Coe's Thursday Forum studies the emergence of Siena and Florence

Extra: Lonnie Zingula, Associate Director of Marketing and Public Relations
(319) 399-8613 or

2008-12-18 12:32:13 - General

Coe College's Thursday Forum opens the new year with a two-week examination of two successful city-states that emerged during the late Middle Ages in northern Italy.

Philosophy Professor Jeffrey Hoover will lead the series, titled "Between Town Hall & Cathedral: The Rise of Siena and Florence." The focus of this forum will be the architecture of Florence and Siena during the late medieval and early modern periods, with special emphasis on two principal buildings in each city, the cathedral and the town hall-all four of which were under construction at the same time.

Situated along the border of the Holy Roman Empire to the north and the Papal States to the south, these new political entities were fueled by the economic and social power of a middle class not seen elsewhere in Europe at this time. Florence and Siena both harbored a vigorous republican spirit and were governed by elected representatives of the guilds during their greatest period of development leading up to and into the period of the Italian Renaissance.

The early history of modern European society is presented in the architecture of the civic buildings of these two cities. The churches and halls commissioned by the republican governments in Florence and Siena tell the story of the ebb and flow of the power of the new mercantile class. The massive building programs made possible by the burgeoning wealth of these cities reveal a coherent urban aesthetic that is the conscious and proud expression of a particular class and locale.

The lectures will be held Jan. 8 and 15 in Kesler Lecture Hall in Hickok Hall on the Coe campus. Each session begins at 9:15 a.m. and lasts until about 11:30 a.m. The course is open to all adults and registration is on-site. The cost of the two-part series is $10 per week.

For more information, call (319) 399-8561.

Thursday Forum schedule:

  • "Between Town Hall & Cathedral: The Rise of Siena and Florence" - Jan. 8, 15
  • "The World of the Harp" - Jan. 22, 29
  • "The Catalan Case: Past, Present and Future of a Nation Without a State" - Feb. 5, 12, 19, 26
  • "The Photographic Truth" - March 5, 19, 26 and April 2
  • "Four Musicals that Have Helped 'Save' Broadway" - April 9, 16, 23, 30