The Civilization of the Italian Renaissance: A Sourcebook, Second Edition

The Civilization of the Italian Renaissance: A Sourcebook, Second Edition

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Edited by Kenneth R. Bartlett
University of Toronto Press, Higher Education Division © 2011
World Rights
320 Pages
ISBN 9781442604858
Published Jun 2011
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ebook (EPUB format)
ISBN 9781442604872
Published Jun 2011
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The Civilization of the Italian Renaissance brings together a selection of primary source documents designed to introduce students to the richness of the period. For this edition, a new chapter on Dante and his time provides a useful transition to the Renaissance from the culture of the Middle Ages. There are also new selections on warfare, education, Florence, humanism, the Church, and the later Renaissance. The introductions to the readings are revised, and an essay on how to read historical documents is included.

Kenneth R. Bartlett is Professor of History and Renaissance Studies at the University of Toronto. He is the author of The English in Italy 1525–1558: A Study in Culture and Politics (1991), The Civilization of the Italian Renaissance: A Sourcebook (2011), and A Short History of the Italian Renaissance (2013).
Preface to the Second Edition
Preface to the First Edition
How to Read a Historical Document

1.Introduction to the Italian Renaissance

Introduction: The Renaissance
The Classical Heritage
Quintilian: On the Early Education of the Citizen-Orator
Cicero: The Orator; Brutus; On Duties

2. Dante and Medieval Italy

Dante's Contemporaries
Brunetto Latini: Proem to the Tesoretto
Rustico di Filippo: "On the Illness of a Little Girl"; "Portrait of Messerino de'Caponsacchi"
Guido Cavalcanti: "To Dante"
Cino da Pistoia: "To Dante, on the Death of Beatrice"
Dante Alighieri: Inferno, Canto I, Canto V; Paradiso, Canto XV, Canto XVI

3. Petrarch

Letter to Posterity; The Ascent of Mount Ventoux; Letter to the Shade of Cicero; On His Own Ignorance

4. Florence in the Renaissance

Giovanni Villani: Selections from The Chronicle of Giovanni Villani: Villani Writes His Chronicle; The Rebuilding of Florence after 1293; The Black Death; Fire; Famine; Flood; Plague; Flagellants; The City
Giovanni Boccaccio: A Description of the Plague from the Decameron; Selections from The Life of Dante: Proem; Family Cares, Honors, and Exile of Dante; Rebuke of the Florentines
Short Documents Illustrating Guild, Political, and Commercial Activity
Guelfs and Ghibellines, 1347
The Aftermath of the Ciompi Revolt: A Community in Disorder, 1382
The Decline of the Guelf Party, 1413
Guild Corporations: Wine Merchants
Guild Philanthropy
The Catasto of 1427: The Declaration of Lorenzo Ghiberti, Sculptor
Benedetto Dei: Letter to a Venetian
Leonardo Bruni: The Events of 1292-93; Speech of Giano della Bella

5. Humanism

Coluccio Salutati: Letter to Peregrino Zambeccari
Vespasiano da Bisticci: From Vespasiano's Lives; Poggio Bracciolini; Niccolò Niccoli
Lorenzo Valla: The Glory of the Latin Language
Leonardo Bruni: History of Florence: The Struggle against the Visconti, From Book Twelve; The Life of Dante
Isotta Nogarola: Of the Equal or Unequal Sin of Adam and Eve

6. Florentine Neoplatonism and Mysticism

Marsilio Ficino: Commentary on Plato's Symposium on Love; On the Two Origins of Love and the Double Venus; On the Painting of Love; How the Soul Is Raised from the Beauty of the Body to the Beauty of God; How God Is to Be Loved
Selections from His Letters: On Law and Justice; On the Duty of a Citizen; The Astonishing Glories of Lorenzo de'Medici
Giovanni Pico della Mirandola: Oration on the Dignity of Man
Angelo Poliziano: Selections from Stanzas on the Occasion of the Jousts of Giuliano de'Medici

