Essay on Italian Renissance and the Reformation

Essay on Italian Renissance and the Reformation

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The very definition of Renaissance is rebirth and that is exactly what happened to Europe during the Renaissance. It began in the urban society of Italy in primarily the city-state of Florence. The Black Death left the population of Europe very low and because of that combined with the decline of the church power, people began to emphasize individual achievements and show more interest in ancient Greek and Roman culture.
Italian city-states were where the Renaissance began. The main 3 city-states were Milan, Venice and Florence. Milan was the center of the main trade route ruled by the Visconti family. It had a centralized state with an efficient tax system that gave money to the government. Venice was a link between Asia and Western Europe, run by an elected leader called a Doge. Merchants ran the city for a profit. Their international power was the black slave trade. Like Venice, Florence was run by merchants, but in 1434 the Medici family overthrew them. Venice then became the cultural center of the Renaissance.
Renaissance society was made up of 3 estates. The first estate is clergy, the second is nobility also called Renaissance men and the third is commoners. 85% of commoners were peasants and the other 15% were townspeople. There were 2 writers during the Renaissance who outline the way certain people should be. Machiavelli wrote “The Prince” which told how to get and hold political power. Castiglione wrote the “Book of Courtiers” which describes the perfect Renaissance noble. In Renaissance society marriages were arranged to strengthen political ties. The woman’s family paid the dowry and the men controlled the business and family. Children were only adults when their father went to the court and freed them. Renaissan...


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...father of Renaissance humanism. Dante wrote “The Divine Comedy”, a book about the soul’s journey to salvation; his main points questioned the Catholic Church. The goals of humanism were individualism and to study fulfillment. They wanted people to mainly challenge tradition.
Humanism is also found throughout the Reformation. Christian humanists were the people who pushed for change of the Catholic Church. They believed that in order to change society, you had to change the individual human beings who make it up. Erasmus is one of the best know humanists of the Reformation. He wanted to spread the philosophy of Christ, provide education in works of Christianity, and criticize the abuses in the church. Overall the main tie of the Reformation and Renaissance was humanism. Both groups of people during those times wanted change towards a more secular view of things.

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