspirations of these early humanists, because a great deal more research work still remains to be done concerning them Weiss II primo secolo dell'Umanesimo , Difficulties in the interpretation of the works of Francesco Petrarca, or Petrarch — 74 are of a different type. He wrote a great deal, and some of his statements are confused and contradictory.

But there does seem to be in him, in spite of his egocentrism, a charitable concern to help his fellow men. He believed that effective communication was essential, the right word must be found, and for this purpose the works of classical Latin literature were the perfect models. He was convinced that men should help their fellow men, and that the spirits of men can be helped especially through effective discourse. Learning how to use right words comes from study of the classics. This was the objective, the studia humanitatis, for Petrarch, and to pursue such studies was the justification he would probably offer for his life of retirement, for the solitude he loved.

See Garin 27 — His emphasis upon the importance of classical Latin rhetoric is seen in his work On His Own Ignorance and That of Many Others, in which he agrees that in Aristotle's Ethics he sees virtue "egregiously defined and distinguished by him and treated with penetrating insight," all of which causes him to know a little more than he knew before.

But, he says, "I myself remain the same. He who looks for that will find it in our Latin writers, especially in Cicero and Seneca … " tr. Nachod, in Cassirer There is nothing in Petrarch's attitude that is anti-Christian; on the contrary, he seems to be inspired by sincere Christian charity. But he is not satisfied with the medieval emphasis upon the theological. When his friend, Luigi Marsili, an Augustinian, was going away to study theology, Petrarch wrote to him, urging him to follow the example of Lactantius and St.

Augustine in conjoining the studia humanitatis with studia divinitatis, and thus to continue working for the construction of a pia philosophia see Garin His conviction of the superiority of classical literature was such that it was natural enough for him to consider the civilization that produced medieval literature, different as it was, the "Dark Ages. As to his political views, Petrarch centered all his hopes in Rome, believing that the world had never seen such peace and justice as it had when it had one head, and that head was Rome.

He was enthusiastic about Cola di Rienzo until the more fantastic aspects of his activities began to be demonstrated. It seems, too, that Petrarch expected the papacy to make of the Pax romana, a pax christiana, and the fact that the popes were in Avignon, removed from Rome — where he thought they should be — disturbed him greatly. One historian has even gone so far as to suggest that "Humanism was forged in the Catholic pathos generated by the seventy years of Babylonian captivity " G. Toffanin In regard to dictatorship, as opposed to republicanism, Petrarch had been critical of Caesar in his Africa, but praised him in his later Historia Julii Caesaris.

He even became friendly with the Visconti tyrants of Milan, and decided to reside there in Boccaccio, the devoted follower of Petrarch in so many matters, nevertheless reproached him for this. Boccaccio lived long enough in Florence to become attached to its republican traditions, as Petrarch had not. Giovanni Boccaccio — 75 had moved to Florence in , after having spent some time in Naples. He entered into the cultural life of the city, and served as an important link in emphasizing the contribution of Petrarch.

In addition to his Decameron and other productions of a similar nature, Boccaccio did very serious scholarly work in classical Latin literature and culture and was one of the first to promote the study of Greek. He devoted himself especially to the preparation of treatises that would assist readers in understanding classical authors, such as his work on mythology, De genealogiis deorum gentilium. Salutati and Civic Humanism. In , the year of Boccaccio's death, Coluccio salutati — the disciple of Petrarch and Boccaccio, became chancellor of Florence, and continued to foster their influence in that city.

His writing reveals the development of the humanist movement into the civic humanism that was so important in Florence. His humanist attitude is seen in an exchange of letters he had with the Dominican Giovanni dominici on the values and dangers of the new humanistic trends.

Dominici was a formidable opponent, for he was well informed and fully aware of the value of the classics for mature students, but was opposed to placing so much emphasis upon them in the education of the young. Salutati was in agreement that Christianity came first, and had no intention of saying anything contrary to the Faith. But he was convinced of the value of the new attitudes. He maintained that the studia humanitatis and studia divinitatis were interrelated, and a true and complete knowledge of the one could not be had without the other see Emerton — In one of his letters he expressed his conviction on the superiority of the active life, in behalf of family, friends, and the state.

In writing to a friend who was planning to become a monk he said: "Do not believe … that to flee from turmoil, to avoid the view of pleasant things, to enclose oneself in a cloister, or to isolate oneself in a hermitage, constitute the way of perfection … Without doubt you, fleeing from the world, can fall from heaven to earth, while I, remaining in the world, can raise my heart to heaven. As in the case of Petrarch, there is here no rejection of Christian doctrine as such, but there is a rejection of the ascetic ideal that had held so high a place in the medieval period.

Civic Humanism of Bruni. The trend toward civic humanism, which is evident in Salutati, reached perhaps its fullest expression in the works of Leonardo Bruni. Although born in Arezzo, Bruni spent most of his mature years in Florence. He studied Greek under Manuel Chrysoloras there, and came also under the influence of Salutati. After service in the Roman Curia from to , Bruni returned to Florence, where he became chancellor in , a post he held until his death.

