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Changing Cultural Traditions

2 marks
How the artists were helped by the scientists?
Scientists helped the artists in making accurate human figures. By studying the bone
structures in the laboratories of the medical schools, artists were able to make human
figures in proper proportions.

What was the condition of women belonging to merchant’s family?

The women of merchant families had more liberty than of aristocratic families. They
assisted their husbands in running the business, managed the affairs in the absence of
their husbands and in case of death of their husbands, they played larger public roles

What was popularised by Anabaptists?

Anabaptists were the radical German reformers who blended the idea of salvation to all
kinds of social oppressions. They argued that God has created all men as equals and
hence, they are not expected to pay tax and have the freedom to choose their own

Who organised ‘Society of Jesus’ and what was the purpose of the society?
Ignatius Loyala organised the Society of Jesus in 1540. The purpose of the society was
to serve poor and to widen their knowledge of other cultures.

What do you mean by ‘indulgences’?

‘Indulgences’ were the documents sold by the clergy to the people promising them to
free them from the sins committed by them in the past.

What was the contribution of Kepler in astronomy?

Johannes Kepler popularised the theory that earth is a part of sun centered solar system.
In his Cosmographical Mystery he demonstrated that planets revolved around the sun
not in circle but in ellipses.

Who was Jacob Burckhardt?

Jacob Burckhardt (1818-97) was a Swiss scholar from the University of Basle of
Switzerland. He was the historian who emphasised the changes in Europe between
14th and 17th century as Renaissance. In 1860, he wrote a book titled The Civilization of
Renaissance in Italy.

Write a short note on Leonardo Da Vinci.

Leonardo Da Vinci (1452-1519) was an extraordinary humanist of Italy. He was a great
versatile expert who had command over botany, anatomy, physics, mathematics, art and
architecture. He painted famous portraits of the ‘Mona Lisa’ and ‘The Last Supper’. He
dreamed for ability to fly; for that he spent so many years inspecting birds in flight and
designed a flying machine. He used to sign his name ‘Leonardo Da Vinci, meaning
'disciple of experiment’.

Which new notion developed by the modern historians brought about changes
in Europe between 14thand 17th century?
The modern historians from the 19th century onwards termed the period of changes
between 14th and 17th century as ‘Renaissance’. Renaissance literally means rebirth, as
those changes were the medium of transformation of traditional, feudal and middle
aged Europe.
Mention important events of the 14th century during the period of Renaissance?
During the course of renaissance some important events of 14th century were:
• Humanism taught as subject in Padua University in Italy,
• Petrarch given the title of ‘Poet Laureate’ in Rome,
• Establishment of University in Florence and
• Publication of ‘Canterbury Tales’ by Geoffrey Chaucer.

Give a list of some important events of the 15th century which occurred during the
period of Renaissance.
During the course of renaissance some important events of 15th century were:
• Designing of the Duomo in Florence by Brunelleschi,
• Defeat of the Byzantine ruler of Constantinople by the Ottoman Turks,
• Printing of Bible with movable type by Gutenberg,
• Calculation of latitude by observing the sun by Portuguese mathematicians,
• Columbus reached America,
• The Last Supper painted by Leonardo Da Vinci and
• Painting of the Sistine Chapel ceiling by Michelangelo.

What was the contribution of Michelangelo in St Peters Church?

Michelangelo Buonarroti is remembered for his famous works in Rome such as, the
painted ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, the sculpture called ‘the Pieta’ and the design of
the dome of St Peter’s Church.

Who was Filippo Brunelleschi?

In the period of renaissance, several people emerged on the scene as all-rounder who
were skilled equally as painters, architects and sculptors. Filippo Brunelleschi (1337-
1446) started his career as a sculptor but famed for designing the magnificent Duomo of

List out the important events of 16th and 17th century during the Renaissance
period in Europe?
The important events of 16th century were; publication of Utopia by Thomas More,
Martin Luther gave ‘the Ninety Five Thesis’ and translated the Bible into German,
peasant uprising in Germany, Andreas Vesalius wrote On Anatomy, Anglican Church
with king/queen as head was established in England, Gerhardus Mercator prepared
cylindrical map of the earth and Pope Gregory XIII initiated Gregorian calendar. The
significant events in 17th century were; William Harvey linked the heart with blood
circulation, Academy of Sciences founded in Paris and Isaac Newton published
‘Principia Mathematica’.

5 marks
Write a brief overview on the changes that occurred in Europe between 14th and
17th century A.D.?
In Europe from 14th century to the end of 17th century a number of towns had grown in
different countries together with distinctive ‘urban culture’. The citizens of towns
started to think that they were more ‘civilized’ than the people of villages. Several
towns developed as nucleus of art and education, especially Florence, Venice and Rome
of Italy. The upper-class and rich started to patronize artists and writers. The invention
of printing press made books and other printed materials easily available. A new sense
of history developed in Europe and now people divided the history as what was ancient
and what was modern. The role of Church remained only for religious functions. The
development in science and geography broke all past notions of church like earth was
the centre of solar system and Mediterranean Sea was the centre of the world.

