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The Civilisation of the Renaissance in Italy   By: (1818-1897)

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Redactor's Note: This version of Burckhardt is from the 2nd edition. Many later editions were issued, but this is the last with Burckhardt's own input. Burckhardt received nothing for his labors for this book, and so it is fitting that it is returned to the public domain. Italics are preserved and are bracketed by underscores ( ).

The Civilization of the Renaissance in Italy

by Jacob Burckhardt

Table of Contents Part One: The State as a Work of Art 1 1 Introduction 1 2 Despots of the Fourteenth Century 1 3 Despots of the Fifteenth Century 1 4 The Smaller Despotisms 1 5 The Greater Dynasties 1 6 The Opponents of the Despots 1 7 The Republics: Venice and Florence 1 8 Foreign Policy 1 9 War as a Work of Art 1 10 The Papacy 1 11 Patriotism Part Two: The Development of the Individual 2 1 Personality 2 2 Glory 2 3 Ridicule and Wit Part Three: The Revival of Antiquity 3 1 Introductory 3 2 The Ruins of Rome 3 3 The Classics 3 4 The Humanists 3 5 Universities and Schools 3 6 Propagators of Antiquity 3 7 Epistolography: Latin Orators 3 8 The Treatise, and History in Latin 3 9 Antiquity as the Common Source 3 10 Neo Latin Poetry 3 11 Fall of the Humanists in the Sixteenth Century Part Four: The Discovery of the World and of Man 4 1 Journeys of the Italians 4 2 The Natural Sciences in Italy 4 3 Discovery of the Beauty of the Landscape 4 4 Discovery of Man 4 5 Biography in the Middle Ages 4 6 Description of the Outward Man 4 7 Description of Human Life Part Five: Society and Festivals 5 1 Equality of Classes 5 2 Costumes and Fashions 5 3 Language and Society 5 4 Social Etiquette 5 5 Education of the 'Cortigiano' 5 6 Music 5 7 Equality of Men and Women 5 8 Domestic Life 5 9 Festivals Part Six: Morality and Religion 6 1 Morality and Judgement 6 2 Morality and Immorality 6 3 Religion in Daily Life 6 4 Strength of the Old Faith 6 5 Religion and the Spirit of the Renaissance 6 6 Influence of Ancient Superstition 6 7 General Spirit of Doubt


By Jacob Burckhardt

Translated by S. G. C. Middlemore, 1878

Part I



This work bears the title of an essay in the strictest sense of the word. No one is more conscious than the writer with what limited means and strength he has addressed himself to a task so arduous. And even if he could look with greater confidence upon his own researches, he would hardly thereby feel more assured of the approval of competent judges. To each eye, perhaps, the outlines of a given civilization present a different picture; and in treating of a civilization which is the mother of our own, and whose influence is still at work among us, it is unavoidable that individual judgement and feeling should tell every moment both on the writer and on the reader. In the wide ocean upon which we venture, the possible ways and directions are many; and the same studies which have served for this work might easily, in other hands, not only receive a wholly different treatment and application, but lead also to essentially different conclusions. Such indeed is the importance of the subject that it still calls for fresh investigation, and may be studied with advantage from the most varied points of view. Meanwhile we are content if a patient hearing is granted us, and if this book be taken and judged as a whole. It is the most serious difficulty of the history of civilization that a great intellectual process must be broken up into single, and often into what seem arbitrary categories in order to be in any way intelligible. It was formerly our intention to fill up the gaps in this book by a special work on the 'Art of the Renaissance' an intention, however, which we have been able to fulfill only in part.

The struggle between the Popes and the Hohenstaufen left Italy in a political condition which differed essentially from that of other countries of the West... Continue reading book >>

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