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Over the years, Europe has undergone profound political and cultural changes that represent a major shift toward modernity. Early indicators of modernity include the transition from autocratic to democratic governments and the transformation of civil laws and organizations into cutting-edge architectural creations and structures. Cities in pre-modern Europe underwent enormous political changes that have had an influence on how states and nations are governed in modern Europe. The essay will investigate the primary readings provided in order to explore the modernity-related characteristics of early European cities. It will also take into consideration all critical facts and discuss in detail how the early cities reflected modern Europe.
In the ancient days, the judicial system in Rome was purely informal. People could get judged according to the laws established through formal means. The laws of the land would be constitutionalized to offer the basis for future reference. Unlike the modern days, in the past, one could be judged by jurists and his punishment depended on their knowledge and wisdom. In the contemporary days, legality is taking effect through the establishment of institutions to dispense justice. According to an Italian professor Bartolus de Saxoferrato, the city of Rome had been ruled by a king for a long time. With time, the kingship could be dethroned to usher in a political government, which was made for all people. In the political government, the rulers took into consideration the common good of all. Aristotle argues that democracy can arise from a political running and could lead to a perverse populace, in which the citizens chose to ignore the rich. Bartolus is of the view that if the government is real meant for the people, it should be democratic enough. There is need to shift from the administration of political rulers to that of democratic leaders. In other words, the society should share honors and rewards appropriately based on degrees and not political greed.
On the contrary, a bad government has leaders out to satisfy their selfish interests at the expense of democracy. From ancient times, Europe is rapidly transforming to embrace modernity. The city of Rome has, for instance, since passed through rigorous political turmoil. The Aristotle oligarchy is an executive where a few rich individuals are empowered to rule others, the so called "lordship of the rich or a government of the bad." These leaders are known to oppress others as they work for their own benefits. Bartolus further argues that a monarchy can be a good form of government because of a number of reasons. One, the rulers will intend to bring peace and unite people. However, many people need to be in place to oversee this happening. Secondly, it is also known to make a city as well as the republic stronger. It, therefore, advocates for a one prosperous nation under unified leadership. As a source of unity and strength, the European countries have in modern days consolidated into a regional block, which is commonly known as the European Union. Under this block, member countries are using a common currency, which reflects what the earlier leaders of Rome pioneered to do.
Signs of contemporary Europe are eminent in earlier Europe as people and government tend to denounce kingship. Rome, with its large populace was initially considered kingship in its leadership structure. The problem with kings is that, they can easily become tyrannical. Their magnificent nature could get associated with making vast expenditures which will drain the royal resources. It is for this reason, Rome expelled its Kings as brought out in Bartolo's article.
As early as the fourteenth century, Bruno found the splendor and magnificence of the city of Florence awesome. He even asked God to grant him the eloquence that will match this city to fulfill his zeal and desire. In those days, Florence stood in Italy and could not be compared with any other city. Bruno wonders whether it is possible to have such a city on Earth. He finds it hard to ignore its admirable excellence. What he could see in this splendid city were learned people, whose speech proves so eloquent. So to say, people were well-educated as portrayed by their expertise, competence and skill. Much to his admiration, Florence could be described by immense wealth and power. Interestingly, he even runs out of words to describe this particular city, but could not stop praising it each moment.
Like modern Europe, the ancient Roman city had powerful kings who could use their influence to conquer weaker nations. Despite all this magnificence, the Roman citizens did not suffer any harm. Florence worked its way to liberty and got rid of tyranny. All these events were signs of new Rome. Change and development must be accompanied by substantial institutionalization. Today, the majority of European cities are worth admirable because of formal education and democratic leadership. Just like the stunning beauty of Florence, cities of such type exist in Europe. United Kingdom's London, Denmark's Copenhagen, Roman's Vatican, and German's Berlin, are some of the European cities, many people would like to visit, work or conduct business. Furthermore, the infrastructure connecting the major cities in Europe is of first class. The architectural designs are ultra-modern. The eloquence and grandeur of these cities are ultimately exceptional. The shift to modernity has not started recently, but can be traced hundreds of years ago. As claimed by Bruni, the struggle for republicanism had begun following massive crimes in the Roman Empire that involved property destruction, loss of honor, as well as dignity. By then, Florence longed for freedom from dreadful tyrants who robbed almost everything, including power and integrity. Nevertheless, that spirit of freedom has lived on to the present.
When democracy took precedence over tyranny, Florence saw significant developments. The change in leadership and political landscape in ancient Europe led to formulation and implementation of sound policies that promoted educational and economic development. Europe, we see today was born out of pre-modern cities, which revolutionized the economic power of the entire continent. As one way to expand commerce and industry, the pre-modern cities had to build adequate infrastructure to facilitate movement of people and goods across destinations. The same has extended to the modern times. All over the world, Europe is regarded to be a popular commercial hub, with fast moving lanes, electric trains, and a remarkable air industry.
Besides being efficient in foreign affairs, Florence could be linked with laws and civil institutions that are extraordinary. It derives its power from the Roman statues to mandate its activities. Moreover, such strong legal frameworks serve to provide internal order, justice, unity and cooperation.
The early European cities were demarcated by geographic boundaries, and each city came under a powerful political leader, who could be elected as King or Monarch. For purposes of justice and fairness, the leader had counselors and elders, to supervise his reign to ensure the common good of the people is served. In the present day. Europe, political leaders are determined through a democratic political process. By doing so, the will of the people is met, much the same like in early Europe.
The early modern Europe embarked on shifts towards modernity by doing a lot to change the political climate. The beauty and success of cities like Rome, Florence, and Perugia could be realized by no means except for change in the politics of Europe in the fourteenth century. The early signs of modernity include the change of kingships and tyrannies into democracy with efficient civil institutions efficient markets, and beautiful cities. Ultimately, these reflected the modernity that emerged in pre-modern Europe.
Bartolo of Sassoferrato. Treatise on City Government, 1976.
Chaucer, Geoffrey. The Clerk's Tale.
Froissart, Jean. On The Hundred Years War, 1337-1453.
Bruni, Leonardo. Laudatio Florentinae Urbis or Panegyric to the City of Florence.
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