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Clement I, Pope. Clementis ad Corinthios epistola prior , ed. Patrick Young Oxford: John Lichfield, Clogie, Alexander. Cockburn, John. Cocks, Roger. Como, David R. Conway, Anne. The Conway Letters , ed. Marjorie Hope Nicolson, rev. Sarah Hutton Oxford: Clarendon Press, Cooper, Thomas. Coppe, Abiezer. Abiezer Coppe: Selected Writings , ed. Andrew Hopton London: Aporia Press, Coryate, Thomas.
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The Parliaments Commission London: R. Coe, Ebn Izra, Abraham. The Commentary of Ibn Ezra on Isaiah , tr. Friedlaender, 2 vols London, Eck, Johann. Edwards, Thomas. Eliot, John. The Logick Primer Cambridge, Mass. Ellis, John. Elyot, Thomas, Sir. Erasmus, Desiderius. Hoochstraten, . Nicholas Udall London: Edward Whitchurch, Opus epistolarum Des. Erasmi Roterodami , ed. Allen, H. Allen, and H. Garrod, 12 vols Oxford: Clarendon Press, — The Colloquies of Erasmus , tr.
Craig R. Thompson Chicago: Chicago University Press, John C. Lisa Jardine, tr. Neil M. Cheshire and Michael J. Heath Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, Robert Codrington London: T. Estienne, Robert. Estienne, Palestine in the Fourth Century A. Joan E. Taylor, tr. Freeman-Grenville Jerusalem: Carta, Evelyn, John.
Diary of John Evelyn , ed. Henry B. The Diary of John Evelyn , ed. Everard, John. Featley, Daniel. A Second Parallel London: [J. Haviland] for Robert Milbourne, Fell, Margaret. Fenner, William. Fergusson, David. Ferne, Henry. The Camp at Gilgal. Conscience Satisfied Oxford: Leonard Lichfield [i. London], Webb, Feyerabend, Sigmund. Reyssbuch des heyligen Lands Franckfurt am Main: J. Feyerabendt for Sigmundt Feyerabendts, Filmer, Robert.
Patriarcha and Other Writings , ed. Sommerville Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, Fincham, Kenneth, ed. Fish, Simon. A Supplicacyon for the Beggers [Antwerp? Fisher, Samuel. Rusticus ad academicos London: for Robert Wilson, The Testimony of Truth Exalted , ed. William Penn London, Flavel, John.
Forester, James. Fotherby, Martin. Foxe, John. Acts and Monuments , ed. George Townsend, 8 vols London: R. Burnside, —9. John N. King Oxford: Oxford University Press, Franklin, Benjamin. The Papers of Benjamin Franklin , gen. Ellen R. Frere, W. Kennedy, eds. Frith, John. Fulke, William. Charles H. Hartshorne Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, Fuller, Thomas. The Holy State Cambridge: R. A Sermon of Reformation London: s. Eversden, G[rismond], W. L[eybourne], and W. G[odbid] for Thomas Williams, Funck, Johann.
Galileo, Galilei. Dialogo di Galileo Galilei linceo matematico sopraordinario dello studio di Pisa … sopra i due massimi sistemi del mondo Tolemaico, e Copernicano Florence: Giovanni Batista Landini, Gardiner, Stephen. The Letters of Stephen Gardiner , ed. Gascoigne, George.
Gataker, Thomas. A Mistake, or Misconstruction Removed. London: Edward Griffin for F. Clifton, Gell, Robert. Aggelokratia theon. Norton for Andrew Crook, Gerard, John. John Gerard: The Autobiography of an Elizabethan , tr. Philip Caraman, intro. Graham Greene London: Longmans, Gibbon, Edward. Bury, 7 vols London: Methuen, — Giraldi, Lilio Gregorio.
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Lilio Gregorio Giraldi: Modern Poets , tr. Grant Cambridge, Mass. Glanvill, Joseph. Godwyn, Morgan. Goffe, Thomas. Deliverance from the Grave London: G. Purslowe for Ralph Mab, Goodwin, John. Crook, Gouge, William, ed. Strength out of Weakness. Goulart, Simon. Greenhill, William. The Axe at the Root London: R. Gregory, John. Hall for Ed. Forrest Junior, Gregorii posthuma: or, Certain Learned Tracts , ed. Grimald, Nicholas.
The Life and Poems of Nicholas Grimald , ed. Grotius, Hugo. Hales, John. Hall, Edward. Hall, Peter, ed. Harmony of the Protestant Confessions London: J. Shaw, Haller, William and Godfrey Davies, eds. Hamilton, Hans Claude, ed. Harrison, William. The Description of England by William Harrison , ed. Hay, Peter. Hebbel, Friedrich. Judith , afterword by Helmut Bachmaier Stuttgart: Verlag Heigham, John.
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Arthur Keaveney and John A. Madden Dublin: Irish Manuscripts Commission, Herle, Charles. Brudenell for N. Brian P. Copenhaver Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, Heylyn, Peter. The Rebells Catechism Oxford, s. Aerius redivivus, the History of the Presbyterians Oxford: for Jo. Crosley, Hicks, William. John London: J. Macock, for Daniel White, Hieron, Samuel.