The numerous Greek works translated by him included the Ethics and the Politics of Artistotle. These works very likely confirmed him in his belief that the study of politics must have a central place in the educational process, since that study is connected with the bringing of happiness, not just to one man but to the entire population. He considered that the study of politics should be a part of moral philosophy, and that in the classics of the ancient world one could obtain knowledge of those things that concern life and morality, and which, therefore "are called humanitatis studia, inasmuch as they perfect and elevate man" quoted in Garin Cicero was recommended for such studies, but Lactantius, St.

Augustine , and the other Fathers were mentioned also. Boccaccio had praised Petrarch, together with Dante, for the restoration of poetry. Bruni went further and hailed Petrarch as the founder of a new discipline of literary studies. While these 15th-century humanists had progressed sufficiently to realize that Petrarch's Africa could not match the poetic achievements of Vergil's Aeneid , Bruni nevertheless praised Petrarch as the one who restored the humanities to life when they were already extinct, and "opened for us the path upon which we could cultivate learning" quoted from Dialogi ad Petrum Paulum Histrum , in Baron Perhaps the most remarkable presentation of his civic humanism is found in the funeral oration that Bruni composed in , eulogizing Nanni degli Strozzi, a general who had been important in the Florentine coalition that prevented the Visconti tyranny from dominating northern Italy.

The oration is a Renaissance counterpart of the funeral oration in which Pericles — as reported in Thucydides — had praised the free institutions of Athens. Florence, said Bruni, had "revived and rescued from ruin Latin letters, which previously had been abject, prostrate, and almost dead. Some observers consider that the paintings of Masaccio c. It would seem, too, that the interior of the Chapel of San Lorenzo, designed by Brunelleschi — , the Florentine architect, emphasizes the dominance of man in this world, just as clearly as the high nave of Chartres Cathedral emphasizes the otherworldliness of medieval civilization.

Theophilus 10th century , in writing about the nature of art, stated that the achievement in art is "in glorifying the Creator in His Creature, in causing God to be admired in His works. It should be realized that not all Renaissance humanists advocated civic humanism in the same way as Salutati and Bruni. There were those also who served the tyrants and princes, and there were those who did not place emphasis upon the active life. When Cosimo de' medici returned from exile in , Francesco Filelfo — left florence and then spent much of his time writing in opposition to Florence and the Medici.

He went to Milan, where he placed his scholarly services at the disposal of the Visconti tyrants.

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He served the Ambrosian republic during its short life in Milan, and then Francesco sforza, after he gained control of the government in In his earlier life Filelfo had spent seven years in Constantinople, and when he returned to Italy in , brought back a large number of Greek manuscripts, as well as a member of the Chrysoloras family as his first wife. Nevertheless, in his De morali disciplina libri quinque , he did not emphasize the active life or civic humanism of Salutati and Bruni, but praised wisdom, which he defined as knowledge of things divine.

Wisdom contemplates the eternal and immutable, rather than the temporal and mobile see Rice 50 — Bruni had praised the republican freedom of Florence, but Filelfo wrote his epic poem, the Sfortias, to glorify the most successful of the condottieri, Francesco Sforza, who had gained control of Milan solely by military ability, unscrupulousness, and force.

Pontano — was similar to Filelfo in many respects. He had served the tyrannical Aragonese kings of Naples, and received many favors from them. Also, in contrast to Bruni and Salutati, in his De prudentia, Pontano insisted that the prudent man, skilled in civic affairs and business cannot be the wise man who concerns himself with investigating the principles and causes of things see Rice 53 — It would seem, then, that Bruni's civic humanism cannot serve as a general definition of Renaissance humanism, though it certainly was a very important development within that movement see Kristeller, in Helton That Bruni's thought developed in the way that it did must be considered as due in large part to the historical actuality of Florence, which had taken the lead in the later 14th and earlier 15th century in defending central Italy and preventing it from falling completely under the domination of the Visconti tyrants of Milan see Baron passim.

It may well be that "the Renaissance would have been nipped in the bud if Florence had become a provincial town within an Italian kingdom under despotic Viscontean rule" Baron — However, throughout Italy, except for Florence and Venice, the trend of the 14th century was from relatively free communes to one man rule of the signorie and princes.

And, although there is much to be said in favor of the government of Florence or Venice when compared with tyrannies like those of the Visconti, it is nevertheless true that from the early 14th century, Florence and Venice were ruled by small oligarchies of wealthy businessmen rather than by the citizens generally.

Furthermore, however much the Florentines might complain about the aggression of the Visconti, the Florentines themselves were little different, as they brought the other areas of Tuscany under their control. The Visconti had gained control of Milan in , and, except for about ten years in the early 14th century, had held it constantly until After the short-lived Ambrosian republic, Francesco Sforza d.

Other princes and despots of the 14th and 15th centuries included the Este family of Ferrara, the Malatesta of Rimini, and the Bentivoglio family of Bologna. Florence under the Medici. In Florence the executive power was in the hands of a kind of city council — the eight priors and the gonfalonier of justice. The priors were selected by the guilds, but from the early 14th century, a majority of places were allotted to the Seven Greater Guilds, made up of the very wealthy, such as the bankers and great merchants. The Lesser Guilds, including lower tradesmen such as bakers and shoemakers, were allotted only a minority of places.

