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The Renaissance quickly spread from Italy to northern Europe, primarily into England and the Netherlands. 16.15.1 What were the factors leading to a new awakening through a Renaissance in northern Europe? Inability of the Roman Church to explain the causes and cures of the Black Plague that swept through Europe 1348-1350.
Schism in the Roman Church lessened the peoplea€™s confidence in the stability, authority, and therefore the traditions of the Roman Church.
A new hunger for studying the Scriptures in Greek and Hebrew and going back to what was taught and believed by the early Christians. Explorations by the Dutch and English opened them up to new cultures and peoples, and the excitement of being able to successfully make those long-distance journeys and come back home to talk about them filled people with great expectations of what the human being can accomplish. In northern Europe, while it too gave importance to rediscovering the knowledge of the ancient Greeks and Romans and the reading of ancient manuscripts, the focus was on Plato rather than on Aristotle.
The study of ancient manuscripts included a new emphasis upon discovering and translating ancient biblical manuscripts.
The study of Greek and Latin was encouraged so that accurate reading and translating of the Scriptures could take place.
The geographic distance from Rome gave a wider freedom to the authors in the Northern Renaissance in their criticisms and critiques of the Roman popes and clergy.
The kings and princes of northern Europe tended to promote a degree of independence from Rome. In the north people were more interested in reforming the Church than they were studying the classical Greek and Roman manuscripts. The beginning of the Renaissance in England is usually considered to be 1485, the same year that the War of Roses ended and the resulting beginning of the Tudor dynasty. The tumult and chaos that was expressed politically and within the Church in the Italian Renaissance was expressed similarly in the religious and political conflicts during the Tudor dynasty. Erasmus was born in present-day Netherlands and after studying for the priesthood, his intense interest in studying Latin and Greek led him to Rome. Disturbed by the nepotism, worldliness, and immorality that he observed in Rome he traveled and lived for periods of time in France, England, Switzerland, and Germany. The most noted work by Erasmus was In Praise of Folly, a Latin essay which was widely read and received high praise, acceptance which was actually surprising to Erasmus. The essaya€™s main character is Folly, a young woman who sets about to prove that she has been the major force who has shaped history. In Praise of Folly would have never created waves if Erasmus had not included priest, popes, and theologians as targets of his satire.
There were many in the Roman clergy who opposed the Renaissance and its attacks on Scholasticism. In the third section of the essay, Folly really jumps in with both feet in her satire about the Roman clergy. Erasmus did call for, however, a reformation of the Roman Church at more than a decade before Luther arrived on the scene. Erasmus also produced a series of textbooks, Forms of Familiar Conversation (1514), used in many schools to teach rhetoric and virtue. He sympathized with Martin Luthera€™s call for reformation and agreed with his basic arguments. Erasmus viewed Luther as being too radical, and Luther thought Erasmus was big on words, but weak in actual action. Erasmus was a leading Greek and Latin scholar in Europe who believed the scriptures should be in the language of the people. He believed the education of both boys and girls, using methods similar to his series, Forms of Familiar Conversation, was a major way to bring reform to the Church as well as elevate society to a higher level.
Just as Erasmus used the fictitious Folly to convey his criticisms of the Roman Church, so More used the stories of the fictitious traveler Raphael Hythloday, in Morea€™s fable, Utopia, to advance his criticisms of England and of the reign of Henry VIII. The setting is a conversation in Antwerp, Belgium, where a friend introduces More to a traveller, Raphael Hythloday, who supposedly accompanied Amerigo Vespucci (for whom American is named) on his journey to the New World. Underlying the story, however, is More speaking through Hythloday concerning his opinions about the England of his day and the conditions under the reign of Henry VIII. In Utopia, thieves are required to work for the government productively in order to pay off their crimes. More is considered to be a leading humanist in Renaissance England and a true Renaissance man.
