FUNCTION OF WOMEN DURING THE RENAISSANCE
2.1 - Introduction to Women in the Renaissance context
2.2 - Issues to the examination of Women during the Renaissance
2.3 - Criteria to Assess the Emancipation of Women during the Renaissance
- 2.3.1 - Expression of Sexuality and Sex-role ideology
- 220.127.116.11 - Suppression of Women's sexuality in the context of medievalism
- 18.104.22.168 - Metamorphose of the Role of Women during the Renaissance
- 22.214.171.124 - Patriarchal systems and the oppression of Women
- 126.96.36.199 - Vassalage and the Liberalization of Women
- 2.3.2 - The Renaissance Lady in Economics
- 188.8.131.52 - Renaissance Economics in relation to Demographic changes: Florentine
- 184.108.40.206 - Growing participation of Women in Economics
- 220.127.116.11.1 - The Historical timeline of Women in Economics
- 18.104.22.168.2 - Reasons for the increased participation of Women in Economics: Structural changes of the Florentine economy
- 2.3.3 - The Renaissance Lady and Education
- 22.214.171.124 - Humanism and the restrictions on the Renaissance woman
- 126.96.36.199.1 - Educational Reform perceived and influenced by humanism
- 188.8.131.52.2 - Grammar and Rhetoric
- 184.108.40.206 - Masculinity in the elements of the Renaissance education: Alienation of feminism
- 220.127.116.11 - Intensive education for women: A Resolution
- 2.3.4 - Renaissance Lady in Politics
- 18.104.22.168 - Introduction to Political units in Renaissance Italy
- 22.214.171.124 - Renaissance women in the socio-political context of Renaissance Italy
2.1 - Introduction to Women in the Renaissance context
Before delineating the roles and status that women held in the historical contexts of societies, one of the pivoting tasks of women's history is to call into question the accepted schemes of periodization - that is, to take different points in history to emulate the development and transformation of women and their roles in society. To take the emancipation of women as a vantage point to discover that events that further the historical development of men, liberating them from natural, social or ideological constraints, have quite different, even opposite, effects upon women (Kelly, 1986). Identifying this model with the Renaissance period illustrates how the mentioned developments affected women, in particular, adversely. Florence, Italy before the 14th century had initiated and executed structural consolidations of genuine states, the production economy and even "post guild social relations" - and was well in advance of the rest of Europe from the 14th to the 16th century. These aligned the Italian society with modern elements and expressed opportunities for social and cultural emulation. Yet, precisely these developments affected women adversely, so much that there was no Renaissance for women - at least, not during the Renaissance (Kelly, 1986). The state, early capitalism, and the social relations formed by these developments impinged on the lives of the women during the Renaissance in many different ways according to their positions in society. But, not quite startling, the fact that women as a group, especially among the classes that domination Italian urban life, experienced a contraction of social and personal options that the men of their class did not, as was the case with the bourgeoisie, as was the case with nobility.
2.2 - Issues to the examination of Women during the Renaissance
Before demonstrating how developments and modernization had adverse effects on women during the period of the Renaissance, which contradicts to the notion that she must have equality with the Renaissance man, the challenge is to define the perimeters to evaluate and measure loss and gain, with respects to the liberty of women. The following criteria and aspects will be discussed separately and an assessment of the role of women, with respects to each category, during the Renaissance will conclude the role-metamorphoses of women - regulation of female sexuality as compared to the male sexuality; women in economics and politics, for example the types of work women did in comparisons with men's, and their access to property, political power, and education; cultural roles of women in shaping the outlook of society; and ideology about women, in particular the sex-role system advocated in the products of society, its arts, literature, and philosophy. These components of the ideological index give us direct knowledge of the attitudes of the dominant sectors towards the role of women in that particular society, and also yield indirect knowledge of other named criteria (Kelly, 1986).
Another challenge in assessing metamorphoses in the roles of women during the Renaissance is that the Renaissance thought cannot be simply categorized. Aligning the research to examining changes in sex-role conceptions, particularly with respects to sexuality, for what they tell us of the Renaissance society and women's place in it, it is inevitably tough to accurately delineate general roles of women because the ideas about the relation of sexes range from a relatively complementary sense of sex roles in literature dealing with courtly manners, love and education, to patriarchal concepts in writings of marriage and family, to fairly equal presentation of sex roles in early Utopian social theory (Kelly, 1986). Yet, such diversity need not baffle with the reconstruct of women's history and to relate its actual situations of women. There will be an organization of material in accordance to the social group, which it responds to - namely the courtly society, the bourgeoisie, and the nobility of the petty despotic states of Italy.
2.3 - Criteria to Assess the Emancipation of Women during the Renaissance
2.3.1 - Expression of Sexuality and Sex-role ideology
126.96.36.199 - Suppression of Women's sexuality in the context of medievalism
The Renaissance, being a movement sustained by change and constant improvement, witnessed the emancipation and liberalization of women in the sectors of expressions, ideology, economics, politics and power. Love, during the medieval, Renaissance, was closely aligned with the features and elements of feudalism and the Church; this allowed for a unique method for women to express their sexual love - this only applied to aristocratic women thereby, who gained sexual and affective rights. History in the context of medievalism depicted women as sexually oppressed and objectified by the sexuality of men. For example, if a knight wanted a peasant girl as a companion, the 12th century theorist Capellanus would encourage him "not to hesitate to take whatever [he] seeks and to embrace her by force". Yet, perceived by the lady is diametrically opposing, that is, "a true lover considers nothing good except what he thinks will please his beloved". To seek an understanding of this gulf between the two sexualities, for if courtly love were to define itself as a phenomenon of nobility, it would allow a freedom of relation between the lovers. The female sexuality was simply, with respects to medievalism, oppressed and objectified, to satisfy and counter-balance the impulses exacerbated by the male sexuality. Before movement of the Renaissance, 14th century, the sexuality of women was, in general, in terms of all women no matter the position they held in society, unanimated and indistinct based on social norms, ideologies and consensus about the role of women - that they were sexual objects that for the pleasure and serf to men.
Self-Portrait as a Female Martyr
Oil on panel
12 1/2 x 9 3/4 in (31.8 x 24.8 cm)
188.8.131.52 - Metamorphose of the Role of Women during the Renaissance
The transition from medievalism to Renaissance witnessed the change in of love representation, to be along the lines of vassalage - that is one of the dominant dependent social relation formed by feudalism. The inspirations of feudalism consisted of two dominant points: hereditability versus vassalage. As opposed to what hereditability marked as a servile relation of the serf to the lord, at a time where somebody was somebody else's 'man', vassalage was implemented to and aligned with the social structure of the Renaissance countries. Vassalage distinguished itself as a relation that is being freely entered into, a relation of knight to lord (Kelly, 1986) - where both factions have their own roles and have to serve each other. In the context of love versus women sexuality versus social perceptions of women during the medieval period, this implementation sort-of had several liberating implications of the women of the aristocracy. Ideas of homage and mutuality entered the notion of heterosexual relations along with the idea of freedom (Kelly, 1986); the beginning of perception shifts to consider emancipation of women in terms of sexuality and ideologies. Most commonly seen are illustrations on shields that place the knight kneeling before his lady with his hands folded and not hers, homage signified male service, and not the subordination or domination of the lady; and it signified fidelity, constancy in that service. Homage entailed liberation of women's sexuality in face of that of the males. It also entailed reciprocity of rights and obligations (Kelly, 1986), where the woman had to perform her duty as well. Thus, the role of the liberated woman (along the lines of homage and vassalage) had metamorphosed in the sense that women became more involved and engaged in the affairs of men. In one of Marie de France's romances, a knight is about to be judged by the barons of King Arthur's court when his lady rides to the castle to give him "succor" and pleads successfully for him, as any overlord might. This signifies a pivotal transformation, in terms of influence and power, of the role of women, both in society and with respects to male sexuality - as courtly love aligned itself to the elements of vassalage, as part of the transformation of society that occurred during the Renaissance.
