Courses

"THE PERFECTION OF MAN": EUROPEAN HUMANISM, 1300-1600


Teaching Staff: Baroutsos Fotios
Course Code: ΙΜΕ605
Course Type: Seminar
Course Level: Undergraduate
Course Language: Greek
Semester: 8th
ECTS: 5

Short Description:

The humanist Leonardo Bruni used the above-mentioned phrase to describe the advantages of studia humanitatis, the study of human essence as it had been defined by Francesco Petrarcha. The movement of humanism, as we call it today, emerged and flourished in Italy at the end of the thirteenth century. The sources of inspiration were ancient repubblican Rome, the political authors (mostly Cicero), the poets (Ovid, Virgil, etc.), and the historians (Sallust, etc.). During the sixteenth century the movemnent spread all over western Europe and its members engaged most of the crucial themes of the time, as governance, religion, war, and other matters of social cohesion. By 1600 the influence of humanism started to fade, although it had become the main choice and vehicle of personal formation and general education, influencing the elites of blood and wealth.


Objectives - Learning Outcomes:

With the completion of the seminar the students will:

  • Be aware of the historical context within which humanism emerged and developed,
  • Be famiriarized with the different aspects of humanism, its themes, and the works of the humanists,
  • Be able to apprehend the contribution of humanism in the evolution of ideas and mentalities in Europe.

Syllabus:

Week 1                        Lecture: Historical context.

Week 2                        Lecture: Insitutions favourable to the development of humanism: cities, church, universities.

Week 3                        Italian and northern humanists: the humanist thems.

Week 4                        Analysis: Dante Alighieri, De Monarchia.

                                    Comments on the medieval Comuns.

Week 5                        Analysis: Lorenzo Valla, On the Donation of Constantine.

                                    The humanist clergymen.

Week 6                        Presentation by students: Giovanni Boccacio's The Decameron.

Week 7                        Analysis: Flavio Biondo, Italy Illuminated.

                                    Civic humanism.

Week 8                        Analysis: Flavio Biondo, Italy Illuminated.

                                    Humanists attitude towards wealth.

Week 9                        Presentation: Pico della Mirandola, Oratio de hominis dignitate.

Week 10                      Presentation: Thomas More, Utopia.

Week 11                      Analysis: the 16th and 17th centuries utopias.

Week 12                      Presentation: Erasmus Desiderius, Stultitiae Laus or Moriae Encomium.

Week 13                      Conclusions.


Suggested Bibliography:
  • Nicola Festa, Τα κλασικλά γράμματα στην Αναγέννηση, Αθήνα: Τα Νέα Ελληνικά, 2000.
  • Quentin Skinner, Τα θεμέλια της νεότερης πολιτικής σκέψης: η Αναγέννηση, η εποχή της Μεταρρύθμισης, Αθήνα: Αλεξάνδρεια, 2005.
  • Dante Alighieri, Περί Μοναρχίας, Αθήνα: Αργοναύτης, χχ.
  • Dante Alighieri, De vulgari eloquentia, Κέρκυρα: Απόστροφος, 2000.
  • Giovanni Boccaccio, The Decameron, Αθήνα: Γράμματα, 1993.
  • Lorenzo Valla, On the Donation of Constantine, Harvard University Press, 2008.
  • Flavio Biondo, Italy Illuminated, Harvard University Press, 2005.
  • Pico della Mirandola, Oratio de hominis dignitate, Αθήνα: Άγρα 2014.
  • Thomas More, Utopia, London: Campbell, 1992.
  • Τρία κείμενα για την Ουτοπία, Αθήνα: Μεταίχμιο, 2007.
  • Leonardo Bruni, History of the Florentine People, Harvard University Press, 2001-2007.
  • Erasmus Desiderius, Stultitiae Lausor Moriae Encomium, Αθήνα: Ηριδανός, 1970.

Teaching Methods:

The seminar is comprised of lectures, analysis of humanist works, presentations made by students followed by commenting and debate.


Evaluation Methods:

One essay and one presentation.


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