This study sets out to place the remarkable cultural events of the early Renaissance in a full historical perspective. Dealing with both literary and visual art, it describes the world of Dante and Giotto and explains the circumstances in which their innovations became possible. The political, economical, cultural, and religious life of Tuscany between 1260 and 1320 is explored, and the importance of the relationship with the papal court emphasized. Papal patronage
encouraged classical influence on the visual arts; but the Papacy also played a leading role in the political and economic life of the 'Guelf League', in which it was linked with Florence, Siena,
Naples, and France. Papal intervention in Florence in 1301, leading to Dante's exile, and the Papacy's removal to France in 1305, created new conditions in which the masterpieces of Dante and Giotto were created. This is the first paperback edition of Florence, Rome and the Origins of the Renaissance, which was published in hardback in 1986.
'The fullest and most accurate account in English of that "vigorous and corrupt" milieu in which Dante passed his life...Dr Holmes has succeeded in presenting a deeply-considered and most learned portrait of a great era in European civilization' Times Higher Education Supplement
'There is a notable freshness and sparkle in his chapters on popular religious feeling, on the impact of St Francis, and on the movement of ideas into Florence' Times Literary Supplement
'There has seldom been a clearer statement of what it meant to create within a world whose lines were drawn by the brutalism of gang warfare and the saintliness of Franciscan ecstacy ... its picture of a Renaissance dawn ... makes for compelling history.' The Independent
'Learned and authoritative portrait' The Times