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====What was the Renaissance?====
The term "Renaissance" or "rebirth" (or "''rinascita''" in Italian) was coined by Giorgio Vasari around 1550 in his book <i>The Lives of the Artists</i>. The Renaissance started in the late 15th century as Italians sought to imitate the lost world of ancient Greece and Rome and move away from gothic art. The Italian, artists, writers, and thinkers who all participated in the Renaissance, sought to create works that were the equal of the ancients, whom they regarded as the pinnacle of civilization.<ref>Burke, Peter. ''[https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0691162409/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=0691162409&linkCode=as2&tag=dailyh0c-20&linkId=3e8ba646ddb55793983df78fb425f39e The Italian Renaissance: Culture and Society in Italy]'' (Princeton University Press, 1999), p. 6.</ref> The Renaissance, unlike the Middle Ages, stressed the individual, reason, beauty and secular values. This outlook became known as Humanism and has had a profound impact on European society. The Renaissance not only produced great works of art but also resulted in a dramatic change in the views of Europeans and a decisive move away from the world of the Middle Ages. The Renaissance was in many ways to lay the groundwork for the rise of the modern world and especially ‘individualism and a secular outlook.’<ref>Burke, p.9.</ref> The Renaissance was able to occur because of the unique conditions that prevailed in Italy in the period from 1400 to 1500.
The country was rich, because of [[How did the Silk Road develop?|trade]] and industry and this meant that many wealthy Italians were willing to act as patrons of great artists. The Italian Peninsula was divided among a series of city-states.<ref>Ruggiero, Guido. ''[https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0521719380/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=0521719380&linkCode=as2&tag=dailyh0c-20&linkId=90629fdde8856871bdd69f392194f543 The Renaissance in Italy: A Social and Cultural History of the Rinascimento]'' (Cambridge University Press, 2015), p. 648.</ref> These were Republics and they were tolerant societies, that placed a high value on creativity in the arts and though. They were unique societies in Europe of the time. Crucially, the influence of the church was limited in these city-states and there was generally [[What were the social factors that led to the Renaissance in Italy?|freedom of thought and expression]]. Indeed, many prominent Churchmen were active patrons of Renaissance artists, including [[What was the role of the Popes in the Renaissance?|Popes]].<ref>Ruggiero, p. 78.</ref>