Petrarch was born to Florentine parents but was raised along the River Rhone in eastern France. It was as a writer that Petrarch has been referred to as the Father of the Renaissance in Italy. There were several experiences in his life that shed light into what shaped this man and why he became so revered and respected.
He confessed that even though he had a noble family and loving parents and even received training as a priest, he was deeply entrenched in patterns of sexual sin until the age of 40. A major event that led to the a€?throwing off of the old and putting on the newa€? was a climb with his brother to the top of Mount Ventoux (which means a€?windya€? in French), the highest mountain peak in southern France. The passage struck him like an arrow and from that wound he turned from a preoccupation with the world of nature around him and instead began to focus on the inner world of the soul.
A second major impact upon Petrarcha€™s life was his infatuation with a beautiful girl, Laura, who attended the same church in Avignon.
As a priest, Petrarch was forbidden to marry but did father two children, a son and daughter, by a woman or women whose identity(ies) was lost. The sonnet is a lyrical poem expressing onea€™s emotions rather than tell, for example, a story.
The following is an example from Petrarcha€™s collection of sonnets (1327), Rime in vita e morta di Madonna Laura (a€?Rhymes in life and death of Lady Lauraa€?) contained in his major collection of works, Il Canzoniere (a€?Song Booka€?).
I bless the place, the time and hour of the daya€?that my eyes aimed their sights at such a height,a€?and say: a€?My soul, you must be very gratefula€?that you were found worthy of such great honour. His son died young in a plague but his daughter lived on and off with Petrarch for her entire life.
Although he was born in Florence during the later stages of the Middle Ages, Dante is considered to be one of three a€?mountainsa€? of poetry that Italy produced during the Renaissance, together with Petrarch and Boccaccio.
In Dantea€™s lifetime, the Emperor Henry VII entered Italy, and Dante envisioned him as the new Charlemagne. Henry VII is depicted in Dantea€™s Paradise seated on a seat of honor as the one a€?who will come to set Italy straight before her time is ready.a€? (Or, a€?. In Hell (Inferno) Dante has as his personal guide, the Roman philosopher Virgil who cannot leave hell for purgatory because as a Roman he was a pagan. Mohammed is seen as a disemboweled spirit wandering aimlessly through hell because of his deception of millions through his false religion. In addition to Boniface VIII, Dante meets various leaders of the Italian city-states who are confined in hell because of instigating political intrigue, warfare, and death. Dantea€™s treatment of Boniface in the Comedy created a wide audience of readers, because the Pope was considered by many throughout Italy to be a notorious villain. In the third section or book in The Divine Comedy, Dante is accompanied by Beatrice, the young woman he loved in life but for whom his love was never fulfilled. Paradise concludes with Dantea€™s encounter with God, which he describes as an experience filled with glory and brilliance in Goda€™s presence.
Hence, The Divine Comedy is a work filled with Dantea€™s theological comments and political opinions. Dante was married at the age of 9 by his parents to the daughter of another wealthy Florentine family of nobility. Dante states, however, that he loved another girl who he knew in Florence but that this was a secret love known only to him and never by her.
Perhaps because of his infatuation with Beatrice and his inability to come to terms with what would seem to be a necessary masculine maturity, Dante never mentioned his wife in any of his writings and she never accompanied him during the many years of exile in northern Italy. The novel depicts ten youths (seven girls and three boys) who flee Florence to escape the Black Death. The tales they tell were gathered by Boccaccio from all over Europe and the Middle East and reveal important insights into the cultures of that time period. The novel was banned for long periods of time because the bawdy tales broke custom, not only by including sexual content generally but also tales of priests engage in illicit sexual activity as well. Just as Dante was in trouble because of his public opposition to the political power of the pope, so, too, Boccaccio was in deep trouble because of the content of Decameron, especially the public broadcasting of the immorality of priests and bishops. In the later part of his life, Boccaccio had a desire to enter the priesthood, perhaps in an attempt to atone for the sins he committed in his younger years (he was in loved with a married noble woman while in Naples and made her famous through the false name, Fiammetta). He established the novel as an effective part of Renaissance literature which became a model for novelists in later centuries.
Decameron was an important collection of tales gathered from many areas of Europe, the Middle East, and India and served as an instrument preserve the tales.
The important literary work for which he is known, The Courtier, was his handbook for courtiers. The royal courts were located in the palace of the king or prince that required onea€™s full time attendance.
Courts were also the place where musical concerts were preformed, plays presented, and recitations of recent literary works given.