Jacob Burckhardt gave what theory about renaissance?

For Jacob Burckhardt, politics was not the central concern in History writing. To him
history was also concerned with culture as with politics. In his book ‘The Civilization
of the Renaissance in Italy’ Burckhardt referred the literature, architecture and painting
to describe how a new humanist culture had flowered in Italian towns from 14th to
17thcentury. He also described the development of new beliefs as feature of this new
humanist culture as the man of that age was capable of making his own decisions and
developing his skills as an individual. He further wrote that man was modern in matters
of thinking free from any restriction or authority in contrast to the medieval man whose
thinking was controlled by the church.

Which factors led to the revival of Italian cities?

After the decline of the Roman Empire, the towns of Italy, which were political and
cultural centres, were reduced to rubble. After the decline of Roman Empire, Western
Europe was restructured by feudal bonds and unified under the Latin Church. While
Eastern Europe went under the rule of Byzantine Empire and Islam was building a
common society further west. During this time Italy was weak and fragmented. All
these developments helped in the revival of the Italian culture. The ports on the Italian
coast revived due to development of trade between the Byzantine Empire and the
Islamic countries.
From the 12th century the Mongols started trading with China through the Silk
Route and as trade enhanced with European countries, Italian cities played a vital role.
These cities made their identity as independent city-states. Florence and Venice were
among these republics. Several cities came into existence because their administration
was in the hands of rich merchants and bankers, free from the clutches of clergy or
feudal lords and that resulted in the initiation of the idea of citizenship.

What changes did the humanists' view of history bring about?

The humanists thought that an age of darkness prevailed for centuries after the decline
of the Roman Empire, which they termed as ‘dark age’. They believed that they were
re-establishing a ‘true civilization’. Several modern historians were debating over
labelling of any age as dark which they thought as an unfair thing. Later scholars agreed
over that view and they assumed that ‘new age’ began after the fourteen century. The
period of thousand years (a millennium) after the fall of Roman Empire was considered
as ‘Middle Ages or Medieval period’.
About ‘Middle Ages they said that religion or Church controlled the minds of all men in
a way that all the learning of the Greeks and Romans had been washed out. The
humanists termed the period from the 15th century as ‘Modern’.

In flow of changes how ‘Artists’ got influenced and ‘Realism’ made its way?
The humanism was not only spread through education but also by art, architecture and
books. The artists got inspiration from reading the works of the past. The material
remains, including fragments of art were found in the ruins of ancient Rome and other
desolate cities, and along with the ancient texts of Roman culture were hunted with
enthusiasm. The Italian sculptors were so influenced with perfectly proportioned male
and female figures that they desired to carry on that practice. Donatello initiated the
new league with his lifelike statues. The artists refined their work with the help of
science. They went to laboratories of medical schools for studying bone structures.
Painters didn’t get any older work so they used sculptors as ideal and inserted realism in
their paintings. Their pictures had three-dimensional effect due to the use of light effect
of colours. The use of anatomy, geometry and physics together with logic of ‘what is
beautiful’ created a quality called realism installed in Italian art, which continued up to

What were the factors that led to the advancement of architecture?

• In the 15th century Rome made its mark in a remarkable way. Since the Popes
became politically stronger by 1417, after the weakness caused by the election of two
rival popes in 1378, they dynamically promoted the study of history of Rome.
• The new ‘classical’ architecture that was basically a renewal of grand Roman
fashion which was to draw stimulation from newly excavated evidences of Rome.
• The wealthy merchants, Popes and upper class engaged those architects who were
proficient in classical architecture.
• Artists and sculptors tried new things by decorating buildings with paintings,
sculptures and relief features.
• Several persons were expert equally as painters, sculptors and architects.
Michelangelo Buonarroti and Filippo Brunelleschi were good examples of this.
• By this time the artists were famous individually, by their name, instead being a
member of a group or a guild.

What developments took place with the advent of printing?

• Europe borrowed the idea of printing technology from Chinese people as the
European traders and diplomats became familiar with it during their visits to the
Mongol Rulers courts. Earlier texts were found in hand written form.
• A German Johannes Gutenberg made first printing press and printed 150 copies of
the Bible in 1455 while same time was consumed by a monk to write a single copy of
the Bible.
• All classical texts almost all in Latin language had been printed in Italy by 1500
A.D. With the advent of printed books the dependency of students over lecture-notes
was ended.
• The ideas and information spread swiftly and broadly. The printed books
encouraged new views rapidly. This made it possible for individuals to read books, as it
was possible to buy a copy for oneself.
• The printed books were the chief source to spread humanist culture swiftly across
the Alps by the end of 15thcentury.

