The Book of the Courtier (Castiglione's Guide for the Renaissance Man)


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Baldassare Castiglione wrote the Book of the Courtier in order to advise young men how to win the favor of a ruler and become his trusted advisor. He believed that the courtier should be a fighting man, but also one who is well-rounded and learned in the Greek and Roman classics. The Book of the Courtier, like Machiavelli’s The Prince, is a work of civic humanism, using the classics to prepare for effective performance in political life.

This lecture will be helpful to students preparing for the AP European History exam, as well as students who are taking Western Civilization courses and specialized courses in the Renaissance.


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  1. Chivalry of feudalism. Knight's code.
    Caballero[Sp.] Horseman; mounted warrior; Cavalryman; cavalier.
    [Eng.; Gentleman]

    A Real Gentleman deserves a real Lady.
    A Real Gentleman isn't a one-trick pony. We're cultured and well-rounded.

  2. What other books would you suggest for leadership or knowledge of people other than the prince and the Courtier?

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  4. Sometimes the Google AI drops real gems into one's lap. Your students might like to like to visit The History Guy channel. He specialises in putting out short videos around 10m on "history that should be remembered". These events not always referred to in textbooks, but play an important role in various areas of human development like science, politics, philosophy and social science. His video on the Lisbon Earthquake and its impact on the Enlightenment bought me to you today. I would recommend it to your students and anyone who loves history.

  5. 1:55 Dialogues, like Plato. 17:00 Knowing thyself, like Socrates
    3:08 What is a Courtier ?
    + Courageous
    + Loyal
    + Well Rounded (No one trick pony)

    15:06 A Renaissance Education

    8:21 Around your enemies, Around Your friends
    9:12 A Fusion of Christian and Classical Ideas (Pride in accomplishment, not arrogance, but modest self-praise)
    11:35 Nerds win (Educated Warriors)
    13:40 The feeling of "What have I done with my life?" The Drive to be a Hero, a Conqueror, a Legend
    18:02 Flattery vs Honesty

    8:03 Surprise guest
    10:51 "Fighting Man is a fighting man"

    19:53 Like Share Subscribe, It's always a pleasure


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