| FORUM | ARCHIVE |                    | TOTAL QUIZ RESULT |


  New Posts New Posts RSS Feed - The 12th Century Renaissance... was it one??
  FAQ FAQ  Forum Search   Events   Register Register  Login Login


Welcome stranger, click here to read about some of the great benefits of registering for a free account with us and joining us in our global online community.


The 12th Century Renaissance... was it one??

 Post Reply Post Reply
Author
dayTripper View Drop Down
Janissary
Janissary
Avatar

Joined: 21 Jun 2009
Location: Australia
Status: Offline
Points: 16
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote dayTripper Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: The 12th Century Renaissance... was it one??
    Posted: 24 Jun 2009 at 15:31
I recently had to write an essay on this. When my tutor gave back the papers he said he was surprised at how many different angles various arguments came from. It's a fascinating topic that's inherently open for debate because it's a matter of terminology over anything else.

My view??

People tend to idealise the achievements of the Renaissance that began in the 15th century. It claims to be a "rebirth" of classical knowledge from the Ancient Greeks. BUT, the Scholasticism movement which began in the 12th century is based off of Aristotle's works (albeit reinterpreting them in an extremely Christian way). We also know that humanism and individualism had been growing as ideas since around that time, as well. So to what extent is the Renaissance really a rebirth when we can clearly see most of its phenomena leading up to it in the preceding centuries?

In my essay I pointed out that we don't refer to the French Revolution as the only revolution in the course of history, since so many other uprisings contained extremely similar characteristics. What I proposed was that we cannot simply refer to the Renaissance anymore, but a Renaissance. After all, there are several others (Carolingian, Ottonian, Bengal to name a few). The Carolingian Renaissance also makes it's case well. Granted, it didn't have that degree of individualism that you find in the 15th century but, well, they were in the middle of the Middle Ages, just after the establishment of the Holy Roman Empire. Doesn't seem likely to happen at that stage.

One day in the distant future, I think the term 'Renaissance' will probably be acceptable for a number of different periods that exemplify a cultural revival in various ways. I'd love to hear some alternative opinions on the matter, though. I'm fully aware that my argument probably contains some holes, so feel free to poke away =)
Back to Top
Sponsored Links


Back to Top
gcle2003 View Drop Down
WorldHistoria Master
WorldHistoria Master
Avatar
PM Honorary Member

Joined: 06 Dec 2004
Location: Luxembourg
Status: Offline
Points: 13262
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote gcle2003 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24 Jun 2009 at 21:08
There's always the between-wars Harlem Renaissance. The thing about the 16th (roughly) century renaissance however was that it was a renaissance of art, poetry, drama, political thought, secular philosophy and pretty well everything else at much the same time, which I don't think many 'renaissances' were.
 
Still, I'd agree that in many ways the Renaissance might in many ways be termed just a Naissance.
Citizen of Ankh-Morpork.

Never believe anything until it has been officially denied - Sir Humphrey Appleby, 1984.

Back to Top
pinguin View Drop Down
WorldHistoria Master
WorldHistoria Master
Avatar

Joined: 29 Sep 2006
Status: Offline
Points: 15238
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote pinguin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24 Jun 2009 at 22:59
The 12th century renascence may be smaller in arts than the Italian, but for science and technologies it is crucial.
 
During that time the mechanical watch was invented and arrived the earlies wave of East Asian inventions to the West. At those times also, some guy called Bacon started to build the basic foundations of modern science.
 
I wish to hear the oppinion of experts in the topic, here, but for the technological point of view, and for me, it is a lot more important than the humanistic renascence in Italy.
 
Back to Top
gcle2003 View Drop Down
WorldHistoria Master
WorldHistoria Master
Avatar
PM Honorary Member

Joined: 06 Dec 2004
Location: Luxembourg
Status: Offline
Points: 13262
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote gcle2003 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25 Jun 2009 at 14:28
'Some guy called Bacon' lived in the thirteenth century. Some other guy named Bacon lived in the 16th/17th and formalised the scientific method.
 
Galileo, Copernicus, Descartes and Vesalius, let alone Da Vinci, don't seem to have any equivalents in the 12th century (though as I said these are examples to a great extent of a birth, not a rebirth).
 
As for technology, pile-drivers and centrifugal pumps may not be terribly important, but the tremendous advances in ship-building were, and the ability to produce drawings in true linear perspective affected pretty well all technological design.  
Citizen of Ankh-Morpork.

