How Humanism Transformed Individuals Role

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Throughout time an individual’s role in which he fits into society has changed. One of the most noticeable changes in an individual’s role in society occurred during the Italian Renaissance during the 14th and 15th centuries with the introduction of Humanism. Humanism gave birth to the concept of individuality a notion which is still alive today. It said that humans mattered and that now mattered, that one should not be part of a whole but rather someone that is unique. Before Humanism people only thought of the after life, of whether they were going to heaven or hell, but with the introduction of Humanism people became more involved in the present, rather then just thinking of what happened after you died. Humanism transformed individual’s role in society by encouraging education in humanity, a well rounded individual, personal virtue and enhancing art.

The roles of individuals were exceedingly swayed by the advancements in education. Individuals were encouraged to learn poetry, history and politics. That these should not be only learned for their own sake, but also to improve oneself. That to only do the necessary to go to heaven was not enough, they had to do their very best in their every day lives. Cosimo de´Medici along with supervisor Marsilio Ficino and Pico della Mirandola founded the Florentine Platonic Academy, which was actually not a formal school, but an informal gathering of Florentine humanist. There they worked to revive the works of Plato, an ancient writer whom humanist greatly admired. Such Platonic influences are evident in Pico della Mirandola´s statement which says that humans are the only creatures on earth that have the power to rise with the angels or wallow with the pigs.

Humanism advocated a well rounded individual. Vittorino da Feltre would not only make his students read, but he would also make them do vigorous physical exercise and games. Another educator, Guarino da Verona encouraged the study of classical languages....
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