Vesuvio and PompeiiEdit

Italy as the oven of Western cultureEdit

UNESCOs? You want UNESCOs? We got them out the ass dog. You want your Roman? You want your Catholic? We got them all.

We've got half of the world's greatest art treasures! We're teh bomb!

(Italy may have even influenced Japanese culture [Super Mario])

History of the Roman EmpireEdit

Italy's history is, naturally, a long one indeed, spanning from before the Roman Empire, with disparate peoples inhabiting the land... but let's start at the beginning of the Roman Empire in the 4th-3rd centuries BCE.

(Birth story of Rome, Romolo and Remo) The legendary origin story. The proper heirs to the land, Romolo and Remo--born of the god Mars--were denied their kingdom by their usurping uncle and abandoned to die on a river. However, they're saved by a suckling she-wolf, providing the iconic image everyone knows. Proving to be natural leaders, they each gain many followers, but when they discover their true origins, they decide to found a new city instead of inheriting their claim to the old one. Eventually Romolo killed Remo over where to found the city. Rome swelled with landless refugees, runaway slaves, and fugitives, almost all of whom were male, so to round out the population Romolo kidnaps the marriageable daughters of the Sabine tribe by inviting the tribe to a festival at the circus and distracting the menfolk with wine and games. Naturally they go to war, but the Sabine daughters themselves are persuaded to marry Romans and unite the tribes. Rome was about more than just legions though, as it also had a senate of Patricians. While Romolo did found the Senate, he later himself became arrogant, and died under mysterious circumstances. Evidently, the Senate maintained that Romolo was taken up into heaven as a god after their ceremony deifying him with honors, but there are suspicions that was just a pretext for the senators' murdering him. It's an origin story that's so fucked up it's puzzling to modern historians. You'd think they'd concoct a less seedy tradition for their stateliness!

The Roman Empire was remarkably multicultural, with "a rather astonishing cohesive capacity" to create a sense of shared identity while encompassing diverse peoples within its political system over a long span of time. The Roman attention to creating public monuments and communal spaces open to all—such as forums, amphitheaters, racetracks and baths—helped foster a sense of "Romanness".

(include Lucius from Thermae Romae)

The public baths served hygienic, social and cultural functions.[283] Bathing was the focus of daily socializing in the late afternoon before dinner. Rome prided itself on thriving under an ordered and free life and economy... free if you weren't a slave, of course.

(The feats of the Roman Empire)

Map of Empire; architectural feats like the arch and the dome. Roman roads were the most advanced for ages. Even after the collapse of the central government, some roads remained usable for more than a thousand years. Aqueducts, too

Wine making technology! The Roman belief that wine was a daily necessity made the drink "democratic" and ubiquitous: wine was available to slaves, peasants, women and aristocrats alike. To ensure the steady supply of wine to Roman soldiers and colonists, viticulture and wine production spread to every part of the empire.

You can also thank the Latin script for being the number one in the world script.

The general structure of jurisprudence used today, in many jurisdictions, is the same (trial with a judge, plaintiff, and defendant) as that established during the Roman Empire.

The Roman Empire finally fell in 476 AD, and the country suffered barbarian attacks until Charlemagne became King of the West in 800, crowned by the Pope in an effort to revive Rome. The Roman Empire was so influential that other leaders would to wear its robes, including the tsars of Russia... and Mussolini's own fascistic attempt to recapture Rome's glory.

An example of the prestige of the Roman Republic: American captiol buildings styled after ancient Roman archtiecture, the trappings of democracy as opposed to feudal and religious stuff. Speaking of which...

The PapacyEdit

The Holy Roman Empire (nor holy, nor roman, nor an empire) only lasted until about 1250. The real story here is the Papacy, which gained authority over central Italy with its Papal States.

Rome is home to the Vatican City, the sovereign territory of the pope, the head of the Roman Catholic church. There are many Christianities, but Catholicism remains the dominant one, and the Seat in Rome's claim to legitimacy is that it was supposedly established by St. Peter. It was the Roman Empire that cruficied Jesus, but the Empire's official religion converted from worship of the Roman gods to Christianity when Emperor Costantino was said to have seen a cross in the sky as a vision leading him to vistory in the battlefield.

(Show images of the Vatican)

(Show religious iconography and churches and stuff)

Italy as city-states and the RenaissanceEdit

By 1300, Italy was split between five major powers: the city-republics of Milan, Florence, and Venice; the papal states; and the kindom of Naples. Rome lay as a city in ruins, with the Papacy relocated to France. The Black Plague killed off a third of the population.

Recovering from the Black Plague, Italy once again emerged as the center of Western Civilization. The Renaissance was so called because it was a "rebirth" not only of economy and urbanization, but also of arts and science. It has been argued that this cultural rebirth was fuelled by massive rediscoveries of ancient texts that had been forgotten for centuries by Western civilization, hidden in monastic libraries or in the Islamic world, as well as the translations of Greek and Arabic texts into Latin. Rome was rebuilt.

Renaissance ideals of humanism: The ideals of the Renaissance where of human importance being priority over the battle of church and state. Italian artists and writers concentrated on the human aspect of their art rather than that of religion. Humanism was a way of thinking that was popular in the fifteenth century and influenced much of Italian culture.  Humanists considered the individual to have great potential, and they thought that individuals reached their greatest achievement in ancient Greece and Rome.  Because of this, humanists wanted to recapture the greatness of antiquity and so they were at the forefront of trying to emulate the activities, art, and engineering of the classical world.

Ex.: Vitruvian man, da Vinci in general

The statue of David is an example of realism, along with the Mona Lisa

The School of Athens

The Last Supper--the Catholic Church supported more secular, less exaggerated depictions of holy figures (the apostles have realistic expresions after Jesus drops the bomb that he is to be betrayed).

Italian Renaissance painting exercised a dominant influence on subsequent European painting (see Western painting) for centuries afterwards, with artists such as Giotto di Bondone, Masaccio, Piero della Francesca, Domenico Ghirlandaio, Perugino, Michelangelo, Raphael, Botticelli, Leonardo da Vinci, and Titian.

This was also a period of continual inter-state war, though


Talk about the Divine Comedy and the Principality

Music writing began in Italy, specifically monastic stuffEdit

Gregorian chant

70s Italian musicEdit


the story of the margherita flag

In 1889 King Umberto I and his wife, Queen Margherita went to their traditional summer palace in Capo di Monte. Hearing of a local dish called pizza they asked to try it, and the most famous pizza chef in Naples, don Raffaele, was called in to prepare this for them. He decided to create a new pizza in their honour, on which he put tomatoes, mozzarella cheese and basil, so that the red, white and green would reflect the colours of the Italian flag. The pizza was a resounding success and don Raffaele named it "pizza Margherita" in honour of the queen. This is also usually considered the turning point from where pizza ceased to be a food fit only for peasants and the lower classes.

If you travel to Italy, go for the food!

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