Classical Humanism: A Definition

Reads: 14333  | Likes: 2  | Shelves: 1  | Comments: 0

More Details
Status: Finished  |  Genre: Non-Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
It took place in the fourteenth century in Italy, where classical humanists worked on recovering, copying, editing, and studying ancient Greek and Latin manuscripts.

Submitted: June 20, 2011

A A A | A A A

Submitted: June 20, 2011

A A A

A A A


27 March 2011
Classical Humanism: A Definition
“Classical Humanism, the movement to recover and revive Greco Roman culture, was the phenomenon that gave the Renaissance its distinctive and secular stamp” (Fiero 21). It took place in the fourteenth century in Italy, where classical humanists worked on recovering, copying, editing, and studying ancient Greek and Latin manuscripts.
 “Unattached to any single school or university, this new breed of humanists pursued what the Romans had called studia humanitatis, a program of study that embraced grammar, rhetoric, history, poetry, and moral philosophy” (Fiero 21). Instead of focusing on myths and religious aspects, humanists were looking at what happened on this world. Classical humanism was a new way to look at things, “it represented a shift in emphasis [from religious to secular aspects of life] rather than an entirely new pursuit” (Fiero 21).
Francesco Petrarch is considered the father of humanism. “Born in exile in the town of Arezzo on July 20th, 1304 he was the first son of Pietro di Parenzo di Garzo (Ser Petracco dell'Incisa) and Eletta Canigiani. His family exiled by the same people who exiled Dante shortly before from Florence, Petrarch spent the first few years of his life in Incisa (Ancisa) not all that far away” (Sadlon). He was set to be a lawyer, but joined the Church and found his passion in analyzing and copying texts from the antiquity as a means to preserve them.
During his life, he traveled a lot, mainly in diplomatic missions for the Church. “Petrarch spent a great deal of his life in foreign lands and often wrote on how life itself was a journey […]. While in Liege he comes across Cicero's Pro Archia. Petrarch's love for the classics only grows stronger. He begins to attempt to revive classical writings believing that their teachings have been lost. By 1336 Petrarch begins to compile Rerum vulgarium fragmenta also called Il Canzoniere, or in English, The Song Book. By 1374 when Petrarch dies it contains 366 poems, mostly sonnets to and about the love of his life which he could never have, Laura” (Sadlon). Those sonnets “were translated by Chaucer and set to music by Landini” (Fiero 25). Still years later, his work was used as reference and inspiration to many other famous sonnet writers, such as Michelangelo and Shakespeare.
Petrarch is recognized as “the finest practitioner of the sonnet form [and his] influence as Classical humanist was equally significant: he established the standards for the study of the Latin classics, and, by insisting on the union of ethics and eloquence, he pioneered the modern ideal of the educated individual” (Fiero 25-26). Thanks to Petrarch, a lot of the Greco-Roman material was preserved. All his work in recovering classical writings and his passion for them kept classical culture alive and made it popular by being accessible.


Works Cited
Fiero, Gloria K. The Humanistic Tradition Book 3 The European Renaissance, the Reformation, and Global Encounter. 6th ed. McGraw-Hill College, 2011. Print.
 
Sadlon, Peter. Francesco Petrarch - Father of Humanism. Web. 27 Mar. 2011. <http://petrarch.petersadlon.com/>.
 


© Copyright 2017 MBOnline. All rights reserved.

Add Your Comments: