Comparing the Renaissance and Middle Ages

Topics: Middle Ages, Renaissance, Europe Pages: 3 (775 words) Published: April 7, 2004
From the Middle Ages to the Renaissance, Europe underwent a great deal of changes, including attitudes towards learning, science and technology, art and literature, and the way humankind felt about themselves and towards their society. The Middle Ages were the time period between ancient and modern times in Western Europe. Before the Middle Ages, Western Europe was part of the Roman Empire. After the Middle Ages, Western Europe included the Holy Roman Empire, the kingdoms of England and France, and a number of smaller states. The history of the Middle Ages extends from the end of the Roman Empire, about the fifth century AD to the 1500's. The Renaissance was a great cultural movement that began in Italy during the 1300's. It spread to England, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Spain, and other countries in the late 1400's and ended about 1600. The word Renaissance refers to the act of being reborn. During the Renaissance, many European scholars and artists studied the learning and art of ancient Greece and Rome. They wanted to recapture the spirit of the Greek and Roman cultures in their own artistic, literary, and philosophic works.

The Renaissance overlapped the end of the Middle Ages. The leaders of the Renaissance rejected many of the attitudes and ideas of the Middle Ages. For example, European thinkers in the medieval times believed that people's chief responsibility was to pray to God and concentrate on saving their souls. They thought that society was filled with evil temptations. Renaissance thinkers, on the other hand, emphasized people's responsibilities and duties to the society in which they lived. They believed that society could civilize people rather than make them wicked.

Learning and the arts during the Middle Ages were devoted to glorifying God (theology) and strengthening the power of the church. Almost all the great ideas and artistic achievements reflected the influence of the church. Painters and sculptors tried to give their works a...
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