More counseled Henry against divorce, and when Henry proclaimed himself head of the English Church in the Act of Supremacy of 1534, More opposed Henry and refused to sign a loyalty oath proclaiming the King as the sole head over the English Church. More, as did his friend Erasmus, believed that girls should receive the same high quality education as boys. Served as a member of Henrya€™s Privy Council (a small group of close advisors chosen by the king and who had great influence in most matters of government), and was selected as special ambassador between Henry and Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor (and nephew of Henrya€™s first wife, Catherine of Aragon). Began a large history of the life of Richard III of England, which, although never completed by More, was an prime example of Renaissance history and served as a basis for Shakespearea€™s play, Richard III. Became Lord Chancellor in 1529, the highest position in government next to the king which also made him head of both the House of Lords as well as the head of the judicial court system of England.
Fought against the Protestant Reformation, banned all Protestant books from England, and used torture to root out Protestants in England. Refused to sign the loyalty oath affirming that the King of England only had authority over the English Church. Reluctantly Henry agreed to the imprisonment of More, whose wife and children begged him to relent and sign the oath. In July 1535 was tried for treason by a panel of jurors who included his successor as Lord Chancellor, and the father, brother, and uncle of Anne Boleyn.
Other noted English authors can be included in the list of Renaissance authors, in addition to More. Even though Shakespeare was born towards the end of the Renaissance, yet he was one of the first, and considered to be the pioneer, of bringing the central values of the Renaissance to the English theater. As England increasingly moved out of the feudal system with three locked in social classes -- lords, knights, and peasants -- society was being radically reshaped to include farmers, merchants, craftsmen, housewives, government officials, soldiers, nobles, and clergy. Shakespeare was able to weave in and through his plays themes, characters, and events found in the classical Greek and Roman literature, thus remaining true to the Renaissance spirit.


The deep emotions arise within Hamlet when he discovers that Claudius killed Hamleta€™s father in order to gain the throne.
To get himself together, Hamlet leaves town and over time is able to calm his emotions and think more clearly.
Shakespeare takes his audience through the whole range of emotions that fill Hamleta€™s mind and spirit.
As with the Italian artists, Van Eyck lived on commissions paid by the wealthy merchants and government leaders. He was especially expert at including all kinds of details in his paintings that gave a window into his time period. If someone asked you what the differences were between the Renaissance in Italy and the Renaissance in Northern Europe, what would your response be? 16.15.1A  What were the factors leading to a new awakening through a Renaissance in northern Europe? Disturbed by the nepotism, worldliness, and immorality that he observed in Rome he traveled and lived for periods of time in France,A  England, Switzerland, and Germany. The most noted work by Erasmus was In Praise of Folly,A  a Latin essay which was widely read and received high praise, acceptance which was actually surprising to Erasmus.
1.If someone asked you what the differences were between the Renaissance in Italy and the Renaissance in Northern Europe, what would your response be?
2.Erasmus is considered to be one of the most important figures of the Northern Reniassance. Conditions generally were shaking people from the stupor of feudalism on the one hand and blind obedience to tradition on the other. Platonism seemed to be more consistent with biblical truth with its emphasis upon the Reality Above, rather than Aristotlea€™s emphasis on the material here and now. And political structures and churches generally were more independent from Rome that in Italy. This was especially evident in the ongoing struggles for power between Rome and the Holy Roman Emperors in Germany. Its high point was during the reign of Queen Elizabeth who reigned from 1554 until her death in 1603. He collected and studied many ancient Greek manuscripts of the New Testament and translated from the Latin Vulgate back into Greek portions of the New Testament that did not in his lifetime have sufficient Greek manuscript support. The essay, written during a stay at the home of Thomas More in England, served as an impetus for the Protestant Reformation and was used as a text to teach rhetoric.
It is a parody or spoof in which the roles normally played among mankind by her opposite, Wisdom, are assigned to Folly. At this point in the essay the tone changes from good-hearted nonsense to a darker, angrier attack on the theologians of the Church. He sympathized with Luthera€™s attacks on the Roman Church, but the two disagreed on how to go about dealing with the problem.
