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Harmony and Conflict

After World War II and even more after the end of the Cold War, European citizens in general are aware that they do not live in a time of harmony but of profound conflict - economical, cultural and religious. They frequently tend to exorcise this awareness by excluding that it can take any truly violent form, to the point of ignoring the very possibility of a war on European soil. In recent years, however, this conviction has begun to waver, as we are obliged to acknowledge that violent conflict and war in the heart of Europe is by no means inconceivable.

Investigating the complex relationship between harmony and conflict in the Renaissance can lead us to reflect in detached, lucid manner on the latent conflicts that lie hidden behind our current facade of peaceful accord. The age of the Renaissance, in fact, cannot be seen merely as a time of harmony, vast intellectual progress, the rediscovery of great Latin and Greek authors, the discovery of new lands (both terrestrial and celestial) and the production of splendid works of art. The Renaissance was of course all this, but it was also an age of crisis, of religious, political and cultural conflicts that often erupted in violent military clashes with enormous social repercussions. It was in many respects a tragic epoch, where harmony was only the other side of conflict.

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