History of western civilizations

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1.1 The Modern Age in the History of Europe

The birth of the Modern Age in the history of Europe resulted in a number of scientific inventions, geographical findings and revolutionary ideas. Theseaffected not only the lives of the common Europeans, but it brought far-reaching changes in the whole of Europe.

The period of the Renaissance symbolizes the transition from the medieval world tothe modern age. When Constantinople fell into the hands of the Turks, most of the scholars belonging to Greece took shelter in Italy. The ideas and thoughts of these scholars spread in Italy. Due tothis a new wind of knowledge started to blow there. This encouraged perceptive people to question the out-moded attitudes of people and the blind acceptance of orders from the ruling authorities. Itasserted the dignity of human beings and the personality of every individual.

Exhibit 1.1
A painting depicting the siege of Constantinople by the Turks
Click here to enlarge

1.1a Landmarks ofthe Renaissance

European Scholars revived the learning of Greek and Roman cultures. This appreciation contained the basic elements that brought about revolutionary changes in the socio-economic andpolitical areas of Europe. In 1443, when these scholars took shelter in Italy, they contributed to the spread of ideas. These ideas were new modes of thought and different approaches to life. The veryidea of blindly following authority (as in medieval times) was now questioned. Men started to look towards freedom and liberal ideas with great interest. They were no longer ready to sufferrepression. They started asserting the dignity of man, his labor and appreciated his individualism.

i. Humanism and its Importance

The spirit of Humanism spread with the wave of "Modern learning" andclassical liberalism. Every aspect of the ‘human person’ was studied in depth. The Medieval Church had discouraged progressive ideas on human affairs, and had strongly supported self-repression and...
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