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Humanism And the Renaissance The great intellectual movement of Renaissance Italy was humanism Renaissance humanism is the spirit of learning that developed at the end of the middle ages with the revival of classical letters and a renewed confidence in the ability of human beings to determine for themselves truth and falsehood The humanists believed that the Greek and Latin classics contained both all the lessons one needed to lead a moral and effective life and the best models for a powerful Latin style They developed a new rigorous kind of classical scholarship with which they corrected and tried to understand the works of the Greeks and Romans which seemed so vital to them Humanist theologians insisted that the formal theology of the universities was far less valuable than a direct knowledge of the biblical text Francesco Petrarch 1304-1374 was a poet and a novelist Petrarch is considered one of the greatest loved poets of world literature A scholar of classical antiquity he was the founder of humanism In contrast to his many predecessors who wrote in Latin Petrarch wrote in Italian the vernacular He wrote poems sonnets and wrote letters addressed to deceased poets and writers Petrarch is regarded one of the pioneers of the Renaissance He set a standard for Italian orthography as he was the first major writer to write in this language Nicollo Machiavelli was another Renaissance humanist He was a writer who was head of the second chancery of the Republic of Florence When the Republic fell and the Republic was replaced by a Duchy Machiavelli went into exile In exile in 1513 he wrote Il
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