Never believe anything until it has been officially denied - Sir Humphrey Appleby, 1984.

Back to Top
pinguin View Drop Down
WorldHistoria Master
WorldHistoria Master
Avatar

Joined: 29 Sep 2006
Status: Offline
Points: 15238
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote pinguin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25 Jun 2009 at 17:47
Roger Bacon, not Francis. Please.... And I am talking about a period around the 12th century, not necesarily all fit in the 12th century, either.
As for science, you should check out the most obscure, but not less brilliant, medioeval "phylosophers", physicians and mathematicians.
 
As for technology, here is a small list: mechanical clocks, water powered heavy tools, windmill, camera obscura, paper, etc.
Back to Top
gcle2003 View Drop Down
WorldHistoria Master
WorldHistoria Master
Avatar
PM Honorary Member

Joined: 06 Dec 2004
Location: Luxembourg
Status: Offline
Points: 13262
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote gcle2003 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25 Jun 2009 at 21:24
The 12th century renaissance applies to Europe, not world-wide events. Also it was in the 12th century.
 
Who in the 12th century would you compare with Albertus Magnus and Duns Scotus, both 13th century figures? Or William of Ockham, who was mostly 14th century? Among philosophers Aquinas was 13th century.
 
And paper didn't reach Europe until nearly the 14th century: the camera obscura concept goes back to ancient Greece, and was mainly a Muslim development: it also didn't get into widespread use until the later renaissance: painters weren't terribly concerned with landscapes and cityscapes in the 12th century.
 
Architectural achievement was of course considerable, but wat major new developments were there in the other arts?
 
Citizen of Ankh-Morpork.

Never believe anything until it has been officially denied - Sir Humphrey Appleby, 1984.

Back to Top
pinguin View Drop Down
WorldHistoria Master
WorldHistoria Master
Avatar

Joined: 29 Sep 2006
Status: Offline
Points: 15238
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote pinguin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25 Jun 2009 at 21:52
OK. Let's move to the 13th century then. A problem with chronology, I guess.
Back to Top
Reginmund View Drop Down
Caliph
Caliph
Avatar

Joined: 08 May 2005
Location: Norway
Status: Offline
Points: 2659
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Reginmund Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26 Jun 2009 at 11:32
Originally posted by gcle2003 gcle2003 wrote:

There's always the between-wars Harlem Renaissance. The thing about the 16th (roughly) century renaissance however was that it was a renaissance of art, poetry, drama, political thought, secular philosophy and pretty well everything else at much the same time, which I don't think many 'renaissances' were.
 
Still, I'd agree that in many ways the Renaissance might in many ways be termed just a Naissance.


The debate itself though is in danger of becoming a nuisance. Big smile

Whether or not there was a 12th century Renaissance depends entirely on what you set as the preconditions for applying the term to a period. If any rediscovery or revival of Graeco-Roman civilization counts as a renaissance then the Europeans were in a continual state of renaissance throughout the Middle Ages, so to avoid making the term meaningless you need to be able to identify a period in which this trend was more pronounced than others. Does that hold true for the 12th century? That I can't answer, despite having taken a university course on this exact topic a few years back.

Personally I'm in favour of reserving the term for the Italian Renaissance, or should I say the Renaissance, to avoid confusion and futile bickering over semantics. The rest of the cultural revivals I'd prefer to call just that, f.ex. "the cultural revival of the 12th century" or "the Carolingian cultural revival", with the Renaissance itself denoting the final climax of a centuries long coitus with the ancients.
Sing, goddess, of Achilles' ruinous anger
Which brought ten thousand pains to the Achaeans,
And cast the souls of many stalwart heroes
To Hades, and their bodies to the dogs
And birds of prey
Back to Top
dayTripper View Drop Down
Janissary
Janissary
Avatar

Joined: 21 Jun 2009
Location: Australia
Status: Offline
Points: 16
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote dayTripper Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26 Jun 2009 at 14:06
Originally posted by gcle2003 gcle2003 wrote:


Who in the 12th century would you compare with Albertus Magnus and Duns Scotus, both 13th century figures?


The 12th century had both Peter Abelard (poor unfortunate castrated soul) and Anselm of Canterbury. Anselm I can't say was too revolutionary in his ideas, but he was one of the first medieval philosophers to specifically apply reason to the Christian faith (and came up with that irritating ontological argument).