Furthermore, from the s, the priors were picked by lot, their names being pulled out of an election bag at two-month intervals. The trick in controlling the government was to have charge of the committee that determined which names would be allowed to go into the election bag, and which would be excluded on one pretext or another. In this way the oligarchy could see that enemies did not become priors and that friends did. In there was a revolt of the ciompi, as the wool carders were called, and this led to lower-class control of the government for a short time.

But, by the wealthy oligarchy, led by the Albizzi family, was back in control, which it maintained until , when Cosimo de'Medici d. Cosimo de'Medici held public office for only three terms of two months each, but in effect he was in complete control as the dictator of the city from to On the one hand, he was able to see to it that only names of Medici supporters got into the election bags, and that enemies of his regime had their taxes raised so high that they had no alternative but to move out of the city, as happened to Giannozzo Manetti. On the other hand, Cosimo spent much of his great wealth in the patronage of arts and letters, so that Florentines could be proud of their city and thank the Medici for making it so beautiful and famous.

It appears to have been Cosimo's money and influence that caused the general council that had opened in Ferrara in to be moved to Florence in One of the Greek delegates was Georg Gemistos Plethon, whose lectures on Plato were important in initiating the great interest in Platonic philosophy among the Florentines. This interest led to Cosimo's patronage of Marsilio Ficino — 99 , who later was provided with a monetary allowance and a home near the Medici Villa Careggi.

Important also in the maintenance of Cosimo's position was the successful foreign policy he pursued. In the years following his return from exile in he continued the alliance with Venice, for protection from the aggression of Filippo Maria Visconti of Milan — But after the death of this last of the Visconti, Cosimo broke the link that had existed with Venice and allied himself with Francesco Sforza.

Cosimo realized that Venice was now more of a menace than Milan. He perceived, also, that Sforza would make an excellent ally, since he would need Cosimo's financial support, whereas Venice would not. Venice soon saw the wisdom of coming to terms with Milan Peace of Lodi, and of joining in a league with Florence and Milan. By the papacy and Naples joined with the above three states. The Italian League thus formed was able to keep out foreign invaders and maintain comparative peace within the peninsula.

Historians have usually given Cosimo de'Medici chief credit for the formation and maintenance of this system, though recent studies have held that Francesco Sforza and Pope Pius II — 64 were equally important, if not more so, in keeping up a steadfast opposition to French interference [see V. Cosimo had been willing to maintain his control by such indirect methods, and without changing the constitution of the city, but his grandson Lorenzo the Magnificent d. In Lorenzo established a Council of Seventy.

This Council, which included Lorenzo and friends of the Medici, and which had the right to fill its own vacancies as they occurred, had the power to appoint committees from its own members, to handle foreign affairs, defense, internal security, and finance. Lorenzo's power became constantly more dictatorial until the time of his death. There are indications that he helped his declining financial position by tapping the treasury of the state, and there were murmurings that he dipped into various savings funds, such as the state dowry fund, which the citizens had built up.

Later Florentine Cultural Developments. Florence's later chancellors — Marsuppini, appointed in , Poggio in , and Benedetto Accolti in — became merely ornamental, while Bartolomeo Scala, appointed in , devoted himself chiefly to praising the Medici. In contrast to Salutati, who had insisted upon the importance of the active life in preference to the ascetic ideal, Marsilio ficino — 99 , an ardent student of Plato and the founder of the Platonic Academy in Florence, insisted upon the superiority of the mind and spirit of man over the body and all things material.

He was convinced that the farther behind the mind can leave the body, the more perfect it is. As man goes about his intellectual activities, studying the liberal arts , astronomy, music, and poetry, "in all these arts the mind of man despises the service of the body, since the mind is able at times, and can even now begin, to live without the help of the body" tr.

Playing at Monarchy: Sport as Metaphor in Nineteenth-Century France

Burroughs, in Ross and McLaughlin — Because of his conviction of the unity of truth, he believed that apparently contradictory philosophies really share in a common truth. Paralleling Ficino's emphasis upon the spirit, Pico explains, in his Oration of the Dignity of Man, that man is the only creature whose life is determined not by nature, but by his own free choice. Ficino's desire to get away from the material is probably best reflected in the paintings of Sandro Botticelli d.

The Renaissance confronted the papacy with a difficult political problem: the aggressive expansion of the nearby Italian states would be achieved at the expense of the Papal States , unless adequate means of defense could be found by the militarily weak popes. In this crisis some popes resorted to means that were too much like those in vogue at the time and which have been labeled "Machiavellian.

Nicholas V. The cultural development of the Renaissance presented a much more subtle danger and one that was not immediately apparent. Understandably, he considered that the center of the religious world should look the part and should also be the center of the cultural world. His wholesale patronage, however, resulted in his bringing of certain humanists into the papal service whose personal lives and writings left much to be desired on moral grounds.

