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What should we understand by the term Renaissance? Free essay! Download now

Home > A Level > History > What should we understand by the term Renaissance?

What should we understand by the term Renaissance?

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Downloads to date: N/A | Words: 1700 | Submitted: 11-May-2008
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What should we understand by the term Renaissance?

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The term Renaissance is a very complex one to define. One may argue that “Renaissance” appeared as a term which addresses various problems of the Western culture between the first century A.D and the Renaissance. Many scholars today would share the same opinion that this period was not in fact one of constant deterioration or stagnation. This period instead saw numerous renewal of culture. Today it is common practice to refer to this era during this time as the “twelfth-century Renaissance” The stable improvement of western civilization was disturbed many times as it stacked knowledge during the middle ages. There were a minimum of people who could read and write, but more than that there were even fewer who had no education at all. Moreover, it is said that some of the literary works of earlier times were lost forever and therefore momentarily these era where people lacked knowledge ended, but in return they gained new ones. This however was a cultural setback which is also described as “the dark ages” of which the opposite would now be called the renaissances. Many historians argue that the Italian Renaissance was not actually the only Renaissance. One can argue that this period which was and still is today known to the people of the present to be the Italian Renaissance. However it was not the only Renaissance because during this period there were the Harlem and Irish Renaissance which addressed the lost or stolen language, the Carolingian renaissance which was founded by Charlemagne, and which addressed the principal of religion, and numerous more before and between that of the seventh century. This will be further examined in depth.

According to John Hunizinga, Burckhardt criticized the Renaissance in Italy defined the period in terms of two concepts. They are ‘Individualism’ and the other is ‘Modernity’. In Burckhardt’s view, of the Renaissance, is that “human minds were not yet awaken and that man was only conscious of himself only as a member of a race, people, party or cooperation” However in Renaissance this changed the common veil, or as Burckhardt puts it “melt into air” and man began to think for themselves and also to recognize themselves as spiritual individuals. And the second is modernity and as Burckhardt again wrote, “The Italian was the first born among the sons of Modern Europe, and that one of the first truly modern men of the fourteenth century was Francesco Petrarca”. Italy saw the renewal of different ideas and art which are two of the most fundamental aspects of the Renaissance which later extended to the whole of Europe. Huizinga argued that Burckhardt’s view of the Renaissance is inaccurate. Huizinga argument is that Burckhardt’s view of the Renaissance, objected to the dramatic contrast to be overstated ignoring the many innovations which were made in the “Middle Ages” and also the survival of traditional attitudes into the sixteenth century and beyond.
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