Originally posted by Reginmund Reginmund wrote:

Whether or not there was a 12th century Renaissance depends entirely on what you set as the preconditions for applying the term to a period.


I definitely agree with this. Honestly, I keep fluctuating, myself, on whether to widen the term Renaissance because everyone puts up such good arguments for and against it! (I'm easily persuaded, obviously)

One of the core differences between the Renaissance and the Medieval age, though, was that the Renaissance scholars saw a distinct break between their age and the Classical age. Medieval scholars, on the other hand, pretty much saw their age as an extension of the last. They weren't really conscious of a rebirth so to speak, whereas in the Renaissance they clearly were. So if you define a 'Renaissance' as a conscious rebirth then I suppose you have an argument for the 15th/16th century Renaissance above all others.

However, I was reading one essay which claimed that the term 'Renaissance' was simply a reaction to the medieval period, which they viewed as a period of blind faith, obedience and extremely latent in terms of intellectualism. Of course, we now know that this is not entirely the case, especially in the High Middle Ages. Do we then overestimate the actual achievements of the Renaissance?? After all, it was after this period that the large majority of witch persecutions occurred, the religious wars in France, "divine right" of Kings, etc. I suppose one way to look at it is that no movement is ever truly complete (something I find fascinating about history is how the effects of one major event inevitably leak into another). With that in mind, I suppose you can then account for a lack of artistic innovation in the 12th century or individualism in the 9th.
Back to Top
pinguin View Drop Down
WorldHistoria Master
WorldHistoria Master
Avatar

Joined: 29 Sep 2006
Status: Offline
Points: 15238
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote pinguin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26 Jun 2009 at 16:11
Of course. The Renaissance is way too much overestimated. Many things happened before it that allowed the Western Civilization to wake up. For instance, the Age of Discovery started earlier, besides the printing press and the waves of knowledge comming from external civilizations (Muslim, Chinese)
Back to Top
drgonzaga View Drop Down
King
King
Avatar
Plus Ultra

Joined: 01 Oct 2005
Status: Offline
Points: 6262
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote drgonzaga Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26 Jun 2009 at 20:40
Originally posted by pinguin pinguin wrote:

Roger Bacon, not Francis. Please.... And I am talking about a period around the 12th century, not necesarily all fit in the 12th century, either.
As for science, you should check out the most obscure, but not less brilliant, medioeval "phylosophers", physicians and mathematicians.
 
As for technology, here is a small list: mechanical clocks, water powered heavy tools, windmill, camera obscura, paper, etc.
 
Here's a hint as to the "expansion" of knowledge in the 11th century as Northern Europe gained cognition of the Classical World from Latin translations of Arabic manuscripts derived from the Greek. Think Toledo!
 
PS: Is the Renaissance any more an apt descriptive than the Enlightenment? Certainly no one alive in the 14th through 16th centuries had any such notion. Interestingly enough, it was during the claimed Age of Enlightenment, or as an old historian friend of mine called it, the En(b)ligtenment, that the notion of a "revival in learning" was associated with the period (1785). The actual word does not surface until 1840 in French literature and within historiography it dates to 1872. One has to wait until 1906 for anyone to speak of a Renaissance Man!
 
 


Edited by drgonzaga - 26 Jun 2009 at 20:55
Honi soit qui mal y pense
Back to Top
mmedepunkadour View Drop Down
Immortal Guard
Immortal Guard


Joined: 27 Jun 2009
Location: 16th century Fr
Status: Offline
Points: 2
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote mmedepunkadour Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27 Jun 2009 at 22:01
Going back to the original question: why do certain periods merit the term Renaissance and others do not ?

Consider the etymology of the term: the 14th century Italians invented therm for themselves, then the term went into disuse until the 1840 when the French historian Michelet reinvented the term

http://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Renaissance_(p%C3%A9riode_historique)#Tentative_de_d.C3.A9finition

So, the evolution of term means that no one thought of using it for anything but the Italian renaissance prior to 1840.  But, Michelet's Renaissance started after the reign of Louis XI ca the wars in Italy - his was a Franco-centric Renaissance that began when all that culture started to ooze into France. 

Leaping ahead a 100 years, it was not until historiography became a field of study that people started asking about all the other periods of cultural rebirth eg Carolingian or Macedonian.  Weren't they renaissances  too ? 

