Humanism and Northern/Christian Humanism both believed in the improvement of the well being of humans. While both wanted human beings to be all that they could be, their views varied in some ways. The Reformation was the split of the unity in the western world. While the humanists and northern humanists had impacts on the reform movement, the Christian humanists were more influential due to obvious reasons.
The study of classical literary works of Greece and Rome led to an intellectual movement known as Renaissance Humanism. Humanists informed themselves in the liberal arts, which included grammar, rhetoric, poetry, moral philosophy, and history. All which were works of Greek and Roman authors. Petrarch (1304-1374) was a well known humanist. Some even consider him to be the father of Italian Renaissance humanism. Petrarch felt that the Middle Ages was a time of darkness. This idea, "promoted the mistaken belief that medieval culture was ignorant of classical antiquity." (315). In the beginning of the 15th century the humanist movement developed in Florence. Petrarch felt that the intellectual life should be described as one of solitude. He and humanists like him, "rejected family and a life of action in the community." (315). Intellectuals of Florence felt differently. Roman Cicero, a statesman and intellectualist, was a major afflation of the idea that it was an intellectual's job to "live an active life for one's state." (315). Cicero felt that people only mature with intellect and moral stature through assistance in their community. For the first half of the 15th century, Humanism was an interest blossoming from classical Greek civilization. Lorenzo Valla (1407-1457) a humanist that was fluent in both Greek and Latin, and he believed that Medieval Latin should be restored. He wrote a book called, The Elegances of the Latin Language where he made his arguments. "Valla identified different stages in the growth of the Latin Language and accepted only the Latin of the last century of the Roman Republic and the first century of the Empire.