- Term Papers and Free Essays

Gene Brucker Has Argued That The Ð''Family' Constituted The Basic Nucleus Of Florentine Social Life Throughout The RenaissanceÐ'...'How Important Was The Family In The Social Relationships Of Renaissance Florence?

Essay by   •  March 6, 2011  •  1,169 Words (5 Pages)  •  2,354 Views

Essay Preview: Gene Brucker Has Argued That The Ð''Family' Constituted The Basic Nucleus Of Florentine Social Life Throughout The RenaissanceÐ'...'How Important Was The Family In The Social Relationships Of Renaissance Florence?

Report this essay
Page 1 of 5

The family was very important in renaissance Florence as it constituted the primary unit of association. Within renaissance Italy there can be seen to be three distinct ideas as to what constituted a family, the nuclear or immediate family, the extended family including aunts, cousins, grandparent and the bloodline or linage which included all ancestors who shared the family name. The Florentine concept of the family or famigilia was, as theorized by Goldthwaite, the nuclear unit, not the extended family of cousins, aunts, uncles and grandparents the Kents implied. The family was important as it was a close social, emotional, economic and political unit, while there were other important social and political relationships that existed within renaissance Florence, it is only the renaissance family that can be seen as the heart of those social and political relationships.

The family was important as it was a measure of security in the unstable competitive society of Florence. The family was the single most stable unit, in a constantly changing politically charged environment; it was as colleen Byrne stated "a measure of security in a dangerous world". Therefore relationships with family members were vital for personal security and the accretion of political and social power. Weissman referred to the blood tie that existed within families as "the single most cohesive bond. The role of the family was to help in any social, political or economic matters; any member of the family could "normally expect his relatives to assist him in case of grave financial need and to give him support in lawsuits" (brucker). One example of financial add extended within a family is Donato Velluti who gave financial support to her widowed niece after her husbands death by paying for both his funeral and her mourning clothes. It was in the best interest of a family to work together as a social and political unit, just as the family name could be disgraced by one member of the family so could it be elevated by the political or social acumen of one individual. Family honor was incredibly important, "one is obligated to help [one's family]Ð'... even to sacrificing one's life for the honor of the family..." (Giovanni Rucellai). "Physical evidence of this cohesiveness was the concentration of a family's households in one district, along a single street, or surrounding square" (brucker) and there was defiantly a certain emotion element that kept families together, "It is a great comfort for an old man to live surrounded by his descendants" (Alberti in Della Famiglia). Families had to be united and support each other in order to survive in the uncertain political, social and economic climate that existed within renaissance Florence.

The status of ones family impacted on one's political capacities, "The family's status (and this was carefully weighed and measured) established the individual's position in society" (brucker) and therefore within the political system. Belonging to an old and respected family, for example families like the strozzi, Medici and rucellai would allow one to gain political office with greater ease. The more ancient the family the more its members would be successful in gaining high political positions. It is imperative to remember the importance that was placed on being part of the political system within renaissance Florence, to understand the importance of family within the Florentine political system. To not be part of the political system was a disgrace to ones family name and in a more practical sense meant that one could not help ones family by making laws favorable to them. In the pursuit of political power some families became unofficial political parties in their own right with, the Medici family being the most famous and arguably the most successful example of this political strategy. That having been said most high ranking families within renaissance Florence tried to gain political strength in some way. In the guild system, preferential treatment was usually given to one's kin. Preferential treatment allowed members of a certain family to attain more prominent positions in the guild, as well as making the guild less attractive for other families. Hence, by maintaining strong relationships, single families could dominate certain guilds. . Belonging to a powerful and wealthy family was the most important advantage that a Florentine could have for political success.



Download as:   txt (7.2 Kb)   pdf (92.5 Kb)   docx (11 Kb)  
Continue for 4 more pages »
Only available on