Social Studies - 2019-20

WHI.15a - Economic and Cultural Foundations of the Italian Renaissance

The student will apply social science skills to understand the developments leading to the Renaissance in Europe in terms of its impact on Western civilization by

a) determining the economic and cultural foundations of the Italian Renaissance;

Adopted: 2015



Italy was the most commercially advanced, urbanized, literate area of high and later medieval Europe.

The remains of ancient Rome were most visible in Italy.

Italy’s wealth, literacy, and pride in its Roman past provided the foundations of the Italian Renaissance.


Economic effects of the Crusades

 Increased access to Middle Eastern products

 Stimulated production of goods to trade in Middle Eastern markets

 Encouraged the use of credit and banking

Important economic concepts

 Church rule against usury and the banks’ practice of charging interest helped to secularize northern Italy.

 Letters of credit served to expand the supply of money and expedite trade.

 New accounting and bookkeeping practices (e.g., use of Arabic numerals) were introduced.

Cultural foundations

 The collapse of the Byzantine Empire reignited interest in Greco-Roman culture.



Renaissance (15a,c,d)

Italian Renaissance (15c,d)

Northern Renaissance (15d)

Usury (15a)

Letters of credit (15a)

The Prince (15b)

End justifies the means (15b)

Mona Lisa (15b)

The Last Supper (15b)

Ceiling of Sistine Chapel (15b)

David (15c)

Humanism (15c)

Prominent (15c)

Patrons (15c)

Gutenberg Bible (15d)

The Praise of Folly (15d)

Utopia (15d)


Machiavelli (15b)

Da Vinci (15c)

Michelangelo (15c)

Petrarch (15c)

Gutenberg (15d)

Erasmus (15d)

Sir Thomas More (15d)

William Shakespeare (15d)


Florence (15b)

Venice (15b)

Genoa (15b)

Updated: May 17, 2018