Each town and nation seems to have its own patron saint, rather than a dependence upon Christ. In the early days of the United States a series of reading primers, The McDuffy Reader, was used to teach reading, but biblical themes were used so that all the while the student was learning to read, biblical concepts were being absorbed. Yet the very fact that they were condemned caused a wide publication of them, true to the emerging Renaissance spirit. He was a close friend of Erasmus, and it was while staying in the home of More that Erasmus wrote In Praise of Folly. Utopia, therefore, was a major example of the Humanist ideal of the Renaissance for freedom of speech and thought.
Stranded by Vespucci when he returned to Europe, Raphael witnessed cultures and peoples with their religions and daily life, that greatly impressed him.
He mentions the great number of thieves in the land, of the frequent use of capital punishment for thievery rather than at attempt to reform them, the bloated number of civil servants and bureaucrats in government, the excessive high rents charged by landowners, the quickness with which all of Europe seems to be to go to war, and the common tactic under Henry VIII of crying wolf concerning pending war in order to collect taxes to fight a war that never developed. He was an author, philosopher, attorney, member of Parliament, and a Greek and Latin scholar. His first wife, who was ten years his junior, lacked education and More became her teacher. His example was probably a factor in Henrya€™s daughter, Elizabeth (later to become Queen Elizabeth), receiving such a high level education that she was fluent in virtually all the major languages of Europe and considered to be one of the leading women in the Renaissance in England. As Petrarch was to the sonnet, and Boccaccio to the novel, so Shakespeare was to the Renaissance theater.
That is, the characters were a€?flata€? -- they played a role in explaining and acting out the plays major theme or making its major point. The multi-tiered society allowed Shakespeare to explore the human thoughts and personalities of every character in the play, no matter their position in a wide-ranging social system. First was his confusion, hurt, and anger when one month after the death of her husband, Hamleta€™s mother married her brother-in-law. The ultimate conclusion he comes to is that he must kill Claudius to avenge his fathera€™s death. Just when it appears that he is able to avenge his fathera€™s death, he fails to carry it out.
Patronage was made possible because of the expert banking system, the excellent merchant fleet, and the industry of the Netherlands.
It is said that he painted in such a way as to give the viewer both a telescope and a microscope. The essay, written during a stay at the home of Thomas More in England,A  served as an impetus for the Protestant Reformation and was used as a text to teach rhetoric. Other works include A Manual for the Christian KnightA  and Forms of Familiar Conversation. He was an author, philosopher, attorney,A A  member of Parliament, and a Greek and Latin scholar. The reason for his frequent relocations seems to have been a desire to avoid direct involvement with the disputes going on between Luther and Rome and to keep himself from attacks by Rome. A master of rhetoric, Erasmus playfully weaves all the major tools of rhetoric into Follya€™s (the main character) a€?proofsa€? of her centrality to human thought and behavior. She claims that no human relationships, no governments, no yielding to authority or exercise of authority are possible without a good deal of folly being involved.


Folly makes fun of their long sermons that confuse most of their listeners, and who attempt to show how brilliant they are by using Latin and Greek phrases in their sermons, when their listeners havena€™t a clue what those phrases mean.
Knowing this, Folly goes to what they do claim as their central authority (although she previously accuses them of twisting the bible to make it say what they want and to excuse their behaviors), the Bible, to show that in the Bible folly is praised.
Erasmus thought Luther was going too far in his attacks and threatened the very existence of the Roman Church. His A Manual for the Christian Knight (1501), or Enchiridion, was originally a letter written to an actual soldier whose behavior was of such concern to his wife that she requested Erasmus to send him a letter. Erasmus used the same technique so that the schoolboy in his day not only learned the skills of rhetoric and virtue in Familiar Conversation but also listened to Erasmusa€™ call for reform in the Church and used the bad examples of priests, nuns, and popes to get his point across.
His translation of a Greek New Testament in 1514 was one of the first attempts to improve the New Testament contained in the Latin Vulgate. They revealed that there were other ways to do things and other ways to perceived things than the traditional forms in Europe. It deals honestly with the people, who in turn give themselves in total obedience and servitude to a benign, peace-loving, strong, absolute government where all is held in common for the common good. Under duress he finally agreed to become a special counselor to Henry VIII, against his better judgement -- and his early reluctance to serve Henry proved to be well-founded. Members of the royalty, members of Parliament, widows, school boys, popes, monks, and merchants are all analyzed, at times criticized and made fun of, however, all shown to be important individual members of society.
