Francis Bacon (1561-1626) first published his Essays in 1597, during a period usually called the Renaissance, a term referring to the rebirth of classical knowledge in the Latin West. The period is also sometimes referred to as the Reformation, as it was a major period of reform for the Christian church, marked especially by the rise of Protestantism.
In England, the reigning monarch was Queen Elizabeth I (1533 – 1603), whose reign was marked by an increase in the power and prosperity of the English nation. She reigned from 1558 to her death, making her monarchy one of the longest and most stable in English history. She was the daughter of Henry VIII and part of the Tudor dynasty. In religion, she solidified the position of the Church of England, a Protestant Church established by her father Henry VIII, as a state church.
Bacon's essay reflects a change in education from the medieval period to the Renaissance, and the creation of a broadly humanistic curriculum, incorporating many of the newly rediscovered Greek and Latin texts. In a major break from medieval practice, the new education included Greek rather than just Latin. Bacon also advocated for greater study of the natural sciences.