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morrowl16 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The Renaissance was a cultural movement that initially began in Florence, Italy, but later spread throughout Europe. It started around 1350 and ended around 1600. During the Renaissance (a word that means "rebirth"), people experienced changes in art, learning, and many other things. Prior to the Renaissance, Europe experienced the Medieval Times, otherwise known as the Dark Ages. The Dark Ages were characterized by war, famine, and disease, and many people disliked this. During the Dark Ages, Humanists emerged, which were people who believed that the individual had important contributions to make in the world (rather than just relying on the church). Humanists got their ideas from the ancient Greeks and Romans, which inspired their new ideas and artistic feats.

There are many causes to the Renaissance, the first is the Bubonic Plague, also known as "The Black Death." The plague spread throughout Europe like wildfire during the 1300s but ultimately led to good changes in business and trade in places like Italy. Italy moved away from meager grain sales to the sales of fine items like wine, oil, cheese, and leather goods.  Italy's central location made it a great hub for business and trade with the countries of Northern Europe. (I realize that Italy was not actually called Italy during the Renaissance; however, it is the easiest way to picture it since that is what we call it now). 

Another cause of the Renaissance was the new idea that social class didn't have to dictate your wealth. For the first time, people realized that they could work hard to earn money and then rise in society, rather than to let the class they were born into dictate their financial freedom.

Overall, the Renaissance was a time when people began to think for themselves and to attempt new artistic feats. The trade of fine items and ideas would eventually lead the Renaissance to spread throughout Northern Europe, and for the first time the working class emerged as wealthy.

I have provided the Crash Course History-Renaissance video. The narrator speaks a bit fast, but he does a good job covering all of the basics!


besure77 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The Renaissance was a cultural movement that started in Florence but spread throughout Europe. It started roughly in the 14th century and lasted until the 17th century. It started at different times in different places so there isn't really a specific date that it started. There are many theories in relation to why it started in Florence but most scholars agree that it had to do with the wealth that was there at the time.

Renaissance means "rebirth" and people had a new found passion for learning and art. Europe had previously witnessed catastrophic events such as the Black Death and war between England and France. There was a lot of death and despair and people were ready for a revival.

dancer7 | Student

The renaissance probably began due to two factors, the fall of Constantinople (the most advanced city in Europe) in 1453, which drove all her scholars westwards to escape the invading Turks.

And the sacking of the great Muslim cities of Moorsih Spain which allowed western Christians access to the vast knowledge of the Islamic empire (which included, in Arabic, all the works of the Greeks)

sciencesolve | Student

The Renaissance is considered to have begun in Florence, Italy around the year 1350. The beginning of the Renaissance is also considered the end of the Middle Ages.

The Renaissance was a cultural movement that was characterized by a philosophical and ethical position called Humanism. In Italy, the humanist educational curricula has been very well welcomed and, by the middle of fifteenth century, the humanist education was given to the students of the upper classes.

The poet Francesco Petrarch, who lived in Florence in the 1300s, was called the "Father of Humanism". His work became an inspiration to many poets throughout all of Europe as the Renaissance expanded.

The Medieval Italian poet and philosopher, who wrote the trilogy "The Divine Comedy", was also a contributor of great importance to the beginning of the Renaissance.

Giotto's realistic painting style made him the the first painter who have started the Renaissance in art.

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