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The Italian Renaissance, writes Lauro Martines, came forth in two stages. The first extended from the eleventh century to about 1300, the second from the late thirteenth to the late sixteenth centuries. In the first period, social energies - economics, politics, a vibrant demography - were primary and foremost; in the second, cultural energies seemed to dominate. In PowerThe Italian Renaissance, writes Lauro Martines, came forth in two stages. The first extended from the eleventh century to about 1300, the second from the late thirteenth to the late sixteenth centuries. In the first period, social energies - economics, politics, a vibrant demography - were primary and foremost; in the second, cultural energies seemed to dominate. In Power and Imagination, Lauro Martines rethinks the evolution of the city-state in Renaissance Italy and recasts the conventional distinction between 'society' and 'culture'. He traces the growth of commerce and the evolution of governments; he describes the attitudes, pleasures and rituals of the ruling elite; he seeks to understand the period's towering works of the imagination in literature, painting, city planning and philosophy - not simply as the creations of individual artists, but as the formal expression of the ambitions and egos of those in power....

Title : Power and Imagination: City-States in Renaissance Italy
Author :
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ISBN : 9780801836435
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 400 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Power and Imagination: City-States in Renaissance Italy Reviews

  • Frank Stein
    2018-11-18 15:54

    This is really two books that sit uneasily together.One is a fascinating and shockingly coherent explanation of Italian Renaissance politics. Somehow the author is able to draw clear generalizations and theories from the continual chaos of Italy in what might be called the long Renaissance, about 1000-1600 AD. He traces the decline of the Holy Roman Empires fiefs and the rise of ducal bishops (to around 1050), followed by and the rise of the urban "communes," their decline into internecine warfare and comical "tower socities," then the rise of an armed, and organized, merchant class (the popolo) in the 1200s, their continual battle with the nobles and the lumpen proletariat, the seizure of power by the signories in the 15th century, and finally the invasion of Italy by Charles VII of France in 1494 that brought the High Renaissance to an abrupt end. He shows clear periods and tendencies in Italian politics across hundreds of years and dozens of independently operating states. It's great synthetic history.The author is also adept at describing the intricate workings of power. He is able to show how elites in nominal "republics," like Florence and Venice were able to control political offices through abstruse methods (the description of the Byzantine process by which simple lots were drawn to select office is amazing). The need for this sort of skulduggery is particularly impressive since the author also shows that the franchise was rarely more than 4 or 5% of the population. The author is likewise able to explain how different groups in the cities exercised governmental power outside the state, from the tower societies of nobles who had the judicial power of capital punishment over their own members to the "captains of the people" who controlled armed neighbhorhood militias. Nobody had a monopoly on power in this era.The second part of the book is really a series of cultural vignettes that rely on a crude Marxist base-superstructure model to describe Renaissance art and poetry. The author comes up with some unsurprising theories here: the bourgeoisie encouraged the rational art of Giotto and Masaccio, they used merchant metaphors in poetry, they eschewed religious flagellation for worldly celebration. Still, there are some great quotes here. He describes the intense attachments of citizens to their city and quotes one exile who says that if he ever returned he would "go licking the walls all around and every man I meet, weeping for joy." That's civic pride!Overall this book would be a great read if great chunks of it were excised out.

  • Michael Finocchiaro
    2018-11-23 11:51

    Lauro Martines does an excellent job of describing the pre-Renaissance period in the Italian city-states that led to one of the greatest periods of upheaval and change (and a few more centuries of anarchy in Italy). It is an interesting read and highly suggested to read before visiting cities in central and northern Italy such as Pisa, Florence, Milan, Sienna, etc because it gives you the historical context in which these cities became what they are today and how the period despite the violence everywhere still managed to produce some of western histories greatest artists - da Vinci, Michelangelo, etc.

  • Jo Walton
    2018-11-22 08:49

    Martines is not the most sparkling prose stylist, and he and I disagree about Savonarola. But this is an interesting broad sweep that told me some things I didn't know and made me think a lot. I wouldn't recommend this for a non-specialist, but I think it would be very useful for anyone who wants to think about how people's ideas about what a state is change what a state is over time.

  • Carolina Casas
    2018-11-15 12:09

    One of the best books I've read for one of my classes while doinbg my BA in History. It's magnificent and there's so much you learn from the middle ages and renaissance not just from Italy but in general like where the author describes the repercusions shift from power in different sectors affected the rest of Europe, primarily the cloth industry and agriculture. At the same time you realize how different the Italian states were from the rest of Western Europe, except for military takeovers (and some were permitted and even voted for in times of extreme necessity or advantage of one party over another) most of the Italian states had assemblies or podesta and their guilds had more freedom and representation, however this was flexible and there came a time where voting rights became more and more restrictive.Illegitimacy in some places was not frowned upon and illegitimate offspring could inherit their fathers' last name and property in some special cases. Women as well had more economic freedom but they still were expected to make a profitable marriage.Highly recommend this book.

  • Ties
    2018-12-13 13:03

    I have been fascinated by Italian city states and this book satisfied all my curiosity. It details every aspect of the rise and fall of the Italian city states, the Renaissance and daily (high society) life. Quite dense and sometimes I found the structuring to be confusing. Also, I would have preferred a more matter of fact writing style.

  • Victoria
    2018-11-29 12:51

    I was with it right up until the transition into the Renaissance proper, at which point my own interpretation of circumstances diverges wildly. Mostly interesting for the generalities of the rise of the medieval communes and the eventual transition into Renaissance states, such as they were.

  • Thomas Baughman
    2018-12-09 08:03

    I thought that this was a decent book on Renaissance Italy. Since I am not a specialist in that area, I can't really assess it properly.

  • Susan Wyler
    2018-12-07 15:12

    A beautifully written, classic study of the Renaissance. Everyone should read this book.