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The European Renaissance

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The European Renaissance

The Renaissance was a period of European history, considered

by modern scholars as that between 1300 and 1600. Many dramatic

changes happened during the Renaissance. The Renaissance was a

period of new inventions and beliefs.

The Renaissance was drastically different from the Middle

Ages. During the Middle Ages the church held most of the power and

it's economy was agriculturally based. Exploration and learning

was almost put to a stop. During the Renaissance society was

transformed into a society increasingly dominated by central political

institutions with an urban commercial attitude. Also, people's

curiosity overcame their fear and many people started to venture out

and explore. New schools and colleges became more and more common.

The Renaissance was started by many rich Italian cities, such

as Florence, Ferrara, Milan ,and Venice. Because these cities were

very wealthy, many merchants started to spend money on different

things, such as painting, learning, new banking techniques, and new

systems of government. These things gave rise to a new type of

scholar, the humanist. Humanism was subjects concerned with humankind

and culture. They studied various things such as Latin, Greek

language, literature and philosophy. Music and mathematics were also

studied as well.

The Renaissance gave way to new forms of painting , art and

sculpture. During the Renaissance, artist were no longer regarded as

mere artisans, as they had been to the medieval past, but for the

first time emerged as independent personalities, compared to poets and

writers. Many artisans merged mathematics with art , in order to

become more precise in their measurements and to make sure an object

was supported both rationally and proportionally. As a result

painters tried and often succeeded into making their painting a window

into the world. Artists also studied the way light hits objects and

the way our eyes perceive light. A new kind of paint called oil paint

was used. This allowed the artist to create texture , mix colors, and

allow more time for corrections before it dried.

The printing press was probably the most important advance in

technology. Europeans first used movable metal type to print a book.

On small pieces of metal they engraved single letters of the

alphabet. These could then be arranged and rearranged to form words

and sentences. Johan Gutenberg is usually given credit for the first

book printed, a copy of the Bible. By the 1500's printing presses

where fairly well spread. The printing press had many effects on the

world. First of all, it made books much easier to come by, which made

them cheaper. That meant common people could afford them. As a result

literacy became more widespread, in contrast to the Middle Ages where

usually monks and church officials were the only able to read.

Second, since many more people were able to read, they wanted to read

subjects other than

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