How did the new concept of human beings free the people from clutches of feudal
• One of the changes that the humanist culture brought about was loosening of the
control of religion over human life. The people of Italy remained religious though they
were fascinated by material wealth, power and glory.
• A humanist from Venice Francesco Barbaro wrote pamphlet in defence of the
possession of the wealth and called it a virtue.
• Lorenzo Valla who thought that the study of history guides a man to attempt for a
life of perfection, he in his book ‘On Pleasure’ condemned the Christian restriction
against pleasure.
• There was also a concern over good manners that how one should converse
graciously and dress properly. Humanism emphasised that individuals were able of
determining their own lives through resources rather than the mere search of power and
• This belief was linked with view that human nature was multi-dimensional, which
went against the three separate orders that feudal society believed in. Machiavelli
assumed all men are bad and ever ready to display their vicious nature partly because of
the fact that human desires are insatiable’.

8 marks
What was the role of Universities in propagating Humanities?
Humanities was derived from a Latin word ‘humanitas’. In Europe earliest universities
were established in Italian towns. The universities of Bologna and Padua had been
centres of legal studies form 11th century. There was a demand for lawyers and notaries
to write and interpret rules and written contracts as increasing trade and commerce
depended over them. There was visible transfer in values of subjects with the
emergence of law as a popular subject to study. Francesco Petrarch symbolised this
change and stressed the significance of a deep analysis of ancient authors.
The educational programme of that period was a means to study more which religious
teachings alone could not give. The term ‘humanist started to be applied in early
15th century for masters who could teach grammar, rhetoric, poetry, history and
philosophy. These subjects had no connection with religion; they were developed
through discussions and debates of individuals. These thoughts influenced other
universities also especially in newly established university in Florence, the home-town
of Petrarch. By 15th century Florence got fame as trade and education centre. A city was
known not only for its wealth but also for its citizens and Florence had become popular
because of Dante Alighieri a layman who wrote religious themes and Giotto an artist
who painted lifelike portraits. From then it developed as the most exciting intellectual
city in Italy and as a centre of artistic creativity.

What developments in the field of science and philosophy took place in the age of
Renaissance? Give special reference of Arab’s role.
The monks and clergymen were too familiar with the works of Greek and Roman
scholars from the ‘Middle Ages’ but they did not let them get known to other classes of
people. By fourteen century various scholars started to read the translation of Greek
authors like Plato and Aristotle in Arabic as they were translated and maintained by
Arab translators. This led to a chain of spreading of knowledge. Several Europeans read
Greek works in Arabic translation and the Greeks translated Arabic and Persian
scholars work in European languages. Those works were related to natural science,
mathematics, astronomy, medicine and chemistry. The Almagest of Ptolemy was the
work of 140 BC on astronomy in Greek language and was translated into Arabic; it had
carried an Arabic alphabet ‘al’ which shows connection with Arabs. Ibn Sina, an Arab
physician and philosopher of Bukhara and al-Razi the author of medieval Encyclopedia
were considered as men of knowledge in Italian states. The Christian thinkers assumed
the method of Arab philosopher of Spain who tried to resolve the tension between
philosophical knowledge and religious faiths. A professor of medicine Andreas
Vesalius at the University of Padua first dissected the human body, which was the
beginning of modern physiology. The humanists were making ways in life of people
through several methods. The program of study in universities continued to be
dominated by law, medicine and theology, humanist subjects were gradually introduced
in schools, in all European countries including Italy. Even science subjects like physics
and anatomy with geometry helped in inserting realism in art and changes in

Describe the condition of women in the changing Europe?

Though the new ideas and views, like individuality and citizenship, regarding human
beings were making their way but they couldn’t affect the lives of the women.
• Families were patriarchal; men from upper class families led the public life and
were the decision-makers of their families. The sons were provided with education to
lead family business in future or public life.
• Women had no say in business matters though their dowries were invested in family
businesses; marriages were a means to support business alliances.
• Those girls whose dowry was not arranged properly were sent to convents to lead
the life of nuns. The women were looked upon as keeper of households only.
• The condition of women in families of merchant was in contrast to that of
aristocratic families. The wives of shopkeepers backed their husbands in daily business
whereas the wives of merchants and bankers looked after their business when they were
away. The early death of a merchant forced his widow to play a bigger public role
rather than the women of upper class family.
• Several women were intellectual humanists; Venetia Cassandra Fedele was one of
them. She was known for her expertise in Greek and Latin language and was invited to
deliver lectures at the University of Padua. Her works conveyed the common view for
• Fedele was among those women who condemned the republic for creating a highly
limited description of the liberty that gives preferential treatment i.e. the wishes of men
over those of women.
• Another outstanding woman was the Marchesa of Mantua, Isabella d’Este, who
ruled the state in the absence of her husband and the court of that small state got fame
for its intellectual vividness.
• The writings of women of that period disclosed their confidence that they should
have economic power, property and education to get individuality in a world dominated
by men.

