Humanism and the Renaissance Essay

Humanism and the Renaissance Essay

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Humanism and Renaissance


Humanism brought MAN to the forefront causing a veritable cultural
revolution. Reason and the will to better understand the world
fomented progress in the scientific fields. Intellectuals throughout
Europe came under the influence of humanism which was disseminated
with the invention of the printing press and the guidance of princes.
Finally, humanism had a religious impact as well with the protestant
reformation and bringing religious pluralism to the west.---



Humanism and the Renaissance
============================

Crises at the the end of the middle ages, i.e. the One Hundred Years
War, the plague, famines and the generalised poverty of the peasantry
had a lasting impact on the men and women of the middle ages. Educated
men, artists and the literate in their inquisitive search for answers
began to find the existing pillars of society, i.e. the church,
universities and feudalism, sorely lacking in credible answers.

Beginning in the XV and XVI centuries, first in Italy and then
throughout Europe, men turned to ancient Greece and Rome for greater
understanding. From this arose a veritable intellectual, artistic,
philosophical and scientific revolution. This man-centred
'Renaissance' attributed great importance to free-thought and marked
the beginning of humanism.

Humanism: a cultural revolution

Intellectuals in the XV and XVI centuries began to turn away from the
church in an effort to find new answers to the different crises of the
XIV century. According to the church, man is guilty of original sin
and must accept his misfortune in order to achieve eternal life. In
reading latin an...


... middle of paper ...


...e the world. In pursuing the novel
idea of a round/spherical world, Christopher Columbus set out on a
westwards journey in search of India/China. He didn't make it to India
but he did find the Antilles in 1492.

New technology, i.e. better boat design and the astrolabe, led to many
more voyages and discoveries. Magellan was able to confirm that the
earth was in fact round/spherical with his voyage around the world
between 1519 and 1522 which further stimulated cartography and new
ways of representing the world.

Of course these discoveries brought Europeans into contact with
hitherto unknown peoples. These peoples became the subject of study
and added new knowledge to the Greek and Arab heritage upon which the
Christian west was founded. These new ideas often met resistance from
the church, sorcery and astrology.

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