Among them was Lorenzo Valla mentioned above. Niccoli's defense of the Christian view won out in the debate, but Valla presented the Epicurean view so vividly that some have considered that it represented his personal belief. If this work is read together with Valla's De professione religiosorum, in which he attacks the whole idea of monasticism, it appears that Valla's position is that whatever comes from nature is good and praiseworthy.

On the other hand, he considered continence unnatural and therefore wrong. He seems to have considered pleasure man's highest good. Immediate Successors of Nicholas V. Consequently, Pius was not quite so lavish in his patronage. Under paul ii — 71 some of the worst pagan aspects of the movement began to appear in the Roman Academy, led by Pomponius Laetus. Paul understandably looked upon this development with disfavor, and in the quarrel that resulted, a political conspiracy was planned and was said to include a plot to murder the Pope.

After discovery of the plot, however, Pomponius Laetus and Platina were arrested. Actually, it was imperative for him to gain control of the cities throughout the Papal States that were held by local despots who allied themselves with enemies of the papacy at will. It seemed to Sixtus that his only safe course was to install his nephews in such cities. When Lorenzo de'Medici, who was interested in expansion toward the Adriatic, tried to interfere, the Pazzi conspiracy of to overthrow the Medici was planned by a nephew of the Pope, but with the Pope's knowledge.

Pastor provided ample documentation to prove that Sixtus directed that murder should not be employed, but Giuliano, the brother of Lorenzo, was nevertheless killed. Alexander VI. Innocent was followed by the worst of the Renaissance popes, alexander vi — The immorality of his personal life is indisputable. Machiavelli maintained that a prince who tries to be good in the midst of so many who are not good is bound to fail. Hence he warned that a prince who insists on keeping his promises will not be successful.

Some historians have attempted to explain away what Machiavelli wrote in The Prince, claiming that he meant it only as a satire, and that his true, democratic thought is to be found in his Discourses on the First Decade of Livy. Actually, the same basic principles are to be found in the Discourses. For example, in book 1, ch. Julius II and Leo X. The last great popes in the Renaissance tradition were julius ii — 13 and leo x — Despite the brilliance of their reigns from the cultural point of view, the Renaissance in Italy was beginning to be overshadowed by developments elsewhere in Europe.

The sack of Rome in and the momentous happenings north of the Alps marked the beginning of a new age, especially in politics and religion. The Renaissance in the strict sense was an Italian movement. In its spread to Spain and to the countries north of the Alps, it encountered new political, cultural, and religious conditions and accordingly took on a somewhat different aspect.

It should be observed also that it was the later Italian Renaissance that exercised the major influence outside Italy. Printing and the Renaissance. The art of printing was developed in Germany c. The new art was soon carried into Italy, and presses were established at Rome, Venice, and other cities. It was not received with any great enthusiasm by certain humanists at first, and was opposed, understandably, by the professional scribes, but long before the printed book replaced the manuscript as the normal form of book production.

The invention of printing created a revolution in the dissemination of learning, the effects of which would be difficult to exaggerate. The spread of Renaissance writings and ideas within Italy and outside Italy was now rapid and effective and the whole program of education at all levels was put on a new foundation. A careful study of the printed books before reveals concretely both the spread of the new learning and, at the same time, the vitality of the late medieval cultural tradition.

Owing to the inclusion of the Low countries in the Spanish empire, there were intimate contacts also between Spanish humanism and northern humanism. Enthusiasm for the new learning produced the great scholar Antonio de Nebrija — Juan Luis vives of Valencia challenged the medieval dialecticians and composed new rules of literary style and influential theories of education. Renaissance in the North. France and England, although among the first kingdoms to feel their growth into nationhood, largely as a result of the Years' War, resisted humanism and other features of the Renaissance longer then other areas of Northern Europe.

Like Germany, they were governed by a rural nobility that clung to the traditions of courtly chivalry. However, clerics and officials of the crown in their visits to Italy occasionally brought back an enthusiasm for the new learning. Hence, some humanists were invited into the employ of wealthy patrons or into the schools and universities.

But it was not until the last quarter of the 15th century that cultural contacts were extensive. Besides literary interest in the classics, the northern Renaissance developed a practical and pedagogical character that included a critical study of the manuscripts of Scripture, patristic literature , and a corresponding impatience with scholastic method.

Moreover, they were strong advocates of ecclesiastical reform. In England, William Grocyn , student of the two greatest Greek stylists, Angelo Poliziano — 94 and Demetrius Chalcondyles — , brought his own knowledge of Greek to a perfection that won praise even from the refugee scholars from Constantinople. The lectures of John colet ? Paul 's letters, rather than upon the prevailing allegorical interpretation. Colet founded St. Paul 's School in London as a center of the new theology. What Colet was doing for theology, Thomas linacre ? He translated some of his treatises of the Greek physicians, especially Galen, into Latin and later founded the Royal College of Physicians.

