The Italian Renaissance: A New Era After The Middle Ages

1463 words - 6 pages

When the Middle Ages started to decline, a new era began to emerge. Inspired by secularism and the classics of ancient Rome and Greece, the Italian Renaissance was a cultural evolution that spurred some the world’s finest arts, music, architecture, and literature. The Italian Renaissance was a surge of ideas and creativity that would define the modern world. Since the end of the Renaissance, scholars have been mystified by the root cause that led to such a great era. Although the origins of the Italian Renaissance all vary in importance, all of the factors were linked to one another. The Black Death, a devastating disease that killed 1/3 of the population, resulted in a more open economy ...view middle of the document...

As a result, Italy began trading with Europe and Asia and the wealth of Italy increased (Wilde ¶8). The Black Death, in all, led to two key factors the contributed towards the beginning of the Renaissance: patronage, which helped fund the Renaissance, and humanism, which brought new ideas.
Another factor that led to the Renaissance was that the plague terrified the people and the population was left with two beliefs: God was furious or God was invalid. When the church was powerless to stop the Black Death, the people began to lose faith in the Church, and as a result the church began to lose power and influence (Hodgman ¶6). People began to believe that they religious beliefs was invalid and took on a new philosophy, secularism, a belief that denies religious beliefs. This led people to look towards each other to help solve life’s dilemmas.
These people started to think as a community and that a man’s value was considerably more important than theology (Britannica ¶4). This group of people, called humanists, saw that the height of this new idea happened long ago with the Ancient Greeks and Romans and that everything that happened between Ancient Greece and Rome and their present day was a dark age. The humanists studied grammar, poetry, history, and philosophy, otherwise known as liberal arts. Humanists “believed that an education rooted in the classical texts of ancient Greece and Rome would help to bring about a rebirth of society” (Edward ¶1). They believed that education could promote a virtuous life and allow people to reach their full potential (Britannica ¶4). The origins of humanism can be traced back to a poet named Francesco Petrarch.

Francesco Petrarch, born in 1304, wasn’t the first humanist, however he was the first person to publicly encourage humanism. An important event that led him to becoming a humanist, was taking “Holy Orders...His entrance into the church provided him with a secure income, but he continued to live much as a layperson” (Edward ¶1). From this, Petrarch had the opportunity to travel around Europe, and explore much of the ancient world in places with great history. Throughout Europe, Petrarch acquired a liking for classical literature and went to Italy to see the greatness of ancient Rome (Edward ¶1). Petrarch began gaining recognition for his poetry throughout Europe, as he expressed his intimate love for Laura, a woman he met. He began to impress other humanists with his classical styles, and picked up disciples (Rabil ¶2). Petrarch influenced humanism philosophy and the future humanists.
One of Francesco Petrarch’s first disciples was Coluccio Salutati. Salutati, a chancellor of Florence, was a major contribution towards the growth of humanism (Rabil ¶2). His contributions include making “a strong case for humanist education by claiming that knowledge of history was essential for a political leader” (Grendler ¶3). Salutati conducted many studies of ancient texts. Salutati encouraged the development of...

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