Monday, July 23, 2012

Renaissance: Beginning of the Modern Era?

  
Due Thursday, September 15, 2017
Most historians consider the Renaissance to be the beginning of the Modern Era in human history. They argue that the Renaissance brought about a rebirth in the dissemination and depth of human knowledge. In this week’s blog you must either support or refute this belief by giving historical evidence to present to your fellow bloggers. Each blogger is responsible for developing and supporting a new example (no repeats) in answering the prompt.

The following links may be of assistance but feel free to do further research.

Lecture 4

The Renaissance

Medici: Godfathers of the Renaissance
    
History of the Renaissance

The Renaissance: The "Rebirth" of Science and Culture
     
The Renaissance Period
   



Most of these links have further links, so please take full advantage of these resources.

 

19 comments:

  1. The Renaissance was the beginning of the Modern Era in human history in various ways, particularly those concerning the social atmosphere of the time. This revival of Greco-Romans ideals ushered in artistic, scientific and technological advancements that sweep across Europe. One of the greatest philosophies that emerged during this time, and subsequently influenced the direction of the Renaissance, was Humanism. Humanism focused on the worth of the individual and their personal achievement. While humanists did not completely reject medieval Church doctrine, the only thing that kept Europe united during the Middle Ages, they had “…found a desire to improve and perfect their worldly knowledge; an entirely different sentiment to the spirituality stressed by medieval Christianity” (“The Renaissance Period”). This focus on personal achievement would also be one of the factors that sparked Christopher Columbus’s voyage, which would lead to the “Age of Exploration.”
    Despite the transformation of social attitudes during the 14th and 15th century Renaissance, some still point to the 12th century Renaissance as the true beginning of modern European history. Peter Abelard, a Parisian scholastic scholar, has been cited as a transitional figure, who was already expressing humanist ideas almost 300 years before the Renaissance (“Lecture 1”). However, it is important to note that the 12th century Renaissance did not have the same wide reaching effects of the 14th and 15th century Renaissance due to the invention of the printing press, information and the ideals of humanism were greatly circulated and lead to a swift in thought throughout Europe.

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    1. Isabelle I totally agree with what you said about the renaissance being the beginning of the modern age. What I really liked though was that you mentioned humanism and how big of a role they played in European society, with the idea of the individual it was huge deal. The fact that anyone could get an education now was a huge step for all mankind, in addition the printing press was also invented and knowledge will just keep going and going, until we reach the present. So in short what I'm saying is that you did a good job.

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    2. Isabelle, I love your reasoning, but you shouldn't forget the growth of science as it is arguably the most visible remnant of the Renaissance today. The solar system as we know it, for instance, was theorized during the Renaissance. The scientific method was also developed at this time. Otherwise your post great, and I loved the mention to the different century markers of the Renaissance.

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    4. Isabelle, I do agree with you, however you could strengthen your argument by incorporating how art was influenced by humanism and the Renaissance. Artwork was created for the joy of the individual and “focused on human beauty and nature” as opposed to being used for the benefit of the Church (The Renaissance: The "Rebirth" of Science and Culture). This would also contribute to your claim that the Church began to play a less prominent role in people’s lives in Renaissance Europe.

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  2. I believe that the renaissance is the beginning of the modern era because of the invention of the printing press. I think this because when I think of the modern era I think about mass production and the printing press is the start of easy and cheap mass production of books so everyone can own the books like the Bible. Also by making more books faster and cheaper it can reach more people and more people can learn to read.

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    1. Taylor I agree with what you said, I also thought the renaissance was the beginning of the modern age because of the printing press because it helped spread knowledge across Europe. But I don't think that's the only reason, I wished you touched on some other key aspects as well, but overall I thought you did well.

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    2. Taylor, as I mention in my own post, I believe the wide spread knowledge achieved by the invention of the printing press differentiated the Renaissance from the “rebirth” that occurred in the 12th century. Considering this I definitely agree with your claim that the printing press that qualifies the Renaissance as the first step towards the modern age. However, it would help your claim if you mentioned what kind of information was spread because of the pertaining press. As mentioned in the article “How Gutenberg Changed the World,” it was due to the printing press that Martin Luther’s 95 theses were so widely circulated, thus triggering the Protestant Reformation (Live Science).

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    3. Literature, wasn't the only way the Renaissance influenced the Modern Era, however there are several details you could impress upon to make this claim even stronger. The Bible wasn't the only literary influence, authors such as Boccaccio, whom wrote a biography about Petrarch, brought upon a new type of writing. It was uncommon for authors to write about anything other than religion during the Middle Ages, the development of different generes grew with the Renaissance. Also, Shakespeare, never forget Shakespeare. He influenced our modern language through his plays, which we still read today.

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    4. Tayloy, I think one way you could strengthen your argument would be to mention other works that were made accessible to many due to the printing press, such as Machiavelli’s The Prince. The reintroduction of the content of “forgotten Latin manuscripts” hidden away in ancient monastery libraries rediscovered by Boccaccio was also greatly expedited due to the printing press (History of the Renaissance).