A Defence of the Ministers Reasons Amsterdam? Hondius], Hinton, Edward. Bishop for S. Gellibrand, Hobbes, Thomas. Leviathan , ed. Holbrooke, William. Holder, William. A Discourse concerning Time London: J. Heptinstall for L. Humanistic studies provided the fundamental education. Training in the specialized disciplines of law, medicine, philosophy, or theology came later for those needing them.
By about the English clergyman, the French lawyer, the German knight, the Italian merchant, and the Spanish courtier shared a common intellectual heritage. They could communicate across national frontiers and despite linguistic differences. They shared a common fund of examples, principles, and knowledge derived from the classics. Humanism brought intellectual unity to Europe. Humanism also included a sharply critical attitude toward received values, individuals, and institutions, especially those that did not live up to their own principles. The humanists' study of ancient Rome and Greece gave them the chronological perspective and intellectual tools to analyze, criticize, and change their own world.
Humanists especially questioned the institutions and values inherited from the Middle Ages. They found fault with medieval art, government, philosophy, and approaches to religion. Once the humanist habit of critical appraisal developed, many turned sharp eyes on their own times. And eventually they turned their critical gaze on the learning of the ancient world and rejected parts of it.
Renaissance scholars inherited from the Middle Ages intellectual views and approaches in philosophy, medicine, and science, and challenged almost all of them. In astronomy they inherited a conception of the universe originating in Ptolemy c. Nicolaus Copernicus — in his De Revolutionibus Orbium Caelestium ; On the revolutions of the heavenly orbs argued the reverse, that the Earth and other planets revolved around the sun.
Despite bitter opposition from both Catholic and Protestant religious authorities, his views prevailed with most astronomers by the early seventeenth century. Galileo Galilei — absorbed Aristotelian science and then rejected it in favor of a mathematically based analysis of physical reality, the modern science of mechanics.
And along the way he offered evidence that Copernicus's daring view was not just mathematical hypothesis but physical reality. Another mathematical achievement affecting Europe and the rest of the world in future centuries was calendar reform. Renaissance Europe inherited the Julian calendar of ancient Rome, which was ten days in arrears by the sixteenth century. Pope Gregory XIII reigned — appointed a team of scholars to prepare a new calendar and in promulgated the Gregorian calendar still used today.
Renaissance medical scholars inherited an understanding of the human body and an approach to healing based on the ancient Greek physician Galen c. But a group of medical scholars called "medical humanists" by modern scholars challenged and altered received medical knowledge. As a result, Andreas Vesalius — through his anatomical studies, William Harvey — through his study of the circulation of the blood, and other scholars revolutionized medical research and instruction.
Most of the innovative research in science, medicine, philosophy, and law came from universities. The Renaissance saw a great expansion in the number and quality of universities. It inherited twentynine functioning universities from the Middle Ages in , then created forty-six new ones by , losing only two by closure in between. This left Europe with sixty-three universities, more than double the medieval number. Demand for new universities came from several directions.
Most important, increasing numbers of men wanted to learn. Society also needed more trained professionals. Monarchs, princes, and cities required civil servants, preferably with law degrees. A medical degree enabled the recipient to become a private physician, a court physician, or one employed by the town. The Protestant and Catholic Reformations stimulated the demand for theology degrees. Universities provided stipends and other support for scholars. Since the universal language of learning was Latin and the printing press could publish new information, scientific communication was rapid and overcame the religious division of sixteenth-century Europe.
University students to a lesser extent also crossed religious frontiers. The adoption of Roman law in central Europe created a demand for lawyers and judges trained in this field, which meant that both Catholic and Protestant Germans continued to study in Italian universities, the centers for the study of Roman law. Renaissance states had three basic forms of government: princedoms, monarchies, and oligarchies, which the Renaissance called republics.
A prince was an individual, whether called duke, count, marquis, or just signore lord , who ruled a state, usually with the support of his family. The term "prince" meant the authority to make decisions concerning all inhabitants without check by representative body, constitution, or court. But the source of the prince's power and the nature of his rule varied greatly. He often had displaced another ruler or city council by force, war, assassination, bribery, diplomacy, purchase, marriage, or occasionally because the city invited him in to quell factionalism.
Most often a prince came to power through an adroit combination of several of these. Once in control, he promulgated laws of succession to give himself a cloak of legitimacy so that his son or another family member might succeed him. Indeed, some inhabitants of the state would see him as legitimate and be content to be ruled by him.
Princely power was seldom absolute. Most princes depended on some accommodation with powerful forces within the state, typically the nobility or the merchant community. Many small princedoms depended on the good will of more powerful states beyond their borders to survive, and this limited options in foreign policy.
And the prince's rule was always uneasy, which was one reason he relied on hired mercenary troops in war, instead of a militia created from his subjects. However achieved, what mattered most was that the prince possessed effective power to promulgate and enforce laws, to collect taxes, to defeat foreign invaders, and to quell rebellion. If the prince commanded the affection and loyalty of his subjects, this made his task easier. A monarchy was a princedom sanctioned by a much longer tradition, stronger institutions, and greater claims of legitimacy for its rulers.
