|The Renaissance, which began in northern
Italy in the fifteenth century--some scholars claim an earlier date--was a "rebirth" of learning and a return
to the literature and humanistic studies of the ancient world. "Humanism"
intellectual movement of the Renaissance, was inspired by the Ancient Greek focus on
the beauty of the human body. (The Church had long taught that the
human body was the source of evil.) The term "Renaissance"
itself was coined by French nineteenth-century historians who, when reviewing the marvelous
literary, artistic and philosophic achievements of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries,
especially in Italy, viewed the
era literally as a rebirth of civilization. The idea of a renewed appreciation
of the classical civilizations of the past was an important break
from the Christian church which had
always looked with disdain, to put it mildly,
upon the pagan past of Ancient Greece and Rome.
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