What two ancient cultures influenced the Renaissance?

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pholland14 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The Renaissance was mostly affected by the ancient Greeks and Romans. Before this period, there was little interest in studying these two groups because they were not Christians and most of their most valuable writings were locked away in Constantinople.

After the fall of the Eastern Roman Empire in 1453, classical scholars fled to the West. Also, the Vatican grew weaker and could not prohibit the reading of these ancient works. Europeans looked back to antiquity as a "golden era" of thought and sought to emulate the learning of ancient philosophers and scientists. Artists looked at sculptures from ancient Greece and Rome and sought to emulate these in their own work. The early military scientists studied the campaigns of Caesar and sought to learn lessons that they could apply to modern battles. Renaissance political scientists read Aristotle and sought to create the ideal government—much to the consternation of established kings. Many writers even created Latin-sounding pseudonyms in an attempt to emulate the ancient Romans whom they so admired.