The Renaissance Period 1485-1660 Mrs. Pace – English 12CP The term renaissance is a French word meaning “rebirth.” It refers particularly to a renewed interest in classical learning – the writings of ancient Greece and Rome. The Renaissance Period is considered to be a cultural movement. The Renaissance era in Europe and in England was marked by a change in the way people thought about themselves and the world. No longer content with the fixed religious beliefs of the Middle Ages, people became more interested in expanding their own knowledge. The War of the Roses were a series of dynastic civil wars between supporters of the rival houses of Lancaster and York, for the throne of England. They are generally accepted to have been fought in several spasmodic episodes between 1455 and 1485 (although there was related fighting both before and after this period). The war ended with the victory for the Earl of Richmond, Henry Tudor, who founded the House of Tudor, which subsequently ruled England and Wales for 117 years. Henry Tudor, King Henry VII The Tudor Rose Technically the Renaissance era in England begins when a Tudor nobleman (Henry Tudor) is crowned King Henry VII. However, the Renaissance occurred gradually and this cultural movement occurred across Europe, not just in England. King Henry VII is the father of King Henry VIII, famous for beheading his many wives and breaking with the Catholic Church to create the Church of England. Does this man look full of himself or what? Photos of King Henry VIII The Renaissance, a time of renewal of the human spirit, a renewal of curiosity and creativity, started in Italy. Over several centuries Italy had acquired considerable wealth ($), which it had accumulated from banking and trade with the East. Many famous inventors, painters, and writers flourished during this time period. People like: Michelangelo, Christopher Columbus, Galileo, and Da Vinci. The Louvre – Museum in Paris During the Renaissance educated people began to embrace an intellectual movement known as humanism. Humanists looked not only to the Bible but also to the Latin and Greek classics for wisdom and knowledge. Humanists combined classical ideology with traditional Christian thought in order to teach people how to live and rule. Humanism is a movement that came from what we today would call humanities, which is the study of philosophy, history, languages and Michelangelo's David is a masterpiece of Renaissance sculpture. An invention that transformed this historical time period is the printing press. Early books were written by hand and preserved by monks and Byzantine and Islamic scholars. However, the invention of the printing press in the early 15th century (early 1400’s) dramatically changed the way people received information. No longer were the elite or nobles the only ones to have access to books, newspapers, journals, etc. With the power to have more books comes more reading, thus more enlightenment. Johannes Gutenburg is credited with inventing the first printing press in Germany around 1400. By 1476 William Caxton had his own printing press up and running in Westminster, England. Almost everyone in Europe and Britain during the Renaissance was Roman Catholic, so the church was very rich and powerful, even in political affairs. Many of the popes were lavish patrons of artists, architects, and scholars. Pope Julius II commissioned the artist Michelangelo to paint gigantic scenes from the Bible on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. The new mind frame of the Renaissance was to attain virtue, not success or money or fame. This new ideal is founded on the belief that virtue is the best possible human possession and the only source of true happiness. While the Renaissance was going on throughout Europe, there occurred in some countries another important series of events called the Reformation. In England these two movements were closely related, and their forces were felt by all English writers. A reformer rejected the authority of the pope and the Italian churchmen. Conflicts with the papacy had been brewing for centuries. A break was inevitable. Strong feelings of patriotism and national identity made the English people resent the financial burdens imposed on them by the Vatican. The generations-old conflict between the pope and the king of England came to a climax when Henry VIII wanted to get rid of his wife of 24 years. Divorce was not allowed, especially for kings , so Henry needed a loop-hole. He asked Pope Clement VII to declare that he, Henry, was not properly married to his Spanish wife, Catherine of Aragon, because she had been previously wedded (for all of five months) to his older brother, Arthur, now dead. (It was against Church law to marry a dead sibling’s spouse; the biblical basis for the law is in Leviticus.) Pope Clement VII King VS. Pope – All for an Heir Henry VIII had two motives for wanting to get rid of Catherine. First, although she had borne him a princess, she was too old to give him a male heir, something he believed he MUST have. (Catherine had lost five babies.) Another younger woman had won Henry’s dangerous affections – Anne Boleyn. PROBLEM!! Henry wants to marry Anne, but he’s already married and divorce is illegal. The pope refuses to annul Henry’s marriage – so Henry breaks with the church and declares himself head of the English Church. Much is made of Henry’s voracious sexual appetite. And…much of it is TRUE!! Sir Thomas More , a friend of Henry’s and the author of Utopia and now lord chancellor of England (lord chancellor = head of the affairs of the church) refuses to accept Henry as head of the Church. As Henry’s friend he is torn, but in the end he sided with God. For More’s stubbornness, Henry ordered that his lord chancellor (and friend) be beheaded. Thus, starts