184.108.40.206 - Patriarchal systems and the oppression of Women
There is another, nevertheless, an important factor that has to be taken account into, the influence of the patriarchal and family relations on the variance of courtly love, obtaining in the same level of society (aristocracy). Medievalist's explanatory paradigm of the incompatibility of courtly love with prevailing family and marital relations are based on the most universal demand of patriarchal society for female chastity, in the sense of the woman's strict bondage to the marital bed. Women, restricted by the patriarchal concept of bondage, either to domestic affairs or to family and marital relations, are thus incapable of expressing their genuine, and their sexuality. They were distorted by social consensus, with respects to their individual rights and personal opinions that were reflected by women's disallowance to make decision, in face of the male sexuality and family relations. Their expressions of sexuality, and their sexuality itself, were often regarded inferior and incompatible to the patriarchal systems that entirely subordinated the lives of women in the context of medievalism, in terms of their decisions, and in terms of the suppressions the female sexuality suffered with respects to courtly love and expression. In the patriarchal society, based on universal consensus in the context of medievalism, the female sexuality was subject to the taint of social necessity perceived by the aristocracy - marriage (as a relation arranged by others, excluding the to-be married). Given the uncertain religious and political climate, this restrictive definition of women's role within the rigid and patriarchal social structure led to the expressions of misogynistic violence (Radek, 2001). A point in case directs us to the witch hunts of the 16th century, where 30,000 or more deaths were violently murdered - convictions were obtained on little real evidence, but based on fabricated testimonies; statistically, the accused women were outside the immediate locus of male control. It is illustrated from the witch hunts of the 16th century of the rigid structure of society that inevitably alienates women from current and social affairs which they were often involved in, even if they had not intended to. There is also a revelation that insecurity is perceived by the male sexuality when the female sexuality is not subordination to or acknowledged serf to men. The dawn of the Renaissance was a change in the social structures of the Renaissance countries and the increasing influence of the feudal and the Church. The adherence with vassalage transformed male domination to male service to women sexualities, and alleviated the suffrage of women from the oppression of society in the context of medievalism. Renaissance women no longer faced restrictions and interventions from family, marital relations and from the misogynistic sexuality of males, and began to express their own sexuality and their own ideologies. The emancipation of women progressed substantially during the Renaissance as women took on a more proactive role in the economic and political affairs of societies during the Renaissance (the role of women in economics with respect of property and politics with respects to power will be discussed further in the following chapters). Medieval concepts of sex-role transformed from 'women as serfs to men' to 'women with equality men' during the period of Reformations; from hereditability to vassalage, a passage of salvation and a liberalizing force for women.
220.127.116.11 - Vassalage and the Liberalization of Women
Two oppressive forces of women before the dawn of the Renaissance have been surfaced in light of the mentioned: Male dominance and perceived superiority over the female sexuality; rigid and patriarchal social structure in the context of medievalism. The Renaissance saw the emancipation and liberation of women, with respects to their expressions of sexuality, with the introduction of the vassalage by the feudal and encouraged by the Church. The oppressions experienced by woman, however, cannot be entirely disregarded because the perception of vassalage will never be uniform within a society once encapsulated by the ideology of hereditability. Change is never absolute, especially when it pertains to social mindsets and schemes of periodization; there will be certain aspects that do not comply with the change imposed, whether forcefully or not (Radek, 2001). However, it can be noted that women were given increasing rights to express freely their mind and sexuality when entering a relationship outside marriage, that is to endeavor in relationships, sexual or not, without complying with the patriarchal systems of family or marital relations, nor to the universal consensus of the women's strict bondage to the marital bed.
2.3.2 - The Renaissance Lady in Economics
18.104.22.168 - Renaissance Economics in relation to Demographic changes: Florentine
The 15th to the 17th century witnessed changes in the economical structure of Florentine, Italy (as it adapted to new economical opportunities), which substantially undermined the notion of decline and suggest instead considerable resilience. Changes of the economical structure that took place during the Renaissance helped produce and were themselves the product of growing participation of women in economics. The emancipation of women, with respects to economics, according to recent literature is a consequence of the development of modern capitalism. The prevailing situation of the economy - traditional economy - was characterized by a low participation rate of women and by strict sexual segregation, and women were confined only to agriculture and activities that were indirect to the marketplace (Brown, 1980). Thus, they were placed in subservient, economically dependent positions. The lack of women employment opportunities undermined the traditional economy and the development of the urban sectors. It has been contended with reference to the Florence Republic, one of the earliest and most industrialized societies in pre-modern Europe during the 15th century (due to its early consolidation of a genuine state), that the economical decline and to an extent, the recession of the Renaissance was a consequence of the limited economic function of its women.
