The Italian Renaissance Essay
During the 14th century, Italy was divided into many self-governing city states. Florence, an independent republic and third largest city in Europe at the time, was the motherland of the Italian Renaissance. Florence was the birthplace of the Renaissance due to its location, prosperity, and cultural amalgamation. The Renaissance was an enlightening time of “rebirth” that began directly after the Middle Ages and lasted through the 16th century (History.com Staff).
Italian republics consisted of communes, or city-states, ruled by an individual or a solitary family, with a democratic government and an abundance of educated citizens. The governmental system – which mirrored those of ancient Greece and Rome – was not a true democracy, however, since only wealthy men were allowed to vote. As time progressed though, the common people began to have more governmental power, due to emerging social and economic freedoms. There were three main social levels at that time: the upper class, being businessmen and merchants; the middle class, formed from educated townsfolk; and the lower class, comprised of artisans and craftsmen (Walker 7-8).
In the 14th century, the Holy Roman Empire was comprised of land stretching from the edges of France, Poland, Hungary, and parts of Northern Italy, including Florence. Pope Gregory XI wanted the papacy to return to Rome, and thus began a union of Lombardian cities against the Visconti family, who dominated the government of…