Section 1: Italy: Birthplace of the Renaissance
The period from 1300 to 1600 is known as the Renaissance, which means rebirth, and refers to a revival of art and learning. Italy had 3 advantages that made it the birthplace of the Renaissance: thriving cities, a wealthy merchant class, and the classical heritage of Greece and Rome. Overseas trade led to large city-states. The bubonic plague in the 1300's killed 60 percent of the population. Merchants dominated politics. The Medici family bank held branch offices throughout Italy. Renaissance scholars wanted to return the learning of Greeks and Romans. The study of classical text led to humanism, an intellectual movement that focused on human potential and achievements. Renaissance society was secular, worldly rather than spiritual. Church leaders became patrons of the arts by financially supporting artists. The Renaissance man was a universal man, and Renaissance women knew classics but had little influence in politics. Renaissance painters used perspective, three dimensions on a flat surface. Leonardo da Vinci was a Renaissance man. Dante, a Renaissance writer, wrote in vernacular (his native language).
Section 2: The Northern Renaissance
When the Hundred Years War between France and England ended in 1453, many cities grew rapidly. Many Italian artists and writers left for Northern Europe after a French king launched an invasion through northern Italy in 1494. German painters painted in a way almost photographic in detail and portrayed myths and landscapes, while Flemish painters captured scenes from everyday peasant life and used oil-base. Northern humanists were critical of the failure of the Christian Church to inspire people to live a Christian life, and produced a new movement known as Christian humanism. Two famous humanists were Desiderius Erasmus and Thomas More. Thomas More wrote utopia, to show a better model of society. Christine de Pizan was one of the first European writers to question different treatment of boys and girls. Shakespeare was the most famous writer of the Elizabethan Age. Johann Gutenberg opened a printing press that produced books quick and cheap.
Section 3: Luther Leads the Reformation
Because it was difficult for the pope or the emperor to impose central authority, a new movement for religious reform began. Critics of the Church claimed its leaders were corrupt. Many priests and monks were poorly educated. Martin Luther sold indulgences, pardons, to rebuild St. Peter's Cathedral. His actions of writing statements attacking pardon-merchants began the Reformation, a movement for religious reform. His teachings rested on three main ideas: People could win salvation only by faith in God's gift of forgiveness, Church teachings should be based off the Bible, and All people with faith were equal. Holy Roman Emperor, and the Pope opposed Luther's teachings. Luther and his followers became the Lutherans. Princes who protested people against Luther's ideas became Protestants. The agreement that each ruler would determine the religion of his state was known as the Peace of Augsburg. Henry VIII opposed Luther