Essay on The Renaissance

Submitted By HopeBrower1
Words: 899
Pages: 4

* Meaning of “Humanism” and “Renaissance”: * Traditionally, humanism and the renaissance were seen as a momentous cultural change, which ended the middle ages and began the (early) modern period * “Humanism,” was a term used at the time (more on that in a moment. But modern scholars have their own meaning: a shift in values, a new focus on the worth of human life, and human abilities, and human virtue (that certain people make for good moral models) * “Renaissance” (a term never used at the time, but most popular now) means “rebirth” (of learning, or even of civilization). Its tied to a certain view of history: A glorious ancient poet “dark ages” in the middle, followed…. * * * Survey Question: * Which of these factors do you think contributed most to the movement of cultural change what we call the “renaissance”?
Black Death/Disasters (breaking down of old patterns)
Economic Growth (Bureaucrats/merchants)
Byzantine and Italian influence in culture and looking back to ancient Roman culture

Political context for renaissance: Royal courts and multi-regional dynasties * Humanism/ the renaissance occurred in a specific context, including the disasters (1/4 loss of population) and recoveries of the 14th-15th c. * Politically, this was a time of more centralized kingdoms. With bigger capitals, more officials and troops * * * * Merchants, bankers, city-states in late middle (or medieval) ages: * But the big kingdoms did not foster renaissance. N. Italy had long hosted dozens of rival city-states. After wars and conquests, they were fewer, larger, but still many in one region. The biggest: Venice, Genoa, Milan, Florence, and Rome (Papal State). * Italian city-states were interlinked by trade ties, and linked to distant kingdoms. The biggest, richest cities in W. Christendom * Italian city-states hosted a different sort of society. Many were not monarchies, but republics (where some citizens had some power). The influential elite included big landowners, noble lords, and bishops, but also merchants, crafts businessmen, bankers: a wider literate class. * Why did Italy host the renaissance? Perhaps it has to do with the wealth; lack of dominance by nobles and bishops; or the breaking of politics and class fostered and created by the Black Death/Plague. * * * Major Italian City-States late 14-15th c.
* * Merchants and sultans in late medieval Mamluk Egypt:
But did this special context of wealth and politics mean much? Look to a wider context: Islamic states, 14-15th c. was a period of centralization, growing power, wealth for Islamic rulers.
The biggest Islmaic power in late 14th c. was Egypt. Here the Abbasid caliph now lived, but power was in hands of Turkish sultans. Most of whom did not inherit power. They rose through the ranks of the army. And often started as lowly ex-slave soldiers.
Egypt was still a trade center as bug as Italy ( with contacts all across the Indian ocean and the Mediterranean * * Rise of the Ottoman Turks in Anatolia
But the biggest shift in Islamic politics in the 14-15th c. was the rise of a new permanent power: the Ottoman Turkish Empire.
Ottoman Turks started around 1300 as a small group of herders/warrior in Anatolia (bordering Byzantine Empire). Led by Osman, they raided Chr and Islamic towns, saw themselves as similar Islamic warriors
By 1320s, Osman had captured a few bigger towns. His successors took Bursa, made it center of a new settled state. Steadily Ottoman sultans took over lands in W Anatolia. Then after 1360 in Balkans.
This land held a mix of Christians, Jews,…