Self-Portrait as the Allegory of Painting
Oil on canvas
38 7/8 x 29 5/8 in (98.6 x 75.2 cm)
Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth I
Florence Republic, Italy, in the 14th century was the pioneer of the Renaissance movement. Ideas were generated and originated from Tuscany and with the aid from the invention of the printing press, spread and diffused rapidly to the entire of Europe. To validate the above assertions on the function of women, Florence will be used a case study, with respects to both the performance of the Florentine economy during the Renaissance period (15th to 17th century) and the nature of women's role in it. However, it must taken account into the demographic context in which these economical transformation lie, because there is a school that places belief that the Florentine collapse in economy was partly due to the high labor costs exacerbated by population losses during the late Renaissance and early modern period (Brown, 1980).
In terms of population and ranking, Florence lost in ranking from the top five to the fourteenth from the 1300s to the 1600s. In 1338, the Florentine population amounted 120,000 - yet in 1622 this number dropped to 76,023. This relative decline has obscured the more positive aspects of Florentine demographic trends in this period, namely after a century of the onslaught of the Black Death in 1348 until the mid-fifteenth century (which resulted in the death of near 90,000 people), population grew considerably until the 1620s and remained relatively stable thereafter despite sharp short-term losses in the 17th century. A consensus in 1730 showed population to fluctuate around 74,000 people. Population growth in the 16th century and quick recoveries thus suggest that the Florentine economy still attracted newcomers, and that far from economic collapse, the city offered the people a large variety of economic opportunities. Florence, as one of the most established state and economy, thus required the function of the entire society to utilize these economies - including the proactive participation of the women.
The extent and variety of economic activities can be observed by a number of sources, among them the governmental censuses of Florentine households. Although rough by modern standards, the censuses are comparable to each other and provide a good explanation for the different sectors of the economy and two different times. Changes of the economic sectors of Florentine were not radical, with little differentiation between the 15th and the 17th century. Data from the sectoral employment of heads of households show that in the textile industry, employment of heads of this household increased from 2,038 in 1427 to 3,412 in 1631; in food industries, 464 in 1427 to 713 in 1631; in metal industries, 272 in 1427 to 358 in 1631. The figures illustrate clearly a rise in employment of the population in different sectors - yet this does not show increased economic opportunities as a result of conscious improvement, but with the demographic changes taken into account, the progressive and necessary expansion of the economy to suit the population numbers. Florentines continues to produce a wide variety of luxury goods, for which they had become famous already in the early Renaissance, and the largest single group, over one-fifth of the population, continued to work in the textile sector. Yet the notion of a static or even rigid economy could not be further from the truth. Within the seemingly stable general pattern there were many adaptations to technological and other changes (Judith, 1980). In the manufacture of metal products, for example, the armories and sword makers of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries gave way to the makers of cannon and fire- arms. Moreover, a whole new set of luxury crafts was introduced as the sixteenth- and seventeenth-century public attained new standards of comfort and taste. While for many the seventeenth century was a "century of crisis," there emerged for the first time in European history large numbers of people who concerned themselves with the pursuit of fashion and of re- fined material culture. Their demand for luxury products-jewelry, glass- ware, ceramics, books, silks, and so on-grew considerably and Florentine craftsmen were eager to accommodate to their wishes. To consider that the function of women in medieval context in economics was allegedly characterized by a strict restriction of the participation of women in economics is to realize that the Florentine Republic, with such variance in the sectors of economy, would be dependent on its entire human resource - and even if, ultimately, the participation of women in economics.
The conclusion is inescapable that the economy of Florentine did not collapse. Based on statistics, in the 14th century, employment of the wool industry was at an all-high of 30,000 jobs opportunities; yet by the mid-17th century reduced drastically to only 3,500 employed. On the other hand, the silk industry, even though established later in the 15th century and starting off with only 1000 employees, expanded to be relatively larger than the wool industry with over 15,000 workers in the silk sectors. However, although the absolute size of the textile sector and the proportion of labor force employed in it declined from an all-time peak reached in the mid-16th century, it certainly did not collapse. The contraction of the wool industry was partly compensated by the expansion in the silk. Moreover, the impact of a shrinking textile sector on the economy was deadened further by the new economic opportunities that opened up in other areas, which absorbed labor released from textile production and probably more than compensated for its decline.