It was Linacre who taught Greek to St. Thomas more, whose own mastery of classical and English prose produced some of the finest examples of Renaissance writing, especially the Utopia, where wit and gravity vie in an indictment of society. The decentralized political structure of Germany favored the academic rivalry out of which several centers of humanism emerged. Ludwig Dringenberg d. The generous favor of Emperor Maximilian I led to the formation of literary academies by Conrad Celtis and Johannes Cuspinian and the rise of such scholars as Conrad Peutinger, leading antiquary and epigraphist of Augsburg.

Jakob Wimpfeling of Schlettstadt, the "Schoolmaster of Germany," was surrounded by a growing circle of scholars at Strassburg, as was Maternus Pistoris d. Investigation of Latin and Greek texts soon included scriptural and exegetical writing. Ridicule was heaped upon the techniques of the scholastic theologians in the Epistolae obscurorum virorum and in the Narrenschiff of Sebastian Brandt.

Outstanding as a classical and patristic scholar, he made important contributions in the textual study of the Bible. He was a severe critic of the contemporary Church and of scholastic theology, and an ardent advocate of reform, but he regarded Luther's revolt as a calamity and refused to support it.

Scholars continue to explore the cultural, artistic, and intellectual legacies of the Italian Renaissance and the national movements it helped produce in Northern Europe. In recent decades historians have returned again to debate humanism's precise influence upon the cultural life of Renaissance cities. Following the work of Hans Baron some have stressed the decisive role that "civic humanism" played in shaping the values of Renaissance culture. Others have seen humanism's penetration of the world of the Renaissance as more problematic and diffuse.

The researches of Paul Kristeller, Charles Trinkaus, and others have stressed that the studia humanitatis was primarily an educational and rhetorical movement. As such, they have stressed that humanism's influence was often more conservative and traditional than dynamic or modern. Despite these ongoing debates about the precise character of Renaissance humanism, few would deny that the Renaissance did produce new approaches to art, literature, learning, and politics. Above all, a new view of humankind and its place and role in the world seems to have been one of the era's most distinctive contributions to the modern world.

Bibliography: w. Princeton Bologna — New York Louis — Philadelphia Although the term is well established in the writings of historians, its usefulness has been challenged. Indeed, there has grown up around the concept of the Renaissance an extensive controversy that sometimes threatens completely to divert the attention of scholars from the historical facts. In part, this controversy is simply an acute form of the general problem of periodization in history.

The concept of the Renaissance, however, arouses particularly strong opposition because it involves a disparagement of the preceding period, the Middle Ages medium aevum , from which culture presumably had to be awakened. The idea of a rebirth of literature or of the arts originated in the period itself. Petrarch in the fourteenth century hoped to see an awakening of culture, and many later writers expressed their conviction that they were actually witnessing such an awakening in their own time.


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Latin was generally the language used by cultivated men to discuss such matters, but no single Latin term or phrase became the standard name for the whole cultural epoch. One of the earliest historians of philosophy in the modern sense, Johann Jakob Brucker, in referred to the Renaissance only as the "restoration of letters" restauratio literanum , and wrote of the "recovery of philosophy" restitutio philosophiae : Even in an earlier German work he used such Latin phrases.

Scholars who wrote in Latin never used rinascentia as the name for the cultural epoch as a whole. It was the French word renaissance that finally acquired this status and was then adopted or adapted into other languages. During the seventeenth century, and fitfully before, French scholars used the phrase renaissance des lettres for the humanists' restitutio bonarum literarum , taking over in the process the humanist periodization of history. Other writers translated the Latin phrase or phrases into their own vernacular: Edward Gibbon spoke of the "restoration of the Greek letters in Italy," while Heinrich Ritter, in his history of philosophy , remarked that the Wiederherstellung der Wissenschaften derived its name from philology.

Various French authors used the term renaissance in titles of their works before Jules Michelet devoted one of his volumes on sixteenth-century France to la Renaissance However, Michelet gave only the sketchiest characterization of the period, and hardly deserves to be credited if indeed any one person can be with having "invented" the concept of the Renaissance.

Michelet did coin one memorable phrase: He remarked that two things especially distinguished the Renaissance from previous periods — "the discovery of the world, the discovery of man. At his hands, the concept of the Renaissance received what was to become its classic formulation; all subsequent discussion of the concept invariably focuses upon Burckhardt's description of the essential features of life during the Renaissance. Burckhardt, taking the term in its narrow sense of a literary revival of antiquity, conceded that there had been earlier "renaissances" in Europe; but he insisted that a renaissance in this sense would never have conquered the Western world had it not been united with the "already-existing spirit of the Italian people" italienischen Volksgeist.

Not until the time of Petrarch, so Burckhardt held, did the European spirit awake from the slumber of the Middle Ages , when the world and man lay "undiscovered. The relation of the Renaissance to the era that preceded it has been much studied because defenders of medieval culture quickly came to the rescue of their period, stressing its continuity with, or even its superiority to, the Renaissance. However, little has been done to clarify the relation of the Renaissance to the Enlightenment.

This is rather surprising, for there was an issue that ran straight through the thought of both these eras: "Can we modern men hope to equal or even excel the achievements of antiquity? However, much the same attitude as Fontenelle's is found in the De Disciplinis of the Renaissance humanist Juan Luis Vives , who wrote in the early sixteenth century. The Renaissance itself had championed the moderns even before modern science had arisen to prove their case.

