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Florence Before and After the Black Death
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Delivery Learning Mode - Virtual Classroom

This mode of learning is also known as virtual learning or a virtual classroom. It is similar to face to face training, except you attend via video using Zoom or similar software. You will have structured “classes” to attend virtually.

The Short Course

Florence Before and After the Black Death

Regular price AU $154 AU $0 Unit price per
Including GST

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 Enrolment Guide

Why should I take this course?

Discover how people in one of Europe’s great cultural capitals responded to the most devastating pandemic of the Middle Ages

Florence Before and After the Black Death at a glance

Course Summary

The fourteenth century was transformational for Florence. The city - one of the largest in Europe - was in the throws of a great cultural blossoming, seen in the art of Giotto and his followers, the literature of Boccaccio and Petrarch, and extensive building projects, such as the new cathedral. But the city was also turbulent: food shortages, political revolts, and banking disasters that precipitated economic crises all struck in the decades before the Black Death.

This four part short course takes you into the Florence of the fourteenth century, showing you how people in one of Europe’s great cultural capitals responded to the fallout of the most devastating pandemic of the Middle Ages.

During this course you will explore:

  • Florence before the Black Death
  • Florence during the Black Death
  • Arts and literature after the plague
  • The society of Florence on the eve of the Renaissance

Important Information

Course Length: 4 weeks
Mode: Online
Commitment: 4 x 1.5 hour sessions
Access Requirements: Refer to "Further Information"
Prerequisites: None
Institution: The Short Course
Course Information

The fourteenth century was transformational for Florence. The city - one of the largest in Europe - was in the throws of a great cultural blossoming, seen in the art of Giotto and his followers, the literature of Boccaccio and Petrarch, and extensive building projects, such as the new cathedral. But the city was also turbulent: food shortages, political revolts, and banking disasters that precipitated economic crises all struck in the decades before the Black Death.

The plague was devastating. Some historians estimate that 50% of Florence’s population perished; the city was, after all, in the most densely populated part of Europe, and its merchant bankers had trading houses stretching from Bruges to the Bosphorus.

But the effects of the plague are sometimes surprising. This four part short course takes you into the Florence of the fourteenth century, showing you how people in one of Europe’s great cultural capitals responded to the fallout of the most devastating pandemic of the Middle Ages.

Course Content

Session 1: Florence before the Black Death

Before the Black Death, Florence was a thriving city from the construction of what was then the largest church in Europe, to the flourishing of painting led by Giotto and the creation of new literary genres by Petrarch and Boccaccio. But the city was also troubled by economic turbulence, such as the collapse of Bardi and Peruzzi banks when Edward III defaulted, chronic grain shortages in the 1320s, and sever flooding in the 1330s.

Session 2: Florence during the Black Death

In the 1340s, Florence was one of the most densely populated cities in western Europe and a major centre of trade. The Black Death would tear through the city, killing by some estimates more than 50% of the population. In this session we look at the arrival of and responses to the Black Death in Florence, from regulations to counter the plague, the dramatic increase in charitable activities (sometimes funded by the estates of those who died intestate), and the retreat to the hills to wait it out.

Session 3: Arts and literature after the plague

The effects of the plague on art and literature in Florence are an ongoing subject of debate among scholars. Some argue that the experience of the Black Death led to a type of ‘medievalism’ - abandonment of the most cutting edge art of 1330s in favour of a more conservative style. Others, by contrast, have argued that the loss of knowledge led to a type of stasis in the arts. Literature, however, tells a different story and the success of Boccaccio (who inspired Chaucer) and Petrarch, the creator of the sonnet, suggest that vibrance in the arts had not paused.

Session 4: The society of Florence on the eve of the Renaissance

In this final session, we look at the changes to Florentine society following the Black Death. Economically, the city didn’t fare too poorly - a shortage of labour drove wages up for the majority and the wealth of Florence merchant-banking families was held among fewer hands. The ambitions of working Florentines became clear in the 1370s and a wool carder, Michele di Lando, led a revolt seeking to enfranchise poorer workers. But this revolt was short lived and the upper class of Florence closed ranks, effectively monopolising power among a small group of families who would dominate politics for the next century. 

Course Provider

The Short Course was created by Dr. Nick Gordon to connect you with academic experts who are passionate about their fields and are adept at helping you learn more about art and history. As experienced teachers and public communicators, we understand that learning is a lifelong pleasure and that good teaching is about much more than just imparting knowledge. Our philosophy is that good teaching helps you understand more about the history and cultures of the world so that you can see more for yourself, even long after a class has ended.

The Short Course brings you the enjoyment of learning in a small group through online webinars. Each session includes a lecture by an academic with expertise in the subject he or she is teaching, giving you access to a wealth of cultural and historical knowledge. We offer two different types of classes: live short courses with a maximum of 15 participants, and recorded lecture courses that you can stream at your convenience.

Lecturer

Dr. Nick Gordon is a cultural historian and artist with an encyclopedic knowledge of European and Australian art. His research on the Italian Middle Ages and Renaissance has won numerous academic scholarships and prizes (including a University of Sydney medal in History). He has extensive experience as a history and art history lecturer and has led small group cultural tours from Australia to Italy, the Low Countries, Germany, and Scandinavia for more than ten years.

Course Availability

Wednesday 10:00-11:30am

Sessions will take place on the following dates:

  • Session 1 - 3 February 2021
  • Session 2 - 10 February 2021
  • Session 3 - 17 February 2021
  • Session 4 - 24 February 2021

    Access to Live Lectures

    Short courses take place in a virtual private room in Zoom, a free platform for online meetings and seminars. Zoom works on most desktops, laptops, tablets, and mobile phones. Zoom requires a computer or device with a camera, speakers, and an internet connection.

    Once you have booked your place in a course, you will receive a confirmation email. This email contains the link to the Zoom room. Clicking on the link or copying into your browser will start Zoom and take you into a virtual waiting room. Your lecturer or course administrator will admit you to the Zoom room. Only the lecturer and people booked on the course will be allowed into the Zoom room, keeping it a safe and secure online environment.

    Access to Recorded Lectures

    Once you have booked on a recorded lecture course, you will receive a confirmation email with a link in it. You will then receive a second email with a password. The link and password will allow you to access a private webpage, from which you can stream the lectures at your convenience.

    Further Information
    After You Enrol

    Our online short courses are live events that take place in a virtual private ‘room’ with a maximum of 15 participants - it’s like taking a class. Each short course is divided into sessions; each session begins with a lecture - and because it’s live, you can ask questions and offer comments - and is followed by time for questions and discussion. The lecture component of these sessions is recorded, so if you miss a class then you can catch up later.

    The Short Course also offers recorded lecture courses, which you can stream at your convenience.

    Study Requirements

    This course does not require any assumed knowledge, only a willingness to learn, and an interest in history.

    Live sessions require:

    • Access to ZOOM, which is free
    • A device with a camera, such as a tablet or a computer with a webcam
    • Internet connection
    Cancellations & Refunds

    All cancellations are subject to both the InspiringED.com Terms & Conditions and those of the institution delivering your course.

    • A $250 InspiringED.com administration fee will apply for all cancellations requested after 48 hours of your enrollment
    • Up to 2 weeks prior to live lecture event: 100% refund, less any administration fee
    • Up to 1 week prior to live lecture event: 50% refund, less any administration fee
    • Within 1 week of live lecture event: no refund, less any administration fee
    • Change of session dates, subject to availability, less any administration fee

    Your enrollment may be cancelled by completing our contact form HERE.