In some sense, any time a civilization starts trying (& sometimes succeeding) coming out of a system collapse there is a renaissance of sorts, but it is difficult to co-opt a term defined by a previous historian
Mme de P
Back to Top
Chilbudios View Drop Down
Arch Duke
Arch Duke


Joined: 11 May 2006
Status: Offline
Points: 1973
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Chilbudios Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 29 Jun 2009 at 11:05
Originally posted by dayTripper dayTripper wrote:

I recently had to write an essay on this. When my tutor gave back the papers he said he was surprised at how many different angles various arguments came from. It's a fascinating topic that's inherently open for debate because it's a matter of terminology over anything else.
 
People tend to idealise the achievements of the Renaissance that began in the 15th century. It claims to be a "rebirth" of classical knowledge from the Ancient Greeks. BUT, the Scholasticism movement which began in the 12th century is based off of Aristotle's works (albeit reinterpreting them in an extremely Christian way). We also know that humanism and individualism had been growing as ideas since around that time, as well. So to what extent is the Renaissance really a rebirth when we can clearly see most of its phenomena leading up to it in the preceding centuries?
Some features of the 12th (more loosely 11th-13th) century Renaissance:
- the translations from Arabic and the rediscovery of some Graeco-Latin works (Aristotle's, Ptolemy's, Galen's, etc.) - roughly starting with 12th century
- maintaining reason as the guiding principle of knowledge (Thierry of Chartres, Guillaume of Conches, etc.); scholasticism as a fusion between Aristotle's philosophical framework and Catholic theology; You already mentioned Abelard, please note he's one of the first theologicians to question the Bible
- the birth of empiricism (Pierre de Maricourt, Robert Grosseteste, Roger Bacon, etc.)
- the birth of European university
- agricultural improvements
- extensive mining
- architecture (Gothic)
- hydropower used on a large - some say "industrial" - scale based on technologies such as the camshaft, its appliance ranged from flour or textile mills to blast furnaces
- some pioneering in economics such as the first European - or world? I'm not sure about that - joint-stock company
- some artistic innovation (since you mentioned it), I already listed Gothic architecture but there is also painting. Cimabue is usually eclipsed by Giotto in a history of Italian painting, but his style is already more naturalistic than the typical religious painting up to his day, also the Sienese school was born in the 13th century with figures such as Duccio di Buoninsegna's (Italian Renaissance is usually credited to have begun in the 14th century)
 
and the list can just go on ....
 
 


Edited by Chilbudios - 29 Jun 2009 at 13:46
Back to Top
gcle2003 View Drop Down
WorldHistoria Master
WorldHistoria Master
Avatar
PM Honorary Member

Joined: 06 Dec 2004
Location: Luxembourg
Status: Offline
Points: 13262
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote gcle2003 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 29 Jun 2009 at 12:14
If the '12th century renaissance' is more properly called the '11th to 13th' century renaissance' as Chilbudios suggests and I agree, then one at least of the fathers of 'the Renaissance' (Cimabue) is already included (again as Chilbudios notes). And since the Renaissance has to start at the latest in the 14th century (Dante Alighieri, Petrarch, Giotto...) what you have really is a period of continual development (discovery and rediscovery) stretching from the 11th (the end of the period of redistribution of peoples) to the 17th (the beginning of the modern scientific world) and covering western Europe.
 
In some ways there may be more sense in splitting post-Roman European history into three periods, that of the resettlement of Europe up to 1000 CE, of the gradual rediscovery/discovery that makes a single 'renaissance' up to say 1650, and of the scientific world of modern times, rather than just splitting into 'Medieval' and 'Modern' around 1450 CE.


Edited by gcle2003 - 29 Jun 2009 at 12:22
Citizen of Ankh-Morpork.

Never believe anything until it has been officially denied - Sir Humphrey Appleby, 1984.

