Social Characteristics of the Renaissance



The Renaissance was not just a revival of the past; but a time of exploration and new ideas. But classical ideas provided inspiration, particularly in the emphasis on what human beings could achieve for themselves. This new attitude became known as humanism. Learning was no longer solely in the hands of the Catholic Church. Many new schools and universities were set up, and scientific and medical experiments were carried out.



Life during the Renaissance

The upper-class

·         Renaissance was largely an upper-class movement - only wealthy had time, money to study classics and humanism

·         Rich studied many subjects; “Renaissance man” excelled in many areas

·         wealthy women became well educated; some became artists, writers

·         most women have few rights; mean duty in life was raising children

Other classes

·         majority of Italians during the Renaissance were middle class or poor; middle class made a modest living is tradespeople and merchants; most citizens of Renaissance Italy were poor; primarily laborers

·         Renaissance ideas and breakthroughs did not reach most of the poor

·         Renaissance movement gradually spread north into the rest of Europe




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