22.214.171.124 - Growing participation of Women in Economics
126.96.36.199.1 - The Historical timeline of Women in Economics
Further evidence for the expanded employment opportunities can be found in the growing participation rates of women in the economy. According to Jordan Goodman, presumably if a larger percentage of women were employed, they were net additions to the labor force rather than replacements. Unfortunately, data on women's employment before the 17th century are not extensive, but there are enough references in literary, legal and fiscal records to allow us to arrive at some possible conclusion. To identify metamorphoses of the roles of women in economy during the Renaissance, literature and primary statistics (based on industrial accounts) revealed: in the mid-14th century, women were mentioned frequently in a variety of occupations. By the 15th century, however, such references were rare even in documents as comprehensive as the Catasto of 1427. This trend sustained until the mid-16th century when rather suddenly the account books of wool manufacturing industries revealed a rising percentage of employees as women. By 1604, 62 percent of weavers and approximately 40 percent of wool workers were women, not counting the spinners who lived outside the city and who had always been female. Surveys of both silk and the wool industries completed in 1662-3 show that female employment remained high in the seventeenth century, constituting about 38 percent of wool workers and 84 percent of the workers in the silk industry. In other sectors of the economy of Florence, women employment had never reached such high levels. The Census of 1631 shows that over 80 percent of women whose occupations were listed were employed in textiles while the remainder were scattered over a number of other occupations such as making clothing, prostitution, domestic work, and a variety of activities ranging from making gold thread to selling liquor. Nonetheless, the Census confirmed the impression that women were employed in unprecedented numbers (Brown, 1980).
Leonardo da Vinci
Portrait of a Lady from the Court of Milan, called La Belle Ferronniere
Oil on wood
63 x 45 cm (24 3/4 x 17 3/4 in.)
Musée du Louvre, Paris
188.8.131.52.2 - Reasons for the increased participation of Women in Economics: Structural changes of the Florentine economy
There have been several delineations of the reasons behind increased women participation in the economy. David Herlihy and Christine Klapisch have suggested this metamorphosis as a result of lowered demographic pressures after 1348, so that more women married and never entered the work force. Yet this argument does not apply to the context of the 16th century of Florence during the Renaissance, since its implied corollary did not occur (Judith, 1980): growing population and increased celibacy did not result in increased female employment. Moreover, there was entirely no inverse relation between employment and marriage. Of the 290 weavers of San Barnaba in 1663, only 14 were single, 190 were married and 72 widowed. Another possible reason - rising female employment induced by falling real income - is flawed because real wages, which had risen after1348, fell steadily during the mid-15th century, when female employment was low, and either leveled off or increased slightly in the 17th century, when the participation of women had initially increased.
On the other hand, structural changes that took place in Florentine's economy during the Renaissance do provide an explanatory paradigm for the growth of women's participation in the economy. The late 16th century witnessed a growth in the artisan economy, which bid men away from the textile industries to luxury trade, and women had thus exclusively entered into the wool and silk sectors - which simultaneously shifted in response to demand, from the production of luxury cloths to more simple ones whose production could be easily routinized (Brown, 1980). This brought about a replacement of traditional divisionary perimeters of the sexes (where women could only occupy themselves with non-market related occupations, while men had, in a sense, domination over the economy's sectors) with new divisionary lines with respects to labor allocation of men and women. It was a rough sexual division of labor that did not separate men the sexes between market and non-market related activities. Men now supplied the highly skilled artisan sectors while women the more unskilled labor of textile production. This change in the economical structure of Florentine, in attempt to adapt the changing circumstances met out by the influence of the Renaissance provided the impetus for women to join the labor force and engage in the affairs of the state. The increased role of women in economics saw the elevation of participation level from non-market directly related sectors to market related sectors where the function of women in the economy cannot be dismissed as a replacement, but rather considered a significant addition, to the industrializing pre-modern Europe societies during the Renaissance.
2.3.3 - The Renaissance Lady and Education
184.108.40.206 - Humanism and the restrictions on the Renaissance woman
220.127.116.11.1 - Educational Reform perceived and influenced by humanism
During the Renaissance, educating for philosophy was integrated with educating for an active role in society, and both were conditioned by the prevailing educational theories based on humanist revisions of the trivium. Women's education in the Renaissance remained tied to grammar while the education of men was directed toward action through eloquence. This is both a result of and a condition for the greater restriction on the social opportunities for women. An examination of the humanist educational theory and curriculum offers a way of understanding restrictions on educated women. The following discussion attempts to explore the limitations imposed on the intellectual development of Renaissance women, with particular reference to philosophy, by focusing on how women were affected by curricular shifts occurring during this period. The remodeling of the trivium by humanists diminished educational opportunities for women as compared to men and undermined the utility of their education both in the context of the Italian Renaissance of the late 15th and 16th century and particularly in the English Renaissance of the 16th century.
