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School of History

HST6217 – Renaissance Humanism 1350 - 1650

Module code: HST6217

Credits: 15
Semester: SEM 2

Module Convenor: Fitzmaurice

The module starts with the brilliant culture of Renaissance Italy, with its courts, despots, republics, courtiers, artists, and diplomats.  It shows how Petrarch, Pico, Bruni, and Machiavelli shaped this world.  These ‘humanists’ argued for a life of duty dedicated to the pursuit of glory and honour, guided by virtue, and constantly engaged with the world.  The module then moves to the religious, political, and cultural revolutions of Northern Europe, showing how More, Erasmus, Montaigne and others adapted the ideas of the humanists to the North.  In this new environment, the ‘new’ humanists tempered ideas of duty with self-interest, virtue with corruption, and they began to think about survival and self-preservation as much as glory.

Assessment: Essay (2,000 words) [50%] and Exam [50%]
Level: 6