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HIST102: Early Globalizations - East Meets West (1200s-1600s)

Unit 7: Transformation of the West   Beginning in the fifteenth century, western Europe underwent a number of profound changes.  First, Europe developed many commercial and manufacturing centers that encouraged contact with other civilizations, primarily in Asia.  Second, quarrels within the Catholic Church resulted in a new division among Christians along Catholic or Protestant lines.  In addition, the rise of rational scientific ideas and new political philosophies shaped European government and society.  

In this unit, we will begin by studying the advent of the European Renaissance.  We will define what “Renaissance” actually meant and how it differed from the medieval period; we will examine influential Renaissance thinkers and their ideas, as well as the larger impact of the Renaissance on European civilization as a whole.  We will then turn our attention to the fundamental changes occurring in the religious landscape of this era: namely, the Protestant Reformation.  Finally, we will take a look at the early scientific revolution and new approaches toward art and architecture.

Unit 7 Time Advisory
This unit will take you 9.5 hours to complete.
 
☐    Subunit 7.1: 1.5 hours

☐    Subunit 7.2: 6 hours

☐    Subunit 7.3: 1 hour

☐    Subunit 7.4: 1 hour

Unit7 Learning Outcomes
Upon successful completion of this unit, students will be able to:

  • Identify the ecclesiastical, political, and cultural developments commonly associated with Medieval and Renaissance Europe.
  • Discuss specific issues and doctrinal disputes surrounding the rise of Protestantism.
  • Identify some of the principles of leading thinkers of the age and their influence upon those who followed.

7.1 The Idea of the Renaissance   7.1.1 Origins of the Renaissance   - Reading: Boise State University Professor E.L. S. Knox’s “History of the Idea of the Renaissance” Link:  Boise State University Professor E.L. S. Knox’s“History of the Idea of the Renaissance” (HTML)
 
Instructions:  The Renaissance represents one of the most celebrated and written about subjects in European history.  Please read all of this text, in which Professor Knox discusses the history of how the Renaissance emerged as a concept in European literature and the many meanings that have been attributed to it over time.
 
Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

7.1.2 From Medieval to Renaissance   - Reading: Dr. Steven Kreis’s The History Guide: Lectures on Modern European Intellectual History: “The Medieval Synthesis and the Discovery of Man: the Renaissance” Lecture 4 Link: Dr. Steven Kreis’s The History Guide: Lectures on Modern European Intellectual History:The Medieval Synthesis and the Discovery of Man: the Renaissance” Lecture 4 (HTML)
 
Instructions: Please read the entire lecture about how and why the medieval period paved the way for the emergence of the Renaissance.
 
Note on the Text: This online text was developed by Dr. Steven Kreis as an open educational resource for use in undergraduate history courses.  Dr. Steven Kreis teaches history at American Public University.
 
Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

7.1.3 Portraits of the Renaissance   - Reading: Dr. Steven Kreis’s The History Guide: Lectures on Early Modern European History: “Renaissance Portraits” Link: Dr. Steven Kreis’s The History Guide: Lectures on Early Modern European History: “Renaissance Portraits”(HTML)
 
Instructions: Please read the entire lecture in order to get a sense of how Renaissance thinkers and modern-day scholars interpret the period known as the age of “rebirth.”
 
Note on the Text: This online text was developed by Dr. Steven Kreis as an open educational resource for use in undergraduate history courses.  Dr. Steven Kreis teaches history at American Public University.
 
Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

Subunit 7.1 Assessment   - Assessment: The Saylor Foundation's "Reading Questions for Subunit 7.1" Link: The Saylor Foundation's "Reading Questions for Subunit 7.1" (PDF)
 
Instructions: Once you have worked through all of the assigned resources in the subunit above, please open the linked PDF and respond to all questions.  When you are done--or if you are stuck--please check your work against The Saylor Foundation's "Guide to Responding to Reading Questions for Subunit 7.1" (PDF).

