Saylor.org's Early Globalizations: East Meets West (1200s-1600s)/Transformation of the West

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Beginning in the fifteenth century, western Europe underwent a number of profound changes. First, Europe developed many commercial and manufacturing centers that encouraged contact with other civilizations, primarily in Asia. Second, quarrels within the Catholic Church resulted in a new division among Christians along Catholic or Protestant lines. In addition, the rise of rational scientific ideas and new political philosophies shaped European government and society.

In this unit, we will begin by studying the advent of the European Renaissance. We will define what “Renaissance” actually meant and how it differed from the medieval period; we will examine influential Renaissance thinkers and their ideas, as well as the larger impact of the Renaissance on European civilization as a whole. We will then turn our attention to the fundamental changes occurring in the religious landscape of this era: namely, the Protestant Reformation. Finally, we will take a look at the early scientific revolution and new approaches toward art and architecture.

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