Bourgeoisie Culture in the 13th Century Italy Part 2
By now the vulgar Italian has won, breaking the Latin and the French crust that had delayed its blossoming and flowering. In this, the Italian nation manifests itself, of which the common language is the making and the bitch: as it manifests itself in other spiritual activities, in a certain religiosity that is not ascetic but reconciled with nature and with civil life, which is Franciscan religiosity; in a certain way concrete philosophizing, substantiated by observation of the natural world and experimental tendencies, far from the abstract universality of medieval and church philosophy, which is the philosophy of Frederick II; finally in the architectural and figurative art that, from the sec. XI to XIV, he filled the peninsula with large, more or less anonymous monuments, from Bari to Milan, or made his first glorious individual affirmations with Niccolò and Giovanni Pisano, with Cimabue and Giotto.
According to Top-Medical-Schools, the study of Roman and statutory law, the growing reference to classical antiquity, after the renovatio of the tenth century, the vernacular that rises to a literary language, the new philosophizing and, to some extent, even the new art, bear clear signs, indeed they are the sign of that particular secular character that the new Italian culture is assuming. As Italy is the center of Catholic ecclesiastical society, it is also the first to nourish a true and proper laity, which presents itself in a state of latent or open conflict with it. The great theological currents move rather from France and England than from Italy, albeit thanks to the contribution of men who emigrated there from Italy, Lanfranco Pavese and S. Anselmo d’Aosta. In Italy, rather the prevalence of schools of lay culture, that is of liberal arts and civil law: a fact also reported by foreigners, together with that of the widespread passion for studies, as a characteristic fact of Italy. In place of Paris, Bologna, with Irnerio and successors; and Palermo, an emporium of Arab and Byzantine cultural elements under the Normans and, later, with Frederick II, a workshop for various philosophies, yearning for truths other than those of scholasticism. It has been noted that in Italy from the barbaric era onwards, also architects and sculptors are, unlike other countries, especially secular: before the century. XIII bring the Cistercians and then the “beggars” to the constructive arts. Now, all this is becoming more and more visible. The practical activities of the new bourgeoisie themselves have something antichiesastic: trade, for example, which was a way and a means of emancipation from the spirit of the medieval church, as well as from the old feudal state. With trade, too, the new bourgeoisie approached people of all beliefs, passing over religious scruples and papal prohibitions, getting used to evaluating men as men and not as religious beliefs. Add the powerful church and theocratic affirmation in Italy in the century. XIII, which generated energetic oppositions, capable of investing, with practical relationships, ideas and feelings. Certainly more intimate and not always and in all ecclesiastical religiosity and certainly a yearning for direct communion with God were nourished, as can be seen in some strands of the rich Franciscan mine; certain aspirations for a reform of the Church in capite et membris , advocated in the 13th and 14th centuries by many and practiced a little by men of the church and of the world. Even more, there was a mental orientation, a sense of life, a consideration of spiritual values, which were not those represented and supported by the Church. He always looked at the sky, as at a true homeland: but with what passion, with what intimate communion, with what correspondence between feelings and thoughts, one now lives the life of the earthly homeland!
Then there are those who give themselves to studies, forgetting by now that they must be a ladder to ascend to religious truths. There are those who begin to approach the classics with a less encumbered spirit and some desire to find them in their genuineness, just like rediscovering genuine Roman law the jurists seek, under the interpretations superimposed on it. In the wandering of merchants and helmsmen through lands and seas, one can already glimpse something more than just the desire to find spices and gain faithful to Christ. There are those who let themselves be taken in by the fascination of mysterious facts and relationships, such as animal life, the physical properties of bodies, the origin of language, the expression of human physiognomy, the course of the stars. The sec. XIII already counts, in Italy, enthusiasts of exact sciences and zoology, alchemists and experimenters and astrologers, following kings and lords and war captains, Ezzelino or Guido da Montefeltro. On the old prophetic tendencies are grafted the astrological and magical ones that are typical of the Renaissance and accompany the first retching of the physical and natural sciences. The sense of man’s iron dependence on God begins to relax: and Fortune appears, a new divinity, which is almost between God and man and a prelude to the recognition of man as faber suae fortunae. The wicked doubt or denial of the immortality of the soul appears, the creation of the world is excluded to affirm its eternity instead, the equivalence of Christianity and Islam and Judaism is admitted, one wonders if religion is the work of God or men, we discuss the historicity of the person of Christ and his divinity. It is noted as a progress in the confidence of the intellect, as a growing reluctance to believe what is not rationally justified or does not fall under the senses; the advance of that doubt which prepares, through skepticism about traditional knowledge, a new knowledge.