7.2 Renaissance Thought and Thinkers   7.2.1 Humanism   - Reading: University of Massachusetts, Lowell: Dr. Liana Cheney’s “Humanism and the Renaissance” Link: University of Massachusetts, Lowell: Dr. Liana Cheney’s “Humanism and the Renaissance” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Please read the entirety of this webpage in order to better understand one of the defining characteristics of Renaissance thought—humanism.

 Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use
displayed on the webpage above.

7.2.2 Renaissance Neo-Platonism   - Reading: University of Massachusetts, Lowell: Dr. Liana Cheney’s “Neo-Platonism” Link: University of Massachusetts, Lowell: Dr. Liana Cheney’s “Neo-Platonism” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Please read the whole article on this webpage, which provides a working definition of “Platonism” and discusses how Renaissance philosophers inflected Platonic principles to develop their own ideas.
 
Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

7.2.3 Pico della Mirandola   - Reading: University of Massachusetts, Lowell: Dr. Liana Cheney: “Pico della Mirandolla” Link: University of Massachusetts, Lowell: Dr. Liana Cheney: “Pico della Mirandola” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Please read the whole webpage in order to get a sense of Pico della Mirandola’s philosophy, which synthesized classical, medieval, and Renaissance ideas.

 Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use
displayed on the webpage above.  

7.2.4 Niccoló Machiavelli   - Reading: The Constitution Society's version of Niccoló Machiavelli’s *The Prince* Link: The Constitution Society's version of Niccoló Machiavelli’s The Prince (HTML)
 
Also available in:
Google Books

 Instructions: Read the entire text, paying special attention to the
manner in which Machiavelli separates ethics from political
pragmatism. See, for example, Chapters 15 to 21 for the author’s
specific advice on the principles that should guide “the prince’s”
exercise of state power.  
    
 Note on the text: This political treatise was written by Niccolò
Machiavelli, a Florentine political theorist, in the sixteenth
century. In an era of constant conflict among Italian city-states,
Machiavelli asserts that the greatest moral good is a virtuous and
stable state. Even if actions taken to preserve the state are
immoral, Machiavelli argues, they remain justified. The text, with
its “end justifies the means” pragmatism, had a deep impact on
Western philosophy.  
    
 Terms of Use: This resource is in the public domain.
  • Reading: Stanford University Encyclopedia of Philosophy: “Machiavelli” Link: Reading: Stanford University Encyclopedia of Philosophy:“Machiavelli” (HTML)

    Instructions: Please read the opening paragraph on this page followed by the sections entitled “1. Biography” and “2. The Prince: Analyzing Power.”  These passages will give you an introduction to the life and work of the Florentine philosopher Machiavelli, author of one of the most influential and widely read treatises on government, The Prince.
     
    Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

7.2.5 Leonardo da Vinci   - Reading: University of Rochester Library Bulletin: “The Life of Leonardo da Vinci” Link: University of Rochester Library Bulletin: “The Life of Leonardo da Vinci” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Please read the whole article on this webpage in order to get a sense of the famed Renaissance thinker, artist, inventor, writer, and scientist.
 
Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

7.3 The Church   7.3.1 The Protestant Reformation   - Reading: Dr. Steven Kreis’s The History Guide: Lectures on Early Modern European History: “The Protestant Reformation” Lecture 3 Link: Dr. Steven Kreis’s The History Guide: Lectures on Early Modern European History:The Protestant Reformation” Lecture 3 (HTML)
 
Instructions: Please read the entire lecture on the Protestant Reformation—one of the most pivotal events in European history.
 
Note on the Text: This online text was developed by Dr. Steven Kreis as an open educational resource for use in undergraduate history courses.  Dr. Steven Kreis teaches history at American Public University.
 
Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

7.3.2 Impact of Luther and the Radical Reformation   - Web Media: iTunes U: Frank A. James III’s “Martin Luther” Lecture Link: iTunes U: Frank A. James III’s “Martin Luther” (iTunesU Audio)
 
Instructions: Listen to the lecture using iTunes U to get a sense of who Martin Luther was and how he led the movement to reform the Catholic Church.
 
Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • Reading: Dr. Steven Kreis’s The History Guide: Lectures on Early Modern European History: “The Impact of Luther and the Radical Reformation” Lecture 4 Link: Dr. Steven Kreis’s The History Guide: Lectures on Early Modern European History:The Impact of Luther and the Radical Reformation” Lecture 4 (HTML)
     
    Instructions: Please read the whole lecture, which outlines the struggles between Luther (and his followers) and other radical groups during the Reformation.
     
    Note on the Text: This online text was developed by Dr. Steven Kreis as an open educational resource for use in undergraduate history courses.  Dr. Steven Kreis teaches history at American Public University.
     
    Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

7.3.3 Catholic Counter-Reformation   - Reading: Boise State University: Professor E.L. S. Knox’s “The Council of Trent” Link: Boise State University: Professor E.L. S. Knox’s“The Council of Trent” (HTML)
 
Instructions:  Please read all of this text in which Boise State Professor E.L. S. Knox describes the Council of Trent (1545-1563), an event that the author terms “one of the foundations of the Counter Reformation.” Professor Knox goes on to identify some of the steps taken by those participating in the Council to reform the Catholic Church. 
 
Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

7.4 New Ideas in Art and Science   7.4.1 The Early Scientific Revolution   - Reading: Dr. Steven Kreis’s The History Guide: Lectures on Early Modern European History: “The Scientific Revolution, 1543-1600” Link: Dr. Steven Kreis’s The History Guide: Lectures on Early Modern European History:The Scientific Revolution, 1543-1600” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Please read the entirety of the webpage in order to get a sense of how scientific revolutionaries attempted to explain man’s role in the natural world, which was a major shift from the former medieval emphasis on man’s role in God’s world.
 
Note on the Text: This online text was developed by Dr. Steven Kreis as an open educational resource for use in undergraduate history courses.  Dr. Steven Kreis teaches history at American Public University.
 
Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

7.4.2 Architecture   - Reading: Columbia University: Department of Art History and Archaeology: “Renaissance Architecture” Link: Columbia University: Department of Art History and Archaeology:  “Renaissance Architecture” (Adobe Flash)
 
Instructions:  Please read the introduction to Renaissance architecture on this site and then proceed to the extensive photo gallery on the right-hand side of the screen.  These images will illustrate the points made in the introduction concerning the northern and southern European iterations of Renaissance architecture as well as provide panoramic views of some of the most iconic structures from the period.  
 
Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • Assessment: Pearson Education’s World Civilizations: AP Edition: “Chapter 17, Multiple Choice Quiz” Link: Pearson Education’s World Civilizations: AP Edition: “Chapter 17, Multiple Choice Quiz” (HTML)
     
    Instructions: Please take the assigned multiple choice quiz on this webpage in order to assess your understanding of the European Renaissance and the Protestant Reformation.  Click on “Submit Answers for Grading” at the end of the webpage to access the answer key for the quiz.
     
    Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • Activity: The Saylor Foundation’s “Unit 7 Essay: The Renaissance” Link: The Saylor Foundation’s “Unit 7 Essay: The Renaissance” (HTML)

    Instructions: This is an ungraded activity. If you choose to complete the activity, you may record your answer anywhere you like. You do have the option to use the link above to save your answers on Saylor.org, though you will need to create a free account in order to do so --  this will only take a minute, and you may do so here.

    • One of our learning outcomes for this course is to be able to identify major developments in art and culture that characterize the Renaissance and distinguish it from other periods. To demonstrate your grasp of this subject please describe and compare the works of two Renaissance era artists and indicate how their works illuminate some of the predominant themes, styles and interests of this era.

      Tips for getting started: The resources in Unit 7 have introduced you to a wide range of figures who could be used for an analysis of the kind specified above. Note that you might consider artists from different genres, including painters, sculptors, architects and writers (of course, in some cases, the people in question worked in multiple mediums!). Please also keep in mind the point made throughout the unit regarding the relationship between the artists of the Renaissance and the traditions which preceded them. Your ability to speak for example about both the continuities and departures between Renaissance and medieval culture will add important nuance to your answer.