Transition to the Renaissance: Republican Values and Ideals in Florence and Siena, 1300-1500

Transition to the Renaissance: Republican Values and Ideals in Florence and Siena, 1300-1500

By Jenna W. Logoluso

Vanderbilt University, History Department Honors Thesis, 2006

Introduction: By the close of the fourteenth century, Siena, once an expanding medieval Italian commune, was declining almost as quickly as she had risen. Once a bright and shinning star, Sienga was once home to some of Europe’s preeminent banking families, merchants, artists and papal financiers as well as a major stop for tradesmen and pilgrims from all over Europe on their way to or from Rome. By the end of the fifteenth century, all that remained of this productive period were works of art commissioned for public buildings, such as frescoes by Ambrogio Lorenzetti in the Palazzo Pubblico, an incomplete cathedral (intended to be Europe’s largest) and the memories of what had, briefly, been an apex of success, a ‘Golden Age’, in which Sienesse grandeur and power were insurmountable. In contrast, Florence’s success gained momentum alongside Siena’s decline. Thereafter, despite a few brief setbacks, often due to outbreaks of pestilence. Florentine’s reached new heights in every field: in international banking, trade, cloth manufacture and painting. Florence was indeed a force to be reckoned with, and one with whom Siena held a long-standing rivalry.


Chapter 1: ‘Buon Governo’: Ideals of Government in the Medieval City-State

Chapter 2: The Republicanism of Florence

Chapter 3: “A state divided cannot stand”: Sienese Factionalism as a cause of decline?

Chapter 4: Conculsion: Florentine Exceptionalism and the Rise of Civic Patriotism

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