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The Uses Of Humanism At The Imperial Court

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Chapter Summary

The general impression of contemporaries and of most later historians is that humanist learning was highly appreciated at the imperial court, in the centres of which the emperors themselves moved all stones to raise the cultural appeal of their courts. This chapter discusses the direct uses of humanism. The fact that the imperial court became such an important cultural centre rested on a number of objective factors. The imperial court was always short of reliable bureauocrats cared little about her courtiers' personal religious (or political) opinions. An array of the potential uses of humanist learning at court is presented in a letter by Maximilian's antiquarian and architect Jacopo Strada, addressed to Archduke Ernst. One of the keys to the cultural flourishing and the cosmopolitanism of the imperial court was the (partial) application of meritocratic principles.

Keywords: humanism; imperial court



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