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  3. I feel that the renaissance was the beginning of the modern age because of the increase of intelligence. This increase of knowledge led to architecture, art, and religion changing. What first really kicked off the increase of intelligence in Europe, was the printing press. The printing press made it so books could be printed fast and they were printed in the vernacular for everyone to read. Now that people were reading, a vast knowledge spread across Europe which led to many magnificent temples of wealth, in places like Florence (PBS).
    Knowledge wasn't the only thing that spread across Europe. Plagues such as Black Death spread across Europe killing most of the population. Black Death was so influential that the Catholic Churches influence was waning as the 15th century began. As the churches influence was falling, humanism started to rise and changed their approach to religion (livescience). Now this was only the tip of the iceberg, but these few major events, I feel, started a chain reaction which started modern age.

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    1. Sam, I think you bring up an interesting point over how the Plague effected the rise of Humanism. However, I think you could develop your argument over why this is significant further. As Jessie Szalay explains, “some historians…argue that the Black Death caused people to question the church's emphasis on the afterlife and focus more on the present moment, which is an element of the Renaissance's humanist philosophy” (Live Science). This addition would clarify your assertion that the Black Plague was a factor in creating the humanist philosophy.

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    2. Sam, don't forget that printing press changed how the "common man," as we say in class, read and interpreted the Bible more specifically, because the authors who transcribed it wrote it in the common vernacular, as you sort of touch upon. This is a more detailed way the printing press influenced religion.

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  4. The Renaissance, also referred to as the “rebirth” of Greco-Roman ideals, was a time period in which Europe truly began the Modern Era, which helped bring about the humanistic, artistic, and scientific ideals that we have today. Humanism, the focus of individual growth and personal worth, was not a common ideology of the Middle Ages, as the Church taught its followers that it was the collective goal of everyone to prepare for heaven. “The qualities which render modern society different from that of the ancient world were being impressed upon these nations by Christianity, the Church, by chivalry, and by federal customs.” (The Renaissance Period) Now, in the present humanism is a common ideology. With humanistic ideals came a growth of different art styles and the use of different artistic tools. When the Middle Ages ended artist were no longer limited to creating art for the strict purpose of teaching Christianity, though many artists will continue to be influenced by it. Leonardo da Vinci, for instance is most commonly known for his painting called the Mona Lisa, a painting of a women of unknown origin. Perception, an artistic tool, uses a vanishing point in which paintings and drawings appear to have depth. More details are added and art no longer looks unrealistic. Science also grew, becoming especially controversial when a man named Nicolaus Copernicus changed the way people saw the solar system. He placed the sun at the center of the solar system rather than the earth. The Catholic Church believed and enforced the idea that the Earth was the center and they banned the book he published about his theory. (The Renaissance: The Rebirth of Science and Culture) When Christopher Columbus went on a voyage to reach China, he miscalculated the size of the earth and didn't realize that there was a huge landmass in the way that we now call the Americas. With Christopher Columbus’s voyage he spread the benefits of the Renaissance to the “new world”.

    Though the Renaissance is still a controversial topic when discussing the beginning of the Modern Era, it was certainly the beginning of the modern era for Europe and arguably the Americas. With the rebirth of the Greco-Roman ideals came the rising of the humanist ideal, artistic growth, and the start of science as we know it today.

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  7. The Renaissance was the beginning of the modern era in many ways, ranging from the emergence of the printing press to the resurfacing of Greek and Roman ideals in European culture. This era became subject to “vast economic changes.” During this time “finance, commerce, agriculture and industry were all on the upswing” (Lecture 4). With this major shift in economy came the emergence of a new social class: the Middle Class.
    Those who qualified as Middle Class were wealthy merchants who had begun to rise up the social ladder with their business ventures. In attempts to be considered equal to the the aristocracy, they by took on aristocratic decorum and donned the trappings of wealth as advised in Baldassare Castiglione’s The Courtier. This new social class also catered to the flourishing artistic ventures since many of them became patrons of the arts as “means of achieving and maintaining social status and political power in a society where there was a strict social hierarchy.” (The Role of Patronage During the Renaissance http://www.bolles.org/uploaded/PDFs/academics/AP_AP/APEuro7._Social_Change_and_Continuity.pdf)
    The emergence of the Middle Class contributed to money becoming a primary indication of power as opposed to land and people, as it had been in the past. The Church slowly began to lose power due to the fact that they lacked actual money, and only had land and people to show their superiority.

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  8. ReAnna, you allude to how the wealth enjoyed by the city-states in Italy contributed to the fostering of the Renaissance and how the Church began to lose power as a result. You could support your correlation between wealth and waning Church influence by contrasting Italy to Northern Europe. Due to Northern Europe's lack of economic prosperity their Renaissance was still heavily influenced by religion.

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