Culture of the
The Renaissance was the beginning of political
institutions with a commercial economy and the encouragement of education,
arts, and music. It was a period of new inventions and believes.
Renaissance actually means “rebirth”. It
was first used by a French historian Jules Michelet. Swiss historian Jakob
Burckhardt said it was the time period between Italian painters Giotto
and Michelangelo. He also said it was the birth of modern humanity after
a long period of decay.
The Italian Renaissance began in Florence,
Milan, and Venice. These cities were created in the twelfth and thirteenth
centuries as new commercial developments, which allowed them to expand
into mercantile societies that greatly contrast with the traditional society
of medieval Europe. Renaissance historians rejected the medieval Christian
views of history. They were often known as humanists. Humanism was another
cultural break with medieval tradition. Scholars under its ideas viewed
classical texts on their own terms instead of Christian justifications.
They also wanted to produce free and educated citizens, instead of priests
and monks. These humanistic studies were supported by leading families
like the Medici of Florence, Papal of Rome and the Doges of Venice.
The Renaissance period also made progress
in medicine, anatomy, mathematics, and especially astronomy. Geography
was transformed by new knowledge gained from explorations. The invention
of the printing press was also created, which made knowledge easier to
achieve and literacy became more wide spread. Gunpowder transformed warfare.
In political subjects Renaissance theorists like Machiavelli said that
the central task of government was to maintain security and peace, not
preserve liberty and justice.
Religion especially changed during the
Renaissance. In the Middle ages people were primarily concerned with serving
the church and getting to heaven. The increase of in arts and education
gave people something to look forward to, and a life to life worth living.
Because of the increase of literacy people learned that the Catholic Church
only told them what they wanted them to hear. This caused many to break
away from the church and form Protestant religions.
Many great minds were also produced in
the Renaissance times. Leonardo da Vinci was one of these. Although he
was not highly thought of in his time, he had many great works of art such
as the Mona Lisa and The Last Supper. He now is thought of as a great inventor
also. He was given the credit of coming up with the helicopter. He also
did autopsies to learn more about human anatomy.
Another great man was a German monk, Martin
Luther. He taught Biblical studies at the University of Wittenberg. Luther’s
beliefs challenged the church. Although many people agreed with his ideas,
he was eventually excommunicated from the church and he started Protestantism.
The Renaissance was a time of awakening
for the world. A beginning to widespread knowledge and an end to ignorance.
Creative minds every where were going to work and finally being appreciated
for it. To many the Renaissance period was thought to be the end of the