Monarchies typically were larger than princedoms and ruled subjects speaking multiple languages and dialects. Monarchies usually had developed laws and rules that determined the succession in advance. Only when the succession was broken through the lack of a legitimate heir, a bitter dispute within the ruling family, or overthrow by a foreign power was a monarch displaced by another.
Monarchies grew in power and size in the Renaissance. The Tudor monarchy of England three kings and two queens from to made England, previously a small, strife-torn, and remote part of Europe, into a major force. After the conclusion of the Hundred Years' War with England — , France under the Valois dynasty ruled to became a powerful and rich state. Conflicts between territorial monarchies dominated international politics and war in the Renaissance. The smallest and most unusual political unit was the city-state consisting of a major town or city and its surrounding territory of farms and villages.
Oligarchies, usually drawn from the merchant elite of the town, ruled republics. Flanked by the professional classes, the merchant community first dominated the commerce of the city. Then in the Middle Ages they threw off the authority of prince, king, or emperor. In their place the merchants created a system of government through interlocking and balanced councils. Large deliberative assemblies, comprising of one hundred, two hundred, or more adult males, elected or chosen by lot, debated and created laws.
Executive committees, often six, eight, or a dozen men elected for two to six months, put the laws into action. Short terms of office and rules against self-succession made it possible for several hundred or more adult males to participate in government in a few years.
The system of balanced and diffused power ensured that no individual or family could control the city. It was a government of balanced power and mutual suspicion.
Borrowing terminology and legal principles from ancient Roman law and local tradition, the men who formed oligarchies called their governments " republican " and their states "republics. But they were still oligarchies, because only 5 to 20 percent of the adult males of the city could vote or hold office. Members of government almost always came from the leading merchants, manufacturers, bankers, and lawyers.
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Some republics permitted shopkeepers and master craftsmen to participate as well. But workers, the propertyless, clergymen, and other middle and low groups in society were excluded. Occasionally the laws conceded to them extraordinary powers in times of emergency. Those living in the countryside and villages outside the city walls had neither a role in government nor the right to choose their rulers.
Indeed, the city often exploited them financially and in other ways. Some city-state republics were small in comparison with monarchies and princedoms. But the Republic of Venice commanded an overseas empire of considerable size and commercial importance, while Florence's merchants and bankers played a large role in international trade, and the city participated forcefully in Italian politics.
Renaissance Europe presented a constantly shifting political scene. No government escaped external threats and very few avoided internal challenge. The numerous weak small states tempted powerful rulers and states. Despite their eloquent proclamations in defense of the liberty of states and citizens, republics were just as aggressive in conquering their weaker neighbors as were princedoms, while monarchies were always on the watch for another princedom, landed noble estate, or republic to absorb. It was the same within the state.
Some powerful group or individual within the state would attempt through force or stealth to take control and change its nature. Many succeeded. The maneuvering for advantage, the shifting diplomatic alliances, plots, threats of war, and military actions made Renaissance politics extremely complex. Two broad political developments prevailed. Princedoms grew in number and strength, and more powerful states, especially monarchies, absorbed smaller states.
Republican city-states became princedoms, as a powerful individual or family within the city took control while maintaining a facade of republican institutions and councils. The gradual transformation of the Republic of Florence into a princedom ruled by members of the Medici family is the classic example. Meanwhile, princedoms fell into the hands of monarchies through military action or dynastic marriages.
Three examples will suffice. France and the Habsburgs divided the Duchy of Burgundy between them when its duke, Charles the Bold , was killed in battle in , leaving no male heir; Spain took control of the Kingdom of Naples by military force in ; and Spain absorbed the Duchy of Milan as the result of an alliance when the Duke Francesco II Sforza died without an heir in Strong republics also grew at the expense of their neighbors. The Republic of Venice conquered almost all the independent towns and small princedoms in northeastern Italy in the first half of the fifteenth century in its successful drive to create a mainland state.
Small states survived at the price of careful neutrality, which avoided giving offense to more powerful neighbors, or by aligning themselves with larger powers. Such alliances came at a price. The small state lacked an independent foreign policy and might itself become a victim if the larger state fell. The very complex and ever-shifting political reality stimulated the rapid development of diplomacy. The resident ambassador, that is, a permanent representative of one government to another, was a Renaissance innovation.
He went to live in the capital city or court of another state where he conveyed messages between his government and the host government. Or to use the words that Sir Henry Wotton — , the English ambassador to Venice, supposedly wrote in , "a resident ambassador is a good man sent to tell lies abroad for his country's good. Ambassadorial reports full of every kind of information are invaluable sources for modern scholars studying the Renaissance. The reports of papal nuncios and Venetian ambassadors are particularly useful.
The instability of forms of government, the many wars, and the fluidity of international politics stimulated an enormous amount of discussion about politics, including several masterpieces of political philosophy. Numerous humanists wrote treatises advising a prince or king how he might be a good prince, work for the good of his people, and, as a result, see his state and himself prosper. Erasmus wrote the most famous one, Institutio Principis Christiani ; Education of a Christian prince.