It was in this climate that The Courtier greatly influenced Renaissance behavior and further advanced the qualities of the ideal Renaissance man. His most important work, The Prince, was a handbook which gave advice to young rulers who were inexperienced in ruling. There were three major ideas advocated by Machiavelli that set him in opposition to the pope and clergy.


First, the most famous pieces of advice from The Prince given to young rulers was the line, a€?It is better to be feared than loved.a€? Ita€™s nice if those you govern love you, but eventually without fearing you they will turn on you and attack you behind your back. Machiavelli was perhaps the clearest spokesman for a humanism that concentrated on the here and now and divorced itself from the concept of personal accountability to God.
Today people in contemporary politics who constantly change their values and follow the principle, a€?the end justifies the means,a€? are referred to as being a€?Machiavellian.a€? The term was applied, for example, to President Nixon when he lied to Congress about his knowledge of the Water Gate break-in, and to President Clinton when he lied to Congress about his relationship with a young female aide.
The Prince was more widely read and followed than any other literature produced during the Renaissance because it touched a raw nerve, the frustration in Italy with the Churcha€™s involvement in civil government. How did Petrarcha€™s climb up the mountain and reading Augustinea€™s Confessions change his life?
Dantea€™s work, The Divine Comedy is considered one of the greatest pieces of literature in history. What did Dante do through his literature to greatly aid Italy later to become a unified nation? How did Castiglionea€™s work, The Courtier, help shape Italian society, especially among the nobility? If someone today is accused of being Machiavellian (and often people are), what are others saying about that person?
If from the little you have read about these three authors, which do feel most attracted to? Petrarch from early childhood loved to learn and the study of ancient history was his special area of interest. I bless the place, the time and hour of the daythat my eyes aimed their sights at such a height,and say: a€?My soul, you must be very gratefulthat you were found worthy of such great honour.
During his lifetime, Italy was torn with conflicts between the city-states and between the pope and the Holy Roman Empire. In the third section or bookA  in The Divine Comedy, Dante is accompanied by Beatrice, the young woman he loved in life but for whom his love was never fulfilled.
Dante states, however,A  that he loved another girl who he knew in Florence but that this was a secret love known only to him and never by her.
As an experienced courtier (one who serves in the kinga€™s or princea€™s court at his invitation) Castiglione felt it necessary to counter the Middle Agesa€™ concept of the perfect knights who were sworn to bravery and virtue. 1.How did Petrarcha€™s climb up the mountain and reading Augustinea€™s Confessions change his life? 3.Dantea€™s work, The Divine Comedy is considered one of the greatest pieces of literature in history.
5.What did Dante do through his literature to greatly aid Italy later to become a unified nation? 6.How did Castiglionea€™s work, The Courtier, help shape Italian society, especially among the nobility? 9.If someone today is accused of being Machiavellian (and often people are), what are others saying about that person? 10.If from the little you have read about these three authors, which do feel most attracted to? His father had been forced into exile from Florence during one of the numerous political intrigues that plagued Florence. Some cite Petrarcha€™s passion for mountain climbing to be an example of the Renaissance spirit -- the quest to see the new, higher view. Today the mountain is a major ski attraction and is most famous as a major climb in the Tour da€™France bicycle race.
He attempted on several occasions to avoid what appeared to be hard parts of the climb which were taken by his his brother, and to save energy Petrarch took what appeared to him at the time to be easier routes to the top. It contains 14 lines broken into two sections: the octave (eight lines following an abba abba rhyming format) and the sestet (six lines following a bcb cbd format).
The majority of his sonnets were written to Laura -- 365 sonnets in all -- one sonnet per day to the love of his imagination. In Il Canzoniere were contained other important themes addressed by Petrarch: politics, time, spirituality, religion and the papacy. He is considered one of the literary greats in history and his greatest work, The Divine Comedy. Dante was politically active and was vocally supportive of the emperor and critical of the popea€™s involvement in politics. The Comedy is a tale covering an extensive journey that Dante took through Hell, Purgatory, and Paradise.
Dante meets many famous persons from history, including Mohammed and several popes, including Boniface VII, who Dante labels a€?Public Enemy #1a€?! Dante sees also Ali, Mohammeda€™s son-in-law, leader of the Shiite sect of Islam, who also wanders eternally in hell. In other words, Dante picks a fight with many of his contemporaries and must move from city to city in northern Italy for protection, where many who share his opinions are able to shield him.
He was accused of heresy, simony, sexual fornication, self-idolatry, sodomy, assassination, violation of the confidence sworn to in the confessional, political intrigue, embezzlement of Crusade funds, and a whole host of other sins and crimes.
