Essay by roughrider112188High School, 11th gradeA+, December 2004

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The word renaissance means rebirth. The thought of rebirth came from the Europeans when they rediscovered the dominance of Greek and Roman culture after many centuries of what they thought was an intellectual and cultural drop. The renaissance was a series of cultural movements in the 14th, 15th, and 16th centuries. These movements began in Italy and eventually spread into Germany, France, England, and other parts of Europe. The renaissance was an age when artistic, social, and economic thoughts turned in new directions. The Renaissance was a time when old beliefs were tested, and by looking at paintings and sculptures from this time period you can see that the Europeans were creating a whole new culture.

Around the 1450's European scholars became more interested in studying the world around them. Their art became life-like and they began to explore new lands. The Renaissance began in northern Italy and then spread through Europe.

Italian cities like Naples, Genoa, and Venice became centers of trade between Europe and the Middle East. Arab scholars kept the writings of the ancient Greeks in their libraries. When the Italian cities traded with the Arabs not only were their goods traded but so were their ideas. These ideas were the basis of the Renaissance. When the Byzantine Empire fell to Muslim Turks in 1453, many Christian scholars left Greece for Italy. The Renaissance wasn't just studying the work of ancient scholars; it influenced painting, sculpture, and architecture. Paintings became more realistic and focused less on religious topics. Rich families started to buy this great art. Artists advanced the Renaissance style of showing nature and showing the feelings of people.

The people of Renaissance Florence were separated into four social classes. The nobles owned much of the land, and lived on large estates outside the city...