Q:

What is the difference between the Middle Ages and the Renaissance?

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Quick Answer

The most significant difference between the Middle Ages and the Renaissance was the shift in focus from the Catholic Church and community to the secular world and the individual. This change in worldviews led to developments in art, science and law that proved revolutionary to the Western world.

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Full Answer

During the Middle Ages, scholars were primarily priests and monks, studying ancient books and art for their insights into God. During the Renaissance, however, wealth from increased trade with East Asia provided secular men with time to study the ancients, and they focused on their insights into humanity. The humanistic point of view encouraged by these studies influenced art, transforming earlier one-dimensional stiff portraits into vividly realistic works celebrating the beauty of the world. Humanism also encouraged scholars to question religious teachings when they conflicted with observed phenomena, leading to the development of the scientific method and an explosion of discovery and invention. Wealthy patrons began funding secular works as often as they funded religious ones, looking to create a legacy in the physical world as well as securing a place in the hereafter.

Renaissance men, focused on the development of the individual, became highly skilled in a wide variety of arts and sciences. Men with this wide range of knowledge were able to blend art and science, bringing about developments in both faster than would have otherwise been possible. Leonardo da Vinci, for instance, was a skilled painter and sculptor as well as an innovative scientist, inventor and engineer, and his Vitruvian Man is an example of art and science coming together into one concept.

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    Shakespeare influenced the Renaissance by standardizing the English language and expanding its vocabulary, deepening the humanity of the characters in his plays through emotional complexity and using elaborate references to Greek and Roman mythology in his writing. His attention to the intricacies of language, characterization and plot became an example to follow for future playwrights and other writers.

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    What years were the Middle Ages?

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    The Middle Ages began in the year 476 A.D. and ended around 1300 with the beginning of the Renaissance. The Middle Ages, also called the Medieval Period, began just after the fall of Rome and it dominated the European continent through the early 14th century. The Middle Ages filled a time period between the ending of a great reign and the beginning of a new era characterized by revitalization and cultural growth.

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    When were the Middle Ages?

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    The Middle Ages began with the fall of Rome in 476 A.D. and ended with the beginning of the Renaissance during the 14th century. This period was filled with enormous social and political change.

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    When did the Dark Ages begin and end?

    A:

    The Dark Ages in Western Europe began when the Western Roman Empire fell and lasted all the way until the beginning of the Renaissance. The last emperor in Rome left his throne in A.D. 476, although the empire had been on a downward slope for a long time beforehand. Setting a precise date for the start of the Renaissance is challenging, although it was well underway by 1300.

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