Civiliza Essay, Research Paper
The Effects of The Renaissance on Western CivilizationThere were four main effects of the Renaissance on Western Civilization. First, is the rise of new kind of scholar the humanist. Humanists were concerned with culture and philosophy. They studied art, music, mathematics, literature, and language. Art played an important role in the Renaissance. Many new artists arose, such as Leonardo Da Vinci, Michelangelo, and Remi. The humanist approach to theology and scripture may be traced from the Italian scholar Petrarch to the Dutch scholar Desiderius Erasmus; it made a powerful impact on Roman Catholics and Protestants. The birth of this new scholar is mostly credited to the increase in wealth among merchants and political figures who spent their money on different things, such as education, banking, and new forms of government. The increase in their attention started an expansion of educational institutes and technical schools. Supported by powerful families such as the Medici s and Pope Julius II, the universities flourished and are still a major part in Italy today.This, in turn, affected the world in a second way. With the invention of the printing press, literacy spread across Europe at a rapid pace. In contrast to the Middle Ages, when only monks and religious officials could read, the common person was now able to obtain books with relative ease, and read them. One of the first books printed was the Bible, which is usually credited to Johan Gutenberg. This new freedom prompted Europeans to explore new worlds. As books in languages other then Latin and Greek were published, it allowed scholars from different countries to read and share their findings. It also allowed philosophers like Niccolo Machiavelli to write works that challenged, but did not overthrow, the Catholic, centrally-governed political system that was currently in power. By reading these outspoken declarations, among other prompts, Europeans got the courage to start a renaissance of their own, which is commonly referred to as the Reformation of the Catholic Church. The Reformation is the third major effect of the Renaissance. In the year 1305, the Roman Catholic Church was relocated from Rome to France. With this, the power of the papal states was divided among the region’s leading families. Starting near the year 1300 the demand for reform began to grow at a rapid pace. By the 1600’s close to half of the practicing Catholics in Western Europe had left the Church to join one of the new reformed religious groups. One of these newly formed religions was Protestantism, which was formed by Martin Luther, a rebel for his time. The Reformation generally began when Martin Luther posted ninety-five theses on a church door on October 31, 1517. His theses was an open attack on the authority of the church, and ultimately lead to his breach with the Catholic Church. The conflict between Luther and the church was long and bitter, and, among other things, contributed to the Thirty Years War. The Treaty of Westphalia (1648) brought about the end of the Thirty Years War, although it did not bring stabilization to Italy. The force of the Reformation, and its offspring, Protestantism, has continued to this day to exert influence on western civilization.
The fourth effect that the Renaissance had on Western Civilization was territorial unification. Italian city-states were transformed during the Renaissance from communes to territorial states, each of which sought to expand at the expense of the others. Territorial unification also took place in Spain, France, and England. The process was aided by modern diplomacy, which took its place beside the new warfare when the Italian city-states established resident embassies at foreign courts. A new idea also came about due to the Renaissance. It was absolutism, which means the principle or the exercise of complete and unrestricted power in government. In Prussia, Frederick the Great exercised his power of absolutism by building up his army and strengthening the foundation of the Prussian state. Others, such as Peter the Great, and Louis XIV expressed their power. Many cities and territories were conquered and combined. At the height of the Renaissance there were five major city-states in Italy: the combined state of Naples and Sicily, the Papal State, Florence, Milan, and Venice. By the 16th century, the institution of permanent embassies spread northward to France, England, and the Holy Roman Empire. These city-states still influence the western world greatly, with their innovations, trends, new governing techniques, etc.In conclusion, the Renaissance was a time of new awakening in Europe. It included the general loss of power by the church, an increase in literacy and education, and an exploration period. These new ideas and outcomes were, and still are influential to Italy and Europe and also all of the Western Civilization. The Renaissance marked the beginning of the modern world and the modern government. As for political thought, the medieval proposition that the preservation of liberty, law, and justice constitutes the central aim of political life was challenged but not overthrown by Renaissance theorists. They contended that the central task of government was to maintain security and peace. It provided an example for future governments to heed, and also acted as a leader for the revolution of the world. Above all, however, “the age of the Renaissance marked a decisive stage in the transition from Middle Ages to the modern world”(Ferguson 1).