The Renaissance Timeline
|1348-1350||Black Death (bubonic and pneumonic plagues) decimates European population|
|1397||Medici Bank established in Florence|
|1438||Council of Florence|
|1455||Johannes Gutenberg publishes the Vulgate Bible, the fi rst book in Europe printed with movable type|
|1495-1498||Leonardo da Vinci paints the mural of The Last Supper in Milan|
|1508-1512||Michelangelo completes the frescoes on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel in the Vatican|
|1511||Erasmus publishes Praise of Folly|
|1513||Machiavelli publishes The Prince|
|1517||Luther publishes Ninety-Five Theses at Wittenberg|
The European Renaissance began in Italy in the early 1300s and continued, spreading northward, through the late 1500s. It was by no means a complete break from the Middle Ages that preceded it. The European population was still devoutly religious, not secular, in its ways of thought and behavior. Ideas of universal equality were still a long way in the future. All human achievements were still dedicated to the glory of God (at least on the surface).
However, two important factors did make the Renaissance different from the centuries that came before. One was the rediscovery of the Classical era, the great age of Rome and to a lesser extent Greece. It was this interest in ancient literature, philosophy, science, and art that gave the Renaissance its name; the era marked a “rebirth” of Classical values and ideas.
The second factor was the questioning of Church teachings. For a thousand years, the Church had held sway over every aspect of European life and society. During the Renaissance, this began to change due to a variety of factors. The Church’s inability to stamp out the Black Plague made people begin to question its claims of unlimited power. Great scholars began to study subjects other than theology. The development of movable type made printed books widely available, and thus literacy rates rose. Cultural exchanges led to the study of ancient texts unaffected by Church tradition. This trend of questioning the Church’s accuracy and authority would eventually lead to the sixteenth- century Reformation and the eighteenth-century Enlightenment.
Practice questions for these concepts can be found at:
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