Italy from 1450-present

Present-day Italy, Vatican City, San Marino

Italian Renaissance

Italian City-States

  • Merchants became really wealthy & led comfortable lives

    • Florence was the wealthiest city-state

    • Most merchants were wealthy bankers

  • Most Northern Italian states were known as communes

    • Ruled by a few wealthy merchants (oligarchy)

    • Only wealthy merchants or people who lived their for a long time could afford to stay

    • Merchants regulated everything, nobles didn't have much power

    • These wealthy merchant rulers built huge courts to display their wealth

      • Important ceremonies would happen there

  • Renaissance created a strong attachment to one city, leading to the growth of major city-states

    • Larger Italian city-states were dominating & absorbing the smaller ones

    • Venice, Milan, Papal States (Rome), Naples, & Florence were  most powerful states

      • Venice was ruled by merchant oligarchy

      • Milan was ruled by Sforza family

      • Spanish Kingdom of Aragon ruled Naples

      • Medici family ruled Florence

  • Dominican Friar Girolamo Savanarola expelled Medicis from Florence

    • Believed Medicis were corrupt as they were secular & corrupt

    • Savanarola organized government according to Christian standards

    • Pope excommunicated him & Medicis retook power as Florentines became tired of his rule


Origins of Renaissance

  • Renaissance refers to a "rebirth" of human achievements & ancient literature

    • Giorgio Vasari first coined the word "Renaissance"​

  • Humanism refers to the study of human achievements

    • Francesco Petrarch uncovered ancient Roman texts, believed those to be valuable

      • Studied Cicero, enjoyed his elegant writing & use of Latin language​

    • Petrarch's revival of ancient Latin classics was known as humanism

  • Believed humans lay in between God & material world

    • Marsilio Ficino believed Plato was precursor of Christ

    • Giovanni Pico della Mirandola believed humans that to excellent things have virtú (virtue)

      • Wrote Oration on the Dignity of Man, detailing how being a man is a really good thing​

    • Believed in studying things in their ideal form

  • Believed education was for the public good as opposed to for private or religious purposes

    • Believed all men should be educated in Latin classics & humanist thought​

    • Didn't believe women should be educated as much

    • Baldassare Castiglione wrote The Courtier (1528), believed men should be educated to gain a higher place in society

  • Niccolo Machiavelli wrote The Prince (1532)

    • Believed rulers should be wise & must preserve security​

    • Believed rulers can do brutal things to maintain power but shouldn't do anything for personal pleasure


Spread of Renaissance Ideals & Renaissance Art

  • Renaissance ideals were shown via art

  • Urban groups & wealthy people commissioned famous artists to make works of art

    • Filippo Brunelleschi designed the Florence dome​

    • Michelangelo painted the Sistine Chapel of Vatican City, commissioned by Pope Julius II

  • Art showed human ideals as opposed to spiritual ideals

    • Giotto started by sculpting/painting real human figures instead of exaggerated ​​body parts

    • Filippo Brunelleschi also developed linear perspective

      • This can create 3-D depictions on a 2-D surface​

      • Piera della Francesca used linear perspective in his works

    • Donatello sculpted accurate human figures to represent balance instead of exaggeration

  • Artists were patronized for their artistic styles

  • Most artists were trained in workshops

    • Women rarely received full training like men​


Major Renaissance People & Works

Giorgio Vasari

First person to coin the term "Renaissance." Means "rebirth."

Francesco Petrarch

Created humanist thought, Revived ancient Roman classics, promoted the study of human achievements (humanism). 

Marsilio Ficino

Studied Plato, believed Platonic teachings to be the precursor to Christianity. 

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Giovanni Pico della Mirandola

Wrote Oration on the Dignity of Man, believed mankind is good & men (especially virtuous men) are good people. 

Baldassare Castiglione

Wrote The Courtier, believed men should be educated in order to gain a high status in society. Didn't women should be as educated. 

