The Italian Republics are overrated

Nov 2017
789
Commune
#1
The Italian republics of the so-called Renaissance (around the 14th to 16th century) seem to me to be the most overrated European states in history. I feel that outside of art (and in my opinion, non-Italian medieval and early modern art is highly underrated), they hardly contributed to anything major like the rise of Europe as the dominant superpower, the origin of the current liberal democratic nation-state and the emergence of modern science and technology.
 

macon

Ad Honorem
Aug 2015
3,675
Slovenia
#2
They were pretty strong despite their small size. Venice was able to fight Ottomans to a standstill long after their peak in late middle ages-start of modern era.

Those republics were also having wealthiest people in average in whole Europe if not in the whole world in 15th-17th century. They were also capable in diplomacy and their art was a world top.
 
Nov 2017
789
Commune
#3
They were pretty strong despite their small size. Venice was able to fight Ottomans to a standstill long after their peak in late middle ages-start of modern era.
Venice fought the Ottomans because it got help from the HRE and its allies, not by itself.


Those republics were also having wealthiest people in average in whole Europe if not in the whole world in 15th-17th century. They were also capable in diplomacy and their art was a world top.
The whole world? No. And in Europe, maybe for a short period in the 15th century, but by the 16th century, the Low Countries surpassed them in wealth, while Portugal actually had the biggest navy and was most likely the richest country of Europe at the beginning of the 16th century due to its trade with West Africa and settling of Atlantic islands from Azores and Madeira to Sao Tome.
 
Jun 2017
2,555
Connecticut
#5
The Italian republics of the so-called Renaissance (around the 14th to 16th century) seem to me to be the most overrated European states in history. I feel that outside of art (and in my opinion, non-Italian medieval and early modern art is highly underrated), they hardly contributed to anything major like the rise of Europe as the dominant superpower, the origin of the current liberal democratic nation-state and the emergence of modern science and technology.
The Greek city states of Athens and Sparta are competitive for that title but I'm inclined to agree. Venice was a lot more impressive than the others militarily. But Milan, Florence, Genoa etc? I'm with you on that.
 
Nov 2017
789
Commune
#6
The Greek city states of Athens and Sparta are competitive for that title but I'm inclined to agree. Venice was a lot more impressive than the others militarily. But Milan, Florence, Genoa etc? I'm with you on that.
Yeah, it's true that Athens is strong competition, though not in the case of Sparta. Sparta is actually kind of demonised. It gets praised militarily but is thought of as culturally backwards and morally repugnant. It only really gets praised for the Battle of Thermopylae, and Athens has equivalents to that like the Battle of Marathon and Battle of Salamis that are equally overpraised and overglorified.
 

Cepheus

Ad Honorem
Dec 2011
2,012
#9
The Italian republics of the so-called Renaissance (around the 14th to 16th century) seem to me to be the most overrated European states in history.
Who over rates the Italian republics ? What do "they" say that you find is incorrect ? What scholars or authors take the same or close to the same view as you do ?

I would posit that Burckhardt (The Civilization of the Renaissance in Italy) was among the first to write about the multi-dimensional aspects of the republics and he gives us the impression that the ideas of our modern world were started in the Renaissance.

To me, it is clear that the Italian Republics, especially Florence, jumpstarted the modern age and the concept of "civic humanism". I think we can say this without disregarding the tremendous contributions from other European areas. To be honest, I find at some level a false dichotomy in your presentation. IOW, the characterization you give us seems anachronistic and not at all how the Italian Renaissance (IR) is portrayed.

Do I need to list the major IR players who gave us major innovations in engineering, art, literature, architecture, politics and etc. ?

I feel that outside of art (and in my opinion, non-Italian medieval and early modern art is highly underrated), they hardly contributed to anything major like the rise of Europe as the dominant superpower, the origin of the current liberal democratic nation-state and the emergence of modern science and technology.
We have had, and have "superpower" states that have been nothing but tyrannical military dictatorships. I don't remember studying any scholar who took this form of state or nation-state as something to be proud of.

Also, I would need you to flesh out what you mean by "modern science and technology" since, the Renaissance ended in the 17th cent. In some respects I may have some sympathy's with you based solely on the emergence of scientists like Copernicus (Poland) versus Galileo (Italy). However, I'm still confused how such a conversation would find the Renaissance overrated since I have always seen the non-Italian thinkers get plenty of respect. Furthermore, Copernicus, for example, had very close ties to Italy and spent years in Bologna. IIRC, studying theology on his first stay and astronomy on his second. Obviously, he spoke Italian and Latin and it is impossible to remove the influence that the IR had on his scholastic development.
 

Cepheus

Ad Honorem
Dec 2011
2,012
#10
...like the Battle of Marathon and Battle of Salamis that are equally overpraised and overglorified.
Again, overpraised and over-glorified by whom ?

It would probably be best not to interject such statements of equivalency in a thread when the subject is off topic.