A Companion to the Worlds of the Renaissance
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This volume brings together some of the most exciting renaissance scholars to suggest new ways of thinking about the period and to set a new series of agendas for Renaissance scholarship.
- Overturns the idea that it was a period of European cultural triumph and highlights the negative as well as the positive.
- Looks at the Renaissance from a world, as opposed to just European, perspective.
- Views the Renaissance from perspectives other than just the cultural elite.
- Gender, sex, violence, and cultural history are integrated into the analysis.
mates rather than having marriages arranged for them. Ten to 15 percent of the population never married, primarily because they did not have the financial means to do so. Men and women who did marry were usually in their mid- to late twenties. Marriage at this late age was a means of restricting the birth rate, as was offering children to monasteries or nunneries, a practice which first developed in southwest Asia and North Africa, reaching Europe in the Middle Ages as Christianity spread. Often
affecting the birth rate. Indigenous peoples turned to infanticide and abortion, refusing to bring children into the 184 JOANNE M. FERRARO world of their harsh conquerors and reacting negatively to the abrogation of their customs and beliefs. Some also practiced long lactation and abstinence when persuaded to renounce polygyny, again limiting births. They had been, unhappily, forced during the missionary experience to adapt to Spanish modes of life. They were corralled into missions, where
complexity. Vester has worked on the nobility in Savoy and Piedmont, a kind of crossroads area in the late Renaissance, where Italian and French visions of nobility and the upper classes intersected and at times conflicted with interesting results. As a result his essay deals with the problematic relationship between new urban elites and older military aristocracies and the gradual building of a European aristocracy that would become the “old regime.” Most notably, perhaps, he recasts the
for genealogical history. The standard account runs from Petrarch’s fourteenth-century anticipation and his successors’ pursuit of a literary and scholarly “revival of antiquity” to the extension of the idea of renewal to an entire period of European history. As readers of this volume will often be reminded, the periodic conception of the Renaissance would get its canonical formulation by the nineteenth-century historian Jacob Burckhardt, establish the terms of a “Renaissance debate” in the
understood, a republic implied a contractual rather than hereditary foundation to government. Unlike princely families that followed the imperatives of reproductive 108 EDWARD MUIR biology, republics were knit together with the social capital of voluntary, male associations, a fact that made them inherently unstable. Republics had particular difficulty accounting for the public roles of mothers, sisters, and wives, let alone single women, whose political involvement was relegated to the