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The European Renaissance

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The European Renaissance

The Renaissance, which began in Italy in 1300s, was one of the largest periods of growth and development in Western Europe. There were many factors leading to the Renaissance. First was the development of Scholasticism. This was an attempt to mix Christian beliefs with non-Christian philosophy. The Crusades to recapture Jerusalem was another factor leading to the beginning of the Renaissance. The Crusades brought back lost works from the Roman Empire and opened trade with the Middle East. The crusades led to the loss of the Church’s prestige. The church was no longer viewed as the source of truth and authority. The Bubonic Plague led people to question the church and set the stage for massive social, political, economic and philosophical change.

The Crusades led to an increase in trade caused abundance in wealth that resulted in the focusing of the arts. Major advances in literature, paintings, sculptures occurred during this period. The most drastic change took place in art. Some of the famous art from this time include: Donatello’s sculpture of David, da Vinci’s Mona Lisa and the Last Supper, and Michelanglo’s ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. Masaccio developed the rules of perspective and oil paints were invented. The Renaissance was truly the "rebirth" of lost ideas from ancient Greece and Rome along with the birth of new ideas. One of the more important inventions of this period was the movable type printing press. Johann Gutenberg is credited with printing the first book, a copy of the Bible. On small pieces of metal they engraved single letters of the alphabet. These could then be arranged and rearranged to form words and sentences. By the 1500's printing presses where fairly well spread. The printing press had many effects on the world. For the first time books could be produced in large quantities, which made them cheaper.



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