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The Renaissance

The Renaissance was a period in western European history from 1300 to 1600. Increased trade between European cities and the rest of the world weakened the feudal manor and helped cities grow. Local lords were not as powerful as they were during the Middle Ages and peasants found new freedoms at home and in the cities. The decline of feudalism and the movement of people and ideas made the Renaissance a time of great advances in western history. Inventions such as the printing press and fast production of books helped disseminate knowledge of ancient Greece and Rome and of science and medicine. The arts also flourished as people created new techniques and discovered new subjects to paint and sculpt. Artists, scientists, inventors, writers, philosophers, and others examined and explored their world with a new outlook.

The chart below lists accomplishments from the Renaissance period. Use the names below the chart to identify they person responsible for each accomplishment. Write the names in the column on the left next to the appropriate accomplishment. Visit you local library or use the Internet to learn about each person in the list.

Person Accomplishment
    Painted The Peasant Dance, a painting that relied on detail and realism.
    Wrote a book called The Prince.
    Designed and built a dome for the Florence Cathedral.
    Invented and sketched early tanks and cars.
    Wrote Don Quixote.
    Painted the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel.
    Established a center of navigation and exploration.
    Author who encouraged women to write books.
    Invented moveable type printing press.
    Painted pictures of strong women including a self-portrait.
    Wrote a book titled Utopia in which he shared a vision of a society of equals.
    Wrote the play Romeo and Juliet, among others.
    Wrote the Ninety-Five Theses challenging the Catholic Church.
    Preached about reforming the church. Geneva became the center of the Calvinist religion.
    Published the theory that the Earth was not the center of the universe.
    Developed the compound microscope.
    Published detailed descriptions of the human anatomy.
    Created a powerful telescope and was the first to observe and record sunspots.
    Surgeon who developed the use of bandages.
    Traveled to the Caribbean Sea, explored, and claimed large areas for Spain.

Christopher Columbus
Ambrose Paré
Galileo Galilei
Andreas Vesalius
Robert Hooke
Nicolaus Copernicus
John Calvin
Johannes Gutenberg
Aretmisia Gentileschi
Sir Thomas More
William Shakespeare
Martin Luther
Pieter Brueghel
Niccolò Machiavelli
Filippo Brunelleschi
Leonardo da Vinci
Miguel de Cervantes
Prince Henry of Portugal
Louise Labé

1. Choose one person from the list. What were his or her accomplishments?

2. Describe how the accomplishments of the person you chose helped change European society.

3. Define the term "humanism." Can you call the person you chose a humanist? Review your research notes and use examples of this person's accomplishments to defend your answer.

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