A few years younger than Leonardo and Michelangelo, Raphael (rah fah EL) studied the works of those great masters. His paintings blend Christian and classical styles. Among his best-known works is School of Athens, which pictures an imaginary gathering of great thinkers and scientists, including Plato, Aristotle, Socrates, and the Arab philosopher Averroës. In typical Renaissance fashion, Raphael included Michelangelo, Leonardo, and himself.

New Books Reflect Renaissance Themes

Poets, artists, and scholars mingled with politicians at the courts of Renaissance rulers. A literature of “how to” books sprang up to help ambitious men and women who wanted to rise in the Renaissance world.

Painting of robed men inside a domed building, some seated and some standing, separated into smaller groups. Some are engaged in reading and writing, some discussion, some are sketching.

Analyze Information

In School of Athens, Italian painter Raphael imagines a gathering of great thinkers and scientists. Why did he include Renaissance artists in the scene?

Castiglione's Ideal Courtier

The most widely read of these handbooks was The Book of the Courtier, by Baldassare Castiglione (kahs teel YOH nay). In it, he describes the manners, skills, learning, and virtues that a member of the court should have.

The ideal differed for men and women. The ideal man, wrote Castiglione, is athletic but not overactive. He is good at games but not a gambler. He plays a musical instrument and knows literature and history but is not arrogant. The ideal woman offers a balance to men. She is graceful and kind, lively but reserved. She is beautiful, “for outer beauty,” wrote Castiglione, “is the true sign of inner goodness.”

Machiavelli's Advice to Princes

Niccolò Machiavelli (mahk ee uh VEL ee) wrote a different kind of handbook. He had served Florence as a diplomat and had observed kings and princes in foreign courts. He had also studied ancient Roman history. In The Prince, published in 1513, Machiavelli offered a guide to rulers on how to gain and maintain power. It combined his personal experience of politics with his knowledge of the past.

The Prince did not discuss leadership in terms of high ideals, as Plato had. Instead, it looked at real rulers in an age of ruthless power politics. Machiavelli stressed that the end justifies the means. He urged rulers to use whatever methods were necessary to achieve their goals.

Painting of a family in a wooded decorated courtyard, with members of various ages seated and standing.

This 1474 painting by Italian Renaissance artist Andrea Mantegna is called The Court of Mantua. An Italian nobleman was Mantegna's patron and commissioned art works like this.

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Table of Contents

World History Topic 1 Origins of Civilization (Prehistory–300 B.C.) Topic 2 The Ancient Middle East and Egypt (3200 B.C.–500 B.C.) Topic 3 Ancient India and China (2600 B.C.–A.D. 550) Topic 4 The Americas (Prehistory–A.D. 1570) Topic 5 Ancient Greece (1750 B.C.–133 B.C.) Topic 6 Ancient Rome and the Origins of Christianity (509 B.C.-A.D. 476) Topic 7 Medieval Christian Europe (330–1450) Topic 8 The Muslim World and Africa (730 B.C.-A.D. 1500) Topic 9 Civilizations of Asia (500–1650) Topic 10 The Renaissance and Reformation (1300–1650) Topic 11 New Global Connections (1415–1796) Topic 12 Absolutism and Revolution Topic 13 The Industrial Revolution Topic 14 Nationalism and the Spread of Democracy (1790–1914) Topic 15 The Age of Imperialism (1800–1914) Topic 16 World War I and the Russian Revolution (1914–1924) Topic 17 The World Between the Wars (1910–1939) Topic 18 World War II (1930–1945) Topic 19 The Cold War Era (1945–1991) Topic 20 New Nations Emerge (1945–Present) Topic 21 The World Today (1980-Present) United States Constitution Primary Sources 21st Century Skills Atlas Glossary Index Acknowledgments