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The Renaissance

(The Story of Civilization #5)

4.23  ·  Rating details ·  724 ratings  ·  52 reviews
A colorful pageant of princes & kings, painters & philosophers, scientists & architects comes to life in Will Durant's study of the Italian Renaissance, Vol. 5 of The Story of Civilization. He sets the stage in Florence for the opening act of a magnificent cultural flowering spread across Europe & continued thru time. Even more than its artistic awakening, ...more
Hardcover, 776 pages
Published December 25th 1980 by Simon & Schuster (first published 1953)
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Ahmad Sharabiani
The Renaissance (The Story of Civilization #5), Will Durant (Author), Ariel Durant (Editor)
تاریخ نخستین خوانش: سال 1994 میلادی
عنوان: تاریخ تمدن مجلد پنجم رنسانس ؛ نویسنده: ویل دورانت؛ مترجمها: صفدر تقیزاده: کتابهای اوّل و دوّم ؛ ابوطالب صارمی: کتابهای سوّم تا ششم؛ سرویراستار: محمود مصاحب؛ ویراستاران: محمود مصاحب، ابوطالب صارمی، خشایار دیهیمی؛ تهران، سازمان انتشارات، 1371، در 928 ص؛ موضوع: تاریخ تمدن قرن 20 م
فهرست: کتاب اوّل: پیشدرآمد؛ کتاب دوّم: رنسانسِ فلورانسی؛ کتاب سوّم: شکوه ایتالیا؛ کتاب چه
Roy Lotz
Doubtless like all of us he was many men, turned on one or another of his selves as occasion required, and kept his real self a frightened secret from the world.

So continues my tour through the ages.

The Renaissance, the fifth volume of The Story of Civilization, is unique in this series for its narrowness of scope. Instead of taking all of Western Europe as his subject, Durant confines himself to Italy; and whereas the previous volume took us from the death of Constantine (337) all the way to
Alireza Sahafzadeh
با خواندن تاريخ است كه ميفهميم كجاي جهان ايستاده ايم و چرايي بسياري از مسائلي كه با آن دست به گريبان هستيم براي ما روشن ميشود كاش ميشد بجاي تكرار ماسائل ديني در مدارس خواندن تاريخ جهان را براي دانش آموزان اجباري ميكردند تا بيش از پيش شاهد رشد فكر و انديشه ميبوديم جهاني كه مداوم در حال تكرار خودش است درست همانند آنچه هگل تبيين كرد تز آنتي تز و سنتز، البته اين را بايد در نظر داشت كه هربار تنها تفوت در شكل و شمايل اتفاقات است نه در ماهيت اصلي آنها زماني كشيشان كليسا در قرن چهاردهم ، پانزدهم خود غرق ...more
David Glad
May 30, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: civilization, history
Probably not the best book on the renaissance available these days, but Will Durant's writing style is always delightful which alone is why this surely belongs on a shelf of a half dozen or more renaissance books. Nice continuation of where his The Age of Faith left off. (Fun side note to that book was how singing and music in church initially were considered BAD before it was seen as a way of enhancing faith.)

As standard fare, excellent mention of Leonardo's multifaceted interests which appare
Bob Nichols
Apr 03, 2013 rated it it was ok
This Durant volume was disappointing, particularly when compared to Volumes I-IV. In this history, Durant covers three centuries or so of Italy's renaissance history. By "renaissance," it seems that Durant means Italy's artistic impulses (e.g., Da Vinci, Michelangelo, Raphael) and its economic vitality.* While acknowledging Durant's fondness for all things Italian of this age, there's plenty of "same old, same old" in this historical period in this historical place. Politics were power politics; ...more
Shawn Thrasher
Jun 04, 2013 rated it it was amazing
The Durants have a way with words, that even sixty years later are still amusing and appealing. Here they are, describing the falsely maligned Lucrezia Borgia: She "was not offended when her father chose a husband for her; that was then normal procedure for all good girls, and produced no more unhappiness than our own reliance on the selective wisdom of romantic love."