He wore black to express his grief, which, he confided to his mother, did not adequately express the blackness of his inner feelings of grief. He was expert with the use of oil paint and many attribute its discovery primarily to Van Eyck. He painted the big picture but included many small details that reveal the culture of his day. Many books have been written in an attempt to interpret all of the meaning contained in this one painting. He attacks the use of relics, use of the papacy to gain wealth, and false miracles foisted on the gullible peasants by monks to gain power over them. Under duress he finally agreed to become a special counselor to Henry VIII,A  against his better judgement -- and his early reluctance to serve Henry proved to be well-founded. Folly attacks the monks who take what they hear in the confessional booth and use that information for their own advantage and control over people. Christa€™s followers are called to be meek, humble, and ignorant in this life, rather than to be forceful, boastful, and filled with the wisdom of the world.
The true Christian chooses faith rather than reason, humility rather than self-assertion or self-righteousness, and joy rather than the drudgery of the Church. Luther, on the other hand, criticized Erasmus for being great with the pen, but at fault for being so timid that no actual change was sought.
There was less tension and conflict among the people pictured in Utopia and freedom of speech and religion. There is abundant fresh water in Utopia, the roads are free of garbage and human filth, the buildings are clean, and those who refuse to work are banished from society. But when things went sour between Pope Leo X and Henry over Henrya€™s desire to obtain a divorce from Catherine of Aragon, things also went sour also between Henry and Thomas More. Like the Renaissance artists who created a third dimension with the use of the vanishing point, so Shakespeare created characters who were a€?humana€? characters with a third dimension, with psychological complexity, backgrounds, and points of view.
He was also hurt and astounded by how quickly a new king, Claudius, was enthroned, and the people forgot his father. Other characters in the play carry out plots, but now Hamlet, until the very end of the play. There was less tension and conflict among the people pictured in Utopia andA  freedom of speech and religion. Like the Renaissance artists who created a third dimension with the use of the vanishing point, so Shakespeare createdA  characters who were a€?humana€? characters with a third dimension, with psychological complexity, backgrounds, and points of view. It was the official version used by the Roman Church until the 20th century.) His Greek New Testament served as a major Greek text for the translation committee that produced the Authorized King James Bible in 1611.
Folly accuses them of taking vows of celibacy, for example, and lives of poverty, only to lead lives filled with selfishness, women, and wine.
Therefore, Christ and the Apostles were closer to Folly than they were to the a€?wisea€? leaders in the Church.
How many would then be willing to spend all their wealth and efforts to procure this position? And while all people are required to work, it is of a sort that allows for adequate free time and rest.
They came alive as real, genuine persons with faults, failures, strengths, weaknesses, and individual perspectives. Even then, it is not really the result of his ability to carry out his plan, but the plan of Claudius to kill Hamlet that backfires.
Not again!a€? No one can predict if he will actually Claudius, and if he does, when it will occur in the play. They do not worry about the future, never lose sleep over unfinished work, and are not anxious about events in their lives. Perhaps even worse, they twist the scriptures to prove their point or to excuse their behavior, and by so doing they hide the true message of the Christian faith. In fact, Christ and the Apostles promoted and praised a€?follya€? rather than the a€?wisdoma€? being taught in the churches. A fool is much more pleasant to have as a friend than a wise person, who is usually somber, uptight about life, and overly concerned about living life according to the rules.
They pulled the audience into the drama so that they could feel and be involved with the actors. These forfeitures would be replaced by vigils, fasts, sorrows, prayers, sermons, education, weariness, and a thousand other bothersome tasks of the sort.
Under the present system what work need be done is handed over to Peter or Paul to do at their leisure, while pomp and pleasure are personally taken care of by the Popesa€? (In Praise of Folly, lines 157-158).



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