The Northern Renaissance - Mrs. Thigpen's Northern Renaissance The Northern Renaissance •The Renaissance in Northern Europe began ... retain feudalism longer than the Italian

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  • The Northern Renaissance SLMS/12

    The Northern RenaissanceThe Northern RenaissanceThe Northern RenaissanceThe Northern Renaissance

    The Renaissance in Northern Europe began almost a century after the Southern Renaissance. The high Renaissance occurred in Italy in the early to mid-1500s, while the Northern Renaissance peaked in the late 1500s to mid-1600s. Na-tions that flourished notably during this pe-riod were: England, France, the Netherlands (Dutch), some Germanic states, and Poland.

    North vs. SouthNorth vs. SouthNorth vs. SouthNorth vs. South

    Northern Europe differed greatly from Southern Europe not only in climate and topography, but also in political and economic structure. Northern European countries like France and the southern Germanic states tended to retain feudalism longer than the Italian states did. The Dutch and British, however, were active members of the Hanseatic League Hanseatic League Hanseatic League Hanseatic League (a loose group of trading cities in N. Europe), and had begun to develop a more commercial economy, thus abandoning feudalism. In general, Northern European states had begun the establishment of centralized political states (ie. England, France, the Netherlands), while the Italian states remained independently ruled by different wealthy families (often merchants). Additionally, Northern Europe was more greatly impacted by the Reformation of the Church, which began in 1517. Many Northern European states became Protestant, and this greatly diminished the power of the Catholic Church in that region. As a result, this allowed mathematicians and scientists (in particular) to work without fear of Church condemnation or excommunication. Thus many new mathematical & scientific ideas developed in Northern Europe. Ultimately the Renaissance of the North would have a distinctly different flavor from that of the South. It would not seek to imi-tate classical styles, but would emphasize mans ability to reason and learn.

    Humanism in the NorthHumanism in the NorthHumanism in the NorthHumanism in the North

    As a force, humanism was just as important in the Northern Renaissance as it was in the Southern. Scholars emphasized the use of reason, and began to question long held beliefs. This questioning spirit coupled with the belief that man was the measure of all things led northerners to re-examine mathematical and scientific precepts, and also led them to question the actions of the Catholic Church. One of the leading humanists in Northern Europe was Desiderius ErasmusDesiderius ErasmusDesiderius ErasmusDesiderius Erasmus, of the Netherlands. In his book, In Praise of Folly (1509), he carefully satirized (made fun of) the abuses and corruptions that had crept into the Church. Although he pushed for reform, he never left the Catholic Church. Another great humanist was Thomas MoreThomas MoreThomas MoreThomas More, of England. He and Erasmus were friends, and in fact, In Praise of Folly was dedicated to More. Mores book, Utopia, described the ideal political, social & economic state. In some ways it satirized European society, but it also described Mores ideals.

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