They also constantly cast a line hooking the Renaissance to the (then) present. Such as these passages:

[The Italian people] "op
Jim LeMay
Feb 19, 2018 rated it really liked it
Though I like Durant's writing style and the book is well organized for relating the information, he differs from the conclusions of other historians. He whitewashes the characters of many of the popes and other higher clergy, even those of the notorious Borgias and denies that Leonardo and Michelangelo were homosexual. He also claims that the immorality that plagued Italy came from people falling away from the church. In reality, the church gave a grievous example of morality for worshippers.
M. Ashraf
Oct 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing
We continue the story of Civilization (year#5) After Our Oriental Heritage, Life of Greece, Caesar and Christ and Age of Faith. Come The Renaissance, I think it needed more visual aids to see and witness the glory of the Renaissance, it is easier now with the internet but still.
We started in the 1300 with The Age of Petrarch and Boccaccio to the series of Popes and the christian life of the era. We witnessed The Rise of the Medici in Florence and the birth of Leonardo da Vinci, The most fascinat
Moud Barthez
Jul 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: history, favorites
What a spectacular journey through the vast sea of the Italian Renaissance!
How endless was the wealth of this Renaissance, which even in its waning produced men like Tintoretto and Veronese, Aretino and Vasari, Paul III and Palestrina, Sansovino and Palladio, Duke Cosimo and Cellini, and such art as the rooms of the Ducal Palace and St. Peter’s dome!

we've got to meet Humanists like Francesco Petrarch and Giovanni Boccaccio, and witness the feverish fiery speeches and the Revolution of Cola di Ri
Nov 13, 2018 rated it really liked it
The fifth book of the series once more gives us a brief glimpse of a bygone era, this time taking us to 14th and 15th century Italy. Durant's so called integral method of history paints a vigorous picture of numerous proud cities and notable potentates flourishing and vying in an endless cycle of longed for successes and great calamities, at a time when men were a law onto themselves, and contemned the unity of Italy the popes had sought to establish in the Middle ages.
Despite the turmoil and st
Tom Brennan
Jun 19, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: own
The weakest of the five volumes I have read thus far in this series, it still manages to be worth reading. Its thumbnail portraits of the main players of the age - the popes, mercenaries, monks, artists, and kings - are worth the price of admission here. It is, however, badly flawed in two ways. First, he seriously under-emphasizes the egregious spiritual condition of the papacy in Renaissance Italy. He continuously explains away their crimes, and calls on us to interpret their actions kindly wh ...more
Feb 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Durant writes of the Renaissance: "What frightening vitality there must have been in those Renaissance Italians, living amid violence, seduction, superstition, and war, yet eagerly alive to every form of beauty and artistry, and pouring forth-as if all Italy had been a volcano-the hot lava of their passions and their art, their architecture and assassinations, their sculpture and liaisons, their painting and brigandage, their Madonnas and grotesques, their hymns, and macaronic verse, their obsce ...more
Tim Ostler
Oct 05, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-2018
Although an enthusiast for Italian Renaissance art and architecture I had never studies its political and papal background in any depth. This is a hugely informative and edifying survey of the period that puts everything I knew before into perspective. It is worth being aware that this book was published in 1953 and so some of the attitudes of the author fall a bit short of current widely-held views -- notably his somewhat censorious comments about Leonardo's sexual orientation. But overall I fo ...more
May 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is my latest in the story of civilization. It’s the best volume so far. The book focuses primarily on the Italian Renaissance, which probably is appropriate. Great characters- the Medici, Michelangelo, Leonardo, and a host of others. It amazes me that the church in general and the popes in particular played such dominant roles. The Durants do a great job of covering a lot of territory and keeping it entertainingly
Aug 05, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Overall a good book but not as enjoyable as the previous entries.

Perhaps the nebulous period of the Renaissance warrants a books that is all over the place In addition, while art was at most 10% of the previous books, it's at least 60% here. That's way too much art history!
Heidi Burkhart
Feb 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I started this almost nine months ago, but it was worth every minute. Much space was given to artists and religious hierarchy of the Roman Catholic Church during the Renaissance.

If you love detail, detail, detail in your historic readings you will love this book!
Jonny Andres
Jul 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: history
What a time to be alive. The Renaissance was full of life and vigor. It was the best of times and the worst of times. Duran Durant's depiction of this era in human history is vivid and funny and inviting.
Fabian Il.
Apr 22, 2018 rated it really liked it
Great book from maybe the greatest historian ever.
Sep 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Another reminder of my own ignorance and how vast is the knowledge to be attained. Will Durant make it easy to absorb so much knowledge in a reduced format. All his book are a most in my opinion.
Nathan Jerpe
Nov 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 1950s, art, italy, history
2,000,000 words down, 3,000,000 to go!