Vernacular literatures flourished in the Renaissance even though humanists preferred Latin. People spoke and sometimes wrote a variety of regional dialects with haphazard spelling and multiple vocabularies. Nevertheless, thanks to the adoption of the vernacular by some governments, the printing press, and the creation of literary masterpieces, significant progress toward elegant and standard forms of modern vernaculars occurred.
German was typical. German-speaking lands inherited many varieties of German from the Middle Ages. In the fifteenth century some state chanceries began to use German instead of Latin. Hence, versions of German associated with the chanceries of more important states, including the East Middle Saxon dialect used in the chancery of the electorate of Saxony, became more influential.
Next, printing encouraged writers and editors to standardize orthography and usage in order to reach a wider range of readers. Most important, Martin Luther — published a German translation of the Bible New Testament in ; complete Bible in , which may have had three hundred editions and over half a million printed copies by , an enormous number at a time of limited literacy.
And many began to imitate his style. Literary academies concerned about correct usage, vocabulary, and orthography rose in the seventeenth century to create dictionaries. A reasonably standardized German literary language had developed, though the uneducated continued to speak regional dialects. Similar changes took place in other parts of Europe, with the aid of Renaissance authors and their creations. In Italy three Tuscan authors, Dante Alighieri — — medieval in thought but using Tuscan brilliantly — Petrarch, and Giovanni Boccaccio — began the process. Literary arbiters, such as Pietro Bembo — insisted on a standard Italian based on the fourteenth-century Tuscan of Dante, Petrarch, and Boccaccio.
Major sixteenth-century writers, including Ludovico Ariosto — , Baldassare Castiglione — , and Torquato Tasso — , agreed. None of the three was Tuscan, but each tried to write, and sometimes rewrote, their masterpieces in a more Tuscan Italian. Then the Accademia della Crusca founded in Florence in the s published a dictionary. Tuscan became modern Italian. William Shakespeare — and three English translations of the Bible, that of William Tyndale printed and , the Geneva Bible of , and the King James Bible of , had an enormous influence on English. The writers and dramatists of the Spanish Golden Age , particularly Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra — , did the same for the Castilian version of Spanish.
Art is undoubtedly the best-loved and -known part of the Renaissance. The Renaissance produced an extraordinary amount of art, and the role of the artist differed from that in the Middle Ages. The Renaissance had a passion for art. Commissions came from kings, popes, princes, nobles, and lowborn mercenary captains.
Leaders commissioned portraits of themselves, of scenes of their accomplishments, such as successful battles, and of illustrious ancestors. Cities wanted their council halls decorated with huge murals, frescoes, and tapestries depicting great civic moments. Monasteries commissioned artists to paint frescoes in cells and refectories that would inspire monks to greater devotion. And civic, dynastic, and religious leaders hired architects to erect buildings at enormous expense to beautify the city or to serve as semipublic residences for leaders.
Such art was designed to celebrate and impress. A remarkable feature of Renaissance art was the heightened interaction between patron and artist.
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Patrons such as Lorenzo de' Medici — of Florence and popes Julius II reigned — and Leo X reigned — were active and enlightened patrons. They proposed programs, or instructed humanists to do it for them, for the artists to follow. At the same time, the results show that they did not stifle the artists' originality. Men and women of many social levels had an appetite for art. The wealthy merchant wanted a painting of Jesus, Mary, or saints, with small portraits of members of his family praying to them, for his home.
A noble might provide funding to decorate a chapel in his parish church honoring the saint for whom he was named. Members of the middle classes and probably the working classes wanted small devotional paintings. To meet the demand, enterprising merchants organized the mass production of devotional images, specifying the image typically Mary, Jesus crucified, or patron saint , design, color, and size.
It is impossible to know how many small devotional paintings and illustrated prints were produced, because most have disappeared. Major art forms, such as paintings, sculptures, and buildings, have attracted the most attention, but works in the minor arts, including furniture, silver and gold objects, small metal works, table decorations, household objects, colorful ceramics, candlesticks, chalices, and priestly vestments were also produced in great abundance. The new styles came from Italy, and Italy produced more art than any other part of Europe.
Art objects of every sort were among the luxury goods that Italy produced and exported. It also exported artists, such as Leonardo da Vinci , who died at the French court. The ancient world of Rome and Greece, as interpreted by the humanists, greatly influenced Renaissance art. Artists and humanists studied the surviving buildings and monuments, read ancient treatises available for the first time, and imbibed the humanist emphasis on man and his actions and perceptions, plus the habit of sharp criticism of medieval styles.
Stimulated by the ancients, Renaissance artists were the first in European history to write extensively about art and themselves. Leon Battista Alberti — wrote treatises on painting and on architecture ; Raphael wrote a letter to Pope Leo X c. Giorgio Vasari 's — Lives of the Artists first edition , revised edition was a series of biographies of Renaissance artists accompanied by his many comments about artistic styles. It was the first history of art. The silversmith Benvenuto Cellini — wrote about artistic practices and much more about himself, much of it probably fictitious, in his Autobiography, written between and The social and intellectual position of the artist changed in the Renaissance.
