Politics of the Renaissance
1. In the sixteenth century, Italy had many centers of power. In each you could find ambitious rulers, such as the Medic in Florence, the Pope in Rome, or the doge in Venice.
2. Each ruler knew that his success greatly depended on the people who advised him. So rulers surrounded themselves with brilliant courtiers. What was a courtier and what did a courtier do? A courtier was a well-educated person who served in the ruler’s court. Courtiers' jobs included giving advice on how to build a new palace, repair a cathedral, fix a canal, build defensive walls, deliver messages, negotiate a treaty with a neighboring cities, lead troops into war, translate an ancient Greek manuscript,discuss philosophy, astronomy, and mathematics, tell an amusing story, and sing a ballad.
3. Who was Baldassare Castiglione and why is he famous? Baldassare Castiglione was a courtier to Francesco Gonzaga, the prince of Mantua and the duke of Urbino. He wrote The Book of the Courtier, which was a how-to guide that described how a courtier should act while serving at court and how he could best serve his ruler.
4. Castiglione based some of his book on the writings of the ancient Roman statesman Cicero and on the medieval code of chivalry.
5. Why did the education and intelligence of advisors matter in Renaissance times in ways they had not earlier? War fare had changed and needed intellectual strength now. Renaissance princes wanted advisers, good strategists, engineers.
6. Describe Castiglione’s views of the ideal Renaissance courtier. Castiglione thought that a good Renaissance courtier still needed some qualities of the chivalrous knight, like courage, horsemanship, and...
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