The Renaissance defined.-- "Renaissance," French for "rebirth," perfectly describes the intellectual and economic changes that occurred in Europe from the fourteenth through the sixteenth centuries. During the era known by this name, Europe emerged from the economic stagnation of the Middle Ages and experienced a time of financial growth. Also, and perhaps most importantly, the Renaissance was an age in which artistic, social, scientific, and political thought turned in new directions.
DANTE AS A FORERUNNER OF THE RENAISSANCE
Dante Alighieri, "the fame of the Tuscan people," was born at Florence in 1265. He was exiled by the Florentines in I,302, and at the courts of friends learned how hard a thing it is " to climb the stairway of a patron." He died at Ravenna in 1321, and his tomb there is a place of pilgrimage to-day. It was during the years of his exile that Dante wrote his immortal poem, the Commedia as named by himself, because of its happy ending; the Divina Commedia, or the " Divine Comedy," as called by his admirers. This poem has been called the " Epic of Mediaevalism." It is an epitome of the life and thought of the Middle Ages. Dante's theology is the theology of the mediaeval Church; his philosophy is the philosophy of the Schoolmen; his science is the science of his time. THE RENAISSANCE IN ITALY
Inciting Causes of the Movement.--Just as the Reformation went forth from Germany and the Political Revolution from France, so did the Renaissance go forth from Italy. And this was not an accident. The Renaissance had its real beginnings in Italy for the reason that all those agencies which were slowly transforming the mediaeval into the modern world were here more active and effective in their workings than elsewhere. A second circumstance that doubtless contributed to make Italy the birthplace of the Renaissance was the fact that in Italy the break between the old and the new civilization was not so complete as it was in the other countries of Western Europe. The Italians were closer in language and in blood of the old Romans than were the other new-forming nations. They regarded themselves as the direct descendants and the heirs of the old conquerors of the world. This consiousness of kinship with the menof a great exerted an immense influence upon the imagination of the Italiansand tended not only to preserve the continuity of the historical development in the peninsula but also to set as the first task of the Italian scholars the recovery and appropriation of the culture of antiquity.
THE TWO PHASES OF THE ITALIAN RENAISSANCE.
The movement here consisted of two distinct yet closely related phases, namely, the revival of classical literature and learning, and the revival of the classical art. It with the first only, the intellectual and literary phase of the movement, that we shall be chiefty concerned. This feature of the movement is called distinctively “humanism,” and the promoters of it are known as “Humanist,” because of their interest in the study of the classics, the literate humaniores, or the “more human letters,” in opposition to the devine letters, that is, theology, which made up the old education. PETRARCH, THE FIRST OF THE HUMANISTS.
Petrarch was the first and greatest representative of the humanistic phase of the Italian Renaissance. He was the first scholar of the medieval time who fully realized and appreciated the supreme excellence and beauty of the classical literature and it’s value as a means of culture. He made a collection of about two hundred manuscript volumes of the classics. Among his choices Latin treasures were some of Cicero’s Letters, which he had himself discovered an an old ordinary at verona, and reverently copied his own hand. He gathered Greek as well as Latin manuscript. THE ITALIANS ARE TAUGHT BY CHRYSOLORAS.
Just at the close of the fourteenth century the Eastern Emperor sent an embassy to Italy to beg aid against the Turks. The Comssion was headed...
Please join StudyMode to read the full document