Renaissance Humanism Essay Example


Renaissance is the most significant period of European civilization. It is a time of the rediscovery of classical learning after the “dark ages”. Renaissance began in Italy around the 14th century, when people refused the theological teachings by the Roman Catholic Church and focused on the classical texts of Ancient Roman and Greek writers. In this period, there was rise in the arts that were not religious. Florence and Venice became popular for the visual arts by the greatest artists – Leonardo Da Vinci and Michelangelo. Similarly, Italian writers like Dante and Boccaccio gained attention for the use of humanism in their writing. However, the most significant at the time was Johan Gutenberg’s printing press which aided in the spread of humanism and renaissance, not only in Italy but all over the Europe.

The first major movement of the renaissance was “Humanism”, an intellectual movement. When the people started discovering the classical texts by these great Roman and Greek writers, they discovered the “Humanism” concept. This concept alleviated the people to break free of the prevailing religious attitude, dictated by the Roman Catholic church and offered a chance for human beliefs and inventions. There was a transition in the ideals from the ideals of religion such as faith, order, sacred, and church to the ideals of the renaissance such as individualism, inquiry, criticism, rationality, argumentation, and intellectualism. Humanism explored not only the rhetoric and criticism but also the Utopian concept and analysis of the past as well as the future. “In short, humanism called for the comprehensive reform of culture, the transfiguration of what humanists termed the passive and ignorant society of the ‘dark’ ages into a new order that would reflect and encourage the grandest human potentialities.” (Britannica)

Moreover, the Renaissance period was full of discoveries and inventions. From the same “Humanism” movement, there was the development of a curriculum comprising grammar, poetry, rhetoric, history, and moral philosophy. The invention of the magnetic compass assisted in navigation and ultimately in the discovery of different continents and places. It was in the renaissance period that the Christopher Columbus discovered America. Another invention was gunpowder that contributed to the different wars of that time. Another great achievement of the period is the discovery of astronomy. Up to this time, the church used to explain the anatomy. People believed that the earth was in the center of the solar system and the sun revolved around it. The Polish astronomer Nicolaus Copernicus proved the belief incorrect when he theorized that it was not the sun that revolved around the earth but the earth was the one that revolved around the sun along with other planets. The Italian polymath Galileo Galilee later on proved the theory. (Dickson)

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