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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  • Q:

    When did the Middle Ages start and end?

    A:

    According to most historians, the Middle Ages began with the fall of the Roman Empire in 476 A.D. and ended with the beginning of the Renaissance in the 13th, 14th or 15th century A.D.

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  • Q:

    When were the Middle Ages?

    A:

    The Middle Ages began with the fall of Rome in 476 A.D. and ended with the beginning of the Renaissance during the 14th century. This period was filled with enormous social and political change.

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  • Q:

    When did the Dark Ages begin and end?

    A:

    The Dark Ages in Western Europe began when the Western Roman Empire fell and lasted all the way until the beginning of the Renaissance. The last emperor in Rome left his throne in A.D. 476, although the empire had been on a downward slope for a long time beforehand. Setting a precise date for the start of the Renaissance is challenging, although it was well underway by 1300.

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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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