Back to Top
Reginmund View Drop Down
Caliph
Caliph
Avatar

Joined: 08 May 2005
Location: Norway
Status: Offline
Points: 2659
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Reginmund Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 29 Jun 2009 at 13:02
The Pre-Renaissance, or Proto-Renaissance. Wink
Sing, goddess, of Achilles' ruinous anger
Which brought ten thousand pains to the Achaeans,
And cast the souls of many stalwart heroes
To Hades, and their bodies to the dogs
And birds of prey
Back to Top
Dacian View Drop Down
Housecarl
Housecarl


Joined: 13 Mar 2009
Location: Romania
Status: Offline
Points: 47
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Dacian Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06 Jul 2009 at 23:12
in the most optimistic scenario I think we can talk about a renaissance in its embrionic form

if it hadn't been for the mongol invasion that shifted the momentum (resource allocation, people preocupation etc) from culture as the trend was starting towards defense maybe we could have seen an early renaissance

as it was the case anything that didn't directly relate to military or religion went to the bottom of the priority list
Back to Top
Slayertplsko View Drop Down
Chieftain
Chieftain
Avatar
The Central Scrutinizer

Joined: 13 May 2008
Location: Slovak Republic
Status: Offline
Points: 1199
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Slayertplsko Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 Aug 2009 at 15:32
Originally posted by Chilbudios Chilbudios wrote:

Originally posted by dayTripper dayTripper wrote:

I recently had to write an essay on this. When my tutor gave back the papers he said he was surprised at how many different angles various arguments came from. It's a fascinating topic that's inherently open for debate because it's a matter of terminology over anything else.
 
People tend to idealise the achievements of the Renaissance that began in the 15th century. It claims to be a "rebirth" of classical knowledge from the Ancient Greeks. BUT, the Scholasticism movement which began in the 12th century is based off of Aristotle's works (albeit reinterpreting them in an extremely Christian way). We also know that humanism and individualism had been growing as ideas since around that time, as well. So to what extent is the Renaissance really a rebirth when we can clearly see most of its phenomena leading up to it in the preceding centuries?
Some features of the 12th (more loosely 11th-13th) century Renaissance:
- the translations from Arabic and the rediscovery of some Graeco-Latin works (Aristotle's, Ptolemy's, Galen's, etc.) - roughly starting with 12th century
- maintaining reason as the guiding principle of knowledge (Thierry of Chartres, Guillaume of Conches, etc.); scholasticism as a fusion between Aristotle's philosophical framework and Catholic theology; You already mentioned Abelard, please note he's one of the first theologicians to question the Bible
- the birth of empiricism (Pierre de Maricourt, Robert Grosseteste, Roger Bacon, etc.)
- the birth of European university
- agricultural improvements
- extensive mining
- architecture (Gothic)
- hydropower used on a large - some say "industrial" - scale based on technologies such as the camshaft, its appliance ranged from flour or textile mills to blast furnaces
- some pioneering in economics such as the first European - or world? I'm not sure about that - joint-stock company
- some artistic innovation (since you mentioned it), I already listed Gothic architecture but there is also painting. Cimabue is usually eclipsed by Giotto in a history of Italian painting, but his style is already more naturalistic than the typical religious painting up to his day, also the Sienese school was born in the 13th century with figures such as Duccio di Buoninsegna's (Italian Renaissance is usually credited to have begun in the 14th century)
 
and the list can just go on ....
The developement of musical harmony around that time.
Back to Top
Athelstane View Drop Down
Immortal Guard
Immortal Guard
Avatar

Joined: 24 Jul 2016
Location: England
Status: Offline
Points: 4
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Athelstane Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24 Jul 2016 at 14:02
You get the same problem with 'The' Crusades. They end being defined as the few that went off to the holy land. But in truth there were many more Crusades that went off in all different directions.

Back to Top
caldrail View Drop Down
General
General
Avatar

Joined: 21 Jan 2014
Location: Rushey Platt
Status: Offline
Points: 961
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote caldrail Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26 Jul 2016 at 13:37
One possibly controversial view is that Henry VIII had a hand in allowing the later Renaisance to have an effect whereas the supposed 12th century version did not. Because he closed monasteries wholesale, learning was forced out of monastic circles and into a public sphere. I note that Henry sent a man to chart the boundaries of Savernake Forest, or appointed another as the 'King's Antiquary', indicating a desire for knowledge. Certainly my research into questions of Celts and Druids makes niotable strides from that point forwards, rejectng (for the most part) former pretensions by Annius and Geoffery of Monmouth.

This would not of course account of progression other than Britain, but I'm coming around to the idea that in Blighty at least, nasty old Henry wasn't all bad.
http://www.unrv.com/forum/blog/31-caldrails-blog/
Back to Top
 Post Reply Post Reply
  Share Topic   

Forum Jump Forum Permissions View Drop Down

Forum Software by Web Wiz Forums® version 11.10
Copyright ©2001-2017 Web Wiz Ltd.

This page was generated in 0.125 seconds.