Q:

What was the social structure of Florence during the Renaissance?

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Quick Answer

During the Renaissance, Florence was a city-state ruled by powerful families. The social class system was characterized by four classes: the nobility, merchants, middle class and lower class. The city-state system was more democratic than other systems in Europe during that era because status was primarily determined by occupation instead of family lineage.

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What was the social structure of Florence during the Renaissance?
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Full Answer

The nobility of Italy owned most of the land and wielded power over the city. They had conflicts with merchants, who were the second-highest ranking class. The city-states of Italy were bustling centers of trade and commerce, which allowed people to gain wealth through trades such as manufacturing, banking and clothes-making. These trades were government-protected jobs called guilds. This created an opportunity for social-climbing, which made the nobility uncomfortable.

The middle classes of Florence were mainly shopkeepers and skilled laborers, such as masons. The lowest class consisted of unskilled laborers. They did not have job security and often had unsafe working conditions.

One of the most well-known families throughout Renaissance Europe was the Medici family from Florence. The Medici family were patrons of many great artists and musicians of the Renaissance, which helped the culture of Italy flourish during that era. Most of the great Italian artists descended from merchants and craftsmen.

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    Why was the period between the Roman Empire and the Renaissance called the Middle Ages?

    A:

    The Middle Ages were given their name in retrospect during the Renaissance in the 14th century. The Renaissance was a time of great cultural change and many looked to ancient Greece and Rome for inspiration. The Middle Ages, or Medieval Ages, refers to the period between the fall of Rome in 476 C.E. and the beginning of the Renaissance.

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  • Q:

    What is the difference between the Middle Ages and the Renaissance?

    A:

    The most significant difference between the Middle Ages and the Renaissance was the shift in focus from the Catholic Church and community to the secular world and the individual. This change in worldviews led to developments in art, science and law that proved revolutionary to the Western world.

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  • Q:

    What years were the Middle Ages?

    A:

    The Middle Ages began in the year 476 A.D. and ended around 1300 with the beginning of the Renaissance. The Middle Ages, also called the Medieval Period, began just after the fall of Rome and it dominated the European continent through the early 14th century. The Middle Ages filled a time period between the ending of a great reign and the beginning of a new era characterized by revitalization and cultural growth.

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  • Q:

    When was the medieval period?

    A:

    The medieval period, or the Middle Ages, covers about 1,000 years from the fall of the Roman Empire to the start of the Renaissance. The Roman Empire fell in 476 and the Renaissance began in the 1400s after the Black Death wiped out a third of Europe's population.

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