The artist began as a craftsman, occupying a relatively low social position and tied to his guild, someone who followed local traditions and produced paintings for local patrons. He became a self-conscious creator of original works of art with complex schemes, a person who conversed with humanists and negotiated with kings and popes. Successful artists enjoyed wealth and honors, such as the knighthood that Emperor Charles V conferred on Titian Tiziano Vercelli, c. The Renaissance was a hierarchical age in which the social position of a child's parents largely determined his or her place in society.
Yet it was a variegated society, with nobles, commoners, wealthy merchants, craftsmen, shopkeepers, workers, peasants, prelates, parish priests, monks in monasteries, nuns in convents, civil servants, men of the professional classes, and others. It was an age of conspicuous consumption and great imbalances of wealth. But Renaissance society also provided social services for the less fortunate. Ecclesiastical, lay, and civic charitable institutions provided for orphans, the sick, the hungry, and outcast groups, such as prostitutes and the syphilitic ill.
Although social mobility was limited, a few humble individuals rose to the apex of society. Francesco Sforza — , a mercenary soldier of uncertain origins, became duke of Milan in and founded his own dynasty. Renaissance Europe had considerable cultural and intellectual unity, greater than it had in the centuries of the Middle Ages or would again until the European Economic Union of the late twentieth century. A common belief in humanism and humanistic education based on the classics created much of it.
The preeminence of Italy also helped because Italians led the way in humanism, art, the techniques of diplomacy, and even the humble business skill of double-entry bookkeeping. The prolonged Habsburg-Valois conflict, often called the Italian Wars — because much of the fighting occurred in Italy, and, above all, the Protestant Reformation began to crack that unity.
Moreover, many typical Renaissance impulses had spent their force by the early seventeenth century. The great revival of the learning of ancient Greece and Rome had been assimilated, and humanism was no longer the driving force behind philosophical and scientific innovation. Italy no longer provided artistic, cultural, and scientific leadership, except in music, as a group of Florentine musicians created lyric opera around Europe began a new age on the eve of the Thirty Years' War — More powerful monarchies with different policies ushered in a different era of politics and war.
Exuberant baroque art and architecture of the seventeenth century were not the same as the restrained, classicizing art of the previous two centuries. The universities of Europe were no longer essential for training Europe's elite and hosting innovative research. France would be the military, literary, and stylistic leader of the different Europe of the seventeenth century.
Brand, Peter, and Lino Pertile, eds. The Cambridge History of Italian Literature. Cambridge, U. See articles on Renaissance authors and genres. Burns, J. The Cambridge History of Political Thought, — Copenhaver, Brian P. Renaissance Philosophy. Oxford and New York , Excellent one-volume survey. Ferguson, Wallace K. New York , Classic study of the concept of the Renaissance from the fourteenth century to the twentieth. Grendler, Paul F.
Schooling in Renaissance Italy: Literacy and Learning, — Baltimore and London, Explains humanistic education. The Universities of the Italian Renaissance. Survey of all sixteen universities and curriculum changes, — Encyclopedia of the Renaissance. Nearly 1, articles and illustrations on every aspect of the Renaissance.
Hall, A. The Revolution in Science, — London and New York, Good survey. Hardin, James, and Max Reinhart, eds. German Writers of the Renaissance and Reformation, — Detroit , Hays, Denys, and John E. Italy in the Age of the Renaissance, — Hirsch, Rudolf. Printing, Selling and Reading, — Wiesbaden, Excellent short account of the first century of printing.
Kristeller, Paul Oskar. New York, Pioneering account of humanism by the most important twentieth-century scholar of the Renaissance. Lynch, John. Spain under the Habsburgs. Oxford, Mattingly, Garrett. Renaissance Diplomacy. Boston, , with many reprints. Classic study not yet superseded. McFarlane, I. Renaissance France, — Survey of French literature. Rabil, Albert, Jr. Renaissance Humanism: Foundations, Forms, and Legacy.
Philadelphia, Articles on humanism everywhere in Europe. Schmitt, Charles B. The Cambridge History of Renaissance Philosophy. Comprehensive coverage. Snyder, James. Stephens, John. Turner, Jane S. Encyclopedia of Italian Renaissance and Mannerist Art. Part of the volume Dictionary of Art Wear, A. French, and I. Lonie, eds. The Medical Renaissance of the Sixteenth Century. Cite this article Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.
September 29, Retrieved September 29, from Encyclopedia. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list. Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia. The term used to designate the period of European history beginning in Italy in the 14th century and extending into the 16th. Since it originated in connection with what was considered a "rebirth" of letters and art, those fields have often been emphasized in the study of the Renaissance, and some would prefer to confine the term to such usage.
There was, however, a general cultural transition at this time, and historians therefore have concerned themselves also with the period's political, religious, economic, and social changes. They have felt justified in using the term Renaissance to refer to the transitional period. In France, England, and Germany, the movement in question began in the latter half of the 15th century rather than in the 14th. The Renaissance beginning in Italy in the 14th century brought about fundamental changes in the course of which many ideals, attitudes, and institutions that had been predominant during the medieval period were modified or replaced.
