The Renaissance

The Important Stuff!!

April 6, 1341: Francesco Petrarch is Crowned Poet Laureate

Many historians cite this date as the beginning of the Renaissance.

1397: Giovanni de Medici Moves to Florence

Giovanni de Medici, the papal banker, headquarters his business in Florence and becomes involved in Florentine public life and patronage of the arts, laying the groundwork for the rise of his son Cosimo de Medici to power.

1401: Ghiberti Wins the Right to Sculpt the Northern Doors of The Baptistry

Ghiberti is commissioned and takes 28 years to sculpt the bronze doors of the Florentine church. The doors remain one of the most valued treasures of the Renaissance

1420: The Papacy Returns to Rome

The Papacy, having been located in Avignon since 1305, returns to Rome, bringing with it the prestige and wealth necessary to rebuild the city.

1420: Brunelleschi rediscovers linear perspective

Brunelleschi is famous for two panel paintings illustrating geometric optical linear perspective made in the early 1400s. He used the Florentine Baptistry for his drawings.

1429: Cosimo de Medici Takes Over his Father's Business

Cosimo de Medici becomes head of the bank after his father dies, using his economic power to consolidate political power. Within five years he runs the city without question.

1447: Pope Nicholas V Ascends to the Throne

Pope Nicholas V takes the first steps toward turning Rome into a Renaissance city, undertaking many construction projects and strongly encouraging the arts.

1453: Constantinople Falls

The center of the Byzantine Empire, Constantinople falls to the Ottoman Turks, provoking an exodus of Greek people and works of art and literature into the Italian city-states.

1454: Johann Gutenberg Prints the Gutenberg Bible

Gutenberg is credited with the invention of the printing press in Europe, and ushers in the age of printed books, making literature more accessible to all Europeans.

1455 - 1485: The War of the Roses

A continuous conflict for the English thrown between two Houses in England, the Lancasters and the Yorks. In the end, the Tudors (a family related to the Lancasters) led the family to victory. The conflict was named for the representative badges of the families: a red rose for the Lancasters, a white rose for the Yorks.

1464: Lorenzo de Medici Ascends to Power in Florence

After Cosimo's death in 1464, his son Piero rules until his death in 1469, when power falls into the hands of Lorenzo, who rules until 1491, raising Florence to its greatest heights of the Renaissance.

1478: The Spanish Inquisition Begins

The Spanish Inquisition was used for both political and religious reasons. Following the Crusades and the Reconquest of Spain by the Christian Spaniards the leaders of Spain needed a way to unify the country into a strong nation. Methods of coercion were frequently used.

1492: Rodrigo Borgia becomes Pope Alexander VI

Alexander VI is widely known as a corrupt and manipulative pope, scheming for his family's benefit. Many claim that the Papacy reaches its greatest moral decline of the Renaissance during his pontificate.

1494: The Medici are Ousted from Florence by Girolamo Savonarola

Savonarola, preaching a return to simple faith, leads a popular uprising against the Medici, who are forced to flee. Savonarola's rule is short-lived, and he is burned as a heretic in 1495.

1494: Ludovico Sforza Permits the French Invasion of Italy

In an attempt to weaken his enemy, the King of Naples, Ludovico invites the French to invade Italy, granting them free passage through Milan. Though this invasion fails, the French return in 1499, turning on Ludovico and taking Milan, and opening an era of foreign competition for Italian land.

1503: Pope Julius II Assumes the Papal Throne

The ascension of Pope Julius II begins the Roman Golden Age, during which the city and Papacy both prosper. Julius II reverses the trend of moral degradation in the Papacy and takes great steps in the rebuilding of Rome.

1513: Niccolo Machiavelli Publishes The Prince

Often considered the most influential political book of all time, The Prince outlines the argument that it is better for a ruler to be feared than loved.

1514: Michelangelo Paints the Sistine Chapel

The painting is a cornerstone work of High Renaissance art. The ceiling is that of the large Papal Chapel built within the Vatican The ceiling's various painted elements form part of a larger scheme of decoration within the Chapel, which includes the large fresco The Last Judgment on the sanctuary wall, also by Michelangelo.

1514: Thomas More writes Utopia

The book, written in Latin, is a frame narrative primarily depicting a fictional island society and its religious, social and political customs. A 'Utopia"' refers to a perfect society or world -- no war or poverty.

1517: The Reformation Movement Begins

Martin Luther posts his 95 Theses on the door of a church in Wittenburg, Germany, igniting a movement which provokes an enormous split in the Roman Catholic Church.

1519: Leonardo da Vinci Dies

Leonardo, perhaps the most remarkable individual of the Renaissance, dies in France, having established himself as a painter, sculptor, engineer, and scientist.

May 6, 1527: The Sack of Rome

After Pope Clement VII refuses to grant the imperial army a ransom, it attacks the city of Rome, taking the city in just over twelve hours. The sack of Rome symbolizes the downfall of Renaissance Italy, much of which is subjugated to Imperial-Spanish rule by the settlement of Bologna in 1530.

May 26, 1564: The Baptism of Shakepeare

Died in 1616. Sonnets, plays, tragedy, comedy... what more!