7. Marriage, the Family, and Women

Francesco Barbaro: Selections from On Wifely Duties: On the Faculty of Obedience; On Love; On Moderation; On the Education of Children
Leon Battista Alberti: The Family in Renaissance Florence
Marriage and the Family in Renaissance Florence
The Marriages of Gregorio Dati
Two Marriages in the Valori Family, 1452 and 1476
Marriage Negotiations: The Del Bene, 1381
Marriage Neotiations: The Strozzi, 1464-65
Illegitimacy and Marriage, 1355
A Broken Marriage, 1377
The Children of Gregorio Dati, 1404
Niccolo Machiavelli: Selections from Mandragola
Baldassare Castiglione: The Book of the Courtier
Laura Cereta: Letter to Augustinius Aemilius: Curse against the Ornamentation of Women
Documents Illustrating the Lives of Poor and Marginal Women in Renaissance Florence
The Establishment of Communal Brothels, 1415
Profits of Prostitution, 1427 and 1433
Prostitutes and the Courts, 1398-1400
The Recruitment of Prostitutes, 1379
A Panderer's Career
The Story of the Servant Girl Nencia
The Tribulations of a Slave Girl
A Witch's Career

8. Art and Architecture

Filippo Brunelleschi
Mariano Taccola: A Speech by Brunelleschi
The Competition for the Baptistry Doors
Lorenzo Ghiberti
Antonio Manetti
Girogio Vasari
Il Pinturicchio (Bernardino di Betto): Contract of Pinturicchio with Cardinal Francesco de'Todeschini-Piccolomini for Decorating the Library in Siena Cathedral, 29 June 1502
Isabella d'Este
Pietro Vanucci Perugino: Instructions of Isabella d'Este to Perugino, 19 January 1503; Letter of Perugino to Isabella d'Este, 10 December 1503; Letter of Isabella d'Este to Perugino, 12 January 1504; Letter of Perugino to Isabella d'Este, 24 January 1504
Leon Battista Alberti: On Painting and on Sculpture; On Architecture
Leonardo da Vinci: Selections from the Notebooks

9. Learning and Education

Pietro Paolo Vergerio: Concerning Liberal Studies
Leonardo Bruni: A Letter to Battista Malatesta on the Study of Literature
Battista Guarino: On the Means of Teaching and Learning
Coluccio Salutati: Letter to Caterina di Messer Vieri di Donatino d'Arezzo
Laura Cereta: Letter to Bibulus Sempronius: A Defense of the Liberal Instruction of Women; Letter to Lucilia Vernacular: Against Women Who Disparage Learned Women

10. The Church and the Papacy

Aeneas Silvius Piccolomini (Pius II): The Election of Pope Pius II
Lorenzo Valla: The Principal Arguments from the Falsely-Believed and Forged Donation of Constantine
Roderigo Borgia (Alexander VI): Selections from Pope Alexander VI and His Court; The Accession of Alexander VI; The Year of the Jubilee; The Death and Funeral of Alexander
Girolamo Savonarola: "O Soul, By Sin Made Blind"; A Preacher of Reform ; Selections from a Draft Constitution for Florence
Francesco Guicciardini: Savonarola, a Portrait
Antonio Alamanni: Carnival Song: "The Triumph of Death"
Gregorio Dati: Individual Piety: Selections from the Ricordanze
Michelangelo Buonarroti: "Love's Justification"; "To Vittoria Colonna: The Model and the Statue"

