Renaissance is a French term signifying Rebirth which refers to the rebirth of art and learning in Europe after the Dark Ages. This term is often used to describe the European history between the 14th and 16th century since this was the period when a lot of changes were motivated by the intellect of Ancient Rome and Greece. Much of the Architecture, science, philosophy, and art that emerged during this period was so reminiscent of this old past, which appeared as though Europe had been born again during the late middle ages. Therefore, rebirth in this context means the renewal of learning particularly regarding new beliefs. This period witnesses the exploration and discovery of new continents, the growth of commerce, the decline of the feudal system, and the application of possibly influential innovations such as gunpowder, mariners compass, and the paper printing. However, to the thinkers and scholars of the day, this period was majorly a time of the revival of wisdom and classical learning after a long period of stagnation and cultural decline. Some of the notable characteristics of the Renaissance include a rise in humanist philosophy, renewed interest in classical antiquity, the creation of the Renaissance state, the commercial revolution, and radical changes in ideologies about politics, religion, and science.
The Renaissance was an era of great artistic and social change in Europe. It was a time characterized by creativity, innovation, and imagination. The European Renaissance commenced in Northern Italy in the 14th century. In fact, the Tuscan town of Florence is believed to be the origin of the Renaissance. From Italy, this movement gradually spread to other regions in Europe. We can characterize this period according to the changes it brought. For instance, the most notable changes witness during this period were in the fields of science, philosophy, literature, architecture, and art. Therefore, we can characterize Renaissance into first, the period which saw the rise of the humanist philosophy. Renaissance scholars, philosophers, and poets were concerned with the world of men and nature whereas the medieval scholars focused on understanding the dynamics of religions. As a result, institutions of higher learning started producing educated non-specialists who became more realistic and natural. Second, the period that saw the commercial revolution. During this time, several places of the European nations created major urban commercial spots. Regional self-dependency also started since more places began to specialize in the products they can produce best such as grains, raw materials, and other foods. By the middle of the Renaissance, small-scale trading changed into commercial capitalism, and foreign trading started. Third, the period which saw radical changes in ideologies about science, politics, and religion. According to scholars of the day such as Shakespeare, there were a lot of political changes taking place during the period as people started questioning the hierarchical systems that held political power. Engineering and Science experienced a powerful since a lot of exciting innovations especially in the areas of physics, astronomy, and anatomy were being made. This success led to introductions of important inventions such as spectacles, clocks, and telescopes.
Having characterized the Renaissance period, we may seek to understand the reason behind the emergence of the Renaissance in Europe. Well, the answer is pretty obvious, the medieval period of the European history was characterized by conformism and people wanted to move away from established ways of thinking and behaving. In my opinion, this period played a major role in the European civilization and the most notable achievements of this period were the discovery of man and the discovery of the world.
Burckhardt, Jacob, and S. G. C. Middlemore. The Civilisation of the Period of the Renaissance in Italy. 2015, doi:10.1017/cbo9781316048122.
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