- Classicism – Renaissance means “Revival” or “rebirth”. Here it stands for Revival of Ancient Learning (Greek & Roman – Plato, Aristotle, Cicero). There was a rediscovery of ancient Greek and Roman ideas. Starts in Italy and spreads through Germany and France. It took a century after the inception of Renaissance in Europe to finally arrive in England. There was a gradual enlightenment of human mind after the darkness of middle ages.
- Humanism – The new spirit of humanism made its impact on the western world. Exploration of human passions. Focus on the worth of a common man. Belief in logic and rationality. People in Renaissance focus on the “here & now” rather than the “eternal life”. Man’s concern with himself as the object of contemplation – proper study of mankind.
- Individualism – Every person has a right to be self-reliant. Encouragement of uniqueness. Belief in the valuable qualities of each person in society.
- Focus on learning new ideas. A spirit of critical enquiry. Worldview shifts from afterlife to a better human life on earth. Questioning Attitude and Critical Thinking. Belief in rationality and logic. Printing Press and easy access to knowledge. Transformation from the life of witchcraft, miracles etc. towards rational thinking and secularism by and large. Reason instead of blind faith and superstition. William Caxton’s Printing Press made copying of books easier and quicker. Knowledge became easily accessible to more and more people. Flood of Greek Literature/Classical Knowledge was carried by the new art of Printing. Philosophy, science, and art were systematized.
- Rise of Middle Class – increase in social mobility. First time, people learned 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.
- The Protestant Reformation takes place. A Call to Return to the Bible – discovery of mismatch between what the Bible says and what the Catholic Church was doing. Intention was to Reform the Catholic Church – NOT take it down. However, in many parts of the world this movement eventually replaced Catholicism with Protestantism. The Church of England was established and Christian teachings were translated from Latin to English. The Church and the State got united and conversion back to Catholicism was declared to be an act of treason. Alongside the land and property of the Catholic church, everything was confiscated. “The biggest land grab took place after the Norman conquest.”
- A period of stability, settlement, and expansion.Known as the “Golden Age” as well, for England was better economically and more optimistic than any other age in a thousand years
- New discoveries: Vascoda Gama circumnavigated the earth, Columbus discovered America, Copernicus discovered the Solar System. New worlds were discovered and new ways of seeing and thinking were developed.
“Man discovered himself and the universe”
“Man, so long blinded, had suddenly opened his eyes and seen.”