This article is concerned with describing the nature of those changes in the cultural, political, and religious areas, with emphasis upon the role of the Church in this transitional age, and upon the impact of the age upon the Church. To understand the nature of the Renaissance, a necessary first step is to see how the term came into existence and the circumstances of its development. It is immediately apparent that the rise of the concept of the Renaissance is closely connected with the rise of the concept of the Middle Ages. It is likewise apparent that the writers of the 14th and 15th centuries who first developed these concepts were thinking primarily of conditions and changes in the realms of literary style and the visual arts, though they did occasionally make remarks about religious, political, and other factors as being also involved.
Boccaccio and Villani. Filippo Villani — expresses views similar to those of Boccaccio. He states in his Liber de civitatis Florentiae famosis civibus that Claudian d. After him, "almost all poetry decayed, because of the weakness and avarice of the emperors, and also because art was no longer prized, since the Catholic faith began to abhor the figments of poetic imagination as a pernicious and vain thing.
In a parallel way, Villani held that painting had been "almost extinct" until Cimabue — recalled it to natural similitude, and Giotto d. Leonardo Bruni. With Bruni c. In his Vita di Messer Francesco Petrarca he states that "after the liberty of the Roman people had been lost through the rule of the emperors … the flourishing condition of studies and of letters perished, together with the welfare of the city of Rome. Petrarch's style was not perfect, but he opened the way to perfection by recovery of the works of Cicero see Ross and McLaughlin — It is apparent that there is a considerable chronological divergence in regard to his views as to the time of the recovery of liberty and that of the recovery of literature.
Bearing upon this matter also are references in Bruni's Historiarum Florentini populi libri xii, in which he states that the recovery of liberty by the Italian cities came when the emperors confined their attention in Italy to only brief campaigns, allowing the cities to concern themselves more with freedom and less with imperial power. This suggests the 12th-century victories of the Italian communes over the emperors — a considerable time before the literary revival that he sees in Petrarch. One of the basic problems in interpreting the Renaissance is essentially connected with this divergence.
The 12th and 13th centuries, which saw the rise of relatively free, self-governing communes, produced literature that the humanists disliked, while the literary revival they praised took place in 14th-and 15th-century Italy, when most of the free communes had come under despotic princes or small oligarchies of wealthy businessmen. Giorgio Vasari — 74 , who coined the word rinascita rebirth , expressed views similar to those of Bruni in his famous Lives of the Painters, first published in Although beginning with Cimabue, he gives an introductory section explaining his views on earlier art, describing its rise and perfection in the ancient world, and then its decline, beginning about the time of Constantine.
For him, medieval art was unworthy because it was unclassical. He wished to discuss art before Cimabue in an introductory way merely in order that the readers might see that, just as it is with human beings, so also it is with the arts: they "have their birth, growth, age, and death. It is understandable that the deprecatory view of the Middle Ages among the humanists and art historians would continue in the historical opinions of the leaders of the Protestant Reformation especially in the light of Luther's theological objections to medieval philosophy and theology.
Luther also saw the literary Renaissance as preparing the way for his religious revival. It is perhaps understandable, too, that the 18th-century Enlightenment, in view of the hatred of the Church that is evident in many of its leaders, would continue the deprecatory view of medieval civilization. In his Essai sur les moeurs et l'esprit des nations, et sur les principaux faits de l'histoire, depuis. Scholasticism, he considered as a "bastard off-spring of the philosophy of Aristotle, poorly translated and poorly understood, which had done more harm to reason and to polite studies than had the Huns and Vandals.
As a cause for this, he noted the wealth of Italy, coming from the commerce of her cities. He emphasized the importance of Florence in this revival, and spoke with great praise of the Medici rule there. Voltaire noted not only the revival in intelligence, but also the moral shortcomings of Renaissance men, the widespread assassinations, poisonings, and such; but this did not disturb him, for he viewed Renaissance irreligion as a factor in the destruction of Christianity; he held this to be a gain, since he considered the loss of religion as a necessary step for the progress of reason.
The interpretation of the Renaissance in G. Hegel's Philosophie der Geschichte and Geschichte der Philosophie — 36 is similar to that of Voltaire. For hegel the Middle Ages meant a period. The medieval Church and feudalism made freedom impossible. An antithesis to this came at the end of the Middle Ages, as men became free again, "having the power of exercising their activity for their own objects and interests. In the seventh volume of this work, which he entitled La Renaissance , he said that the 16th century must be considered as the age that brought about, more than any previous age, "the discovery of the world and the discovery of man.
An echo of Hegel's interpretation is found also in Georg Voigt's Die Wiederbelebung des classischen Altertums , which noted "the corporative tendency" as the characteristic that especially distinguished the Christian Middle Ages, when the great men who arose " — seem so only as representatives of the system in which they lived. The full development of this line of interpretation, coming down from the Renaissance humanists themselves, through Voltaire, Hegel, and others, was presented in in Jacob Burckhardt's work, Die Kultur der Renaissance in Italien.
He credited the Renaissance with the beginning of individuality, and the beginning of the objective treatment of this world. He granted that there had been some examples of "free personality" in medieval Italy, but for the most part, he saw the Middle Ages as a period when a "ban" had been "laid upon human personality. In 14th-century Italy the state became a "calculated, conscious creation … a work of art.
