The Renaissance

How does the Renaissance affect culture and technology today?

What is the Renaissance?

The term renaissance literally means "rebirth".  It is the period in European civilization immediately following the Middle Ages. It conventionally held to have been characterized by a surge of interest in classical learning and values. The Renaissance witnessed discovery and exploration of new continents, the substitution of the Copernican for the Ptolemaic system of astronomy, the decline of the feudal system and the growth of commerce, and the invention or application of such potentially powerful innovations as paper, printing, the mariner's compass, and gunpowder. To most scholars it was primarily a time of the revival of classical learning and wisdom after a long period of cultural decline and stagnation.

The Beginning

The birth of reconstruction or also known as the Renaissance is believed to have started in the 14th century and ended in the 16th century. Italian scholars of Greek and Roman classical literature was who herald the movement forward. The civilization of Greece and Rome had begun to exert a an influence on all of Europe but especially Italy. When barbarism had passed by the people began to have a desire for their ancient cultures and wanted to reproduce them.

Economic Conditions

Cities enlarged and prospered during the Renaissance and rulers learned to tax people. Trade grew between cities/states and other countries. As trade in goods increased, ideas also grew. The contact between cultures happened due to the Crusades during the 11th century. Rivers were the easiest way to move goods so towns along the rivers grew as important trade centers also. The Danube, Rhone and Rhine rivers all became important trade routes. The importance of the economic and political relationship between the landowners and their land diminished as trade in other areas grew. Italy is said to be the start of the Renaissance because of it's almost perfect location between west and east European shore of the Mediterranean. Italian cities became important trade centers. This wealth helped keep the political and social changes that were occuring at that time.  

Artistic Impact on the Renaissance

Art before th Renaissance was influenced by Byzantine styles which were highly decorative, flat and not-life like. It wasn't ver advanced. The renaissance art fetured new depth, dimension, and perspective. Giotto, an artist, used scenes with figures in lifelike space, realistic shading, and point of view. Masters of art in the Renaissance were the ninja turtles, Leornado Da Vinci, Michaelangelo, Rafael, and Donatello.

Intellectual Impact  

William Shakespeare was an english writer. In the Renaissance there were people like him who impacted scholarship and literature. Petrarch was the father of Humanism and he collected and studied ancient texts. Erasmus questioned the Church and used satire to criticize. More  authors wrote on non religious subjects. This drove some people away from believing in something to science and math. For example,  Copernicus, a polish scientist, established that the Earth orbited the sun.  This was banned by the Church because they had taught that Earth was the center of the universe. Galileo, Italian scientist, studied motion and laid the foundation for modern physics. He observed with one of the first telescoped and wrote his belief in Copernicus' theory. He was confined to his home after the Catholic church charged him.  

Printing Revolution  

Johann Gutenberg was a German printer who developed a printing press with moveable type. Moveable type was a special press with oil based inks. This allowed the mass production of printed books which encouraged the spread of new ideas and therefore  increased literacy.   

Political Impact  

Machiavelli, a courtier and politician in Florence, wrote "The Prince". This was a guidebook in how to secure and maintain political power. It arguably said that the most successful rulers were not those who followed according  to laws but those who did were willing to do whatever is necessary to hold power. It was wealthy Italian city-states that weakened the Church, and was the reason that led writers to the concept of "reason of state". Rulers collected taxes,raised armies, and hired professional soldiers.

Impact of the Renaissance  

People often think of the Renaissance as a time when art flourished and evolved as new principles of balance, harmony, and perspective were established.  Today, the Renaissance is often linked to the great discoverers of art, engineering, and science. This period allowed people to  share a value for the classical past, a belief in the ability of man to reach new heights, and an interest in societal improvement, be it in making beautiful works of art or improving knowledge of our world.

How does the Renaissance affect culture and technology today?


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