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Italian Renaissance, Essay Example

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People of the Italian Rennaisance

The Renaissance period witnessed the rise and emergence of the ordinary people in what was referred to as the ‘humanist period’.  For the first time ordinary people were depicted in pictures alongside Saints.  Education became more important and many aspects of teaching that are reflected today began in the Italian Renaissance period. Conditions of life for the rural ordinary people improved. The affluent nobles indulged in great status seeking banquets and this meant maintaining stocks of good food, the ordinary people employed on the vast estates were able to partake in some of the excesses this produced and as such, they ate well and were treated humanely.  This was a time of great creativity and diversity, it created teachers, artists and those in the garment industry creating lavish new designs. The urban areas tended to be better off that the peasants in the rural areas but they were beholding to their masters for wages and living conditions. (Elizabeth Storr Cohen 2001)

Major Social Classes

There were four major social classes in the Italian Renaissance period. These were essentially the Nobles or Aristocracy – living on grand estates outside of City Walls. They upheld rules of chivalry. The new rich people were the merchants, often disdained by the nobility. It became blurred however as many Merchants married into the nobility in order to protect their assets. The Middle class were the shopkeepers and professionals. The bottom of the scale was the workers who supported the large estates and the rural peasants who were even poorer because of the lack of benefactors.

Urban Life and Politics

Certain cities rose in both status and power becoming centres for trade, banking and commerce. Typical of these were Genoa, Milan, Venice, Florence and Pisa.  This created a lot of political rivalry between the nobility of these Cities and in particular between that of the Pope and the Kings and Nobles.  This was a time of transition for the Church who was witnessing a degree of power loss and influence to the Kings and Nobility in Europe.  The renaissance had truly created a sense of diversity in the social classes. (King 2003)

References

Elizabeth Storr Cohen, Thomas Vance Cohen. “Daily life in Renaissance Italy.” In Daily life in Renaissance Italy, by Thomas Vance Cohen Elizabeth Storr Cohen, 105-106. Westport CT: Greenwood Publishing, 2001.

King, Margaret L. “The Renaissance in Europe.” In The Renaissance in Europe, by Margaret L King, 160-165. London: Laurence King Publishing, 2003.

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