Differences between Medieval and Renaissance Period

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Firstly, I think it's important to note the inevitable semantic debate that must be had here before you can properly address the question. 'Middle Ages' and 'Renaissance' can't be compared directly. They aren't two things that followed each other.

'Middle Ages' is a tag much like Antiquity, middle ages, early modern period, modern period. It is used to refer to a specific time frame. 'Renaissance' isn't used to refer to a period of time. It was a cultural movement. Now it did take place in the 14th to, arguably, 17th centuries (ish), but it wasn't a period of time as such. it was a movement. This can be shown in the fact that often you hear historians discussing different 'Renaissances'. For instance, whilst the Renaissance as most of us know it today began in Italy in the 14th century, those ideas did not really spread into northern Europe - and England is classed in alongside those - until the end of the 15th century and the beginnings of the 16th. So the cultural movement of the Renaissance impacts different areas of Europe at different times. Whereas the 'Early Modern period', or the 'Middle Ages' don't affect places at different times, they are roughly the same time period across the whole of Europe. I hope that helps to show the semantic difference between the two?

However, that cultural movement did take place in the late Middle Ages and the early modern period, and spanned the two. The ideas that came about during the late-Middle Age period of the Renaissance are one reason that modern historians would say the Middle Ages ended at around the turn of the 16th century, when the early modern period began.

The reasons for this are largely related to antiquity and classical sources. The Middle Ages are, or at least were, often referred to as the Dark Ages. The reason for this is that the period between the fall of Rome and the onset of Renaissance thought was that the lights of classical antiquity - the works of Aristotle and Cicero, architecture,...
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