In "the character of these states, whether republics or despotisms, lies not the only but the chief reason for the early evolution of the Italian in the modern man," As to the moral crisis that he considered a part of this movement, he did not welcome it in the same way that Voltaire did, but considered that the "excessive individualism" of the Renaissance Italian came upon him not "through any fault of his own, but rather through an historical necessity.
Indeed, though he admitted that Renaissance developments were "colored in a thousand ways by the influence of the ancient world," yet the "essence of the phenomena might still have been the same without the classical revival. Burckhardt's interpretation in many of its aspects had been developing from the age of the Renaissance humanists.
A different view, however, already began to appear in the Romantic school in the early 19th century. One may or may not agree with these Romantics in their glorification of chivalry, Gothic architecture, and medieval life in general. But, after F. Chateaubriand insisted upon the superiority of medieval culture because he was convinced that Christianity gave a truer, more fruitful basis for understanding human nature and emotions, and for the depiction of them in literature and art than had the beliefs underlying the literature and art of the classical world.
In addition to the reaction of the Romantics, 20th-century historians, such as C. Haskins, J. Medieval men had a much better understanding of and appreciation for classical Latin literature than the Renaissance humanists suspected. One who reads the works and letters of Alcuin d. The profundity of Dante's understanding of human nature could hardly have come about if Dante and the men from whom he drew his intellectual and spiritual roots had been separated from reality by the "veil … woven of faith, illusion, and childish prepossession" of which Burckhardt spoke.
Consequently, a study of the works of medieval men and of recent historians who have devoted themselves to the intellectual history of the Middle Ages makes it clear that the Michelet-Burckhardt formula of attributing to the Renaissance the discovery of the world and of man is an exaggeration that is false. It is, nevertheless, true that the men of the Renaissance placed a much greater and more exclusive emphasis upon man and this world than had medieval men.
This tendency is discernible first, perhaps, in the works of the 14th-and 15th-century humanists. At the outset it should be noted that there were links of a professional nature between the Renaissance humanists. Kristeller has stated that the Renaissance humanists were "the professional heirs and successors of the medieval rhetoricians, the so-called dictatores … ," the professional writers of the Middle Ages, who wrote letters and prepared documents of various kinds in accordance with the ars dictaminis "Humanism and Scholasticism in the Italian Renaissance," in Kristeller — Thus, there is a marked similarity in function between Petrus de Vineis, who served the Emperor Frederick II as dictator , and Coluccio Salutati, the humanist chancellor of Florence from to When Salutati was given Florentine citizenship in he was cited as one skilled in the ars dictaminis see Hay n.
Weiss has pointed out The Dawn of Humanism in Italy , it must be noted, too, that a large proportion of the early humanists were connected with the legal profession in some way. Thus, Lovato dei Lovati d. Albertino Mussato — of Padua, the most important of these early humanists, who wrote the Senecan tragedy, Ecerinis , and who was crowned poet laureate in , was also connected with the law. The Ecerinis deals with the 13th-century tyrant Ezzelino da Romano, and apparently Mussato hoped to influence the Paduans to oppose the aggressive moves of the Can Grande della Scala.
It would be unwise, however, to attempt on this basis a generalization respecting the political aspirations of these early humanists, because a great deal more research work still remains to be done concerning them Weiss II primo secolo dell'Umanesimo , Difficulties in the interpretation of the works of Francesco Petrarca, or Petrarch — 74 are of a different type. He wrote a great deal, and some of his statements are confused and contradictory.
The Scientific Revolution Revisited
But there does seem to be in him, in spite of his egocentrism, a charitable concern to help his fellow men. He believed that effective communication was essential, the right word must be found, and for this purpose the works of classical Latin literature were the perfect models. He was convinced that men should help their fellow men, and that the spirits of men can be helped especially through effective discourse. Learning how to use right words comes from study of the classics. This was the objective, the studia humanitatis, for Petrarch, and to pursue such studies was the justification he would probably offer for his life of retirement, for the solitude he loved.
See Garin 27 — His emphasis upon the importance of classical Latin rhetoric is seen in his work On His Own Ignorance and That of Many Others, in which he agrees that in Aristotle's Ethics he sees virtue "egregiously defined and distinguished by him and treated with penetrating insight," all of which causes him to know a little more than he knew before. But, he says, "I myself remain the same. He who looks for that will find it in our Latin writers, especially in Cicero and Seneca … " tr.
Nachod, in Cassirer There is nothing in Petrarch's attitude that is anti-Christian; on the contrary, he seems to be inspired by sincere Christian charity. But he is not satisfied with the medieval emphasis upon the theological. When his friend, Luigi Marsili, an Augustinian, was going away to study theology, Petrarch wrote to him, urging him to follow the example of Lactantius and St. Augustine in conjoining the studia humanitatis with studia divinitatis, and thus to continue working for the construction of a pia philosophia see Garin His conviction of the superiority of classical literature was such that it was natural enough for him to consider the civilization that produced medieval literature, different as it was, the "Dark Ages.
As to his political views, Petrarch centered all his hopes in Rome, believing that the world had never seen such peace and justice as it had when it had one head, and that head was Rome. He was enthusiastic about Cola di Rienzo until the more fantastic aspects of his activities began to be demonstrated. It seems, too, that Petrarch expected the papacy to make of the Pax romana, a pax christiana, and the fact that the popes were in Avignon, removed from Rome — where he thought they should be — disturbed him greatly.