Renaissance confidence in men's powers was based on art and literature rather than on science, but it was strong nevertheless. Men could respect classical excellence and yet strive to outdo the ancients in every field, including vernacular literature. Each choice represents the selection of a particular field as central in the history of the period: art, architecture, religion, politics, economics, trade, or learning.

In certain fields it is hard to maintain any sharp break between conditions in, let us say, and those in However, few students of the history of art or of literature are prepared to deny completely the start of new trends in the fourteenth century at least in Italy. In literature, Petrarch's enthusiasm for Greek antiquity must surely be accepted as inaugurating, in the eyes of men in the fourteenth century, a fresh start.

In painting, there is little hesitation about ascribing a similar place to Petrarch's contemporary, Giotto; this ascription dates from the earliest attempt at a history of art, that of Giorgio Vasari No such figures can plausibly be singled out to mark new beginnings in economic or political history. Difficulties also surround the choice of an event to mark the end of the Renaissance: the sacking of Rome in , the hardening of the Counter-Reformation via the Council of Trent in , the burning of Giordano Bruno in , or Galileo Galilei's setting of experimental physics on its true path around — any of these might be selected.

Once again, however, a periodization that is useful in one field may prove useless in another field. Generally speaking, the era from to will include most of the developments commonly dealt with under the heading "Renaissance. The shifting locale of the Renaissance presents problems similar to those of its chronological limits. Burckhardt's description focused exclusively on Italy; he implied that the Renaissance, after it had been taken over by the Italian Volksgeist , moved on to the rest of Europe. The movement to France is usually said to have resulted from the French invasion of Italy in , which gave the French nobility their first glimpse of the glories of the Italian Renaissance.

No comparable event can be singled out for the bringing of the Italian Renaissance to England, unless it be the return from Italy to their native land of the classical scholars William Grocyn , Thomas Linacre , and John Colet in the last decade of the fifteenth century, or perhaps Desiderius Erasmus's arrival there about the same time. Clearly England did enjoy a renaissance, but it is not easy to fix its dates: English literary historians prefer to discuss the Elizabethan age or the age of the Tudors, thus sidestepping the question of the relation of the English Renaissance to that of the Continent.

Still less clear is the coming of the Renaissance to the German lands: German historians treat the sixteenth century as the "time of the Reformation," and tend to discuss the Renaissance chiefly in terms of its impact upon individual reformers. The Renaissance is sometimes called the "age of adventure. It was the shutting off of Venetian trade routes through the Mediterranean by the Turks that forced Europeans to search for new routes to the East, not a new desire for scientific knowledge of geography.

The Spanish conquistadores may have thirsted for glory, but such a thirst was characteristic of medieval knights as well as of Renaissance humanists. The motives of the Franciscan missionaries were clearly religious and medieval in spirit. Moreover, in the field of domestic trade, the resurgence of economic activity in the fifteenth century that formed the basis for the cultural developments of the Renaissance was less a matter of suddenly effective acquisitiveness than of normal recovery from the slump brought about by the Black Death in Historians may without hesitation ascribe a rebirth of classical knowledge to the Renaissance period.

The discovery of old manuscripts and the invention of printing combined to make the heritage of ancient Greece and Rome available to a far wider audience. The humanists of the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries discovered and preserved many ancient texts that had been neglected for centuries. Of these perhaps the most significant from a philosophical point of view was Lucretius's De Rerum Natura , but many other newly discovered texts helped to enrich men's general familiarity with antiquity and to present in full view the setting in which Greek and Roman philosophy originated. The collecting of manuscripts could be indulged in only by noblemen or well-to-do scholars, but the invention of printing made possible a broader social base for intellectual interests.

With the production of vast numbers of newly discovered texts, self-education became a real possibility, as did institutional education on a broad scale. Peter Ramus in France and Philipp Melanchthon in Germany urged the educating of the people, chiefly with the idea of promoting intelligent Christian piety. Developments in technology and science indirectly provided material for philosophical reflection.

The increased use of firearms and cannon in war, for example, made necessary the mathematical study of ballistics; and the scientific work of Benedetti and Galileo drew upon the practical experience of foundries and arsenals. However, Renaissance philosophy of science still took its cue largely from Aristotle: Francis Bacon , dissatisfied with Aristotelian logic and methodology of science, found a replacement not in the actual practices of mechanics and craftsmen but in the rhetorical method derived from Aristotle and applied to the questioning of Nature.

The most spectacular and far-reaching scientific development during the Renaissance was the heliocentric theory advanced by Nicolas Copernicus, who found hints about Pythagorean cosmology in ancient works. The Copernican theory was surely the most significant revolution ever to take place in science. Far less conspicuous, but still important, were the developments in pure and applied mathematics. Modern notation such as the use of the "equals" sign began to be adopted, bringing with it the possibility of greater attention to logical form.

