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            The Italian Renaissance followed on the heels of the Middle Ages, and was spawned by the birth of the philosophy of humanism, which emphasized the importance of individual achievement in a wide range of fields. The early humanists, such as writer Francesco Petrarch, studied the works of the ancient Greeks and Romans for inspiration and ideology, mixing the philosophies of Plato and other ancient thinkers with the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church. Under the influence of the humanists, literature and the arts climbed to new levels of importance.
             2. Niccolo Machiavelli-republican idealist, or right wing fascist? In actuality, both, as well as neither. Machiavelli lived during the period of the French Invasions, a situation which obviously influenced his deep-rooted political beliefs. Though he favored a republic to unite Italy, he believed only a dictator could unite such a quarrelsome area initially. His book, The Prince, is the source of much debate and argument. However, this much is clear about the text: Machiavelli genuinely believed that a ruler fit to unite the city-states of Italy must be feared, as opposed to loved. This was an idea that evolved into future practice. During the time period of Italy's destruction and turmoil, he believed that the unification of Italy was an end that justified any means. This idea, as well, evolved into future practice as Italy saw Northern Europe unite and grow ever stronger,while the city-states of a divided nation faltered and became less and less prosperous with each passing decade.
             5.Humanism was the philosophical backbone of the Renaissance, emphasizing the potential for individual achievement and stipulating that humans were rational beings capable of truth and goodness. In keeping with the principles of humanism, Renaissance scholars celebrated the works of the ancient Greeks and Romans for their own sake, rather than for their relevance to Church doctrine.

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