Italian Renissance and the Reformation Essays

Italian Renissance and the Reformation Essays

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Imagine a time when disease is rampant and wars last decades. Imagine that God himself seems to have fallen silent despite the suffering in the world. How would you react? What would become of society? For the people of Europe, the answer was the Renaissance.
For centuries now, Europe had been a place of great hardship. The Black Death had killed over two-thirds of the population, leading to soaring labor costs and a heavy sense of sadness. In the Catholic Church, the Great Schism between the eastern and western halves of the Church created a loss of faith and questions about religious authority. Seemingly endless wars, such as the Hundred Year’s War between France and England, were just now coming to an end, finally giving the population time to stop and reflect on what had gone on in the past. When they began to mull over things, more inquiries about the state of their current mindset came up. Was religion truly that important? Why should they hold themselves back from their potential? These questions led to the Renaissance.
Humanism, the emphasis on individual achievement, got the Renaissance rolling. In wealthy Italian city-states, the nobles that led the area studied liberal arts such as mathematics, rather than theology, a subject that was heavily emphasized during the Middle Ages. Classic Greek and Roman literature was also studied, as it would be a source of inspiration for future writings, along with physical education to create powerful, well-rounded nobles. City-states were center of new styles of art and architecture, which harkened back to a former era in which more realistic art portrayed secular images. One famous artist was Michelangelo, who was created several religious works of fresco and sculp...


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...owed princes to choose their religion of their subjects. However, true religious freedom was still a long way off. Also, the Council of Trent reformed the Catholic Church in a response to Protestantism, but it did not really change things—it merely supported all of the traditions that had been taking criticism from Protestants.
All in all, the Renaissance led to the Protestant Reformation. The idea of humanism which first developed in the city-states of Italy stayed in people’s mind for several centuries. While for a time the population was free of religious duty, they eventually came back to God with new standards for what the spiritual experience should be like. People voiced their opinions, leading to a new branch of Christianity, Protestantism. Individual ideas, which the Church had feared all along, had been the key to a pivotal era in European history.

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