Essay by stpierre10 July 2014

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Modern Europe 1500-1789

The Renaissance: Problem Paper Topic # 4

The word renaissance means "rebirth" in French. The age of the Renaissance was a transitional movement in Europe between medieval to modern times beginning in the 14th century in Italy. The two and half century time period of European history is called the Renaissance because it marked the rebirth of a certain way of thinking- the return to the values of the Classical era. It was a point in time of high artistic and cultural development. The era was characterized by a humanistic revival of classical influence expressed through arts and literature. There was a fuller appreciation of the writings, arts, and attitudes of the Greeks and Romans which was perhaps the most distinctive feature of the period. It was a period of discovery in many fields-of new scientific laws, new forms of art and literature, and new religious and political ideas.

The Renaissance immediately followed the period in Europe known as the Middle Ages. "During that time there was a great plague that raged in Europe from 1348-1350, the Continent lost a quarter or more of its population" (Platt; pg. 145). This epidemic, also known as the Black Death, helped to bring about the Renaissance in a number of ways. For example, survivors began moving to cities looking for work as the disease declined. Many workers and artisans had died therefore those who were left found that their services were in greater demand (Dahmus; pg. 357). Cities grew larger as a result which caused them to prosper culturally and stimulated the economy. Trade grew between city-states and other countries. As trade in goods increased, trade in ideas expanded. Italy was a perfect location between Western Europe and the Eastern shore of the Mediterranean. As a result, Italian cities became...