Help with Renaissance Italy

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Thread: Help with Renaissance Italy

  1. #1

    Help with Renaissance Italy

    I need help with some straight information about Renaissance Italy,

    1: the Personalities of Italy, what were they like I get 20 different views on them for each history book I read,

    2: the official status of Bastards, were they bared like everywhere else from rising high in culture and society.

    I need this info for a Hard Fantasy setting I making based on Italian Renaissance,


  2. #2
    It's a very rich and interesting historical period to read into. You have constant wars and intrigue between the rivalling Italian city-states, many of the world's most renown artists making their works, colourful mercenary captains, ruthless and cunning politicians, famous explorers and the ongoing struggle against Ottoman Turks. There are so many colourful and historically-important personalities making home in Italy at the time, that I'm afraid you'll have to be more specific about your first question.

    The shortest answer about what they were like could be "ruthless and pragmatic" - in a land divided between many feuding city-states, each further divided between rival noble families, intrigue and skullduggery was a given. Tender-hearted and kind souls generally didn't tend to live long in such an environment, so if an Italian nobleman hoped to rise to power and renown, he had to be ready and willing to use every underhanded trick and treachery including murder of rival family members. For the upper classes, it was certainly a Darwinian environment. The lower classes didn't have it much easier too - despite the general prosperity, there was always the threat of war, either against a rival city or a civil war amongst feuding noble houses at home. Peasants frequently suffered the depredations of roving mercenary bands, especially when their employer couldn't pay them on time so the men resorted to pillaging the countryside. Infectious disease like the plague was also a constant menace.

    As for your second question, bastards were stigmatized, but hardly excluded from society. The biggest problem that bastards faced was their ineligibility to inheritance, which was the main impediment to their social advancement in a time when social status and occupation was essentially hereditary, particularly for those whose father who was a noble and mother a commoner. Since inheritance was traditionally passed on from father to sons, such a bastard would get nothing from his noble biological father and likewise be ineligible for anything from the commoner husband of his mother if she had one, unless the man took pity on him. Worse still if his mother was unmarried, since she most probably didn't own any property, and having a bastard child would greatly reduce her marriage prospects in the future. That said, the social difficulties of bastards were primarily economic in character because of their lack of a "starting capital" that a legitimate ancestry could provide, but other than that, they never faced the degree of discrimination that other stigmatized groups like lepers, tanners and executioners were subject to.

    Bastards born to noblewomen were more rare, given the sexual mores of the time, but had a much more advantageous position - even if their biological father did not acknowledge them, they could still look forward to being well-cared of and receiving at least some inheritance from their mother. Bastard children of noblewomen, usually being sired by noble fathers, were also more likely to be legitimized.

    For a bastard son of any social class, a lucrative career in Renaissance was joining a mercenary company. Being ineligible to inherit his father's business or estates, a bastard was limited in his career options, so a mercenary's life was one way to make a living, the companies being open to everyone who could afford to purchase a suitable weapon. Many bastards made their careers in the clergy - since illegitimate children were often given to monasteries in order to avoid scandal and disgrace, a religious life was a natural outcome for many, and some would rise to prominent positions in the Church. As said before, bastards whose both parents were noble were the best-off, since they were pretty much assured to be given a decent education and access to at least some of their parents' resources and contacts. A bastard who proved to be talented and a potential asset to the family could look forward to being legitimized, though his inheritance rights were still behind those of legitimate children. Of course, this being the cutthroat world (often in a literal as well as figurative sense) of Renaissance Italy, an ambitious bastard could take measures to advance himself in the order of succession by means of assassinating competition - having run out of legitimate heirs, his father would be obliged to accept him as one.

  3. #3
    Offline: Depressed Trollheart's Avatar
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    Aug 2019
    Where the sour turns to sweet
    I'd recommend BBC programmes such as "Medici: Godfathers of the Renaissance" and suchlike. The BBC usually research their programmes well. Other series such as "Da Vinci's Demons" and "The Borgias" may be of use, but I have no idea how historically accurate they are. You could also read books, ie novels set in that area. And check out local museums; I'm sure curators there would be more than willing to bend your ear about what a sneaky bastard Michaelangelo was, or how Botticelli really hated to pay his rent...
    Come away, human child to the waters and the wild
    With a faery hand in hand.
    For the world's more full of weeping than you can understand. - WB Yeats "The Stolen Child"

    I drink to forget, but I never forget to drink.

    "If the real Jesus Christ were to stand up today
    He'd be gunned down cold by the CIA" - The The, "Armageddon Days Are Here (Again)" - Mind Bomb, 1989

    The most destructive force on the planet is not nukes or global is the human ego. - Ralph Rotten

  4. #4
    I would really like worldbuild a Italy like nation in this time period, of balkized 10 nations that based on the nations of Italy.

    My other problem is the Monotheistic Church that I have to create for this setting, based on the Catholic Church.

    I was thinking Sol Invictus,


  5. #5
    Watch famous biographies of people who lived in that time period. They are all in Netflix. It is time consuming, but it will provide research and inspiration. Leonardo da vinci. Michelangelo, Raphael, Donatello (This reminds me of a joke of the teenage mutant Ninja turtles acronym). You have plenty of famous people in the renaissance to choose from. You can't get more detailed than that by watching documentaries. It is cheaper than buying books.

    Past cultures are useful to study for science fiction and fantasy cultures as well. Such as the incas, the mayas, and so on. It helps you world build. It's not easy to do. I have a worldbuilding workbook. I imagine it is very time consuming but will get the job down.
    I would follow as in believe in the words of good moral leaders. Rather than the beliefs of oneself.
    The most difficult thing for a writer to comprehend is to experience silence, so speak up. (quoted from a member)

  6. #6
    Netflicks is too costly,


  7. #7
    Youtube sometimes has free documentaries.
    I would follow as in believe in the words of good moral leaders. Rather than the beliefs of oneself.
    The most difficult thing for a writer to comprehend is to experience silence, so speak up. (quoted from a member)


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