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Northern Humanism

Course Code
Kenneth Bartlett

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Oct. 13, 2010
Northern Humanism
How the Italian Renaissance gave rise to social and economic change
How Humanism crossed the Alps in Northern Europe with different consequences
Italian Humanism allowed for the definition of new social groups
Italian towns had continuous habitation; education was secular, needs of society
based on what was necessary to govern
Cities north of the Alps continued to exist and fulfill needs, however were less
sophisticated than Italian cities and towns
Fundamental differences: ideas that were developing in the Italian Renaissance
were sympathetic towards those in the north
Secular culture not common following the collapse of the Roman Empire,
education still based in religion, priests educated
Divergence of culture in the North
Coalesced under feudalism; culture of the north was dominated by religious ideas,
frame of reference
Universities, etc., ecclesiastical
Connection btw Italy and Northern Europe
1494: French invasion brought on the period of Italian wars; Italy became the
battlefield of Europe
Thousands of Europeans were being educated in Italy
Ideas that were developed in Italy spread to the North when soldiers went back
Growing interest in new ideas and new social class
Mercantile elite became increasingly wealthy and influential
Powers of Europe (especially those on Atlantic seacoast) looked for different ways
in which to reach the East
Mid 15th century cities of northern Europe wanted to break the monopolies in
Italian cities by reaching the East rather than going through the Mediterranean
Byzantine fell to the Turks - loss of the Mediterranean to Christianity and
growing Islamic influence meant it was more dangerous and expensive, wanted to
also avoid Italian monopolies
Sent voyages to coast of Africa (Vasco de Gama)
No one knew that Africa had an end; Portuguese discover you could sail around
Africa to reach the East access to riches of the East
Allowed Europeans to go to East w/o going through the Mediterranean
Discovery of North and South America ended what had made Italians rich new
economies, riches
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