12 Mar 2012
Technological Diffusion During the European Renaissance
The innovations discussed here represent revolutions in warfare, society, and art that saw a rapid diffusion through the societies of Europe during the renaissance for varying reasons. Whether for survival, economic gain, or aesthetic pleasure they were eventually embraced throughout Europe laying down some of the bedrock that modern western society would be built on. The spread of firearms throughout renaissance Europe had a profound effect on warfare. The invention of the printing press in Europe would cause innumerable changes to society boosting literacy rates and helping supporting the intellectual renewal of Europe. Oil painting techniques became widely adopted forming the bases of Venetian style painting while also allowing paintings to survive to the present day because of increased durability. Our first example of technological diffusion is the firearm whose vital component, gunpowder, made its way to Europe sometime during the thirteenth century possibly via Moorish Spain (LaRocca, Para 1). The Chinese also appear to be the first to develop gunpowder weapons with the earliest known reference originating in china during the twelfth century. The exact channels that brought this technology from the Fareast are disputed but what seems obvious is that unlike in China all of the European rulers in the late 15th and early 16th century realized the usefulness of the new weapons (Sandberg, Para 4). Gunpowder weapons first proved their unquestionable worth to European rulers in the mid fourteenth century as the cannons that helped the armies of Mehmet II destroy the previously impregnable walls of Constantinople in 1453. In that same year cannons combined with earthen defenses helped the French to crush an English attempt to retake Gascony at the Battle of Castillon (Blair, Martell and Roumas, 47). The history of the diffusion of firearm technology throughout Europe during the...
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