“Be Rather Loved Than Feared” <i>Class Relations in Quattrocento Florence</i>

F. W. Kent

in Society and Individual in Renaissance Florence

Published by University of California Press

Published in print October 2002 | ISBN: 9780520232549
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520928220 | DOI:
“Be Rather Loved Than Feared” Class Relations in Quattrocento Florence

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This chapter demonstrates that patronage, charity, and friendship overlapped with class antagonisms in fifteenth-century Florence. The very insistence of Quattrocento moralists that people remain dutifully in their ordained social place, that they adhere to the sumptuary laws that sought to make distinctions of rank clearly visible, revealed, as has been observed of an earlier period, the energies many Florentines were putting into doing exactly the opposite. The frequent sexual alliances formed between Florentines of unequal social standing presupposed physical and emotional contexts in which the classes could intermingle with some ease. The finest, most enduring achievement of the processes of social and political negotiation and collaboration, of cultural osmosis, was the Florentine Renaissance itself, which could hardly have been the product of an utterly polarized city. There is no cause to romanticize the “amicable working relationship” established between many Florentines of different classes during the Quattrocento.

Keywords: Quattrocento; Florentine Renaissance; patronage; charity; friendship; sexual alliances; social standing; Florentines

Chapter.  18179 words. 

Subjects: Early Modern History (1500 to 1700)

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