Relating The Ideas And Applications of Humanism to The Italian City States.

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Humanist perspective dealt with giving greater emphasis and superiority to history, literature, and politics of the past especially those coming from Greek and Roman societies. Their times inspired a revisal and understanding of the classical legacy and saw a need in applying it to their society. Secular culture in Italy seemed to welcome humanism, it did well there since the church and its clergy did not fully dominate government and education. In fact, religious organizations and hospitals often became controlled by government. In the Italian towns, educational achievement in areas like accounting, arithmetic, and business became new subjects that appealed to both male and female students. Even though the belief that woman was intellectually and morally weaker than man continued during the renaissance, this misogyny was challenged. This deviation away from education of religious origin appealed to any new students that wanted an opportunity to broaden their intellectual horizons and a change from theological speculation. Rhetoric and literature were of great interest to educated Italians of the time. They liked to standardized forms and aesthetic values of learning inspired by the Greeks and Romans more than the ideological and moral programs based on religious interpretations of human nature. Literature emphasized the culture of towns; Giovanni Boccaccio’s “The Decameorn” was probably the most well known work. He helped to individuals to understand the essence of human nature and the folly of human desires in attempt to get people to have compassion for those who suffer. Mussato of Padua was another writer who tried to teach morals through his stories. Moralists coined the terms “the common good” and “the good of the commune” and tried to apply it to their town government, and they theorized about the moral, religious, and political aspects of their communities. Humanists like Francesco Petrarch believed that culture during the middle-ages had become too dark and vile, and the only way to reform was to bring back the actions, values, and culture of ancient Rome. His program of study was popular with the oligarchy that dominated political life in Florence, and in turn, gave rise to a group of young intellectuals who pushed and ideology of civic humanist. They wrote orations, histories and letters praising their city’s classical virtues and believed “the active life you flee is to be followed both as an exercise in virtue and because of the necessity of brotherly love.” 


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