Niccolo Machiavelli

Wrote The Prince, believed rulers should be wise & can use brutal tactics to maintain rule but not for personal pleasure. 

Thomas More

English Northern Renaissance thinker. Wrote Utopia, believed there lay a utopian land where poverty doesn't exist & all men get humanist education. 

Desiderius Erasmus

Northern Renaissance thinker from Rotterdam. Believed the church should have a Renaissance, promoted reading the Bible & ancient Christian texts. 

Filippo Brunelleschi

Commissioned by wealthy Florentine merchants to make the Florence dome. Known for developing idea of linear perspective. 

Giotto & Donatello

Made sculptures that depict actual human figures as opposed to exaggerated human figures. 

Piero della Francesca

Famous for using linear perspective in his works. 

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Albrecht Dürer

German Northern Renaissance thinker. Made woodcuts (mechanical devices) to aid other artists in using linear perspective. 

Society During Renaissance Time

  • Slavery was somewhat common

    • Africans were regarded as inferior & many Europeans kept Africans as slaves

    • Started in Ancient Rome, but local authorities banned slavery later on

    • Slavery continued later, having slaves signified wealth

  • Most hierarchies were based on wealth

    • Wealthy merchants lived in large houses & sometimes gained political power

    • Still, nobles had higher social status than commoners

    • People did things for honor, regardless of the wealth it provided​

  • Women were regarded as inferior to men

    • Many philosophers wondered why women were inferior​

    • ​Unmarried men were inferior to married men

    • Women needed to be married as they couldn't support a family with their small wage

    • This gender arrangement was the most natural hierarchical arrangement in society


Developments Within Catholicism

Council of Trent (1545-1563) & Catholic Counter Reformation

  • Pope Paul III called Council of Trent (1545-1563) to reform Catholic doctrine

    • Sought to reconcile all of Christianity​

    • Banned sale of indulgences

    • Required all bishops to reside in their dioceses

      • Bishops thus can only hold one office, ending practice of pluralism

    • Required stricter education & stricter selection process for clergymen

    • Made scriptures the true source of religious authority

    • Still kept Latin as official language of church


Other Developments Within Catholicism

  • Ignatius Loyola founded Society of Jesus (1534)

    • Followers were known as Jesuits

    • Had rigorous training standards

    • Believed in asceticism, seclusion, & prayer

    • Appealed to many people, got many Protestants to convert back to Catholicism

  • Witch-hunting became common

    • People tried & executed those who they believed worshipped the Devil​

    • Believed they wanted to overthrow Christianity

    • People would accuse others whom they believed were witches, mostly women

    • 45,000 supposed witches were executed

    • Witch-hunting was done in mass (witch panics) after a natural disaster

      • People would blame multiple people for horrible things, often because one witch would give the names of other witches


Pre-Exploration Situation

  • Before European exploration, Venice & Genoa dominated European trade

    • Venice would acquire luxury goods from the East & trade with the rest of Europe for huge profits

    • Genoa would look west & help with finance

  • Venice & Genoa were crucial for European exploration

    • Venice dominated slavery in Black Sea region​

    • Genoa dominated slavery in North Africa, Iberia, and Canary Islands

    • Both were crucial in bringing slavery to the New World

    • Genoa's finance techniques were used to finance exploration in the New World


Baroque Art

  • Emotional & exuberant art style

    • Instead of realist works (like Renaissance), they'd glorify & exaggerate certain figures

    • Had lots of emotion, tension, animation, contrast

    • Often glorified monarchs or religious figures

    • Wanted paintings to appeal to the senses of ordinary people instead of only the wealthy (like Renaissance)

  • Baroque art was often used in churches & Catholic buildings

  • Baroque Music came later

    • Johann Sebastian Bach wrote both secular & religious pieces with lots of emotion & tension​


Scientific Revolution:

Origins of Scientific Revolution

  • Previously, people believed in Aristotle's & Ptolemy's astronomical views

    • Believed Earth was center of universe & other bodies rotated around the Earth

    • Believed force moved an object at a constant speed & removing force stops the object

    • Believed planets orbit around the Earth in epicycles (series of semicircular-shaped orbits)

  • These ideas were readily adopted by society as they fit nicely into the Christian doctrine

  • As Islamic scholars acquired these Aristotelian views, they added their own commentary on it & spread it throughout Europe

  • The growth of medieval European universities led to the spread of these ideas


Discoveries in Scientific Revolution


  • In early 1500s, Nicolaus Copernicus developed the heliocentric model (sun is center of universe)

    • Believed Earth & other planets orbit the sun

    • Believed stars are still

    • Some Protestants supported him, but Catholic church declared it false in 1616

      • Catholics believed that Earth was unique compared to other planets so it must be in the center of universe

  • In 1576, Tycho Brahe built an observatory in Denmark, funded by the Danish King

    • The Holy Roman Emperor funded another observatory for him in Prague

    • Brahe made Rudolphine Tables, a series of tables with measurements & observations on planetary motion he observed

  • After Brahe's death, his assistant, Johannes Kepler, used his tables to make discoveries

    • Kepler discovered that planetary orbits are elliptical & increase in speed when closer to sun

    • Also studied optics & explained eye refraction

    • Made astrological discoveries which many believed to be false, harming his reputation

  • Galileo Galilei used experimentation & scientific method to make discoveries

    • Created idea of experimentation: Proving major concepts using small-scale experiments

    • Discovered law of inertia using experimentation​

      • Rolled a ball down a hill to prove this

    • Discovered that force causes acceleration, disproving Aristotelian physics

    • Officially declared a heretic in 1633 by Pope Urban VIII

  • Isaac Newton studied forces of the universe

    • Created law of universal gravitation, published his findings in Principia Mathematica


Other Sciences

  • Francis Bacon developed idea of research & scientific experiments to prove new knowledge

    • Created idea of collecting & analyzing samples

    • Created idea of empericism: New discoveries require evidence from experimentation instead of speculation​ (using reason instead of concrete experiments)

  • Rene Descartes used speculation to develop his ideas

    • Speculation / rational reasoning is the idea of developing theories through direct observation instead of actual experimentation & proof

    • Discovered that algebra & geometry are related

  • In 1628, William Harvey discovered blood circulation

    • Previously, Ancient Greek Physician named Galen believed the body had 4 substances; Believed sickness was imbalance of these substances

    • Harvey discovered that the heart pumps blood throughout our body, explaining the functions of our muscles & valves

  • Robert Boyle discovered Boyle's Law (1662): Pressure of a gas is inversely proportional to its volume

Natural History

  • As Europeans explored the world, scientists studied the plants & animals of those places

    • Discovered that some plants can be ​used as medicine or food

    • Many discovered exotic plants & animals and brought them home

    • King Philip II of Spain commissioned many scientists to study the advantages of plants & animals in the New World


List of Important People in Scientific Revolution

Nicolaus Copernicus

First person to propose heliocentric model (in which all planets orbit the sun instead of the earth). 

Galileo Galilei

Used telescope, proved heavenly bodies (sun, moon, Venus, etc.) aren't spherical & smooth like Bible claims. Proved law of inertia. 

Johannes Kepler

Proved planets' orbits are elliptical instead of circular. 

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Isaac Newton

Proved the forces of universal gravitation that govern the universe. 

William Harvey

Discovered blood circulation. Studied anatomy, discovered that women's bodies are useless compared to men's bodies. 

Tycho Brahe

Built two observatories. Created Rudolphine Tables, which were tables depicting the position of various astronomical bodies at certain times. Influenced Kepler's work. 

Robert Boyle

Created Boyle's Law, saying that the pressure of a gas is inversely proportional to its volume. 