One historian has even gone so far as to suggest that "Humanism was forged in the Catholic pathos generated by the seventy years of Babylonian captivity " G. Toffanin In regard to dictatorship, as opposed to republicanism, Petrarch had been critical of Caesar in his Africa, but praised him in his later Historia Julii Caesaris. He even became friendly with the Visconti tyrants of Milan, and decided to reside there in Boccaccio, the devoted follower of Petrarch in so many matters, nevertheless reproached him for this.
Boccaccio lived long enough in Florence to become attached to its republican traditions, as Petrarch had not. Giovanni Boccaccio — 75 had moved to Florence in , after having spent some time in Naples. He entered into the cultural life of the city, and served as an important link in emphasizing the contribution of Petrarch. In addition to his Decameron and other productions of a similar nature, Boccaccio did very serious scholarly work in classical Latin literature and culture and was one of the first to promote the study of Greek.
He devoted himself especially to the preparation of treatises that would assist readers in understanding classical authors, such as his work on mythology, De genealogiis deorum gentilium. Salutati and Civic Humanism. In , the year of Boccaccio's death, Coluccio salutati — the disciple of Petrarch and Boccaccio, became chancellor of Florence, and continued to foster their influence in that city.
His writing reveals the development of the humanist movement into the civic humanism that was so important in Florence. His humanist attitude is seen in an exchange of letters he had with the Dominican Giovanni dominici on the values and dangers of the new humanistic trends. Dominici was a formidable opponent, for he was well informed and fully aware of the value of the classics for mature students, but was opposed to placing so much emphasis upon them in the education of the young.
Salutati was in agreement that Christianity came first, and had no intention of saying anything contrary to the Faith. But he was convinced of the value of the new attitudes. He maintained that the studia humanitatis and studia divinitatis were interrelated, and a true and complete knowledge of the one could not be had without the other see Emerton — In one of his letters he expressed his conviction on the superiority of the active life, in behalf of family, friends, and the state.
In writing to a friend who was planning to become a monk he said: "Do not believe … that to flee from turmoil, to avoid the view of pleasant things, to enclose oneself in a cloister, or to isolate oneself in a hermitage, constitute the way of perfection … Without doubt you, fleeing from the world, can fall from heaven to earth, while I, remaining in the world, can raise my heart to heaven. As in the case of Petrarch, there is here no rejection of Christian doctrine as such, but there is a rejection of the ascetic ideal that had held so high a place in the medieval period.
Civic Humanism of Bruni. The trend toward civic humanism, which is evident in Salutati, reached perhaps its fullest expression in the works of Leonardo Bruni. Although born in Arezzo, Bruni spent most of his mature years in Florence. He studied Greek under Manuel Chrysoloras there, and came also under the influence of Salutati. After service in the Roman Curia from to , Bruni returned to Florence, where he became chancellor in , a post he held until his death. The numerous Greek works translated by him included the Ethics and the Politics of Artistotle.
These works very likely confirmed him in his belief that the study of politics must have a central place in the educational process, since that study is connected with the bringing of happiness, not just to one man but to the entire population. He considered that the study of politics should be a part of moral philosophy, and that in the classics of the ancient world one could obtain knowledge of those things that concern life and morality, and which, therefore "are called humanitatis studia, inasmuch as they perfect and elevate man" quoted in Garin Cicero was recommended for such studies, but Lactantius, St.
Augustine , and the other Fathers were mentioned also. Boccaccio had praised Petrarch, together with Dante, for the restoration of poetry. Bruni went further and hailed Petrarch as the founder of a new discipline of literary studies. While these 15th-century humanists had progressed sufficiently to realize that Petrarch's Africa could not match the poetic achievements of Vergil's Aeneid , Bruni nevertheless praised Petrarch as the one who restored the humanities to life when they were already extinct, and "opened for us the path upon which we could cultivate learning" quoted from Dialogi ad Petrum Paulum Histrum , in Baron Perhaps the most remarkable presentation of his civic humanism is found in the funeral oration that Bruni composed in , eulogizing Nanni degli Strozzi, a general who had been important in the Florentine coalition that prevented the Visconti tyranny from dominating northern Italy.
The oration is a Renaissance counterpart of the funeral oration in which Pericles — as reported in Thucydides — had praised the free institutions of Athens. Florence, said Bruni, had "revived and rescued from ruin Latin letters, which previously had been abject, prostrate, and almost dead.
Some observers consider that the paintings of Masaccio c. It would seem, too, that the interior of the Chapel of San Lorenzo, designed by Brunelleschi — , the Florentine architect, emphasizes the dominance of man in this world, just as clearly as the high nave of Chartres Cathedral emphasizes the otherworldliness of medieval civilization. Theophilus 10th century , in writing about the nature of art, stated that the achievement in art is "in glorifying the Creator in His Creature, in causing God to be admired in His works. It should be realized that not all Renaissance humanists advocated civic humanism in the same way as Salutati and Bruni.
There were those also who served the tyrants and princes, and there were those who did not place emphasis upon the active life.