And we're only in 1576.
Rob Markley
Sep 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: history
My favourite volume in the whole series. I knew nothing and this blew me away
Jul 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed learning about the art, and that is a significant part of all the books. The authors show that the Renaissance was the merging of many people who were creative or powerful, and this adds a personal and emotional perspective to the grandeur of the Renaissance. It's a colorful and entertaining read.
Purple Wimple
I was a little disappointed in the narrower historical scope of the book, but (as usual, in this series) couldn't put it down. It's helpful to keep google images nearby, amid the litany of works of art discussed.
Bruce Cline
Oct 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing
The Renaissance: A History of Civilization in Italy from 1304-1576 A.D. by Will Durant (audiobook, 37 hours). This is volume 5 of Durant’s 11 volume set, The Story of Civilization. Because of the time period covered in this volume, it covers in extraordinary detail the subjects of war, death, religious war, religious death, art, artists having sex, artists avoiding war, artists dying, Popes at war, Popes having sex, Popes dying, Kings, Kings at war, Kings having sex, Kings dying, peasantry (appa ...more
Christopher Donaghue
Apr 12, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Everybody
Of the volumes to this point, The Renaissance is indisputably master. Will Durant has but one shortcoming, and that is that he loves equally and too greatly each of the lives about which he writes. Never has an historian had such a deep appreciation for not just the "heroes" of Carlyle, but for the little man hardly known to any but the most erudite, as well as the forgotten millions on whose backs the civilizations of yesterday and the world of today were built.

This book was a long read, though
Aug 19, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This is volume 5 of Will and Ariel Durant's "The Story of Civilization." It is literally an exhaustive study of the period of history in Italy know as The Renaissance. It of course covers all of the major artists that are the main reason we remember this period. However, Italy during this time was in an almost constant state of warfare between the city-states which are controlled by families (Medici's etc.) This is all covered in Durant's breezy ironic style. It is organized by location (Florenc ...more
Apr 06, 2014 rated it liked it
I continue to plug on through the History of Civilization by Will Durant. This one was about Italy from 1304-1576. I keep wondering how many assistants he must have had to compile all this info--apparently he and his wife traveled a lot in whatever area they were writing about so perhaps they visited every town and city, looked at every old church, plaza, mansion, painting sculpture etc and also read all the literature from the period--as well as the history--it was a disorderly history with lot ...more
Bruce Knotts
Jun 14, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I love the writing and use of language. I also am very interested to see how religion has gone from liberal expansive and explorative phases to clamping down on creative and expansive thought. There were times in Christianity, Islam and Judaism when exploration was welcomed, but when religions become afraid and insecure the reaction is clamp down and oppress everyone who won't agree with the approved orthodoxy. This restrictive phases in Christianity have enforced belief that the earth is flat a ...more
Barry Belmont
Nov 10, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I find that my reviews of Will Durant's Story of Civilization have mostly taken the form of quoting some wonderful passage, standing back, and saying "Isn't that amazing? And that's just one part of a gigantic thing of beauty." And this will be no different. Durant, writing of the Renaissance, describes a nexus of mindsets that many ages have shared in, but which the Renaissance embodied: "Enlightenment is of minorities, and emancipation is individual; minds are not freed en masse. A few skeptic ...more
This book is highly detailed. On one hand, that's good; it enables Durant to paint a rich picture of the Italian Renaissance. On the other hand, I think he takes it too far and includes a lot of tangential facts that didn't add much to the story. But more than the sheer amount of detail or the choice of which details to include, this book's chief failing is in its organization. It jumps around between people and time periods and places, making it a bit hard to follow. Minus a star for the author ...more
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William James Durant was a prolific American writer, historian, and philosopher. He is best known for the 11-volume The Story of Civilization, written in collaboration with his wife Ariel and published between 1935 and 1975. He was earlier noted for his book, The Story of Philosophy, written in 1926, which was considered "a groundbreaking work that helped to popularize philosophy."

They were awarde

Other books in the series

The Story of Civilization (1 - 10 of 11 books)
  • Our Oriental Heritage (The Story of Civilization, #1)
  • The Life of Greece (The Story of Civilization, #2)
  • Caesar and Christ (Story of Civilization, #3)
  • The Age of Faith (The Story of Civilization, #4)
  • The Reformation (The Story of Civilization #6)
  • The Age of Reason Begins (The Story of Civilization, #7)
  • The Age of Louis XIV (The Story of Civilization, #8)
  • The Age of Voltaire (The Story of Civilization, #9)
  • Rousseau and Revolution (The Story of Civilization, #10)
  • The Age of Napoleon (The Story of Civilization, #11)
“To rulers religion, like almost everything else, is a tool of power.” 15 likes
“The timid weakness of individuals, the insecurity of groups, and the delusion of superiority generated perpetual fear, suspicion, dislike, and contempt of the different, the alien, and the strange.” 0 likes
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