Francis Bacon

Created idea of empericism, using experimentation instead of speculation to prove discoveries. 

Rene Descartes

Created the idea of speculation to prove discoveries. Proved the relationship between algebra & geometry. 

Effect of Scientific Revolution

  • Scientific Revolution led people to undermine Catholic teachings

    • Most of the discoveries undermined Catholic ideas about the universe​

    • Scientific Revolution coupled with Protestant Revolution led many to convert to Protestantism

  • Scientific Revolution led many people to create societies that discuss various scientific discoveries

    • States sponsored academies of science, which discussed the newest scientific discoveries

    • England created the Royal Society, an academy of science

  • Scientists created a new faith called deism

    • This is the idea that god created the universe but didn't intervene in its affairs

    • Believed that the natural forces of the universe govern our universe instead of god


Unification of Italy

Camillo Cavour (prime minister of Kingdom of Piedmont & Sardinia) led unification missions throughout Northern Italy, expelled the Austrians from Northern Italy with help of French

Gave Nice & Savoy to France to gain French support. Peasants in Northern Italy supported unification & joined Cavour

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In 1870, Cavour and Garibaldi combined their lands into a unified Italy, ruled under Kingdom of Piedmont & Sardinia, by King Victor Emmanuel II. This was Parliamentary monarchy

Meanwhile, Giuseppe Garibaldi led Italian unification movements in Southern Italy. He got most of Southern Italy & Sicily under his control

Local peasants revolted against landlords, joined Mazzini's unification mission

Italy Joined Allies & Battle of Caporetto

Britain & France got Italy to join Allies in 1915, promised to give them Austria-Hungary if Allies won

Italy lost miserably at Battle of Caporetto (1917) against Austria-Hungary

Britain & France helped defend Italy from further invasion

Mussolini's Regime in Fascist Italy

  • Italy was in chaos during WW1

    • Italy promised universal male suffrage, but the Catholic church opposed it, creating tension​

    • Italy promised land reform but failed to gain land during WW1

    • Many different political parties all opposed the Italian liberal government

  • Benito Mussolini created fascism

    • Fascism was a combination of socialism & nationalism, means "a union of forces"

    • Gained support from conservatives & middle-class as he opposed socialism

    • Created an army known as Black Shirts, removed Socialists from Northern Italy

    • Mussolini became known as a savior of order & property in Italy, became a mass movement

  • In Oct 1922, Mussolini's army marched into Rome to take over

    • King Victor Emmanuel III, who hated the Italian liberal gov, peacefully gave Mussolini power

  • Mussolini passed repressive policies

    • Abolished basic civil liberties​

    • Arrested political dissidents

    • Held Fascist rallies & sporting events

    • All propaganda portrayed Mussolini as a leader

    • Disbanded labor unions, controlled Italy's schools

    • Used military to portray Italian power

      • Invaded Ethiopia in Oct 1935, won in 1936

      • Made close ties with Nazi Germany in 1937, passed anti-Semitic laws in 1938

  • Mussolini was forced to compromise his power with Italian elites

    • Didn't intervene in big businesses

    • Didn't implement land reform

    • Forced to sign Lateran Treaty (1929), recognizing Vatican City as an independent territory

    • Thus, he never created totalitarian support as he compromised his authority for some elites

  • Italy, Germany, and Japan signed Tripartite Pact in 1940 (became known as Axis powers)


Allied Victory & Axis Surrender

  • On D-Day (6/6/1944), US & British troops landed in Normandy, France

    • 2 million troops & 500,000 army vehicles from Allies pushed the German front lines all the way to the German border

    • By 1945, the Allies forces had crossed the Rhine into Germany

    • Also, Allies forces pushed Germans out of Italy in 1945​

      • The same year, Italian communists executed Mussolini

In 1957, Italy joined the Common Market (along with Luxembourg, Germany, France, Belgium, Netherlands