WLIT-Renaissance lecture

WLIT-Renaissance lecture - WLIT 1113 Renaissance Lecture...

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WLIT 1113 Renaissance Lecture The Renaissance means literally “rebirth;” this is when Europe exits the dark ages/middle ages and sees a blossoming of interest and study of classical authors and other figures and undergoes a reclamation of classical knowledge and furtherance of said knowledge – almost like picking up where civilization left off – although such a description might be disputed. The Renaissance is generally accorded as the break from Medieval thought patterns, even though many things remained the same. Though advances in science, philosophy, justice, politics, etc., were daily events, advances in art tend to be most obvious and the object of focus. Timeframe: mid 14 th Century – mid 17 th Century Exact start and end is difficult to identify because it starts at different times in different places. Also keep in mind that the Black Death hits various parts of Europe in the 1300s. Hard to have uniform progress when people refuse to cooperate and die of the plague. Renaissance Cause/Effect Scholars scavenged European libraries for ancient texts that had fallen into obscurity, had simply been lost, or had been suppressed or eclipsed/rendered useless or unpopular by the Church, but the pickings were slim. Constantinople, capital of the Byzantine Empire, was sacked by the Ottoman Empire in 1453, which forced thousands of scholars to flee to Western Europe, taking with them the various codices and scrolls and such that had been preserved in the capital of the Eastern Roman Empire. Infusion of minds and Greek (and other) texts boosted the Renaissance. Between 1212 and 1492 various coalitions of European kings managed to drive the Moors out of the Iberian Peninsula (Spain), forcing those that remained to either convert to Catholicism or die. The conquest also included libraries imported/preserved by the Moors, flooding Europe with literally hundreds of thousands of volumes. Finally, the crusades (nine or ten of them 1095 – 1272) exposed Europeans to a great wealth of knowledge in the Middle East, which they brought back to Europe. These four factors helped spur on Europe’s intellectual rebirth. One final factor: Europe was very much a top-down culture at this time, so the ideas, opinions, and economic stimulus of someone at the top could easily shift cultural output. Consider what I told you last week about Elizabeth I and England’s Renaissance. In Italy, Florence, the Medici family (Lorenzo in particular) was highly educated and vastly wealthy, and also had a tendency to offer patronage to artists and other thinkers. This patronage helped to spur on developments that might otherwise not have materialized.
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(This situation repeated in many parts of Europe, as Elizabeth I’s example should suggest.) Humanists and Humanism Humanities is derived from the descriptive term, humanist, which was given to teachers
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WLIT-Renaissance lecture - WLIT 1113 Renaissance Lecture...

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