Renascence essays

The Renaissance also had a great effect on literature and education. After Johannes Gutenberg invented the printing press there was a greater thirst for reading books all over Europe. Because Gutenberg's press could produce books quickly and with relatively little effort, bookmaking became much less expensive, allowing more people to buy reading material. In the Middle Ages, books had been costly and educational books were rare; only the wealthy had been regular readers and owners of books. However due to the Renaissance, the educated middle classes, could now afford books and they demanded works in their own languages. Furthermore, readers wanted a greater variety of books. Therefore, all kinds of books such as almanacs, textbooks, romances, poetry and especially Bibles were all published at this time. As the demand for books grew, the book trade began to thrive throughout Europe, and industries related to it, such as papermaking, increased as well. The result of all of this was a more literate nation and a stronger economy.

Historian and political philosopher Quentin Skinner points out that Otto of Freising (c. 1114–1158), a German bishop visiting north Italy during the 12th century, noticed a widespread new form of political and social organization, observing that Italy appeared to have exited from Feudalism so that its society was based on merchants and commerce. Linked to this was anti-monarchical thinking, represented in the famous early Renaissance fresco cycle Allegory of Good and Bad Government in Siena by Ambrogio Lorenzetti (painted 1338–1340), whose strong message is about the virtues of fairness, justice, republicanism and good administration. Holding both Church and Empire at bay, these city republics were devoted to notions of liberty. Skinner reports that there were many defences of liberty such as the Matteo Palmieri (1406–1475) celebration of Florentine genius not only in art, sculpture and architecture, but "the remarkable efflorescence of moral, social and political philosophy that occurred in Florence at the same time". [31]

In a work of 1917, titled A Short History of England , Chesterton considers the royal decree of 1290 by which Edward I expelled Jews from England , a policy that remained in place until 1655. Chesterton writes that popular perception of Jewish moneylenders could well have led Edward I's subjects to regard him as a "tender father of his people" for "breaking the rule by which the rulers had hitherto fostered their bankers' wealth". He felt that Jews, "a sensitive and highly civilized people" who "were the capitalists of the age, the men with wealth banked ready for use", might legitimately complain that "Christian kings and nobles, and even Christian popes and bishops, used for Christian purposes (such as the Crusades and the cathedrals) the money that could only be accumulated in such mountains by a usury they inconsistently denounced as unchristian; and then, when worse times came, gave up the Jew to the fury of the poor". [46] [47]

Renascence essays

renascence essays


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