An introduction to the history of humanism and italian renaissance

Though Renaissance writers seemed to be quite on the side of "order," the theme of "disorder" is much in evidence, suggesting that the age may have been experiencing some growing discomfort with traditional hierarchies. Human beings, for example, were pictured as placed between the beasts and the angels. To act against human nature by not allowing reason to rule the emotions--was to descend to the level of the beasts. Yet Renaissance writers at times showed ambivalence towards such a rigidly organized universe.

An introduction to the history of humanism and italian renaissance

Origin and meaning of the term humanism The ideal of humanitas The history of the term humanism is complex but enlightening. It was first employed as humanismus by 19th-century German scholars to designate the Renaissance emphasis on Classical studies in education.

These studies were pursued and endorsed by educators known, as early as the late 15th century, as umanisti—that is, professors or students of Classical literature. The word umanisti derives from the studia humanitatisa course of Classical studies that, in the early 15th century, consisted of grammarpoetryrhetorichistoryand moral philosophy.

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The studia humanitatis were held to be the equivalent of the Greek paideia. Renaissance humanism in all its forms defined itself in its straining toward this ideal.

An introduction to the history of humanism and italian renaissance

No discussion of humanism, therefore, can have validity without an understanding of humanitas. Humanitas meant the development of human virtue, in all its forms, to its fullest extent.

The term thus implied not only such qualities as are associated with the modern word humanity—understanding, benevolencecompassion, mercy—but also such more assertive characteristics as fortitudejudgment, prudenceeloquence, and even love of honour.

Consequently, the possessor of humanitas could not be merely a sedentary and isolated philosopher or man of letters but was of necessity a participant in active life.

Humanism Triggers The Renaissance - HISTORY

Just as action without insight was held to be aimless and barbaric, insight without action was rejected as barren and imperfect. Humanitas called for a fine balance of action and contemplation, a balance born not of compromise but of complementarity.

The goal of such fulfilled and balanced virtue was political, in the broadest sense of the word. The purview of Renaissance humanism included not only the education of the young but also the guidance of adults including rulers via philosophical poetry and strategic rhetoric.

It included not only realistic social criticism but also utopian hypothesesnot only painstaking reassessments of history but also bold reshapings of the future. Humanism had an evangelical dimension: The wellspring of humanitas was Classical literature.

Greek and Roman thought, available in a flood of rediscovered or newly translated manuscripts, provided humanism with much of its basic structure and method.

For Renaissance humanists, there was nothing dated or outworn about the writings of AristotleCiceroor Livy. Compared with the typical productions of medieval Christianitythese pagan works had a fresh, radical, almost avant-garde tonality.

Things and words

Indeed, recovering the classics was to humanism tantamount to recovering reality. Classical philosophyrhetoric, and history were seen as models of proper method—efforts to come to terms, systematically and without preconceptions of any kind, with perceived experience. Moreover, Classical thought considered ethics qua ethics, politics qua politics: Classical virtue, in examples of which the literature abounded, was not an abstract essence but a quality that could be tested in the forum or on the battlefield.Introduction.

The period of European history referred to as the Renaissance was a time of great social and cultural change in Europe. Generally speaking, the Renaissance spanned from the 14th to the 16th centuries, spreading .

Humanism of the renaissance period was the predominant movement that revolutionized philosophical, intellectual, and literary customs. It first originated in Italy during the fourteenth century and eventually spread to other major areas in Europe such as Greece.

One of the most important changes humanism introduced was a secular viewpoint of history. Humanism The introduction of the concept of humanism greatly affected the Renaissance The Humanistic influence shaped Renaissance art, writing, education and thinkers, its ideas were spread among all aspects of life.

Humanism - Later Italian humanism: The achievements of Alberti, Federico, and the Medici up to Lorenzo may be seen as the effective culmination of Italian humanism—the ultimate realization of its motives and principles.

At the same time that these goals were being achieved, however, the movement was beginning to suffer bifurcation and dilution. Find out more about the history of Italian Renaissance, including videos, interesting articles, pictures, historical features and more. Introduction.

humanism . A Bibliographical Introduction to the Italian Humanists. Edited by Craig Kallendorf. Italian humanism, the defining movement of the Renaissance, was a system of learning that produced a cultural renewal in Europe through the study and adoption of ancient Greco-Roman culture.

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