These two terms are attempts to break history up into distinct periods, although in truth the transitions from one “period” to another are amorphous. “Elizabethan” refers specifically to the reign of Britain’s monarch, Elizabeth 1, from 1558 to 1601. This period was notable for its English literature, especially drama and the works of William Shakespeare. Elizabeth’s reign was relatively stable and her court was friendly toward the arts. The Renaissance, on the other hand, refers to the awakening from the Middle Ages, the resuscitation of Greek and Roman literature, and the general enlightened social culture, roughly 1400-1800 (and Elizabeth’s reign is part of this period); its “rebirth” and development of these earlier cultures gave Europe its distinct social personality. Historical periods, remember, are labeled for the convenience of historians (compare Age of Enlightenment, Romantic Period, Victorianism, and the like), and seldom are named during their own existence.