The Changing of Worldview by Reaching into the Past
Was the Renaissance really "a thing?" As the video found on this page attests, not everyone is in agreement on the impact that this period of European history had on the everyday people. What is indisputable, however, is that the culture of Europe over time has changed significantly. The art, architecture, science and views of individual capabilities began to drastically change during the 14th, 15th and 16th Centuries. One of the greatest changes, was the way that in the Renaissance the needs and desires of the individual began to gain more prominence, and scholars looked back to an ancient time in order to find inspiration for the new world that they were creating.
The word "Renaissance" derives from French and means "rebirth." It signifies a reemergence of European culture, as represented by Ancient Greece and Rome, alongside a rediscovery of Greek and Roman philosophy. The word Renaissance is not one that ever would have been used at them time - it was not used to describe this era until 200 years later by a French historian. Humanism is a movement during the Renaissance in which the great thinkers of the day began to move from medieval scholasticism (study of the divine focused on tradition) towards early Greek and Roman thought. The word "humanities," as we study in school, comes from "humanism." In regard to the Renaissance, it refers to the study of language arts (poetry, grammar, etc), social studies (history, politics) and philosophy.
Whilst examining humanism, we will look at the works of some of the great individuals of the time period, and how they looked to classical antiquity in order to create something new that helped permanently alter the worldview of future generations.