• The Modern world begins with
the Renaissance, which means
• What was being reborn?
– The attitudes, ideals and learning of
the Classical Ancient world of the
Greek and the Romans.
• Location: Italy, where the
Renaissance began was
literally littered with the
remnants of ancient Rome:
buildings, aqueducts that still
work, sculptures, and
• Crusades: Contact with other
cultures often causes people to
look at themselves comparably
and see areas where they can
• Economics: The crusades
opened up trade routes to the
east, and new and wonderful
products that the European
could not get enough of, like
silks and spices.
• Black Death: the great equalizer!
By wiping out so much of the
population, political and economic
changes were bound to happen.
The plague will also shake the
foundations of the Church, as it
proved unable to deliver the people
from this horrific event.
• The decline of the power of the
Roman Catholic Church. The
church problems, such as the
Babylonian Captivity of the Papacy
- when the Popes lived in Avignon,
France instead of the Vatican in
Rome for 100 years. There was
also corruption in the highest levels
of the church.
• Patronage: The new wealth of
individuals created patrons, or
those that financially support the
arts. The Medici Family of
Florence, Italy is a good example.
Patrons would hire an artist,
boosting the families’ reputation
and allowing the artist to hone his
• Access to classics: Through the
crusades, Europeans came into
contact with the writing of the
Greek and the Romans, many
of which had been lost in the
West but were preserved in the
Byzantine and Arab worlds.
• The intellectual movement of
the Renaissance that provided
the foundation of all the human
achievement of this era.
• Based on a study of Classical
Greco-Roman literary works
and art, it also involved a study
of the Liberal Arts: grammar,
rhetoric, poetry, ethics and
• The Liberal Arts are how
humans interact with each
other and how we express
Additional Causes and Characteristics
of the Renaissance
• Italian merchant class provide
patronage of the arts
• Secular (non-religious) view of
• Beginning of modern history
• Man sees himself and his
actions as important