The Renaissance: The Dawning Of A New Age

1953 words - 8 pages

The age known as the Renaissance began in the fourteenth century. The word Renaissance means rebirth, those alive in this era witnessed the dawning of a new age. It began as a literary movement among the educated and upper-class men in northern Italian cities (Wiesner 210). Writers and artists studied Roman models and Petrarch, a Renaissance writer, proposed a liberal arts curriculum in order to recapture the previous glory of Rome. The philosophy of humanism became popular bringing about the curiosity about life and learning, individualism, virtu, secularism, and the classical past. Individualism emphasized the new importance of defining oneself by their own sense of uniqueness and individuality instead of in the context of a group, virtu is the focus on making an impact in one’s chosen field of endeavor, and secularism is the belief that people and objects are important enough to require a picture verbal description. These new values are what made up the attitude of the Renaissance Era. This new attitude slowly diffused throughout Europe affecting the surrounding areas at different times. With the Renaissance came ideals for men women and rulers. The ideals for men, women, and rulers were very different from each other and from previous ideals of these societal roles. When we hear Renaissance, we think of the lavish and desirable lifestyle the people of that time must have lived and we look to written descriptions and visual aids to get information about the people and this time period, but to what extent is an accurate impression of Renaissance lifestyle?
A Renaissance man was the ideal man of the time period. As described in the documented sources, such as one by Vergerius, the ideal man must be multi-talented and able to do many things such as ride well, dance, play musical instruments and be almost perfect in order to impress the ladies. He also must be educated in liberal arts subjects such as: history, poetry, and literature (Wiesner 219). According to Vergerius, a 14th century humanist in his letter to the son of the ruler of Padua, Italy, Ubertinus, “We call those studies liberal which are worthy of a free man. Education which calls forth, trains, and develops those highest gifts of body and mind which ennoble men” (Wiesner 219). This quotation displays the importance of education for the Renaissance men. Their education is important because he must use it to serve and know God, and to serve the city/state (Wiesner 213). Most Renaissance men are courtiers, those who attend the royal court as a companion or adviser to the king or queen. Castiglione, a 16th century Italian aristocrat and author of The Courtier explain that a courtier must: “stand out from the rest as enterprising, bold and loyal to whomever he serves” (Wiesner 221). Keep in mind, the Renaissance man is a courtier, a refined upper class man; “average” men of Renaissance time period do not have the same characteristics as a Renaissance man. Most Renaissance men were...

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