Following the Renaissance period, the Reformation began in the 16th-century
as a religious revolution that took place in the western church and spread to numerous
European countries. In northern and central Europe,
reformation leaders such as Martin Luther, John Calvin, and Henry VIII defied
papal authority and queried whether the Catholic Church was capable of properly
defining religious practice. Protestantism was an outcome of the Reformation’s political,
religious, and social effects, which is now one of the principal branches of
Christianity. Italy and Spain came to be the great centers of the Catholic
Counter-Reformation, as Protestantism was never foremost in these areas. Beside religious repercussion, Europe’s new
religious and political freedoms did not come easily, as many hardships and troubles
were faced along the way with decades of persistent rebellions, violent persecutions,
and wars. The struggle was worth it; the freedom of worship was promoted as
well as the strengthening of religious tolerance.

Along with the
influence of classical Greco-Roman traditions came the birth of modernity. An
assured new perception of human nature was born. Self-worth and self-esteem flourished
due to the proposed idea that all men are free from any assigned destiny, they shape
their own lives led by instances of the past, the vigor of contemporary conditions,
and empowered by the ambitions of their intentions.

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Considered both a period and a
cultural movement, the Renaissance is a widely known age of evolution that
initiated the general renunciation of aspects brought up in the Middle Ages. During
this time, individuals were captivated by the outlook and standards which
originated in Greece and Rome and sought out to recover ancient procedures by
engaging in Humanism. As a movement, it commenced in the city-states of
northern Italy and extended to Germany, Spain, France, and England. First
beginning as a period in 1350, ending in 1600. The Renaissance is commonly known
for its blossoming in philosophy, literature, and artistic style, which aimed to illustrate the fascination and mystique of both
this earthly world and spiritual aspiration. The style of arts notorious
with the Renaissance achieved its acme in the late 15th and early 16th-centuries,
in the contribution of artists such as Leonardo da Vinci, Donatello, and Michelangelo.

Leonardo Da Vinci once said,
“Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.” To live a simple yet meaningful
life, a life with a purpose, was what Europeans during the Renaissance Era
strived for, and by studying the classical languages of Greek and Latin, individuals
hoped to gain knowledge of how to live a proper life and how to perform one’s
civic duties efficiently. This interest of classical texts began with Humanism,
the educational movement based on the rekindled belief of individualism and
reason. They valued ancient literature for its pure and elegant style and
apprehension of human nature. The Renaissance and emergence of humanistic
thought did not spell the complete end for the Middle Ages; ancient values
slowly grew in attraction, leading some medieval customs to inevitably fade, however
many maintained.

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