Humanism and Renaissance Europe: A Transition into the Self.
Throughout The Middle Ages, European society gradually progressed with minor advancements and various developments in religion, while simultaneously experiencing a number of international calamites. The Hundred Year's War between England and France, lingered for 116 years (1337-1453) with sporadic periods of gruesome warfare and various periods of truce. The Black Death, also known as the Black Plague, spread from the Italian coast of the Mediterranean Sea in a northbound wave of destruction and mayhem that traveled towards France, England, and beyond, killing one in three people. Also, The Great Papal Schism divided and denigrated papal prestige for over forty years, when two popes were elected for the same position in two different areas: Rome and Avignon, France. These ordeals tried the patience and loyalty of the common people throughout Europe. The plague made them care less about morals, the war encouraged indecent behavior, and the schism destroyed the credibility of the church while testing the faith of the masses. After the worse was over, society depended less on the dominant institution, whether it was church or government, and more on self-improvement and recovery. A great expansion in education that began centuries earlier now encouraged the revitalization of humanity in culture and ethic, a necessary component of the Renaissance period in Europe. .
In progressing to new heights, society developed a new outlook on life that was radically different from before. The influential social change is known as Humanism, a muti-dynamic expression of the human being. Humanism begins as a general education program; then it developed into something much more. It grew into a strong desire and widespread need to learn and study Latin and classical antiquity, as well as basic grammar and rhetoric. Many studied the writings of their past, both arts and sciences, and reflected on various philosophies of life, in order to determine the best ethic for the individual.