At The Height Of Their Respective Era’s Greece And Rome

1220 words - 5 pages

At the height of their respective era's Greece and Rome were centers of education and learning. Both societies created great works of philosophy and science that remained unimproved for many centuries. However, this brilliance was lost with the fall of the Roman Empire, and through out the Dark Ages learning was almost completely nonexistent. Then, with the genesis of the Renaissance education began anew. Education ceased to be a thing of privilege, as it had been during the Middle Ages, and became available to a wider range of people. The revival in education during the Renaissance sought to instill the values of humanism and create well-rounded men competent in many fields. However, in the 17th century these values were questioned and altered.Around the time of the beginning of the Renaissance a movement know as humanism developed. It was a philosophical and literary movement focused on the secular value of the classic works, or the humanities. Italian writers such as Dante and Petrarch helped to establish the movement by not only translating the classical works of Greece and Rome, but also by contributing original ideas. As the dominant movement in Europe at the time, it is logical that humanist values would have a profound effect on education. An Italian humanist educator, Guarino, asserts the importance humanists place on the Humanities, calling them the "pursuits and activities proper to mankind." Another Italian humanist, Piccolomini, wrote that while they were able to attain enlightenment through the studies of grammar and rhetoric, he says that the more important aspect of education is the study of Philosophy and Letters. The future pope claims that it is the study of the work of the ancient Greeks and Romans that allows correct judgments about the past, present, and future to be made. Written in a book about education, he affirms the humanist view that classical works are of paramount importance to the education of men. Famous humanist Desiderius Erasmus declares "the whole of attainable knowledge lies…" in the ancient texts. These humanists clearly show the values they were trying to impart through education.Renaissance educators also had a clear vision as to the purpose of education. Their goal was to create well-rounded men educated in the liberal arts. As Castiglione wrote in The Book of the Courtier, one should not only be learned in the humanities, but also in writing verse and prose. He claimed the ability to write in the vernacular was useful to entertain the ladies and judge the writing of others. Castiglione's vision of the courtier as described in his 1528 book later became the definition of a "Renaissance Man". While this term was not assigned until much later, it is evident that Renaissance educators saw the importance of creating learned, well-rounded students to fit that mold. Writing in his memoirs, an Italian statesman, Francesco Guicciardini, laments that he did not spend more effort on skills that might appear...

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