Thursday, March 24, 2011

causes and effects of Renaissance.

Question: II-1-2: Discuss the circumstances responsible for the rapid growth of Renaissance in Europe. What were its effects?

Write the causes and effects of Renaissance.

Definition of Renaissance: Rebirth, Reawakening, Intellectual Awareness, Resurgence, Cultural Awakening and Cultural Revivalism are different terms which are used for Renaissance in history. After the thirteenth century, under the changing conditions of the time, man tried to discover the man and the world. It was like awakening to the true realities about the nature and man. This awakening is referred to as Renaissance. It is a French word, which means to wake again from a sleep. Some authorities have called it rebirth. It was not an event, but a distinct phase of epoch making effects, which continued as a parallel movement along with other changes in the European history. It was an intellectual, liberal, and cultural movement. The conquest of Turks over Constantinople is considered as that political event which started it. However, it is considered to have continued from the 14th to 16th century (or from 1350 AD to 1550 AD). It was a phase of changes which were more evident in cultural sphere and not a political event.
The Main Features of Renaissance:
(i) Importance to Humanism: There was stressed on Humanism, which was the distinctive feature of Renaissance.
(ii) Rational Attitude: The rational attitude replaced the superstitious beliefs.
(iii) Importance of Experiment: -Under Renaissance, the facts were accepted true only when authenticated by experiments.
(iv) Worship of Nature in art and philosophy: The worship of the beauty of nature started again under the influence of Renaissance. Such attitudes were not favoured in medieval period of Europe with had followed the Grecian and Roman period. The European considered them blasphemous and faith of heretics. However, during the Renaissance period, the values and attitudes of Ancient Greek and Roman culture were being reestablished. No doubt, some historians prefer to rate the Renaissance only as a cultural awakening or resurgence as it had influenced the culture aspects of Europe the most.

