Renaissance

The Meistersinger of Nuremberg – Hans Sachs

The Meistersinger of Nuremberg – Hans Sachs

On November 5, 1494, German Meistersinger (master singer), poet, playwright, and shoemaker Hans Sachs was born. His work is considered the most important testimony of the bourgeois imperial town culture of the 16th century. What is a Meistersinger? What makes Hans Sachs so special – although you might have never heart of him – is his profession as being a ‘Meistersinger’. Actually, he is also the only ‘Meistersinger’ whose fame lasted over the…
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Michelangelo’s Ceiling of the Sistine Chapel

Michelangelo’s Ceiling of the Sistine Chapel

On November 1, 1512, Michelangelo Buonarotti removed the scaffolding from the Sistine Chapel and revealed his famous masterpiece frescoes on the ceiling. It is considered a cornerstone work of High Renaissance art. Planning Sistine Chapel’s ceiling Pope Julius II was known to be investing much to emphasize the political role of the Church and started to rebuild St. Peter’s Basilica in 1506. In the same year, he started his program to paint…
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Ninety-Five Theses that Changed the World

Ninety-Five Theses that Changed the World

On the eve of All Saint’s Day, October 31, 1517, Martin Luther posted the ninety-five theses, which were part of his dissertation criticizing on practices within the Catholic Church regarding baptism and absolution, on the door of the Castle Church of Wittenberg, according to university custom. This event is widely regarded as the initial catalyst for the Protestant Reformation. Repentence as Financial Transaction We already dedicated a blog post to Martin Luther,[5] the…
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Erasmus of Rotterdam – Prince of the Humanists

Erasmus of Rotterdam – Prince of the Humanists

On October 27, 1466,  Dutch Renaissance humanist, Catholic priest, social critic, teacher, and theologian Desiderius Erasmus Roterdamus, also known as Erasmus of Rotterdam was born. He was the dominant figure of the early-16th-century humanist movement. Besides others, he is also namesake of the European Erasmus funding programme, the world’s largest support programme for stays abroad at universities that financed about 1 million scholarships in its first 15 years. “No Man is wise at all…
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Marsilio Ficino and his Florentine Academy

Marsilio Ficino and his Florentine Academy

On October 19, 1433, Italian scholar and Catholic priest Marsilio Ficino was born. He was one of the most influential humanist philosophers of the early Italian Renaissance. With his translations and commentaries he contributed significantly to the knowledge of Plato and Platonism in his epoch and made the writings of ancient Greek-speaking authors accessible to the Latin-speaking public. His understanding of Plato, influenced by Plotin‘s Neoplatonism, became groundbreaking for the early modern…
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The Days That Never Happened – The Gregorian Calendar

The Days That Never Happened – The Gregorian Calendar

By a papal decree signed on 24 February 1582 by Pope Gregory XIII the days from October 5, 1582 to October 14, 1582 never happened.[9] This was, because the actually used calendar was out of tune with the mechanics of the heavens. The Julian calendar, named after Julius Caesar,[2] did not provide sufficient precision to keep in tune for more than 15 centuries with the effect that the most important liturgic festivals and…
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Hans Lippershey and the Telescope

Hans Lippershey and the Telescope

On October 2, 1608,  German-Dutch lensmaker Hans Lippershey applied to the States-General of the Netherlands for a patent for his instrument “for seeing things far away as if they were nearby”. Telescope History Even though scientists of the middle ages never heard of telescopes and most of them did not know specific laws of optics, they started laying the foundations for telescopes as we know them today. Before the invention of the telescope…
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Miguel de Cervantes and his Knight of the Sad Countenance

Miguel de Cervantes and his Knight of the Sad Countenance

(Probably) on September 29, 1547, famous Spanish novelist, poet, and playwright Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra  was born. His magnum opus, Don Quixote, is considered to be the first modern European novel, a classic of Western literature, and is regarded amongst the best works of fiction ever written. Moreover it has been translated into nearly every major language, making it one of the most widely distributed books after the Bible. Miguel de Cervantes’ influence on…
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Gerolamo Cardano and Physician, Mathematician, and Gambler

Gerolamo Cardano and Physician, Mathematician, and Gambler

On September 24, 1501, Italian Renaissance mathematician, physician, astrologer and gambler Gerolamo Cardano was born. He wrote more than 200 works on medicine, mathematics, physics, philosophy, religion, and music. But, he is best known for his gambling that led him to formulate elementary rules in probability, making him one of the founders of probability theory. “The greatest advantage in gambling lies in not playing at all.” – Gerolamo Cardano (around 1560). Liber…
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Ludovico Ariosto and the Frenzy of Orlando

Ludovico Ariosto and the Frenzy of Orlando

On September 8, 1474, Italian Renaissance poet Ludovico Ariosto was born. He is best known for his romance epic Orlando Furioso (The Frenzy of Orlando), which describes the adventures of Charlemagne, Orlando, and the Franks as they battle against the Saracens.[4] “Of ladies, knights, of passions and of wars, of courtliness, and of valiant deeds I sing.” – Ariosto, Orlando Furioso, Canto I, stanza 1 (1532) Ariosto – Early Years Ariosto was the…
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