There have been many attempts, beginning with Michelet and Burckhardt, to capture the mind or spirit of Renaissance man. All such attempts seem doomed to failure, for they are bound to oversimplify complex social facts. We may, however, single out four sets of social ideals that were characteristic of various groups during the Renaissance.

The ideals of the feudal nobility, medieval in origin, persisted through the Renaissance among the ruling class, although they underwent considerable refinement. The rude military virtues of camp and field gave way to the graces of the court, which were set forth most admirably in Baldassare Castiglione's book The Courtier , one of the most influential treatises on manners ever written. In Castiglione's ideal courtier we may recognize the ancestor of our "gentleman.

In the heroic life idealized by the feudal tradition, love of glory and concern for one's reputation were strong social motives. The humanists' thirst for glory, which Burckhardt emphasized, merely continues this concern but applies it to the achievements of a nonwarrior class, the "knights of the pen.

Few social theorists extolled the virtues of commercial activity until Martin Luther stressed the sanctity of all callings, provided they benefited one's fellow men. Religion provided the second set of ideals, which centered upon moral salvation and involved a willingness to relinquish the world and all its goods. This mood, exacerbated in some individuals by the terror of imminent death or of eternal damnation, continued unabated throughout the Renaissance; and the entire Reformation movement has been called the "last great wave of medieval mysticism.

A genuine tension often resulted from the opposing pulls of these religious values and of secular attitudes and this-worldliness: Aristotelian philosophers as well as humanists felt this tension during the Renaissance. A third set of ideals, that of the ancient sage Platonic or Stoic , was consciously adopted by Renaissance humanists as an adjunct to Christian exhortation, for many of them felt that Christians could learn much from pagan expounders of virtue.

Rarely, if ever, did a humanist attempt to replace the Christian ideal altogether: Burckhardt undoubtedly overstressed the "paganism" of the humanists. Finally, there was the ideal of a return to nature, a flight from the complexities of sophisticated urban life to pastoral pleasures. This theme has ancient antecedents in the poetry of Theocritus and Vergil, but it emerges into new prominence with Petrarch, who also stressed the benefits of solitude. Passive delight in the beauties of nature can hardly ever be totally lacking in human beings, of course, but during the Renaissance we find an interest in such activities as gardening, the collecting of strange plants and animals, and strolling through woods and fields.

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Petrarch's famous excursion to the summit of Mont Ventoux turned into an occasion for Christian self-reproach, to be sure, but his letters also abound in references to his gardening and to lone promenades in the countryside near Vaucluse. A major role in the culture of the Renaissance was played by the humanists. All sorts of people call themselves "humanists" today, but in the early days of the Renaissance the name had a clear occupational meaning.

During the fourteenth century, the traditional subjects of grammar, rhetoric, and poetry had begun to be called, after a phrase of Cicero, the studio humanitatis. The term umanista was coined on the analogy of artista , also a product of university slang to designate a teacher of these subjects in Italian universities. Such studies were by no means new in the fourteenth century; in fact, the humanists were the heirs of a less ambitious but old and respectable medieval profession, that of the dictator or teacher of the art of letter-writing ars dictaminis.

The Renaissance teachers of "humanities" placed a greater emphasis on ancient models than had the dictatores , but their teaching had much the same; objective. Their students often became official letter-writers or speechmakers for popes and princes. Coluccio Salutati and Leonardo Bruni, two of the most influential humanists of the fifteenth century, were chancellors of Florence. The study of Greek philosophy owes much to these two men. Renaissance humanists did not propound a distinct philosophy but took over from Cicero and Aulus Gellius the ancient ideal of a civilized and urbane way of life that could be formed through acquaintance with Greek literature.

With such a program in mind, the humanists began to concern themselves with moral and political philosophy, and this brought them into conflict with the philosophers who taught ethics or politics in the universities. The humanists regarded the Aristotelian Schoolmen as derelict in the performance of their duties, since their teaching so the humanists claimed made no differences in the lives of students.

The scholastic teachers, in return, regarded the humanists as dilettantes and upstarts, meddling in subjects beyond their depth. The feud of humanists with philosophers began with Petrarch's invective against the secular Aristotelians, the so-called Averroists of his day, and continued through the seventeenth century. We still tend to see Renaissance Aristotelianism and medieval Scholasticism as well through the eyes of these Renaissance humanists.

Their bias has crept into most histories of philosophy, largely because the first writers of histories of philosophy shared some of the humanist attitudes. One such early historian was Brucker, whose Critical History of Philosophy — has already been mentioned. Brucker presented the Renaissance as a time when human thought emerged slowly into the light a standard metaphor from the tiresome labyrinths of medieval Scholasticism.

He divided his treatment into various sections, dealing with schools of Greek philosophy that were "restored" during the Renaissance. In spite of his scorn for "more recent Aristotelian-scholastic philosophers," Brucker had great respect for the philosophers who followed the "genuine philosophy of Aristotle": Pietro Pomponazzi , Simon Porta, Jacopo Zabarella , and others. Few modern historians of philosophy pay much attention to these writers. They do, however, characteristically devote lengthy sections to Paracelsus, Jakob Boehme , Robert Fludd , and other "theosophers.