Leading humanists were often concerned with curriculum reform and often dealt expressly with the education of both the girls and the boys; Renaissance education treatises provide a useful barometer of advance views on women (Gibson, 1989). The theme that is often considered to those that paid attention to women's education is consistent even in varying contexts - that there were attempts by humanists to reconcile women's education with conventional norms of sex-stereotyped behavior, emphasizing chastity, silence, and obedience for women and the treatises strongly show gender-related understanding of all education. It is contended that any capable and brilliant girl is considered equal to any talented male - however, in the context of the Renaissance, gender bias existed in almost every aspect of education, even in the case of the most talented woman. It was common by humanists that women required education, in a limited and reviewed form, to mould a lady character, and thus the range of authors recommended for girls were always narrower, particularly the pagan classics. Humanist educators edited their chosen authors more in the case for girls than boys, usually omitting whole topics and genres from the list of suitable studies for girls, with amorous poetry and prose romances being the most frequent targets. Humanists thus had a role to play in disallowing the provision of entire sets of education to women, who thus had no opportunity to study all the three arts of the trivium. Women's education was drastically altered when there began an emerging perception during the Renaissance by humanists that girls need not, ought not, study all three arts of the trivium.
Leonardo da Vinci
Lady with an Ermine
Oil on wood
53.4 x 39.3 cm (21 x 15 1/2 in.)
Czartoryski Museum, Cracow
18.104.22.168.2 - Grammar and Rhetoric
The education accorded to women in the Renaissance can be better understood if there is an acknowledgement of how closely it remained tied to grammar, while men's education encompassed as well dialectics and rhetoric (Gibson, 1989). For all students during the Renaissance, the study of trivium began with the elementary study of grammar, which served as the introduction to language, especially Latin and Greek. At more advanced levels, grammar led to stylistics and literary criticism through study of the best authors of the past, including poets, orators, and historians. Girls, however, were generally advised to pat greater attention to scripture and patristic. This close reading of source texts was designed to produce fluency, accuracy in speech and composition, and an appreciation of the finer points of Latin and Greek. In this sense grammar in the modes of humanism encompassed all literary studies, including areas sometimes also assigned to rhetoric or poetics. Rhetoric was able to lead in different directions - 1) advanced study of composition and oral expression, often in combination poetics; 2) disciplined study of persuasion, in conjunction with a dialectic which aimed at discovering broad principles of argumentation, especially those for probable or persuasive argument, and at guiding clear thinking in ordinary situations. Rhetoric was thus used as a compass to determine the divisions and differentiation between the educations accorded to male and female. According to Joan Gibson, both sexes pursued a general study of literature encompassing a continuum of grammar, rhetoric, and poetics, but the systematic conflation of the persuasive aspects of logic and rhetoric served to separate the more specialized parts of rhetoric from grammar and were usually available only to male students. It is widely recognized that humanist education writers, thus, emphasized grammatical-literary education for women and correspondingly downplayed or prohibited the study of logic and rhetoric. For example Juan Luis Vives (1972) similarly declares that because women do not participate in public affairs, they need less education and that of a different nature, omitting logic and rhetoric, while Agrippa d'Aubigne admits that such studies as logic may have utility, but only for women of the highest rank since for others it is both useless and dangerous, perhaps leading to contempt for domestic duties or arguments with husbands and companions. The temptation to pride can be overlooked only for "… princesses, obliged by their ranked to assume the responsibilities, knowledge, competence, administration, and authority of men" (O'Faolain and Martines, 1973). This illustrates the disillusionment of humanists with Renaissance women enquiring aspects of education such as the logic and rhetoric that were deemed unnecessary or, apparently, fatal in terms of consequence in face with the dominant sexuality of the males. Humanistic education thus only served as a check to prevent Renaissance women from digressing from their domestic roles and from increasing their mutual authority and intelligence over men - the conception of male superiority is put in safe hands with the implementation of humanistic ideas and educational reform.
