You are on page 1of 2

ORIGIN AND CAUSES OF RENAISSANCE

Renaissance, in historical context, implies a momentous cultural movement marked by revival of interest in the classical age of the Romans and the Greeks. It aimed at rediscovering the cultural accomplishments of the classical period and rescuing its arts and literature in order to revive and recreate a new culture, free from medieval bondage. Pierre Belon used the term Renaissance, implying classical antiquity in a new spirit. Between the 14th and 16th centuries: Major attempts were made through a series of movements in many parts of Europe, mainly in the Italian city states to reshape and recreate social values. It became a period of intense creativity in the field of thought, literature, arts, architecture, politics, and practical sciences. It was a period of revival based on the old learning and spread through traditional methods. It was a period of innovation in which much new knowledge was generated that would become the foundation of modern thought, and spread by a new medium, print, which meant that a far wider community could share in and debate the changes. The beginning of Renaissance can be traced to the time of the Black Death or even earlier in the 14th century, and its end to the early 16th century which witnessed grave political turmoil, ravages from incessant warfare and natural calamities. Italy had been the centre of the Roman Empire. From 14th 16th centuries, Italy was well in advanced than other countries in terms of cultural, political, mercantile economy, and the rise of city states. The traditional view of the Renaissance, according to Theodore de Beze, was that it suddenly emerged as a result of the fall of Constantinople in 1453 that caused the flight of the Greeks to Italy. Knowledge of Greek and Roman culture had never completely died out in medieval Europe, being kept alive during the Dark Ages in the monasteries, and during the High Middle Ages in the growing universities. Thus, the Italian Renaissance was more the product of a long evolution rather than a sudden outburst. The concept of Renaissance and its place in history has undergone changes because of a variety of interpretations. One needs to emphasize the Renaissance

movement as a whole rather than looking it at as an event. The writers of renaissance displayed a strong dislike of the culture of Middle ages by describing it as dark age. According to Jacob Burckhardt, he claimed that the Renaissance period stood in distinct contrast to the Middle Ages. He analysed societies in terms of the reciprocal interaction of three powers the state, culture, and religion. To him, the Renaissance ushered in attitudes that initially transformed Italy and then the whole world. It inaugurated the modern world with fresh attitudes to natural phenomenon, moral and religious questions, to public affairs and towards the creative world of arts and letters. It also brought an age of individualism. Renaissance Italy was drawing upon the civilizations of ancient Greece and Rome, upon whose ruins it was literally sitting. During the Middle Ages, Italians had neglected and abused their Roman heritage, even stripping marble and stone from Roman buildings for their own constructions. However, by the late Middle Ages, they were becoming more aware of the Roman civilization surrounding them. Italy was also geographically well placed for contact with the Byzantines and Arabs who had preserved classical culture. Both of these factors combined to make Italy well suited to absorb the Greek and Roman heritage. The crusades, fought in medieval age, played a special role in showing a path of new learning. These crusades were fought by Christians to free Jerusalem from the Turks. This continued from the end of the 11th century to the 13th century. The crusades deeply influenced the social, economic, and intellectual aspects of Europe. The invention of the printing press greatly contributed to the development of renaissance. Earlier, texts existed in a few handwritten copies. So the expansion of education was very limited. Johannes Gutenberg of Germany set up the first printing press. The invention of the printing press greatly increased the number of books which expanded education.