Final Examination


3 points each, total of 15 points

Please write a few sentences or a brief paragraph identifying five of the following seven terms.

  • Ad fontes
  • Giovanni Boccaccio
  • Sola fide
  • The Fall of Constantinople
  • Valois Burgundy
  • Jacques Fournier
  • The German Peasants War

Essay Questions

45 points

Write a response to one of the two questions below. You may consult an outline of your essays, on a single sheet of 8.5 x 11 paper, but you may not consult any other books or notes during the exam.

  1. In his classic 1860 study, The Civilization of the Renaissance in Italy, Jacob Burckhardt wrote the following:

    In the Middle Ages, both sides of human consciousness - that which was turned within as well as that which was turned without - lay dreaming or half awake beneath a common veil. The veil was woven of faith, illusion, and childish prepossession, through which the world and history were seen clad in strange hues. Man was conscious of himself only as member of a race, people, party, family, or corporation - only through some general category. In Italy this veil first melted into air; an objective treatment and consideration of the State and of all things in this world became possible. The subjective side at the same time asserted itself, with corresponding emphasis; man became a spiritual individual, and recognized himself as such.

    Evaluate Burckhardt's claim for the rise of Renaissance individualism by considering five individuals you have encountered this term. (Your discussion, unlike Burckhardt's, should not be confined to Italian examples.) You must include Pierre Clergue and Arnaud du Tilh in your response; you may choose the remaining three from the following list: Francesco Petrarch, Leonardo Bruni, Niccolò Machiavelli, Erasmus, Martin Luther or Hernan Cortés.

  2. Write an essay in which you state your agreement or disagreement with the following statement. Be sure to support your opinion by referencing specific individuals, events, and developments from 1300 to 1600. "Although the period began with great promise in many fields, by 1600 the Renaissance had petered out, leaving political chaos, theological uncertainty, and cultural decadence in its wake. The unchecked power of despotic rulers oppressed women and the poor on the continent and non-Europeans in locations around the globe. By the late sixteenth century, efforts at spiritual reform that had been underway since the fourteenth century had resulted in the polarisation of Christianity and far more vigorous policing of religious belief and practice."