a trend! Sir Thomas More Henry VIII is remembered for his messy home life. However, he was a very important figure to England. He created the Royal Navy, which put a stop to foreign invasions. Many actually recognize him as a “Renaissance Man.” He wrote poetry, played many musical instruments, and was a formidable athlete and hunter. Here’s a rhyme to help you remember the fate of Henry’s six wives: Divorced Beheaded Died Divorced Beheaded Survived Anne Boleyn – the 2nd wife Catherine of Aragon – the 1st wife With Henry’s first wife (Catherine of Aragon) packed away under house arrest and Sir Thomas More beheaded, Henry continues his philandering ways. However the people of England are not happy with Henry’s new church, The Church of England. The people felt like it was too similar to the Catholic Church. These unhappy people later became known as Puritans, Baptists, Presbyterians, Dissenters, and Nonconformists – in other words, Protestantism has begun. Protestants base their beliefs in the fact that religion is solely a matter between the individual and God. The word protestant is understood to mean anyone who belongs to a church or a sect other than the Catholic Church. Through years of affairs and fornication, Henry VIII produces several offspring. Little did he know, or care, that his daughter by Anne Boleyn (Elizabeth) would become the greatest ruler England ever had. Before Elizabeth takes the throne, several of Henry’s other children had their moment in the sun, some good and some bad. 1st to the throne: According to the laws of succession, a son had to be crowned first, and so at age nine the son of Henry and Jane Seymour became Edward VI. He reigned from 1547-1553. An intelligent but sickly boy, he ruled in name only while his relatives wielded the actual power. He died of tuberculosis. Before his death he attempted to prevent the country being returned to Catholicism. Edward named his cousin Lady Jane Grey as his heir and excluded his half sisters, Mary and Elizabeth. However, this was disputed following Edward's death and Jane was only queen for nine days before Edward's half-sister, Mary, was proclaimed Queen. Bloody Mary Mary, Edward’s half-sister of Spanish decent, was a devout Catholic. She was determined to avenge the wrongs done to her mother by her father, Henry VIII. She restored the pope’s power in England and ruthlessly hunted down Protestants. She made a strategic error, however, when she burned about 300 of her subjects at the stake. Mary’s executions earned her the name Bloody Mary. She died of a fever and because she died childless, she was succeeded by her sister Elizabeth. 2nd to the throne: The Virgin Queen Elizabeth I reigned from 1558-1603. She is considered to be one of the most successful and brilliant monarchs in history. She inherited a kingdom torn by fierce religious feuds, so her first task was to restore law and order. She reestablished the Church of England and again rejected the pope’s authority. The pope excommunicated her. 3rd to the throne: Elizabeth was not married at the time of her succession to the throne. She quickly realized that her strength lay in her independence. Throughout her reign she continued to play one suitor against another, keeping them all interested and hopeful. The victory of England’s Royal Navy over the Spanish Armada in 1588 is considered to be a great turning point in history and Elizabeth’s finest moment. After the defeat of the Armada, Elizabeth became a beloved symbol of peace, security, and prosperity to her subjects, and she provided inspiration to scores of English authors. Literary works that did not directly represent her were dedicated to her because authors knew she was a connoisseur of literature. A Dull Man Succeeds a Witty Woman Elizabeth died childless and was succeeded by her second cousin, James VI of Scotland. James was the son of Elizabeth’s cousin Mary, whom Elizabeth had beheaded years before. As James I of England, he lacked Elizabeth’s ability to resolve critical issues. James was a squanderer where Elizabeth had been thrifty. He, however, tried hard. He was a continued patron of Shakespeare and the arts; he himself wrote several learned books. 4th to the throne: There are many great writers from the Renaissance period. Some of which we will read together. Here are few: Christopher Marlowe Sir Walter Raleigh Robert Herrick Andrew Marvell William Shakespeare John Donne Ben Jonson Francis Bacon John Milton John Bunyan Edmund Spenser Sir John Suckling Richard Lovelace Poetry of the Renaissance/Elizabethan Age Major themes – love and beauty Physical beauty – outward sign of the spirit striving for perfection (humanist theory). Poet writes to a lady who is inflexible. Man seeks her love, but hopelessly. Her moods create the weather. Lady is usually not real (a stereotype). “Fair” = a sign of beauty Carpe Diem and Pastoral Poetry Carpe Diem is a Latin phrase which means “seize the day.” Poets in the Renaissance were pushing for enlightenment and the concept of fleeting time/life being short meant more authors were generating poems with these themes: Live for today. Eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow we die. Pastoral Poetry focuses on the idealized countryside and the simple life. With cities on the rise, there was a desire to get back to the simplistic things in life. Pastoral poetry idealizes a simple life. Three Sonnet Types Characteristics of ALL sonnets: meter = iambic pentameter rhyme = definite, but varies from sonnet to sonnet 14 lines long Variations in sonnets: rhyme structure (octave – sestet VS. quatrains and a couplet) The three types: Petrarchan (Italian), Shakespearean (English), and the Spenserian See handout for specifics on the three types of sonnets. Lots to read. Lots to do. Let’s get started!