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Politics and Culture in Renaissance Naples

Politics and Culture in Renaissance Naples

Jerry H. Bentley
Copyright Date: 1987
Pages: 342
https://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt7zvngk
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    Politics and Culture in Renaissance Naples
    Book Description:

    Examining the cultural history of Renaissance Naples with an emphasis on humanism, the author also evaluates Naples in the broader context of fifteenth-century Italy and Renaissance Europe in general. He addresses several prominent themes of Renaissance history: patron- client relationships, the development of a realistic, Machiavellian approach to matters of statecraft and diplomacy, and the influence of Neapolitan humanists on European culture in general.

    Originally published in 1987.

    ThePrinceton Legacy Libraryuses the latest print-on-demand technology to again make available previously out-of-print books from the distinguished backlist of Princeton University Press. These paperback editions preserve the original texts of these important books while presenting them in durable paperback editions. The goal of the Princeton Legacy Library is to vastly increase access to the rich scholarly heritage found in the thousands of books published by Princeton University Press since its founding in 1905.

    eISBN: 978-1-4008-5881-1
    Subjects: History

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Preface
    (pp. ix-x)
  4. Abbreviations
    (pp. xi-xi)
  5. Maps
    (pp. xii-2)
  6. 1 Naples and Renaissance Italy
    (pp. 3-46)

    I, Loise de Rosa, wish to announce some good news to our Neapolitans. The news is this: Neapolitans are by nature the best men in the world. You ask me to prove it? Listen to my explanation.”

    With these words, a garrulous octogenarian opened a short treatise that amounts to an encomium of the city and kingdom of Naples. The author, Loise de Rosa, does not figure prominently in studies of Italian, or even of Neapolitan history. Yet his praise of Naples suggests something important about Neapolitan culture in the Renaissance, so that his life and work repay a...

  7. 2 Patterns of Patronage
    (pp. 47-83)

    Only those adorned by letters deserve to be called true kings and princes”—or so the humanist historian Flavio Biondo informed King Alfonso in an elegant epistle of 1443. Biondo wrote Alfonso in order to request the loan of chronicles and documents bearing on the history of Spain. Alongside praise of Alfonso’s military accomplishments, he argued the importance of history and letters for men of action who want the memory of their deeds to survive. Think of all the Roman emperors who dominated Europe, Africa, and Asia, Biondo said, but whose names have fallen into oblivion because they neglected arts...

  8. 3 Clientage and Career
    (pp. 84-137)

    Fifteenth-century humanists depended upon the goodwill and generosity of private patrons to a degree difficult to imagine today. Institutional means of support, such as universities, could provide positions only for a small minority of humanists. Meanwhile, no fifteenth-century writer could have supported himself through the fledgling press, since a large, literate, book-buying public did not emerge until the later sixteenth century. The literary and scholarly production of Quattrocento humanists thus naturally reflected the needs and interests of their patrons, as preceding pages have shown in the case of Renaissance Naples.

    Yet humanists eagerly sought positions with prominent patrons and willingly...

  9. 4 The Foundations of a Realistic Political Ethic
    (pp. 138-194)

    Machiavelli rejected metaphysics, theology, idealism. The whole drift of his thought is toward a political realism, unknown to the formal writing of his time.” Thus Max Lerner captured the essence of the matter.¹ Machiavelli has commanded the attention of thoughtful people during the past four hundred years for one prime reason: better than his contemporaries or anyone else who lived within several centuries of his time, Machiavelli understood and described the role of power in political relationships.

    Recent scholarship has largely cast Machiavelli’s analysis of power in the shade, focusing instead on his biography, education, vocabulary, language, understanding of history,...

  10. 5 The Implications of Humanism for Renaissance Political Thought
    (pp. 195-252)

    The Neapolitan humanists accurately reflected the political realities of Quattrocento Italy, to the point, in fact, that the difficult business of Renaissance politics encouraged them to develop realistic conceptions of political and diplomatic problems. But the Neapolitan humanists were not mere passive recipients of political influence. Instead, as this chapter argues, they left their mark on the emerging secular political consciousness of early modern Europe. They did not do so in the same way that some of their Florentine and Venetian colleagues did, by developing the republican tradition of constitutional thought, but rather by addressing other issues more pertinent to...

  11. 6 The Domestication of Humanism in the Mezzogiorno
    (pp. 253-287)

    Alfonso the Magnanimous actively recruited humanists and other cultural figures from abroad and brought them to Naples on generous terms. All five of the major humanists studied in this book—Panormita, Valla, Facio, Manetti, and Pontano—went to the Neapolitan court at Alfonso’s call. The influence of these five and other humanists who worked in Naples made it possible for Ferrante to rely largely on natives of the Mezzogiorno for intellectual talent. He occasionally engaged the services of humanists from central Italy—Francesco Pucci and the Brandolini brothers, all natives of Florence, were the most important cases in point—and...

  12. 7 Neapolitan Humanism and Renaissance Europe
    (pp. 288-300)

    During the late fourteenth and early fifteenth centuries, humanists in central and northern Italy elaborated upon the heritage of Petrarch and transformed it into a cultural movement of considerable social significance. Petrarch’s successors employed their literary and analytical skills in discussing a wide range of social, political, and moral questions. They instituted an educational program that systematically imparted humanist interests and values. They even established sophisticated literary and stylistic criteria for the conduct of political and diplomatic business. Humanism was of course not a purely homogeneous phenomenon: it naturally took on distinctive characteristics according to the peculiar environments in which...

  13. Bibliography
    (pp. 301-320)
  14. Index
    (pp. 321-327)
  15. Back Matter
    (pp. 328-328)