Discuss the events and persons during reformation of church and its attitude?
In the 15th and 16th century the north European Universities’ scholars also got
influenced by humanists' views. Like Italian scholars they also paid attention to
classical Greek and Roman texts together with the sacred books of the Christians. Here
the professional scholars led the humanist movement which also influenced the
associates of the Church. They criticized the needless rites which they considered as
later additions and asked the Christians to follow the religion mentioned in ancient texts
of their religion. The Christian humanists like Thomas More of England and Erasmus
of Holland assumed that the Church in their respective country had become a centre of
greed and extorting money forcibly from common men.
The selling of ‘indulgences’ document was one of the methods to acquire money. The
printed Bible in local languages disclosed to the Christians that their religion didn’t
allow such practices. The peasants, common man and the princes started to rebel
against taxes forced by the Church, against extortions of the church and their increasing
interference in the work of the state respectively as irksome.
In 1517, Martin Luther a German monk initiated the Protestant Reformation against evil
practices of Catholic Church and said that a person did not need priests to set up contact
with God. That led to the break-up of German and Swiss churches with the Pope and
Catholic Church.
The reformers like Ulrich Zwingli and Jean Calvin who followed Martin Luther,
became famous in rural areas while Catholic Church remained a force. Other German
reformer, the Anabaptists said that when God created all persons as equal then there is
no question of paying taxes and choosing their priests. These views influenced the
feudal oppressed peasantry and they revolted.
Martin Luther opposed radicalism and asked the German rulers to crush the rebellions
in 1525. In England the rulers severed their link with the Pope. The King or queen was
the head of the Church from now onwards.
Describe the developments in science and astronomy during renaissance period?
The scientists had questioned the Christian concept of man as a sinner. The Christians
believed that the earth was a place of sin and the load of sin made it stationary. The
earth was centre of universe around which celestial planets moved. The decisive
moment in European science arrived with the theory of Copernicus. He said that earth
together with other planets revolved around the sun. He handed over his manuscript De
revolutionibus to his disciple Joachim Rheticus before death which was not published
till his death due to the fear of clergy’s reaction. People took time to realise the truth.
Johannes Kepler and Galileo Galilei changed the notions of earth and heaven. Kepler
wrote ‘Cosmographical Mystery’ in which he established that all the planets revolved
around the sun in ellipses not in circles. Galileo in his work ‘The Motion’ proved the
concept of dynamic world. The revolution of science reached its zenith with the theory
of gravitation by Isaac Newton. The work of these scholars separated the knowledge
from belief through study and researches. Their works extended swiftly into the forms
of physics, chemistry and biology. Historians termed this new approach to the
knowledge of man and nature as the Scientific Revolution.
As a result of this in the minds of cynics and non-believers Nature replaced God as a
creating source. The believers of God said that their God didn’t directly control the act
of living in the world. A new scientific culture came into being as several scientific
societies popularised distant God’s idea. The scientific societies were formed like the
Royal Society of London in 1662 and The Paris Academy in 1670 and they held
lectures and carried out experiments for public viewing.

Discuss relevance of the concept of renaissance from 14th to 17th century?

The concept of renaissance is debatable, as modern writers like Peter Burke of England
suggested that Burckhardt over stated the sharp distinction between this period and the
one that preceded it by terming it as ‘Renaissance’. The term implied the rebirth of the
Greek and Roman civilizations and the substitution of the pre-Christian world for the
Christian world by the artists and scholars of that period. Both these arguments are
overstated. By terming the Renaissance as a period of imaginative creativity and the
Middle Ages as a period of darkness is an easy generalisation. The characteristics of
renaissance were already seen from 12th and 13th century, even in 9th century in France
same type of literary and creative effects flourished.
The new archaeological and literary findings of Roman culture shows that cultural
transformation of Europe was not only propelled by classical Roman and Greek
civilization but the developed skills and technologies of Asia also contributed as they
were much more advanced. The spreading out of Islam and Mongols invasions linked
Asia and North Africa with Europe in trade and acquisition of skills together with
political connections. Europe along with Romans and Greeks got knowledge from
India, China, Iran, Arabia and Central Asia. The Asian contributions were soon
forgotten with the writing of history from the point of view of the Europe.
An important change that did happen in this period was the gradual separation of the
public and private life of a person. By eighteen century in political sense all men had
equal political rights. Europe which was earlier united, now got dissolved into states,
each united on the basis of common language. Therefore it is matter of scholars’ field
that renaissance was really there or not but we should have to acknowledge the changes
and contribution of that period.