Causes of Renaissance: The circumstances and causes, which brought about above mentioned changes are discussed in brief as follows.
1. Crusades: - Crusaders brought new thoughts and beliefs, which replaced the old thoughts, beliefs and institutions. The crusades took pace in 1095 and 1291. As a result the Europeans came in contact with the people of East. In East, the Arabs were definitely leading a more civilized life due to their contacts with both the highly civilized Indian and Grecian cultures. The crusades had also encouraged the voyages and geographical studies. Their mental horizon expanded when they were exposed to other people and new ideas. They came back to Europe with scientific books of Aristotle, the Arabic numerals, mariners compass, and paper. They helped in breaking the hold of church and Christianity over the mental life of Europe which was starting point of Renaissance.
2. Commercial Prosperity: - Firstly, the trade links brought the prosperity and exposure to new avenues. Secondly, new cities like Venice, Milan, Florence etc. emerged. It became the meeting place with foreign traders within Europe and its free atmosphere was highly conducive for the rise of Renaissance. Thirdly, the large capital, which the traders acquired, had given them confidence and they sought knowledge and power. Fourthly, the traders started questioning church when it objected to charging interest on lending. All such factors marked the rise of new awareness, which was main engine for the rise of Renaissance.
3. Paper and Printing Press: Europeans learned the technique printing from the Arabs. Around 1450, John Gutenburg invented a typing machine, which can be called as the forerunner of the modern press. Printing presses were used in Rome in 1466. Caxton setup a printing press in Britain in 1477. The printing press brought revolutionary changes in the growth of intellectual sphere. The invention of paper and printing device brought about revolutionary changes. The books were made available in large quantities at very low prices. Therefore, the knowledge did not remain the monopoly of a single class. With the spread of knowledge, the hold of superstitious and blind faith was loosened and the people developed self-confidence. Hence, it is evident that the paper and the printing devices were the most influencing cause of Renaissance. It is true because the intellectual awareness increased in the real sense only after the invention of printing.
4. Decline of Feudalism: The Renaissance was able to flourish because the Feudalism was declining. The cause of decline of feudalism was the rise of middle class and their support to the kings. It was this middle class which promoted Renaissance only when the feudalism declined.
5. Occupation of Constantinople by the Turks: - In 1453, the Turkish Empire occupied Constantinople, the capital of Byzantine Empire (Eastern Roman Empire of ancient times). Secondly, the Constantinople was great center of knowledge, philosophy and art. The Turks loved to fight but they had no love and utility for anything that could enhance their knowledge. Thousand of Greek scholars, philosophers and artists of this city were forced to migrate to other countries like Italy, France, Germany, England etc. in search of livelihood. They also took away to these countries the ancient Greek and Roman knowledge, science and a new way of thinking along with them. One cardinal brought 800 manuscripts to Italy. Thus, we can say that the fall of Constantinople paved the way for the Renaissance.
6. Rise of Mongol Empire: - The rise of the Mongolian Empire gave strong impetus to the movement of Renaissance. Kublai Khan raised a vast and powerful empire. In this great empire, unparalleled in those days, preachers and businessmen were highly respected. The presence of the representatives of Pope, Buddhist monks, mathematicians, and astrologers from India and artisans from Paris, Italy and China graced his court. His court was virtually a meeting place of East and West. This contact paved the way for exchange of thoughts and knowledge, which made epoch making affect on Europe. Marco Polo, the famous traveler from Venice, visited the court of Kublai Khan, in 1272 AD. His writings thrilled the people of Europe for a long time to come. It will not be out of place to mention that the people of Europe learnt about paper, printing, compass and gun powder on their contacts with Mongols.
7. Role of Progressive Rulers , Nobles, Popes and Middle Class Capitalists: The rulers like Henry VIII, Charles V etc were great lovers of art and philosophy. They patronised many artists and scholars. Similarly, Pope Leo X was known for his love for architectural activities. In Florence, the rich families like Medici family, patronised the artists and scholars and provided them the free environment where the scholars gave full freedom to the intellectual flights. Such an atmosphere was a precondition for the rise of Renaissance.
8. Scientific Inventions: The scientific inventions became the rise of Renaissance and decline of superstition which had clouded the brain of medieval Europe. New geographical discoveries were made. The world was shown as round body and sun was proved as the centre of the universe. It shattered the grip of Church on the intellectual abilities of the people and helped them to imbibe the attitude of humanism and rationality which were the soul of Renaissance.
9. Emergence of new Cities: New Cities like Milan, Venice, Florence, Lisbon, Amherstdom etc flourished. They had more democratic set up which afforded more freedom to their citizens. These cities had risen with the efforts of the middle class which was open to new thoughts and despised the clogging of intellectual development under the suffocating control of Pope and his church. They were the people who promoted the cause of Renaissance. The leading three artistic of Renaissance period namely, Michaelanglo, Leonardo and Raphel all belonged to Florence.
Effects of Renaissance:
Social Effects:
1. Improvement in the condition of Women: The condition of women, especially from the upper class improved due to Renaissance. They started taking education and showed interest in social, economic and political life. The period saw the rise of women scholars like Cassandra, Varano, Vittoria etc. The women also changed the way of clothing and fashion. They started using wigs and showed special attention to jewelry of diamond.
2. Manners and Etiquette: Under the influence of Renaissance, people developed new table manners. They also made spices indispensable part of their food. They also developed Etiquette of Conversation. The people interacted with the scholars, poets and musician with more intimacy. The women were accorded special treatment in social gatherings.
3. Decline in Morality: One of the negative impact of Renaissance was that the society experience in the decline in the moral standard of the people. The people had started questioning the ways of church and became more materialists. They adopted foul means to become rich. even the artists tried to dupe the innocent people. The period saw the writings like the Prince by Machiavelli which encouraged the kings to adopt the corrupt means to maintain their rule. Cheating, robbery, murder, and theft increased during the Renaissance period.
Cultural Effects:
4. Development of Literature: The Renaissance encouraged the vernacular and national languages. High class literature was produced in the languages of masses like in Italian, French, English, Spanish, German, Dutch etc. Similarly, deep study was undertaken in the literature of Latin and Greek. The world famous writers like Dante, Petrarch, Boccacio, Machiavelli, Chaucer, More, Shakespeare, Erasmus, Luther etc. emerged.
5. Development of Fine Arts: The effect of Renaissance was most revealed in the field of Fine Arts. The Paining got new life. It was more near to the real life situation. Experiments were made with different hues of colour. Similarly, the science of architecture and sculpturing made tremendous progress. The music was also enriched under the Influence of Renaissance. Renaissance gave the artists of repute like Leonardo, Michaelanglo, Raphel, Titani, Gilbarti, Beck etc.
6. Scientific inventions and Discoveries: Renaissance inculcated the spirit of rationality and experimentation. It led to many scientific discoveries and inventions. Kapler, Galilieo and Copernicus made many geographical and space discoveries. Newton wrote new physical laws. Similarly achievements were made in the field of chemistry, medical science, and physics.
7. Geographical Discoveries: Columbus, Vascodi Gama, Magellan made geographical discoveries under the spirit of Renaissance. New tread routes were discovered to the Asian and African countries and new continents of South America, North America and Australia were discovered.
Economic Effects:
1. Development of Trade and Commerce: The people became materialist and this wordily under the influence of Renaissance. It encouraged trade and commerce. It led to rise of mercantilism in Europe.
Rise of Industry and Capitalist System: With the rise of trade and commerce, the industry and capitalism also flourished. The rich class started earning huge profits. They exploited the workers and the condition of workers became miserable.
2. Colonialism: With the rise of trade, commerce and industry, the Europeans countries needed areas for procuring raw material and markets to sell their finished goods. It led to rise of colonialism.
Political Effect:
1. Rise of Strong Monarchies: Renaissance brought forth the ideal of strong Roman Monarchs. It led to the rise of strong monarchies in Europe. On one hand it reduced the importance of Church and on the other hand national states like England, France, Austria and Prussia emerged.
2. Change in Warfare: With the discovery of gun powders and invention of guns and mortars the scene of battle field changed. The forts lost its importance as the secured places as they could not stand the barge of gun fires.
3. Encouragement to Virtue Less Politics: It brought to the forth the ideal of opportunism in the field of politics. The Prince of Machiavelli became the bible of the kings who adopted all the wrong and right means to maintain their rule. It led to anarchy when the monarchies became oppressive.


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  23. Replies
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