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THE RENNAISSANCE-Protestant reformation

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Between 1300 and 1600 the Western world was transformed.

An extraordinary wave of artistic and cultural innovation shattered medieval society and brought
European culture reluctantly into the modern era.

This was the Renaissance.

In art…

Artists discovered how to paint in three dimensions, bringing new life and realism to their subjects. Breaking away from the
religious traditions of the medieval world, they created entirely new genres of art that were rich in drama and emotion. New
techniques were invented, like painting with oils, and perspective. Artists such as Botticelli, Gozzoli, Michelangelo,
Leonardo, Raphael, Donatello and Ghiberti transformed the way we saw our world.

In architecture and science…

Buildings were constructed that were bigger and better than ever before. Taking inspiration from the classical past, new rules were
invented governing proportion and perspective. Magnificent temples to wealth were designed across Florence and the largest dome
in the world was built by Filippo Brunelleschi, the brilliant engineer.

Men no longer accepted at face value the teachings of the Church. Now they wanted to study the natural world, to discover for
themselves the secrets of the universe. Leonardo da Vinci pioneered the study of human anatomy (body) and Galileo Galilei
rocked the Catholic establishment by announcing that the Earth revolved around the Sun.

In politics (government) …

Freed from the exclusive grasp of the Catholic Church, education filtered down to the upwardly mobile middle classes. Ancient
texts, unread for more than 1,000-years, were read enthusiastically and debated. With the invention of printing, ideas swept across
Europe faster than ever before, and thinkers and writers shared their opinions with the general public. Vasari recorded the lives of
artists and the contribution of the Medici, in a precursor of today's public relations.

Machiavelli wrote the first modern manual for leadership, “The Prince”, visualizing a practical, realistic world in which the end
always justified the means.

Throughout Italy, republics and duchies blossomed under the glow of creative achievement. Around Europe, kings and princes
turned their sights on Italy and an era of total war was soon unleashed.

In religion…

In this new world of communication and debate, the corruption and decadence of the Catholic Church was almost intolerable.
Martin Luther becomes the first heretic to publish his theories worldwide. This German monk shattered centuries of reverence
and assumption, paved the way for a revolution in faith and forever divided the Christian world prompting the Counter-

People still argue about what the Renaissance meant, when it began and if it even existed. What is undeniable is that something
extraordinary happened at the heart of the last millennium. It changed the face of western culture and left no doubt that the Medici
were the patrons, the catalyst of genius.

Navigation & Trade

Tools developed in the Middle Ages for exploration continued to be used during the Renaissance. One of these was the astrolabe, a
portable device used by sailors to help them find their way. By measuring the distance of the sun and stars above the horizon, the
astrolabe helped determine latitude, an important tool in navigation. Another tool, the magnetic compass, which had been invented
in the twelfth century, was improved upon during the Renaissance.
THE RENNAISSANCE-Protestant reformation
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Maps, too, became more reliable as Portuguese map makers, called cartographers, incorporated information provided by travelers
and explorers into their work. Shipbuilding also improved during the Renaissance, as large ships called galleons became common.

These ships were powered by sail rather than by men using oars.

The Beginning of Trade

Although navigation was still an imprecise (not exact) science, sailors were able to go farther than they had before. This was
important because as the economy of the Renaissance continued to improve, there were ever-increasing demands for imported
(bring into a country) goods (particular spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, clove, etc.)and new places to export (sell out of the
country) local products.

For traders, sailing proved to be a better option than traveling by land, as the network of roads that crisscrossed Europe was poor,
and the few good roads that did exist were frequented by thieves.

The Renaissance sailor first took to the seas to supply Europeans with the many Asian spices they demanded. Peppercorns,
nutmeg, mace, and cinnamon all came from lands to the east. Also from the East came precious gems and fine silk, a fabric
especially sought after for women's clothing. These trading voyages were often paid for by investors.

When Gutenberg invented the printing press in 1445, he forever changed the lives of people in Europe and, eventually, all over the
world. Previously, bookmaking entailed copying all the words and illustrations by hand. Often the copying had been done onto
parchment, animal skin that had been scraped until it was clean, smooth, and thin. The labor that went into creating them made
each book very expensive. Because Gutenberg's press could produce books quickly and with relatively little effort, bookmaking
became much less expensive, allowing more people to buy reading material.


The Demand for Books Grows

In the Middle Ages, books had been costly and education rare; only the clergy had been regular readers and owners of books. Most
books had been written in Latin, considered the language of scholarship. In the Renaissance, the educated middle classes, who
could now afford books, demanded works in their own languages. Furthermore, readers wanted a greater variety of books.
Almanacs, travel books, chivalry romances, and poetry were all published at this time. Simultaneously, a means of printing music
was also invented, making music available at a reasonable cost. As the demand for books grew, the book trade began to flourish
throughout Europe, and industries related to it, such as papermaking, thrived as well. The result of all of this was a more literate
populace and a stronger economy.

Humanism Emerges
Books also helped to spread awareness of a new philosophy that emerged when Renaissance scholars known as humanists returned
to the works of ancient writers. Previously, during the Middle Ages, scholars had been guided by the teachings of the church, and
people had concerned themselves with actions leading to heavenly rewards. The writings of ancient, pagan Greece and Rome,
called the "classics," had been greatly ignored. To study the classics, humanists learned to read Greek and ancient Latin, and they
sought out manuscripts that had lain undisturbed for nearly 2,000 years. The humanists rediscovered writings on scientific matters,
government, rhetoric, philosophy, and art. They were influenced by the knowledge of these ancient civilizations and by the
emphasis placed on man, his intellect, and his life on Earth.


Martin Luther played a very significant role in bringing about the Protestant Reformation. Luther wrote down all of his criticisms
of the Church and nailed them to the door of the church at Wittenberg, in the Holy Roman Empire. Luther had 95 criticisms of the
Church and called his document the "95 Theses". The ideas contained in Luther's 95 Theses quickly spread due to the use of the
printing press and thus became a "mass media" event.

What did Luther believe was wrong with the Church? The Church's practice of selling indulgences, or the forgiveness of sin, was
wrong and were not the way to attain salvation The practice of simony was wrong (the selling of Church offices)
What were Luther's Ideas? The way to obtain God's grace/salvation was simply through faith and the reading of the Bible, not
through good deeds. Church practices should be simplified - fancy ceremonies & robes were unnecessary
What were the Effects of the Protestant Reformation? More division of the Christian religion into many different Protestant sects,
like Lutheranism, Calvinism, Puritanism, Anglican, which all broke away from Roman Catholicism and the power of the pope
Henry VIII of England forms his own protestant church, the Anglican Church. The Counter-Reformation and the Inquisition begin
to seek out heretics