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To What Extent Is the Term Renaissance a Valid Concept for a Distinct Period in Early Modern European History?

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  • November 2011
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1. To what extent is the term Renaissance a valid concept for a distinct period in early modern European history? During the 14th to 17th century, a new golden age emerged. This age was characterized the Renaissance. Led by northern Italian cities, the Renaissance was fundamentally by economic growth, as Europeans sought to achieve higher standards of intellect. The Renaissance marked the beginning of Modern history. It subsequently revived their socio cultural achievements, developing ideas of individualism, humanism, and secularism for a distinct period in modern European history.

Individualism helped validated uncommon personalities and unique groups of Europeans. It also helped cultivate people’s capabilities. Well-respected literature involved with the nature of individuality emerged and art in the Renaissance brought out the individual. Renaissance artists and authors glorified unique personalities emphasized importance or individuals. Writers like Saint Augustine, Peter Abelard, and Guibert perceived themselves to be unique persons, generating autobiographical statements. However, authors abruptly stopped writing about God. In opposition to the middle ages, the Christian value of humility discouraged self-absorption for the profit of the individual. Italians specifically detached themselves from this principle as they had enormous confidence in their ability to achieve great things. Leon Alberti remarked, “Men can do all things if they will.” Alberti reveals that individualism leads people to become consciously aware of their own singularity. The thirst for fame, the drive for ambition, and the desire for success drove such men to take any means to completely achieve their potential. The movement of individualism was one of the most important driving factors that helped Europeans high light their own importance.

Humanism brought back medieval civilization. People strove to learn about human nature through the intense study of Latin classics. It was the...