22.214.171.124 - Masculinity in the elements of the Renaissance education: Alienation of feminism
Renaissance theories of education were overtly moral, enshrining at their center an idea of virtue which was frequently etymologized as denoting the proper qualities for a man (Gibson, 1989). Learning itself was defended on the grounds that - far form rendering a boy effeminate and soft - it toughened and made a man of him, strong in both moral and physical fiber. Renaissance education had a strong resemblance to military training, with hopes that a return to linguistic purity would signal an age of renewed military, after the decline of Rome (which was illustrated simultaneously by language and military might), or at least political glory. Thus education was aligned with the characteristics of developing courage and manliness in the young boy. For example, the poets assigned for study were those who wrote epic tales of physical prowess and heroic glory and the selection of moralists was influenced by the desire to reinforce the manly virtues.
Still other masculinizing elements of Renaissance language education arose also from pedagogical practices. Generally, the learning of correct Latin entailed the appropriate sentiments and apt expressions of them as well as the thinking and expression, with respects particularly to the language. Such elements featured in Renaissance education promoted combativeness; Many Renaissance authors expressed horror at the aggressive wrangling of young male students and contended that such practices was less appropriate for women. Based on pre-conceptions and past stereotypes in the context of the Renaissance, even in the absence of rhetorical or dialectic debate, learned women were often pictured as fierce, armed maidens and addressed as honorary males. Thus, according to Joan Gibson, while even the very content and style of humanist education for men were often incompatible with women's social roles and required modification, the attempt to find a suitable use for a woman's humanist learning required a still greater differentiation and restriction. This meant that even for a learned and educated women based on the education accorded by humanist educators, it was challenging to delineate the purpose of knowledge inquiry by the woman simply because of the societal context of the Renaissance and because of the existing social consensus of the role of women in the very context of the former. Yet, it is still noted that humanist education inevitably alienated the renaissance women because of the simple fact that it was designed to emphasis and illuminate the dominant role of the male, with respects to work, politics, and perceived authority.
126.96.36.199 - Intensive education for women: A Resolution
The attempted resolution in the Renaissance was an intensive education for women which remained based in literary grammatical studies. While the study of languages, both classical and vernacular, could foster the positive values of education for women, the prohibition of dialectic and rhetoric would simultaneously reinforce the traditional restricted social roles for women. If grammar education for boys prepared them for more specialized studies in the trivium and the professions, for girls, the modified grammar curriculum need provide only a generalist education acquired in a family setting, directed toward family duties and private pleasure (Friedman 1985). As a student, a girl would be occupied and would discipline her character to docility. She would read exhortations to chastity, silence, and obedience from the best and most persuasive authors with the greatest authority; she would amass examples of virtue from the orators, historians, poets, and scripture, remembering both the phrases and the deeds. The fruit of her efforts would be an intense awareness of decorum and virtue, expressed with grace and facility in conversation, Latin composition, and vernacular translation, together with knowledgeable appreciation of the fine points of men's more professional speech and writing (Gibson, 1989).
This expansion of women's education in the Renaissance came almost exclusively through increased access to humanist education, albeit of a truncated, still more intensely literary kind than that offered to men. Thus women educated along humanist lines have been notable especially for literary achievements, most particularly vernacular translations, vernacular poetry and tales, and Latin orations and correspondence. But they were ill prepared for philosophy; as humanists, they authored no philological theory, wrote no textbooks, translated no technical philosophical treatises, and scarcely participated in editing - activities which made important contributions to reshaping Renaissance philosophy and for which their grammar training might have prepared them. Further, rational and natural philosophy were largely inaccessible to humanist women since they lacked the training in dialectics typical of such non-humanist areas and of more advanced education and careers such as medicine and law through which men made other kinds of philosophical contribution (Jardine, 1982).
It is important to note that with the emergence of the humanist groups during the renaissance, the renaissance women with respects to education have been alienated, even though no entirely, to the extent where even the attention paid to women were simply efforts to just maintain and concretize their subordinate relations with men. To a certain extent, corresponds with the assertion that women did not have a Renaissance - not at least during the Renaissance itself. Women, with respects to the changes and reforms in curriculum and education during the Renaissance, were still suppressed and their roles were restricted by these educational metamorphoses. Thus, it can be claimed that women had the study of morality as a special province, but even then humanism, by its educational program or its attitudes, scarcely freed women to pursue their full development; nor could they, like their medieval predecessors, shape a culture responsive to their interests. Women were not emancipated in the aspects of educational reform.
