History : Themes in World History

The term ‘Renaissance’ literally means ‘rebirth’, first used by Jacob Burckhardt in 1860. During the 14th to 17th centuries, a new humanist culture popularised the idea that man is an individual. Italian universities were centres of legal studies. Francesco Petrarch suggested a shift from the study of law to the ancient Roman culture and texts. The term humanism was first used by Cicero. Florence was recognised for its ‘Renaissance Men’; Dante and Alighieri were two prominent Renaissance men. The period from the 5th to 14th centuries was the Middle Ages, and the Modern Age started from 15th century. Arabs translated Ancient Greek and Roman texts. They called Plato as Aflatun and Aristotle Aristu in Arabic. Noted Muslim writers during this time were Ibn Sina (‘Avicenna’ in Latin) and Ibn Rushd(‘Averroes’ in Latin). Ptolemy wrote in Greek Almagest on astronomy. Donatello made many life-like statues in 1416. Vesalius, a Belgian professor of medicine, was the first to dissect the human body. Leonardo Da Vinci painted the Monalisa and the Last Supper. Michelangelo Buonarroti painted the Sistine chapel, made the sculpture of the Pieta and the Dome of St. Peter’s Church. Johannnes Gutenberg invented the first printing press. Machiavelli wrote about human nature in The Prince. Martin Luther was the leader of the Protestant Reformation against Catholic corruption. Scientific Revolution was another characteristic of this era. Not the God, but the nature- the source of all creation- was a revolution in thought. Copernicus asserted that the earth rotates around the sun.

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