This is the assignment page for the topic "Renaissance Humanism and the Roman Tradition of Citizenship" for J. B. Owens's sections of the lower-division undergraduate course, History 101, Foundation of Western Civilization. The sole purpose of this page and all of the pages linked to it is to provide an orientation for those students enrolled in History 101.

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Renaissance Humanism and the Roman Tradition of Citizenship

ID: Cicero (106-43 B.C.E.), plebeians, patricians, Twelve Tables (ca. 450 B.C.E.), Virgil/Vergil (70-19 B.C.E.), Seneca (ca. 5 B.C.E.-ca. 65 C.E.), Stoic philosophy, Livy (59 B.C.E.-17 C.E.), Tacitus (ca. 55-ca. 120 C.E.), Francesco Petrarch (1304-1374), Coluccio Salutati (1331-1406), Peter Paul Vergerio (1370-1444)

  1. Why did ancient Roman education put such a great stress on oral communication skills?
  2. Why did ancient Roman education neglect instruction in the natural sciences?
  3. Why did Cicero think that broad citizen participation in the political commonwealth would lead to better government than rule by a single man, however good he seemed to be?
  4. Why did Cicero (106- 43 B.C.E.) stress a connection between Justice and Nature?
  5. What was Renaissance Humanism?
  6. What does Petrarch's "Letter to Lapo" (ca. 1365) tell you about the early development of Renaissance Humanism?
  7. Why did Coluccio Salutati (1331-1406) praise the active life against monastic isolation?
  8. Why did Coluccio Salutati feel it was so important to defend the reading of pagan authors like Virgil (or Vergil)?
  9. Why did Peter Paul Vergerio (1370-1444) give such an important place to the study of History in the educational program he outlined in his letter (ca. 1392-1400) to Ubertinu of Carrara?
  10. Why was the conquest of the Eastern Roman (Byzantine) Empire by the Ottoman Turks so important for the development of the European cultural environment?


Owens, 170-179; Kishlansky, pp. 73-84, 86-100, 227-228; Petrus Paulus Vergerius [1370-1444], "The New Education" [ca. 1392-1400), at the URL:

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Revised: 29 May 2006