Professor T. Coogan
January 8, 2008
Homework 1- Primary Document Review Questions
Document 1 (page 7)
1. What do historians mean by the term “Renaissance humanism”? When historians speak of Renaissance humanism, they are referring to the most predominant characteristic movement of the time period that valued ancient Greek and Roman literature, styles, ideologies and their insights into human nature. This movement not only valued the Greco-Roman intellect, but also emphasized the hatred and separation from the medieval theology. More specifically, the key principle of Renaissance humanism was to educate people, politicians and future politicians based on classical Greco-Roman literature which emphasizes communication skills, literacy, history, and the application knowledge to promote productive and active lives. In doing so, the Greco-Roman values would be held in high regard by the government thereby reducing corruption and increasing education of the secular outlook on life and the universe. Lastly, it was the humanist vision at that time to achieve through education, a level of eloquence and intellect that would lead them to virtuousness.
2. What made Petrarch aware that a renaissance, or rebirth, of classical learning was necessary in his time? Petrarch recognized that at the time before the Renaissance, Greek and Roman antiquity was regarded as inessential and inferior to the medieval way of life. In addition, he also realized that the politicians and their methods of governance were problematic and in need for change. Furthermore, the learning of Greco-Roman ideologies about government, the individual, and way his of life was a method to educate people who can thereafter rescue the nation from the “inglorious age” (Petrarch) and open the doors to a new glorious era.
3. Why did Leonardo Bruni abandon his earlier course of studies to pursue the study of Greek literature? Leonardo Bruni was studying civil law