Woman with a Mirror
Musée du Louvre, Paris
2.3.4 - Renaissance Lady in Politics
188.8.131.52 - Introduction to Political units in Renaissance Italy
The kind of political and economical power that supported the cultural activities of the feudal noblewomen during the 11th and the 12th century had no counterpart in Renaissance Italy (Kelly, 1980). The metamorphoses of political units in Italy in the 14th century to sovereign states recognized no overlords and feudatories, regardless of legal claims. The noble held property but not seigniorial power, estates but not jurisdiction - the nobility in the European sense hardly existed at all. Down to the coronation of Charles V as Holy Roman Emperor in 1530, there was no Italian King to safeguard the interests of"legitimate" nobility that maintained by the inheritance traditional prerogatives. Hence, where the urban bourgeoisie did not over throw the claims of the nobility, the despots did, usually in the name of the nobility but always for himself. These individuals maintained a landed, military "class" with noble pretensions, but its members increasingly became merely the warriors and ornaments of a court. The Renaissance aristocrats, who enjoyed neither political power nor feudal jurisdiction, thus either became despots themselves or served one.
184.108.40.206 - Renaissance women in the socio-political context of Renaissance Italy
Under feudalism, or even under traditional forms of monarchial states derived from feudalism, the exercise of political power by women was far rarer in this socio-political context. The two Giovannas of Naples, both queens in their own rights, exemplify this assertion. The first, who began her reign in 1343 over Naples and Provence, became queen in Sicily in 1356 as well. Her grandfather, King Robert of Naples - of the same house of Anjou and Provence that hearkens back to Eleanor and to Henry Plantagenet - could and did designate Giovanna as his heir. Similarly in 1414, Giovanna II became queen of Naples upon the death of her brother. In Naples, in short, women of the ruling house could assume power, not because of their abilities alone, but because of the principle of legitimacy continued in force along with the feudal tradition of inheritance by women. In other words, the function of women in politics had been rare in medievalism - and the rift of this rarity became more exaggerated in the sociopolitical context of the Renaissance society, where the only paradigm that women can assume political power is by the mere inheritance of a "status" that deems "legitimate". For all positive light that the insignificant numbers of Renaissance female "politicians" shed on the issue of political power pertaining to the function of women, a conclusion thus can be reached that even though a few key figures in female domain stood out and assumed political power, with equality with men, it cannot be generalized to every single, or at least a large proportion, of women during the Renaissance.
The Renaissance witnessed changing political units in Renaissance societies, based on feudalism and the derived systems of feudalism - in which the sovereign states reigned over patriarchs and aristocrats. Women were further deprived of political opportunities because of the changing political contexts with the emergence of feudalistic states. Therefore, women were not emancipated, but further undermined, in terms of their involvement in politics, during the Renaissance.
Charles Trinkaus. (1976). Humanism, Religion, Society: Concepts and Motivations of Some Recent Studies. Renaissance Quarterly 4th ser. 29, pp 676-713.
Robert S. Lopez. (1962). The Economic Depression of the Renaissance. The economic history review, Vol. 14, No. 3, pp 408-426.
Roberta Garner. (1990). Jacob Burckhardt as a Theorist of Modernity: Reading the Civilization of the Renaissance in Italy. Sociological Theory 1st ser. 8, pp 48-57.
Jacob Burckhardt. (1904). The Civilisation of the period of the Renaissance in Italy. S.G. Middlemore, Ludwig Goldscheider.
Shirley M. Rosenwasser. (1987). Attitudes towards men and women in politics: Perceived male and female candidates. Political psychology, Vol. 8 No. 2 pp 191-200.
Joan Gibson. (1989). Educating for Silence: Renaissance women and language arts. Hypatia, Vol. 4 no. 1 pp 9-27
Judith Brown. (1980). Women and Industry in Florence. The Journal of Economic history, Vol. 40 no. 1, pp 73-80
Joan Kelly. (1986). Women, History, and Theory. University of Chicago Press.
Gianturco E. (1952). The Italian Renaissance in the Estimates of Emile Gebhart and Dilthey. Comparative literature, Vol. 4, pp 268-276.
Hans Baron. (1943). Towards a More Positive Evaluation of the Fifteenth Century Renaissance. Journal of the History of Ideas 1st ser. 4, pp 21-49.
Wallace K. Ferguson (1959). Facets of the Renaissance. Harper and Row.
Kimberly M. Radek. (2001). Women from the Renaissance to the Enlightenment. Women in Literature.