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Friday, June 30, 2017

The Origins of the Italian Renaissance

The Origins of the Italian Renaissance
A renewed interest in Greek and Roman literature and life characterized the Renaissance, In many ways it was natural that this interest would reawaken in Italy. Ruins of the mighty Roman Empire served as constant reminders of Roman glory. The tradition of Rome as the capital city of a vast empire lived on in the popes, who made Rome the seat of the Roman Catholic Church. The Crusades and trade with Africa and Southwest Asia introduced new ideas and brought Italians into contact with the Byzantine civilization, whose scholars had preserved much learning from classical Greece and Rome. Arab and African developments in such disciplines as medicine and science fired the curiosity of many Italian scholars.

Italian cities such as Florence, Rome, Venice, Milan, and Naples had grown rich through trade and industry. Their citizens included many educated, wealthy merchants. In Florence, for example, the Medici (MED-ee-chee) family grew wealthy first as bankers and then as rulers of the city-state. As leader of Florence, Lorenzo Medici became a great patron of the arts and influenced Florence’s artistic awakening.


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