Ming the Mechanic:
Renaissance

The NewsLog of Flemming Funch
 Renaissance2003-02-07 14:45
7 comments
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by Flemming Funch

In times of change it can be useful to look back at other times of cultural change, at least those that can be considered successful in retrospect. The Renaissance was one of those periods. 'Renaissance', is French for 'rebirth'. It describes the intellectual and economic changes that occurred in Europe from the fourteenth through the sixteenth centuries. Europe emerged from the stagnation of the Middle Ages and experienced an age of artistic, social, scientific and political innovation and new thought, as well as financial growth.

The Renaissance is usually considered to have originated in Florence, Italy. Fifteenth-century Florence was a self-governed, independent city-state. The basis of its economic success was its twelve artist guilds that regulated the trades. Wealthy guild members held position in government and were very influential in both society and politics. Because of its strong economy and a political philosophy that was dedicated to the welfare of the city, Florence thrived. The Florence banking business was also a foundation for its success. The Florentine gold coin known as the florin was of such reliable purity that it became the standard coinage throughout Europe.

Many factors contributed to the emergence of the Renaissance throughout Europe:

Gutenberg invented the printing press in 1445, which made it possible to more widely read about philosophy and science, and the stranglehold of the church was diminished. And people started to read 'classics', texts from ancient Greece and Rome, which had been completely ignored for centuries. That inspired a re-cycling and re-invention of good things from many sources.

Improvements in navigation and map making made it possible to travel farther than before, and there was a lively trade, bringing in exotic spices and gems and fabrics from foreign lands.

Architecture was inspired by the ancient Greeks and Romans, and by newfound mathematical principles, and a fascination for harmonious proportions, the golden mean, symmetry.

There were also many negative factors that have inspired the need for an explosion of innovation. Europe had been devastated by the plague, kept in the dark by the church, and life had just been hard work and misery for most people.

Any of that we can use today? Well, it was about bringing in many different new and old influences. It was about an increased ability to communicate information in writing. It was about advances in science that made it possible to understand the world better. It was about incrased ability to trade. It was about versatile geniuses who were both artists, scientists, philosophers, architects and politicians, who would weave these many influences together. ...All of which might very well apply to our situation now, with the Internet, and suddenly increased facilities for interacting with cultures and with knowledge we were isolated from before.

Here are some references on the Renaissance: [link] [link] [link] [link] [link].


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7 comments

8 Feb 2003 @ 13:43 by sharie : War started it
Hi Ming, thanks for the good news. May I add a bit more history about the Renaissance, as many historians seem to overlook the connection. The Mongolian empire was invading from the east, pushing the ottomans westward, which resulted in the *Crusades* at the time of King Richard and Prince John. Christian warrior monks and others journeyed eastward as they fought to keep the ottomans from invading Rome, Venice, and Transylvania among other places. This was the time of the real-life Count Dracula who rose to power because his father and brother were both assassinated by opposing forces. Dracula's father wore the Catholic medallion, but to protect his empire, he sent his eldest son to be trained by the muslims in Constantinople. Both were assassinated, which left Dracula as the leader of Transylvania. Dracula became famous for being blood-thirsty because his family and nation were being slaughtered, ripped to shreds, all because Transylvania was situated between Constantinople and Rome. These two major cities attracted the world's greatest artists, mathematicians, scientists, and scholars. When the Ottoman army had finally conquered Constantinople in 1453 - after numerous failed attempts - the christians (the fair complected ones) were being slaughtered. So a huge influx of the greatest artists, mathematicians, scientists, and scholars in all the world were fleeing for their lives. Where were they to go but to Italy... the other mecca for men like them... and Venice had the greatest support for these men (although some went to Rome, Florence other Italian cities). So this is the history behind the sudden surge of brilliance and creativity at the time of the Renaissance, it was the coming together and sharing of ideas by these great homeless artists, mathematicians, scientists and scholars who gathered at sidewalk cafes, in art studios, and in laboratories. So it was invasion that actually prompted the gathering of great minds which resulted in the Renaissance.

I never liked mysteries. I don't know why historians never seem to make this connection. They talk like the Renaissance just happened very mysteriously... it was because of the immigration of the brilliant Byzantine minds.  



5 Jan 2004 @ 13:38 by DEIDRA @24.165.101.16 : Research paper
my son & I are doing a research paper on The Fall of Constantinople and in the paper we have to tie in the connection between the fall and the renaissance. It almost sounds as if The Fall of Constantinople turned out to be a good thing, but it sounds like such a bad thing.............I am not comprehending what I need. Did all the smart guys flee to Rome??? Is this where the Renaissance started...........what about the Islams, what happened to them??  


5 Jan 2004 @ 15:07 by ming : Constantinople
Hm, I don't know. But Constantinople was a very renaissance-like center of knowledge and art, attracting scholars from many corners of the world, wasn't it? So, maybe the world felt the need for a sort of replacement when it fell apart. But then again, it wasn't exactly Muslims that created the Renaissance in Italy. But maybe travelling scholars switched their travel plans. Maybe the real impetus and catalyst is the presence of outside influences?  


14 Dec 2004 @ 14:15 by Susan Dickson @205.208.214.122 : signs of the guilds
I am doing an assignment in a GT History class. The teacher wants us to find the signs of the trades in Florence Italy. He gave us an emblem sheet with pictures and words under them. For example a jar with "asari" written under it, or and ax with "macellari. There are 20 pictures and words. Can you help with this?  


23 Oct 2008 @ 02:45 by Jup K Akatsuki @66.18.247.109 : Florentine Renaissance
for social studies, i am doing a project on Florence during the Renaissance time. The questions are:
1) How did the physical geography of Renaissance Europe affect trade and competition among European countries? (Talk about the location of your city-state, why did it develop more than other major cities?)
2) How did increased trade lead to the emergence of powerful city-states?
3) In what ways did the thinkers and philosophers influence society in the development of a humanist worldview during the Renaissance? (Pick 3 from your city-state, and do a biography on them, and how they influenced society....)
4) The rise and fall f the De' Medici (timeline, biographies of the most important and influential)
Please help =] thank you!  



5 Feb 2010 @ 01:25 by nom @174.0.48.60 : help
for social studies, i am doing a project on Florence during the Renaissance time. The questions are:
1) How did the physical geography of Renaissance Europe affect trade and competition among European countries? (Talk about the location of your city-state, why did it develop more than other major cities?)
2) How did increased trade lead to the emergence of powerful city-states?
3) In what ways did the thinkers and philosophers influence society in the development of a humanist worldview during the Renaissance? (Pick 3 from your city-state, and do a biography on them, and how they influenced society....)
4) The rise and fall f the De' Medici (timeline, biographies of the most important and influential)
Please help =] thank you!  



23 Sep 2010 @ 20:44 by jack tacker @199.216.252.3 : social 9
fuck fuck fuck fuck fuuuucccckk  


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