The time-period when ideas were 'rebirthed' is known as the Renaissance. It came after the middle ages which started with the fall of the Roman Empire. The Middle Ages (476 AD - 1400 AD) had wiped out much of the progress that the Roman and Greeks had made in the areas of science, art, and government. This is one of the reasons it has come to be known as the Dark Ages. The Renaissance helped pull the world out of the dark, and was sparked by one of the darkest times, the Black Plague.
The renaissance is thought to have started between 1350 and 1400. The starting city is considered to be Florence, Italy. Humanism, which is the idea that humanity should work together to progress as a species, was a constantly pushed idea. The Italians started to read the teachings that they could find on Rome and Greece, and realized there was once a golden age of civilization in Europe that had been pushed out by the Dark Ages. The Black Plague is often credited with pushing the renaissance forward, because it made the 'thinkers' of the time think more about their own lives and less on spiritual or after life matters.
Italy was broken up into several powerful city-states, or single cities that make up a state at the beginning of the Renaissance. Florence was one of the major city-states, and was ran as a republic like ancient Rome or Athens. A republic was when citizens elected someone to represent them in a chamber. As Florence became wealthier, merchants as well as businessmen hired artists and craftspeople more and more. This led to the ride of artists as well as philosophers of their time, and art went through its very own 'renaissance'. One of the most prominent families to rise in Florence was the Medici family, sometime in the 1400s. They used their wealth to sponsor many aspiring artists as well as help fund the humanist movement.
There were many people to rise in Florence that influenced the movement. The 'Father of Humanism' is often referred to as Francesco Petrarch, who was a scholar as well as a poet in the 1300s. He studied Ancient Roman philosophers and poets like Cicero and Virgil, and his ideas inspire d many writers throughout Europe during the Renaissance. The painter who is thought to have started the style that pushed forward through the renaissance was Giotto di Bondone. He painted people as he truly saw them, rather than the abstract methods brought on by the Byzantine Empire during the Middle Ages. The paint style that he invented is known as realistic painting.
These ideas spread quickly to many different city-states in Italy, such as Rome, Venice, and Milan. This time-period is often known as the Italian Renaissance, as it was Italy leading the charge into this new age of reason. As Italy's wealth grew, so too did their ideas spread across all of Europe. Some of the most famous people of all time got their start here, and the term renaissance man was born, which meant a man that could do anything he set his mind to.
Leonardo da Vinci is the man most people think of when they think of the Renaissance. He was a master painter, sculptor, scientist, engineer, architect, inventor, and writer. His ideas pushed people to achieve great things, giving inspiration to humanity about flight, the desire to learn the inner workings of the body, and created beautiful works of art, like the most famous painting in the world, The Mona Lisa.
The Renaissance went on to continually push forward new ideas throughout Europe. Christopher Columbus went to Spain and get their assistance to find a new path to India, unwittingly discovering the New World for the first time by mainland Europeans. Francis I, who was King of France, helped push the arts from France to Italy. Bitter rivalries formed, and as new ideas came to be, so too did humanity as a species.
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