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Renaissance People

Lives that Shaped the Modern Age

Robert C Davis, Beth Lindsmith


Across 100 lives, this book explores the dazzling diversity of human experience during the Renaissance

Also available as an eBook from Amazon


Like every era, the Renaissance brims with stories. In this book Robert Davis and Beth Lindsmith highlight dozens of notable lives from between 1400 and 1600. Some names are famous – Leonardo, Luther, Lorenzo de’ Medici and Machiavelli all feature – but many others will be new to general readers. They include the aristocratic matriarch Alessandra Strozzi, who sneaked around Florence to spy on potential brides for her sons; the notorious criminal Catena, who wasn’t satisfied with murdering his enemy but also hamstrung his victim’s goats; Isotta Nogarola, a promising young writer who was mortified to have a critic sneer at her that ‘an eloquent woman is never chaste’; the fierce warrior-duke Federico da Montefeltro, who liked to wander through his capital without a guard, stopping for jovial chats with local merchants; and the Inquisition’s Heinrich Kramer, who insisted that witches could remove men’s penises and hide them in birds’ nests.

Through these brief biographies, we are reminded that history is more than dates and abstract concepts: it also arises from the lives of countless individual men and women.

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'A godsend to anyone wanting to get under the skin of the Renaissance'
Art Quarterly

'Wonderful ... [shows] the richness and variety of those two centuries by presenting us with the lives of nearly 100 people who fashioned the modern world'
Good Book Guide

'Should be on the shelves of anyone interested in the history and culture of the Renaissance'
The Historical Association

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Product Information

Book Details

Format: Paperback

Size: 19.8 x 12.9 cm

Extent: 376 pp

Illustrations: 34

Publication date: 14 February 2019

ISBN: 9780500293805

Contents List

Introduction: Capturing the Renaissance • 1. Old Traditions and New Ideas 1400–1450 • 2. Europeans at Peace 1450–1470 • 3. The Emerging Nations 1470–1490 • 4. Sudden Shocks 1490–1510 • 5. The Collapse of the Old Order 1510–1530 • 6. The New Wave 1530–1550 • 7. The Framing of Modernity 1550–1600

About the Author

Robert C. Davis is professor of Renaissance history at Ohio State University. He is the author of Christian Slaves Muslim Masters and numerous books on Venice.

For ten years, Beth Lindsmith edited and contributed to magazines at the Ohio State University, where she has also taught classes in composition and creative writing.