The Beauty and the Terror: The Italian Renaissance and the Rise of the West

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Oxford University Press, Jul 8, 2020 - History - 432 pages
A new account of the birth of the West through its birthplace--Renaissance Italy

The period between 1492--resonant for a number of reasons--and 1571, when the Ottoman navy was defeated in the Battle of Lepanto, embraces what we know as the Renaissance, one of the most dynamic and creatively explosive epochs in world history. Here is the period that gave rise to so many great artists and figures, and which by its connection to its classical heritage enabled a redefinition, even reinvention, of human potential. It was a moment both of violent struggle and great achievement, of Michelangelo and da Vinci as well as the Borgias and Machiavelli. At the hub of this cultural and intellectual ferment was Italy.

The Beauty and the Terror offers a vibrant history of Renaissance Italy and its crucial role in the emergence of the Western world. Drawing on a rich range of sources--letters, interrogation records, maps, artworks, and inventories--Catherine Fletcher explores both the explosion of artistic expression and years of bloody conflict between Spain and France, between Catholic and Protestant, between Christian and Muslim; in doing so, she presents a new way of witnessing the birth of the West.
 

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Contents

1492
1
1 The Fifteenth Century
15
2 Beyond the Alps
29
The French Descent
39
4 The Borgias vs Savonarola
55
5 The Art of War
69
6 Soldiers and Society
79
7 Wars for the New World
91
8 Popes Princes and Republics
107
9 The Runup to the Reformation
125
10 The League of Cambrai
137
11 Women and Power
149
12 The Ghetto and the Politics of Venice
159
13 The Battle for the Church
173
14 The High Renaissance
185
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About the author (2020)


Catherine Fletcher is a historian of Renaissance and early modern Europe. Her previous works include The Divorce of Henry VIII and The Black Prince of Florence. She teaches History and Heritage at Swansea University in the UK and has held research fellowships in London, Florence, and Rome.

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