I.             Economic Causes

A.    Crusades motivate East—West trade; Italy enjoyed the being in the crossroads

B.    Advances in ships

1.    could travel year-round

2.    carried larger loads

3.    faster

C.    Ie. Florence and the English wool trade – buy in England, sell in N. Africa

II.           Florence

A.    First flowering of arts happened here

B.    Why? Despite being landlocked, they had these things going for them…

1.    boost from the wool trade

2.    control of papal banking

a.    tax collectors for the pope

b.    profits from loans, investments, money exchanges

3.    Medici family (Lorenzo and Cosimo Medici)

4.    Florence’s economy was strong enough to withstand crises

a.    Edward III of England scratches his huge debt to Florence

b.    Labor revolts (by the “ciompri”)

c.    Black Death

III.          Political See-Saw

A.    Phase 1 of Italian city-state government à communes

1.    commune = associations of free men seeking political and economic independence from local nobles

2.    communes gain power in various cities (Milan, Florence, Genoa, etc.)

3.    Leaders of communes were usually merchants

4.    Bottom line: it became more MORE or LESS democratic (circle one)

B.    Phase 2 – “urban nobility”

1.    marriage of urban merchants with rural nobles

2.    Citizenship in the commune now meant…

a.    Property qualification

b.    Years of residence in the city

c.    Social connections

d.    Bottom line: it became more MORE or LESS democratic

C.    Phase 3 – rise of the popolo

1.    the people revolt violently

2.    republics set up in various cities (Florence, Genoa, etc.)

3.    popolo control was temporary and they failed b/c…

a.    popolo excluded classes below them

b.    they could not maintain order

4.    Bottom line: it became more MORE or LESS democratic

D.   Phase 4 – signori and oligarchies

1.    signori = one person despots; oligarchy = rule by a handful of men

2.    often held a republican constitution or government on paper

3.    1422, Venice population was 84,000 with 200 men in power

4.    courts – held by despots and oligarchs; the courts flaunted wealth

5.    Bottom line: it became more MORE or LESS democratic

IV.          Disunity of Italy

A.    The Big Five City-States

1.    Venice—trade center

2.    Milan—despotism (rule by an autocrat, one person)

3.    Florence—Medici family controlled it

4.    Papal States—Roman families controlled during the Babylonian Captivity; Pope later reasserts his power thanks to Cesare Borgia, Machiavelli’s hero in The Prince

5.    Naples—old-fashioned

6.    balance-of-power was purposely maintained between city-states; this gave rise to modern day embassies

7.    Girolamo Savonarola—friar who attacked (1) immorality, (2) Medici rule, (3) Pope’s corruption; Savonarola is popular then later detested and executed

8.    City-state squabbling invited foreign meddling…here comes France

a.    Charles VIII invades Italy and takes Florence, Rome, Naples

b.    France/Germany team up against Venice

c.    Charles V named Holy Roman Emperor—meaning the pope depends on him for defense

d.    Series of French—German wars occur, usually in Italy

9.    Bottom line: Disunity makes Italy vulnerable and home to years of war