A Renaissance Education

A Renaissance Education: Schooling in Bergamo and the Venetian Republic, 1500-1650

CHRISTOPHER CARLSMITH
Copyright Date: 2010
Pages: 416
https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.3138/9781442697423
  • Cite this Item
  • Book Info
    A Renaissance Education
    Book Description:

    Carlsmith'sA Renaissance Educationuses a case study approach to examine educational practices in the north-eastern Italian city of Bergamo from 1500 to 1650.

    eISBN: 978-1-4426-9742-3
    Subjects: History

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. List of Maps and Illustrations
    (pp. vii-viii)
  4. A Note about Money, Quotations, and Names
    (pp. ix-x)
  5. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xi-xiv)
    CHC
  6. List of Abbreviations
    (pp. xv-2)
  7. Introduction
    (pp. 3-25)

    This book examines the educational network that existed in northeastern Italy between 1500 and 1650, with a particular emphasis on the city of Bergamo. The focus is primarily upon pre-university education – what today we would call high school – but cases of elementary schooling, pre-professional training, and university instruction provide important points of comparison and thus are included. A close analysis of civic, ecclesiastical, confraternal, and family records not only paints a vivid portrait of how schooling functioned in one city but also explores this small city’s dynamic interconnections with other locales and with larger regional processes.

    The importance...

  8. 1 Comune: Schooling and the City
    (pp. 26-74)

    For centuries parents, philosophers, and politicians have wrestled over the structure and function of public schooling. From Quintilian’s observations in first-century Rome and Thomas Jefferson’s plans for ‘publick’ education in colonial Virginia, to more recent debates over vouchers and charter schools, the struggle to shape public instruction has long been an impassioned one. Issues of curriculum reform, teacher qualifications, school prayer, student morality, corporal punishment, and tax-supported schools are not limited to modern U.S. history, but trace their roots to late medieval and early modern Europe. The international universities, humanist academies, and highly urbanized society of Renaissance and early modern...

  9. 2 Misericordia: Schooling and Confraternities
    (pp. 75-139)

    In 1549 the governor of Bergamo, Pietro Sanudo, lamented the poverty of the city’s inhabitants: ‘most of them are poor, and if there did not exist the many charitable institutions that are calledMisericordie, many people would die of hunger and even as it is for the better part of the year they must survive on chestnuts and other wild foods.’ Six years later another governor of Bergamo echoed this concern in his report to the doge of Venice: ‘and truly, Most Serene Prince, so great is the number of the poor from the sterility of the land that it...

  10. 3 Catechismo: Schooling and the Catholic Church
    (pp. 140-175)

    This chapter and the one that follows analyse education provided by institutions of the Roman Catholic Church to the youth of Bergamo between 1500 and 1650.¹ In medieval Europe, the Church had been the leading source of education, literacy, and knowledge. Mendicant friars, cloistered monks, and parish priests provided lessons in religion, reading, and (less often) writing and arithmetic. Cathedral schools and monastic libraries preserved the few books available and trained young acolytes for an ecclesiastical career. Beginning in the thirteenth century, however, the Church slowly lost its monopoly on education as independent masters and communal schools combined with broader...

  11. 4 Chiesa: Schooling with Jesuits and Somaschans
    (pp. 176-222)

    Having examined the seminary and the Schools of Christian Doctrine, we turn now to the role of the Jesuits and the Somaschans in early modern Bergamo. These two religious orders were well known in northern Italy and enjoyed steady growth in membership and influence. Each ‘company’ reflected the particular interests of its respective founder: Ignatius Loyola of the Jesuits and Girolamo Miani of the Somaschans. Ironically, neither man considered education of youth to be a primary goal at the outset. Miani wished to provide charity to destitute children and reformed prostitutes, while Loyola sought to lead a small band of...

  12. 5 Genitori: Schooling, Parents, and Tutors
    (pp. 223-250)

    The best-known examples of Italian Renaissance education are the private tutors hired by princes and patriarchs to train children in Latin, letters, and etiquette. Epitomized by Vittorino da Feltre and Guarino da Verona in the fifteenth century, and idealized by Baldassare Castiglione inThe Courtierduring the sixteenth century, the tutor was frequently a humanist scholar who travelled from one city to the next in search of a wealthy patron. The subjects to be studied varied according to the competency of the teacher, the desire of the parent, and (perhaps) the aptitude of the child. The curriculum might include hawking...

  13. 6 Fuori le mura: Schooling beyond Bergamo
    (pp. 251-285)

    In his 1553 compendium of Italian cities and their inhabitants, the Bolognese Dominican Leandro Alberti lauded Bergamo for its high level of education: ‘The residents of this city are very civilized, even if they speak roughly, and they possess a subtle craftiness, being as good at the art of letters as they are with trade. Indeed, the people of Bergamo are so well-educated that they have no need of foreign physicians, nor lawyers, nor notaries, and least of all do they need grammar teachers, as the city is abundantly provided with excellent schoolmasters in every generation.’¹ Two hundred years earlier,...

  14. Conclusion
    (pp. 286-292)

    As documented in the preceding chapters, a surprisingly large array of educational options was available to Bergamasque students from the fifteenth to the seventeenth century. Students – both lay and religious – could study Latin grammar and literature, rhetoric and poetry, philosophy and logic, catechism and theology. Scholarships and subsidies were available to assist those who could not afford to pay for schooling on their own. University-level courses in law were offered and could count toward a degree from the University of Padua. Nor were such options restricted to the urban center, for students could find schooling even in the...

  15. Appendix 1: Teachers in Late Medieval and Early Modern Bergamo, by Institution
    (pp. 293-297)
  16. Appendix 2: Distribution of Teachers and Students in Bergamo’s Schools of Christian Doctrine, 1609
    (pp. 298-300)
  17. Notes
    (pp. 301-392)
  18. Bibliography
    (pp. 393-416)
  19. Index
    (pp. 417-435)