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CIVILIZATION OF THE RENAISSANCE IN ITALY

From Jacob Burckhardt's 2nd edition of the Civilization of the Renaissance in Italy; edited for this on-line publication, by ELLOPOS

Part Five: Society and Festivals

Domestic Life

The Authentic Greek New Testament
The Authentic Greek New Testament


» Full Contents of this Part

Part Five: Society and Festivals   » Equality of Classes   » Costumes and Fashions   » Language and Society   » Social Etiquette ||| Education of the 'Cortigiano'   » Music   » Equality of Men and Women   » Domestic Life   » Festivals

After treating of the intercourse of society, let us glance for a moment at the domestic life of this period. We are commonly disposed to look on the family life of the Italians at this time as hopelessly ruined by the national immorality, and this side of the question will be more fully discussed in the sequel. For the moment we must content ourselves with pointing out that conjugal infidelity has by no means so disastrous an influence on family life in Italy as in the North, so long at least as certain limits are not overstepped.

The domestic life of the Middle Ages was a product of popular morals, or if we prefer to put it otherwise, a result of the inborn tendencies of national life, modified by the varied circumstances which affected them. Chivalry at the time of its splendor left domestic economy untouched. The knight wandered from court to court, and from one battlefield to another. His homage was given systematically to some other woman than his own wife, and things went how they might at home in the castle. The spirit of the Renaissance first brought order into domestic life, treating it as a work of deliberate contrivance. Intelligent economical views, and a rational style of domestic architecture served to promote this end. But the chief cause of the change was the thoughtful study of all questions relating to social intercourse, to education, to domestic service and organization.

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Civilization of the Renaissance in Italy: Table of Contents

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Cf. The Ancient Greece * The Ancient Rome
The Eastern Roman Empire (Byzantium) * The Making of Europe

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