11. Life in Renaissance Italy

The Elite
Pietro Aretino: Letter to Messer Giannantonio Da Foligno; Letter to Messer Domenico Bollani; Letter to Messer Simone Bianco
Michelangelo Buonarroti: Letter to Tommaso Cavalieri Niccolo Machiavelli: Letter to Francesco Vettori (1513); Letter to Francesco Vettori (1514)
Lorenzo de'Medici: "Song for Dance"; "Song of Girls and of Cicadas"
Francesco Guicciardini: A Portrait of Lorenzo de'Medici
Johannes Burchardus: Life in Papal Rome During the Reign of Alexander VI
Giovanni Boccaccio: The Tale of Andreuccio
The Poor
Pensions for Retired Employees, 1395
Plague, Famine, and Civil Disorder
Appeal for Tax Relief, 1369
Justice for the Poor, 1367
The Condemnation of a Labor Organizer, 1345
The Demands of the Ciompi, 1378
Alessandro Benedetti: Diary of the Caroline War
Francesco Guicciardini: The Formidable French Artillery and Troops Compared with the Italian Forces; Character of Prospero Colonna; Changes in the Nature of Warfare

12. The Late Italian Renaissance

Francesco Guicciardini: Selections from Maxims and Reflections
Giovanni Della Casa: Selections from Galateo
Giorgio Vasari: Selections from The Lives of the Artists: The Life of Raphael of Urbino, Painter and Architect, 1483-1520; The Life of Michelangelo Buonarroti, Florentine Painter, Sculptor, and Architect, 1475-1564
Benvenuto Cellini: Selections from The Autobiography of Benvenuto Cellini
Girolamo Cardano: On Himself and His Life

Source Credits
Kenneth R. Bartlett has produced a fine second edition of his already useful sourcebook. Reflecting important recent research, he has added material on the social, economic, religious, political, and intellectual world of Italy from the late thirteenth to the sixteenth century. The texts are well suited for discussion and can be readily linked to lectures. For its accessibility and breadth of primary sources, this stimulating sourcebook is excellent and can be wholeheartedly recommended.

Edward D. English, University of California, Santa Barbara

This is by far the best collection of readings for a semester-length course on the Italian Renaissance. What makes it unique is the balance between the usual literary sources and documents relating to political, economic, and family history, including the lives of women, marginalized people, and the poor. The magnificent range of sources is matched by the quality of the selections themselves, which bring to life the period in all of its complexity. I am particularly pleased to see that the second edition includes readings placing the Renaissance within the context of Dante's world.

J. Laurel Carrington, St. Olaf College

I have used this book's predecessor since it first came out because it was easily the best such reader available. The new edition is signally improved not only by the addition of Dante as well as a number of other new readings but also by a handy and mercifully short guide to reading historical documents. The organization is also improved which makes it easier to find texts by the same author.

Thomas F. Mayer, Augustana College

Kenneth Bartlett's The Civilization of the Italian Renaissance has long been my favorite sourcebook for undergraduate teaching; I could not be happier that it is coming back into print, and updated no less, so that I can assign it as a textbook. I teach a range of courses in the Renaissance, from broad art history surveys, to upper-division lectures and seminars, to interdisciplinary classes—all of which have benefited from this book. Bartlett has assembled not only the best sources, but the best selections from those sources. This is not a collage of short, obscure, or mystifying documents; rather, it is a collection of the most important thinkers and artists of the Renaissance, at their pithiest moments. For example, Alberti's On Painting, Vasari's Life of Michelangelo, and Cellini's Vita are all key texts that are too long and complex for most classes. Bartlett's selections from each are perfectly excised at the ideal length for teaching, and with their key themes intact. The book is endlessly adaptable to subject area (it includes art historical, literary, historical/political and philosophical sources) and to style of class—any material could be safely assigned to a lower-level Renaissance class, but much is in-depth enough for an upper-level lecture or seminar. There is no equivalent compendium of Renaissance sources for undergraduate teaching, which is why I have spent the last several years copying selections from the copy I purchased when it was assigned to me as an undergraduate textbook in 1994. I could not be happier to see this valuable teaching tool re-released, and to have the opportunity to share its contents with my students, as they were once shared with me.

Lisa Regan, University of California Berkeley