Book picks similar to
Gender, Honor, and Charity in Late Renaissance Florence by Philip Gavitt
The Cheese and the Worms: The Cosmos of a Sixteenth-Century Miller
Carlo Ginzburg - 1976
Carlo Ginzburg uses the trial records of Domenico Scandella, a miller also known as Menocchio, to show how one person responded to the confusing political and religious conditions of his time.For a common miller, Menocchio was surprisingly literate. In his trial testimony he made references to more than a dozen books, including the Bible, Boccaccio's Decameron, Mandeville's Travels, and a "mysterious" book that may have been the Koran. And what he read he recast in terms familiar to him, as in his own version of the creation: "All was chaos, that is earth, air, water, and fire were mixed together; and of that bulk a mass formed—just as cheese is made out of milk—and worms appeared in it, and these were the angels."
The Civilization of the Renaissance in Italy
Jacob Burckhardt - 1860
In this landmark work he depicts the Italian city-states of Florence, Venice and Rome as providing the seeds of a new form of society, and traces the rise of the creative individual, from Dante to Michelangelo. A fascinating description of an era of cultural transition, this nineteenth-century masterpiece was to become the most influential interpretation of the Italian Renaissance, and anticipated ideas such as Nietzsche's concept of the 'Ubermensch' in its portrayal of an age of genius.
Religion and the Decline of Magic: Studies in Popular Beliefs in Sixteenth and Seventeenth Century England
Keith Thomas - 1971
Helplessness in the face of disease and human disaster helped to perpetuate this belief in magic and the supernatural. As Keith Thomas shows, England during these years resembled in many ways today's underdeveloped areas. The English population was exceedingly liable to pain, sickness, and premature death; many were illiterate; epidemics such as the bubonic plague plowed through English towns, at times cutting the number of London's inhabitants by a sixth; fire was a constant threat; the food supply was precarious; and for most diseases there was no effective medical remedy. In this fascinating and detailed book, Keith Thomas shows how magic, like the medieval Church, offered an explanation for misfortune and a means of redress in times of adversity. The supernatural thus had its own practical utility in daily life. Some forms of magic were challenged by the Protestant Reformation, but only with the increased search for scientific explanation of the universe did the English people begin to abandon their recourse to the supernatural. Science and technology have made us less vulnerable to some of the hazards which confronted the people of the past. Yet Religion and the Decline of Magic concludes that if magic is defined as the employment of ineffective techniques to allay anxiety when effective ones are not available, then we must recognize that no society will ever be free from it.
The Embarrassment of Riches: An Interpretation of Dutch Culture in the Golden Age
Simon Schama - 1987
Its homes were well-furnished and fanatically clean; its citizens feasted on 100-course banquets and speculated fortunes on new varieties of tulip. Yet, in the midst of plenty, the Dutch were ill at ease. In this brilliantly innovative book--which launched his reputation as one of our most perspicacious and stylish historians--Simon Schama explores the mysterious contradictions of a nation that invented itself from the ground up, attained an unprecedented level of affluence, and lived in dread of being corrupted by its happiness.Drawing on a vast array of period documents and sumptuously reproduced art, Schama re-creates, in precise and loving detail, a nation's mental furniture. He tells of bloody uprisings and beached whales, of the cult of hygiene and the plague of tobacco, of thrifty housewives and profligate tulip-speculators. He tells us how the Dutch celebrated themselves and how they were slandered by their enemies. The Embarrassment of Riches is a book that set a standard for its discipline; it throbs with life on every page.
The Ash Wednesday Supper
Like Galileo, who met a similar fate for similar reasons later in the century, Bruno has been accorded martyrdom to the cause of scientific truth and regarded as a visionary whose ideas were out of joint with the superstitions of his time. In fact, as editors Edward Gosselin and Lawrence Lerner point out, Bruno was far more complex, and his thought far more intricate, than simple stereotype would suggest.Possibly mad, certainly brilliant, vain, obstreperous, and often ignorant, Bruno was a Christian deeply immersed in Hermeticism and mysticism; simultaneously he was Copernican in his non-homocentric view of the universe. His La Cena de le ceneri was one of the first works in which Copernican theory was received outside the sphere of the natural sciences. These dialogues have never been generally accessible, and are translated into English as The Ash Wednesday Supper.Using Copernican theory as both a foundation of and a metaphor for his own vast philosophical-theological-political-social program, Bruno united his conflicting beliefs and frustrated his critics. Arguing for the physical reality of the infinite universe with no centre, yet whose centre is everywhere, Bruno sought to prove that each man is every other man. Using this radical cosmology and the imagery of Lenten regeneration, the messianic Bruno sought to heal the secular and religious wounds of sixteenth-century Europe by reconciling Catholic and Protestant, France and England.In this edition Gosselin and Lerner have provided a broad understanding of Bruno and his time, with background and interpretive discussion. They have also preserved the flavour and ferment of the original discourses and maintained Bruno's eclectic if somewhat obscure style.
The Medici: Godfathers of the Renaissance
Paul Strathern - 2003
Against the background of an age which saw the rebirth of ancient and classical learning - of humanism which penetrated and explored the arts and sciences and the 'dark' knowledge of alchemy, astrology, and numerology - Paul Strathern explores the intensely dramatic rise and fall of the Medici family in Florence, as well as the Italian Renaissance which they did so much to sponsor and encourage. Interwoven into the narrative are the lives of many of the great Renaissance artists with whom the Medici had dealings, including Leonardo, Michelangelo and Donatello, as well as scientists like Galileo and Pico della Mirandola, both of whom clashed with the religious authorities. In this enthralling study, Paul Strathern also follows the fortunes of those members of the Medici family who achieved success away from Florence, including the two Medici popes and Catherine de' Médicis who became Queen of France and played a major role in that country through three turbulent reigns. Vivid and accessible, the book ends with the gloriously decadent decline of the Medici family in Florence as they strove to be recognised as European Princes.
