Benito Mussolini

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Benito Mussolini was the Fascist dictator of Italy from 1922 to 1943. He centralized all power in himself as the leader of the Fascist party and attempted to create and Italian empire, ultimately in alliance with Nazi Germany . He was defeated in WWII, which brought an end to his imperial dream and led to his downfall as leader. His ambitions began in the December of 1914, when Mussolini joined a local socialist group. Mussolini was injured in training after being conscripted into the army, and was sent home before WWI erupted. Several Italian defeats on the warfront caused Mussolini to call for a dictator and strict discipline to replace the weak weak national government.

On March 23th, 1919, Mussolini launched his socialist movement, the Italian Combat Fascists, although his ideology was still rather libertarian. He formed parliamentary squads called "arditi " that were similar to the CHEKA of the Bolsheviks. After the Fascists joined the coalition government, they won 35 seats in the 1921 election and reorganized under the name of National Fascist Party. At this point, Mussolini was gaining large support for his political actions. Ultimately, the Fascist uprising was imminent. Mussolini marched on Rome, the arditi seiing government offices. The King of Italy elected to avoid bloodshed by simply appointing Mussolini as Prime Minister. In the 1924 elections, the fascists won with 65%, primarily due to their use of violence to kill all opponents. Mussolini's transformation into national dictator was completed after an attempted assassination. He expelled all non-Fascist parties and created a totalitarian dictatorship without free press and that used a secret police.

Mussolini's political views were extreme and intolerant. He believed in a one-party conformist society, where religion, government, and economy are consolidated. He ruled as Hitler did, though he took longer to get into power. In the 1920's and 1930's, Mussolini made his views a reality. He instituted the OVRA, a secret police force, to crush all existing non-Fascist parties. He also created a diarchy, where there were two head political powers - the King and the Dictator. It was clear, however, the Mussolini had taken complete control.

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Italian Fascist Flag


Ferdinand Magellan

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Ferdinand Magellan was born in 1480, at Sabrosa of northern Portugal. Though he did make his early expeditions for Portugal, he earned Spanish nationality in order to serve the Spanish Crown. They would sponsor his journey to discover a westward route to the Spice Islands in Indonesia. In effect, he was the first explorer to sail the Pacific Ocean (November 28, 1520), after crossing the strait, now the Magellan Strait (November 1, 1520). Later, the remainder of his fleet was the first to circumnavigate the Earth. Of the 237 men and 5 ships to begin the around-the-world expedition, 18 men and 1 ship survived. Magellan was killed April 27, 1521, by the natives of Mactan of the Malay Peninsula .

16 months after the explorer's death, the single remaining ship, the Victoria, reached Spain (September 6, 1522). This, again, was the first complete circumnavigation of the Earth, and the first fleet to cross every meridian of the globe. They were also the first Spaniards to set foot in the Philippines (March 16, 1521).

In conclusion, the most important years of Magellan are 1519-1522, though he died in 1521.

Palazzo Vecchio

Analysis of Artwork- This massive, Romanesque, crenellated fortress-palace is among the most impressive town halls of Tuscany. The exterior is generally very dull, with the exception of the entrance. The entrance includes an ornate frontispiece showing gilded lions and replicas of Michelango 's David , flanked by Baccio Bandinelli's Hercules and Cacus, reflecting both Gothic and Renaissance architecture. The Second Courtyard is filled with rounded arches, barrel vaults, and intricate fountains and foliage. The Salone dei Cinquecento is the grandest chamber in the Palazzo Vecchio. It shows high windows, intricate wall design, and an alter for prayer. This, again, mixes Romanesque and Gothic style architecture.

How is Humanism reflected in the artwork?
Humanism is demonstrated not only by the precise building, and the crenelated exterior, but also the very Renaissance-oriented rooms.

A Hall of Geographical Maps displays 53 maps of scientific interest, oil paintings by the Dominican monk Fra Ignazio Danti. He gives a good idea of the geographical knowledge in the 16th century, which actually was quite profound. Danti followed the Ptolemaic system, while already using the new cartographical system of Gerardus Mercator. This reflects the humanist interest of geography.

The studio, a reassembled room, was used by Cellini to restore the treasure of the Medici Family princes. It includes a globe, and huge bookshelves of knowledge. This, as well, reflects humanist ideals.

The Hercules Room gets its name from the subject of the paintings on the ceiling. Also the tapestries show stories of Hercules. The room contains a Madonna and Child. This shows how Greek and Roman studies, even their mythology, was studied and was included in the Renaissance artwork. This is called Classicism.

Countless other examples can be found in this enormous fortress that is a living example of the Renaissance's Humanism.

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Above: The Palazzo Vecchio. Below: The Entrance of the Palazzo Vecchio.external image 2007%20Florence%20029%20web.jpg
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Above: Second Courtyard of Palazzo Vecchio Below: Salone dei Cinquecento
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