The English Renaissance

Topics: Protestant Reformation, Henry VIII of England, Renaissance Pages: 6 (2120 words) Published: May 8, 2012

Solfrid Hauge Helle


In this essay I will focus on three Renaissance rulers of England and how they contributed to the changes in England towards the modern Britain. Moreover, there were other factors outside the courts that changes peoples lives, therefore I will emphasize some inventions that had impact on the Renaissance period, and also religious and political decisions. I have chosen to use the three most important rulers of Renaissance England as a back-cloth to the events that occurred. To be able to understand the changes that eventuated in the Sixteenth Century England, the English Renaissance, we need to comprehend some of the history concerning England`s Late Middle Ages. It was really difficult times in England, great suffering and damages was a result of war against France and Scotland. Economically, England was a disaster after years of maintaining the army. The King lay heavy demands on gentry and merchants that lead to a weakened economy strength in towns and country, but an additional political power was given to the merchants and gentry as a result of them providing the crown with money (McDowell, 1997, p. 43). Medieval`s believed that man was worthless, greedy, cowardly and sinful. The society`s interests was regarded more important than the individual, and life on earth was only preparation for the next world ( Mustad& Rahbek, 2006, pp. 30-31). The French word renaissance means `rebirth` and it started in Italy in the fourteenth century. It did not reach England until the sixteenth century and it befall with the English reformation. Scholars who took interest in the New Learning and studied ancient Greek and Roman literature, called themselves Humanists. They translated and edited the classical writings. While the scholars of the medieval used the old Greek and Latin literature to promote the power of church, the scholars of the New Learning studied the human and secular wisdom of literature.When interpreting the ancient text they found great emphasis on the human life and man`s ability to change himself and the world. Humanists were therefore, concerned with how this life can be improved.They argued that the medieval church had misread the classical authors in their own favour (Mustad& Rahbek, 2006, pp.29-31). The rediscovery of ancient wisdom led to new interest in scientific matters. Galileo Galilei invented a new telescope in 1610. In addition to the interest of the world, the Renaissance man also pursued material gods. In 1492, the Italian, Christopher Columbus, hired by the Spanish Court, discovered South America. This was the beginning of the European exploration, trading and colonisation of the east, and also, the beginning of a capitalist economy in Europe (Mustad & Rahbek, 2006,p.33). Another important invention that had great impact in the Renaissance, was the printing. The German goldsmith Johann Gutenberg invented it about 1450 and the first English press was set up in 1476 by William Caxton. `The invention was extremely important for spreading the Renaissance ideas and learning to growing numbers of readers from 1.

scholars and statesmen to merchants and craftsmen`(Mustad & Rahbek, 2006, p.33). Along with the new learning and the possibility to translate and print, came a critical attitude to medieval theology and the rise of the Protestant Reformation. It was a disapproval to the deprivation of peoples freedom,the imposed taxation and the domination in politics by the King and the Church. In addition, it was a protest against the immoral clergy at that time (Mustad & Rahbek, 2006, p. 36). Scholars who had read the bible, translated it into English and published it for ordinary people to study. The church became more in danger of losing its power. Martin Luther nailed ninety-five theses on the door of the Castle church in Wittenberg in 1517. His theses denied the Pope`s power to forgive sins, he also rejected that prayers, fasting...
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