Questions on Western Heritage

The Greco-Roman culture was restored and the period saw transformations in many areas such as the growth of city-states, mastery of arts, secularism and emphasis on the individual. There was also use of slaves, strengthening of papacy, and intellectual growth based on study of classical literary works of Greece and Rome (Spielvogel, 347- 352). Q2: How events or developments in Renaissance mark a break or departure from the key characteristics of middle Ages. The middle Ages were characterized by lack of classical culture and were the period 1000yrs between the end of Roman Empire and the new era of renaissance. The developments in renaissance marked a breakaway from the characteristics of the middle ages in that it emphasized on individuality, secularism and revival of antiquity. The middle Ages were characterized by many problems such as political disorder, economic recession and Black Death. During renaissance, the economy was recovering hence the growth of trade and increased wealth for merchants. As a result, there was need for cheap labor in form of slaves hence the emergence of slave trade. During middle ages, slaves were used in agricultural activities and slavery had declined but during Renaissance, slaves were skilled workers for making handcraft goods or as nursemaids and playboys (Spielvogel, 345). Due to economic recovery and increased wealth, the Italians reverted to secularism instead of Christian moral principles which were emphasized during middle ages (Spielvogel, 341). Morality was abandoned as basis for analysis of political activity. therefore, a ruler could break the rules and do wrong if necessary. According to Machiavelli, a leader was supposed to secure allies and win wars by force or fraud. The Catholic Church was also broken down to protestant churches due to the spirit of secularism which brought about corruption in the church. Another event that marked departure from Middle Ages was the intellectual renaissance. The antiques of the Greeks and Romans were revived and used in study of humanity. Individuals were seen as possessing abilities which they could utilize for perfecting their art. The individual was viewed as a universal person capable of achieving in many areas of life’ (Spielvogel, 341). Individuals were thus taught using literary works of the Greece and Rome and were engaged in various occupations instead of relying on the clergy. Q3: What was humanism? How does it reflect this new spirit of Renaissance? Spielvogel defines humanism as an intellectual movement based on the study of classical literary works of Greece and Rome (p. 352). The materials studied and taught in schools as humanities include: grammar, poetry, ethics, and history. Besides teaching, other humanists were involved in other occupations such as secretaries in city-states. The humanist movement is credited with the development of renaissance in the 14th century. Humanism reflects the new spirit of Renaissance through the ideas of humanists such as Leonardo Bruni (1370-1444) who uses Cicero as an inspiration for an ideal Renaissance. The spirit of Renaissance is reflected in the way individuals are encouraged to participate in the life of the state. He emphasized that intellectuals should live active lives for the sake of