What caused scholars of the 14th century to reject the "gloom and doom" of medieval thought and turn instead to the optimism of the ancient past? Who was Petrarch, and how did he reawaken the spirit of inquiry? What is a fresco? Why did Michelangelo dislike Leonardo da Vinci? What did Dante have against the Pope? How did the invention of the printing press promote the Reformation? Why did Henry VIII have so many wives? What is the origin of slapstick comedy? Did Shakespeare really write all those plays? How did a few hundred Spanish soldiers conquer over a hundred thousand Aztec warriors? Why was Copernicus afraid to publish his book? Who wrote the first opera?
The Story of the Renaissance paints a dazzling portrait of one of history's most creative periods, zooming in on the lives and achievements of the giants of the age—artists, scientists, playwrights, kings, merchants, philosophers, popes, and many more. The everyday activities of people living in towns and cities in Italy, Germany, France, and England at the dawn of the modern age come to life against a backdrop of of social, political, and religious upheavals. Emphasis is placed upon major achievements in Renaissance art, literature, science, political theory, and the rise of the nation state.
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