This was not an unusual practice in Florence at the time when families needed to establish as many alliances as possible to achieve additional success or, on the other hand, protection in an era of great political intrigue and upheaval.
He would see her occasionally on the streets of Florence while still they were still young.


However, Petrarch, the priest who was torn by unrequited love, talked Boccaccio out of joining the clergy.
He was sent by Pope Clement VII to Spain as papal ambassador and watchdog on the activities of Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor. Some were even invited to spend the night at court and others were given apartments for longer periods of time. One such was a young member of the Medici family who had just been given his own small area to govern.
It was humanistic, opposed to traditional values and morality, and advocated a harsh, selfish approach to governing. But if their attitude is primary one of fear, they will be too fearful to do anything but support you.
It is still widely read in many languages and is used in college courses in history and political science.
But a careful reading of Petrarcha€™s letter about this trip reveals something more profound. He sat down to rest and pulled from his pocket a copy of Saint Augustinea€™s Confessions, a work he probably found comforting, since in his Confessions Saint Augustine also admitted to being plagued by sexual sin prior to his conversion. There is no evidence that he ever addressed one sonnet to the mother or mothers of his children, but those written to or about Laura comprise the majority of his writing. As a priest forbidden to marry, Petrarch reveals the searing pain of love that can never be fulfilled and a longing for relationship with a woman that is never an attainable possibility. He wrote in the Monarch that the ideal situation for all of Europe, including Italy, would be union under the leadership of the Holy Roman Emperor, Henry VII.
The Black Guelph party favored the popea€™s involvement in Florentine politics and the White Guelphs, Dantea€™s party, opposed the popea€™s involvement. Throughout his journey Dante meets numerous people from history who live in either hell or purgatory, depending upon Dantea€™s opinion of them. On one occasion, for instance, in a dispute with the king of France, Boniface replied that he would rather be a dog or an ass than a Frenchman! His most noted work was Decameron, a collection of bawdy tales gathered from a variety of places and times and woven together into a novel with a setting during the time of a plague that had fallen on Florence. Each of the ten is to tell stories on successive days, for a total of one hundred tales (ten days x ten story tellers = 100 tales).
The courtier was to reflect the Renaissance ideal of being well-rounded, educated in poetry, art, language, history, and,cultured, bright, witty, and a good conversationalist.
It was a place where people sought to be a€?seena€? and a€?hearda€? and thought of as being a€?coola€? and part of the a€?in crowd.a€? Most were wealthy nobility who could afford to spend so much time away from their own properties and duties. Often the king or prince could spread word to the common people by simply sharing it at court. Machiavelli hoped that this good deed would atone for his sins and bring back into the good favor of the Medici family. Do whatever it takes to achieve the goal and stop doing whatever does not achieve the goal, even if it means going contrary to traditional Christian morality.
His ideas were read by rulers in subsequent generations, including Adolph Hitler and the leaders of Communist Russia. He refocused Castiglionea€™s reshaping of the values and morality for the ideal Renaissance courtier by switching it to how the ideal Renaissance ruler should govern.
He refocused Castiglionea€™s reshaping of the values and morality for the ideal Renaissance courtier by switching it to how the ideal Renaissance ruler should govern.A  And, like Boccaccio, Machiavelli dismissed the value of the clergy because of their immorality and the failure of their values system.
In 1340, at the age of 36, he was invited by both Paris and Rome to come and live as their Poet Laureate. There is no evidence that Laura ever knew about or suspected the love that Petrarch had for her. His opposition to the Vaticana€™s political adventures put Dante into a precarious position, causing him to be in constant flight from city to city during most of his career to avoid papal capture and death by burning at the stake. Dante and Henry shared the hope that a united Italy could be formed under Henry and this would lead to a peaceful Greater Europe. This early novel served as a model for later English authors, Chaucer, Shakespeare, and Keats. However, while in Spain Castiglione developed a friendship with Charles and purposely failed to alert the pope of Charlesa€™ plan to sack Rome in 1527 for the citya€™s many sins. Other areas in which he should be skilled were jumping, swimming, running, and playing tennis.
Like Petrarch with Laura, Dante wrote three love sonnets to Beatrice, the object of his unrequited love. The handbook also gave advice to the wives of courtiers concerning behavior that would best advance the reputation and achievement of their husbands. A major idea promoted as an example was a€?the end justifies the means.a€? Although practiced since the time of Cain and Abel, Machiavelli was the first to place this concept in writing for wide reading.



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