The Beauty and the Terror: An Alternative History of the Italian Renaissance
Catherine Fletcher - 2020
We know the Mona Lisa for her smile, but not that she was married to a slave-trader. We revere Leonardo da Vinci for his art, but few now appreciate his ingenious designs for weaponry. We visit Florence to see Michelangelo's David, but hear nothing of the massacre that forced the republic's surrender. In fact, many of the Renaissance's most celebrated artists and thinkers emerged not during the celebrated 'rebirth' of the fifteenth century but amidst the death and destruction of the sixteenth century.The Beauty and the Terror is an enrapturing narrative which includes the forgotten women writers, Jewish merchants, mercenaries, prostitutes, farmers and citizens who lived the Renaissance every day. Brimming with life, it takes us closer than ever before to the reality of this astonishing era, and its meaning for today.
Giordano Bruno and the Hermetic Tradition
Frances A. Yates - 1964
Placing Bruno—both advanced philosopher and magician burned at the stake—in the Hermetic tradition, Yates’s acclaimed study gives an overview not only of Renaissance humanism but of its interplay—and conflict—with magic and occult practices.
The Bookseller of Florence: The Story of the Manuscripts That Illuminated the Renaissance
Ross King - 2021
But equally important for the centuries to follow were geniuses of a different sort: Florence's manuscript hunters, scribes, scholars, and booksellers, who blew the dust off a thousand years of history and, through the discovery and diffusion of ancient knowledge, imagined a new and enlightened world.At the heart of this activity, which bestselling author Ross King relates in his exhilarating new book, was a remarkable man: Vespasiano da Bisticci. Born in 1422, he became what a friend called "the king of the world's booksellers." At a time when all books were made by hand, over four decades Vespasiano produced and sold many hundreds of volumes from his bookshop, which also became a gathering spot for debate and discussion. Besides repositories of ancient wisdom by the likes of Plato, Aristotle, and Quintilian, his books were works of art in their own right, copied by talented scribes and illuminated by the finest miniaturists. His clients included a roll-call of popes, kings, and princes across Europe who wished to burnish their reputations by founding magnificent libraries.Vespasiano reached the summit of his powers as Europe's most prolific merchant of knowledge when a new invention appeared: the printed book. By 1480, the king of the world's booksellers was swept away by this epic technological disruption, whereby cheaply produced books reached readers who never could have afforded one of Vespasiano's elegant manuscripts.A thrilling chronicle of intellectual ferment set against the dramatic political and religious turmoil of the era, Ross King's brilliant The Bookseller of Florence is also an ode to books and bookmaking that charts the world-changing shift from script to print through the life of an extraordinary man long lost to history--one of the true titans of the Renaissance.
The Italian Renaissance
J.H. Plumb - 1961
Dr. Plumb’s impressive and provocative narrative is accompanied by contributions from leading historians, including Morris Bishop, J. Bronowski, Maria Bellonci, and many more, who have further illuminated the lives of some of the era’s most unforgettable personalities, from Petrarch to Pope Pius II, Michelangelo to Isabella d'Este, Machiavelli to Leonardo. A highly readable and engaging volume, THE ITALIAN RENAISSANCE is a perfect introduction to the movement that shaped the Western world.
Heart of Europe: A History of the Holy Roman Empire
Peter H. Wilson - 2016
Yet this formidable dominion never inspired the awe of its predecessor. Voltaire distilled the disdain of generations when he quipped it was neither holy, Roman, nor an empire. Yet as Peter Wilson shows, the Holy Roman Empire tells a millennial story of Europe better than the histories of individual nation-states. And its legacy can be seen today in debates over the nature of the European Union.Heart of Europe traces the Empire from its origins within Charlemagne’s kingdom in 800 to its demise in 1806. By the mid-tenth century its core rested in the German kingdom, and ultimately its territory stretched from France and Denmark to Italy and Poland. Yet the Empire remained stubbornly abstract, with no fixed capital and no common language or culture. The source of its continuity and legitimacy was the ideal of a unified Christian civilization, but this did not prevent emperors from clashing with the pope over supremacy―the nadir being the sack of Rome in 1527 that killed 147 Vatican soldiers.Though the title of Holy Roman Emperor retained prestige, rising states such as Austria and Prussia wielded power in a way the Empire could not. While it gradually lost the flexibility to cope with political, economic, and social changes, the Empire was far from being in crisis until the onslaught of the French revolutionary wars, when a crushing defeat by Napoleon at Austerlitz compelled Francis II to dissolve his realm.
Conquerors: How Portugal Forged the First Global Empire
Roger Crowley - 2015
But Portugal's navigators cracked the code of the Atlantic winds, launched the expedition of Vasco da Gama to India and beat the Spanish to the spice kingdoms of the East - then set about creating the first long-range maritime empire. In an astonishing blitz of thirty years, a handful of visionary and utterly ruthless empire builders, with few resources but breathtaking ambition, attempted to seize the Indian Ocean, destroy Islam and take control of world trade.Told with Roger Crowley's customary skill and verve, this is narrative history at its most vivid - an epic tale of navigation, trade and technology, money and religious zealotry, political diplomacy and espionage, sea battles and shipwrecks, endurance, courage and terrifying brutality. Drawing on extensive first-hand accounts, it brings to life the exploits of an extraordinary band of conquerors - men such as Afonso de Albuquerque, the first European since Alexander the Great to found an Asian empire - who set in motion five hundred years of European colonisation and unleashed the forces of globalisation.