Whatever his own philosophical competence may have been, Brucker had one clear advantage over most later historians: He had actually read the Renaissance writers he discussed. Much of Renaissance philosophy still awaits reevaluation based upon such actual reading of texts. The general framework of Brucker's treatment of Renaissance philosophy remains a useful way of dealing with most of the thought of the period. The various sects of Greek philosophy were indeed "reborn" during the Renaissance; few of them escaped some sort of revival. There was even what might be called a genuine rebirth of Aristotle, if we mean by this what Brucker probably meant: an Aristotelianism based directly upon the Greek texts rather than upon Latin or Arabic commentators.

It cannot be too strongly emphasized that the main stream of philosophical inquiry during the Renaissance continued to be Aristotelian. The terms employed in philosophical discussion, the problems posed, and the characteristic solutions remain, in basic outline, Aristotelian. Almost all Renaissance philosophers show the influence of their Aristotelian school training, even when they are trying most strenuously to break the shackles of that tradition.

The technical terms of philosophy such as propositio, entitas, realis, materia, forma, essentia and many others originated or became naturalized in the Aristotelian school-tradition, and persisted even in the writings of the most daring innovators, such as Bruno. The Aristotelian tradition, for reasons already in part suggested, remains the least known and most maligned of all Renaissance schools. Platonism took on new life during the Renaissance, after having been known for centuries chiefly through Aristotle's attacks on it.

There was more acquaintance with Plato during the medieval period than is generally recognized, but it is still true that Marsilio Ficino 's translations into Latin first published in gave the main impetus to the spread of Plato's doctrines. Later editions of Plato often contained Ficino's translations of Proclus and Porphyry, together with his own commentaries, which were strongly colored by his Neoplatonism.

Hence, the Platonism that emerged during the Renaissance cannot be distinguished easily from Neoplatonism, for it tends to be otherworldly and religious in tone. The cultural influence of Florentine Platonism emanated from the famous academy founded by Ficino in direct imitation of Plato's school.

The society that grouped itself around Ficino aimed at moral improvement and resembled in character certain lay religious societies common in Italy at that time. The whole movement of natural religion was set in motion by Florentine Platonism, as was the renewed study of Pauline theology by such men as John Colet. Florentine Platonism is well known, by name at least, to most students of the Renaissance. Much less well known is a tradition of reconciling Plato with Aristotle, which also found expression during the period. Byzantine scholars had brought with them to Italy an old battle over the superiority of Plato or Aristotle.

During the late Renaissance this battle resolved itself into a truce, with many books written to show that Plato and Aristotle agreed on fundamentals and differed only on words or nonessentials. Only a few late Renaissance thinkers, such as Justus Lipsius and Guillaume du Vair, committed themselves explicitly to Stoicism, but the influence of Stoic philosophy may be seen at work directly and indirectly largely via Cicero, Seneca, and the Greek commentators on Aristotle even during the early Renaissance.

Pomponazzi's rigorous moral doctrine, for example, is strongly tinged with Stoic attitudes.

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Rejected with horror by medieval thinkers, who saw him through the eyes of the Church Fathers, Epicurus began to be more sympathetically known as a result of humanist activity in the fifteenth century. Previous to this time, anyone who believed that the soul perished with the body was called an Epicurean, whether he held to any other Epicurean tenet or not. Now it was no longer possible to apply this label so casually. Lucretius's great poem won immediate favor because of its sturdy poetic qualities, but, until Pierre Gassendi in the seventeenth century, no one adopted the system of Epicurus in its entirety.

Nevertheless, Epicurean influence prior to Gassendi's time did foster a climate less hostile to the concepts of pleasure and utility. The direct influence of philosophical skepticism in a technical sense began with the first publication of Sextus Empiricus in , from which time skepticism exercised an important influence upon European thought and literature.

The religious factionalism or warfare of the sixteenth century had brought about a widespread distrust of dogmatism and fanaticism on the part of such sophisticated minds as Erasmus and Michel Eyquem de Montaigne, whose writings may have contributed to the growth of that spirit of toleration usually associated with the Enlightenment. The Renaissance was immensely receptive perhaps more so than the Middle Ages to occult and secret lore of all kinds, especially if it claimed to come from the most ancient times and to incorporate the wisdom of the Egyptians, Chaldeans, and Hebrews.

When the fashion for reviving ancient thought was at its height, the spurious treatises of "thrice-great Hermes," the so-called Hermetic writings, enjoyed great prestige and blended easily with various other secret teachings, such as that of the Jewish Kabbalah. Toward the end of the Renaissance, the vogue for reviving past philosophies began to subside: Instead, there began to appear "new" philosophies and "new" systems of thought proudly announced as such, for instance, the Nova de Universis Philosophia offered by Francesco Patrizzi or the Great Instauration explicitly opposed to a "restoration" of Francis Bacon.

However, most of these efforts at original creation clearly bear the stamp of some ancient sect or sects of philosophy. Even Nicholas of Cusa , the most original systematic mind of the Renaissance, could be called and indeed once called himself a Pythagorean.