Hist 125: The Renaissance



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HIST 125: The Renaissance

Fall 2006


Cheat Sheet

Final Exam


Some things to keep in mind:


  • Your final exam will consist of two essay questions. I will select three of the questions below, from which you must select and fully answer two.

  • Each response will be worth 50 points. Partial credit will be given.

  • To earn full credit, you must answer all sub-questions.

  • Equally important is that you contextualize each issue at hand; that is, answer the “so what?” Why is the particular topic of relevance to an understanding of the Renaissance?

  • Your response must be coherent and well structured; an unorganized laundry list of details will not do.

  • Note that a full answer to any of the questions below will require that you engage both the textbook and class lectures/discussions. Answers that demonstrate mastery of only one of the sources will receive, at most, 20 points (out of the possible 50).

  • You must bring an 8 ½ x 11 blank blue book; do not write your name on it.

Possible exam questions:




  1. Discuss Renaissance Humanism. What defined this movement? What characterized it? How did it reflect the realities of life during the 14th-16th centuries? Your answer should include, at a minimum, the studia humanitatis, Petrarch, and the ideological shift from a contemplative to an active life.




  1. Discuss women’s access to and participation in the humanist enterprise. What characteristics did female humanists share? What limitations constrained their access to humanistic education and/or participation in humanistic circles? How did this reflect the role of women in the Renaissance? Your answer should include a discussion of the differences between early female humanist and later ones. Be sure to include specific examples.




  1. Discuss the Great Schism. What was it? When did it take place? What were its major causes and consequences? Be sure to discuss both internal and external challenges faced by popes after the Schism, as well as its long-term effects on the religious view of Renaissance peoples.




  1. Discuss Renaissance folk piety/popular religion. What was it? What characterized it? How did it intersect with official Christendom? What consequences, if any, did it have for individuals and the institutional Church, respectively?




  1. Discuss early Renaissance art. What characterized it? What were its major innovations? Who introduced them, and when? How did Renaissance art reflect the ideological shift which accompanied it?




  1. King argues that “[b]y 1450, despotism – the signorie… had triumphed in Italy” (196). What does she mean by this? What was despotism in the Renaissance? How did it compare to Renaissance republicanism? How did signori gain their power? How did they retain it? Be sure to include at least five points of comparison between signorie and republics, as well as to give specific examples of successful signorie in late Renaissance Italy.




  1. Discuss the Italian Wars. What were they? When did they take place? What caused them? What were the most salient developments of the wars’ four phases? What were their consequences? What do we learn about Renaissance politics from the developments of the Italian Wars?




  1. Discuss late Renaissance arts and ideas as presented by King (242-254). What common characteristics defined late Renaissance art and literature? How did these attributes reflect the changes which Italy underwent in the late 15th and 16th centuries? Be specific and use examples.


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