Renaissance

Pedro Álvares Cabral and the Discovery of Brazil

Pedro Álvares Cabral and the Discovery of Brazil

On March 9, 1500, Portuguese explorer Pedro Álvares Cabral set sail with a fleet of 13 ships to establish a trade route to India. But, due to a storm his ships got lost and he should become one of the first Europeans to reach the coast of Brazil. Pedro Álvares Cabral Background While details of Cabral’s early life are unclear, it is known that he came from a minor noble family and received…
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Antonio Allegri da Correggio – Master Painter of the Italian High Renaissance

Antonio Allegri da Correggio – Master Painter of the Italian High Renaissance

On March 5, 1534, Antonio Allegri da Correggio, painter of the Italian High Renaissance, passed away. A master of chiaroscuro, he was responsible for some of the most vigorous and sensuous works of the 16th century. In his use of dynamic composition, illusionistic perspective and dramatic foreshortening, Correggio prefigured the Baroque art of the 17th century and the Rococo art of the 18th century. Correggio’s Early Years The birthplace of Correggio, after…
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Michel de Montaigne and the Art of Writing an Essay

Michel de Montaigne and the Art of Writing an Essay

On February 28, 1533, French philosopher Michel de Montaigne was born. Montaigne was one of the most significant philosophers of the French Renaissance, known for popularizing the essay as a literary genre. His work is noted for its merging of casual anecdotes and autobiography with intellectual insight. His massive volume Essais contains some of the most influential essays ever written. “We are, I know not how, double in ourselves, so that what…
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Mary, Queen of Scots

Mary, Queen of Scots

On February 18, (or February 8 according to the old Julian calendar), 1587,  Mary, Queen of Scots, was executed after having found guilty of plotting to assassinate Queen Elizabeth I. In the Western world, we all might have heard about the rivalry of Queen Elizabeth I [5] and Mary, Queen of Scots. I have learned about the story back at high school in my German lessons, when we were reading Friedrich Schillers ‘Maria…
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Isaac Casaubon – The Most Learned Man in Europe

Isaac Casaubon – The Most Learned Man in Europe

On February 15, 1559, French classical scholar and philologist Isaac Casaubon was born. Casaubon is known among philologists and historians of philosophy today above all for his proof in De rebus sacris et ecclesiasticis exercitationes XVI (1614, London) that the so-called Corpus Hermeticum could not have been created earlier than the first century AD. He was regarded by many of his time as the most learned man in Europe. Isaac Causaubon –…
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Aldus Manutius and the Perfection of Book Printing

Aldus Manutius and the Perfection of Book Printing

On February 6, 1515, Venetian printer and publisher Aldus Pius Manutius passed away, the Italian humanist, scholar, educator, and the founder of the Aldine Press. Manutius devoted the later part of his life to publishing and disseminating rare texts. His interest in and preservation of Greek manuscripts mark him as an innovative publisher of his age dedicated to the editions he produced. His enchiridia, small portable books, revolutionized personal reading and are…
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The Art of Hiding Information – Johannes Trithemius’ Steganography

The Art of Hiding Information – Johannes Trithemius’ Steganography

On February 1, 1462, German Benedictine abbot and polymath Johannes Trithemius was born. Trithemius was active in the German Renaissance as a lexicographer, chronicler, cryptographer, and occultist. He had considerable influence on the development of early modern and modern occultism. However,  “Speak of things public to the public, but of things lofty and secret only to the loftiest and most private of your friends. Hay to the ox and sugar to the…
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Johannes Hevelius and his Selenographia

Johannes Hevelius and his Selenographia

On January 28, 1611, German astronomer Johannes Hevelius was born. From four years’ telescopic study of the Moon, using telescopes of long focal power, Hevelius compiled Selenographia (“Pictures of the Moon“, 1647), an atlas of the Moon with some of the earliest detailed maps. Family Background and Early Years Johannes Hevelius‘ father was a succesful merchant and pushed Johannes to follow his footsteps rather than pursue a scientific career. Hevelius was sent to Poland…
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Sir Francis Bacon and the Scientific Method

Sir Francis Bacon and the Scientific Method

On January 22, 1561, English philosopher, statesman, scientist, jurist, orator, essayist, and author Sir Francis Bacon was born. Bacon has been called the creator of empiricism. His works established and popularized inductive methodologies for scientific inquiry. “Knowledge, that tendeth but to satisfaction, is but as a courtesan, which is for pleasure, and not for fruit or generation.” — Francis Bacon, as quoted in Valerius Terminus: Of the Interpretation of Nature (ca. 1603) Scholasticism…
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The World according to Sebastian Münster

The World according to Sebastian Münster

On January 20, 1488, German cartographer, cosmographer, and a Christian Hebraist scholar Sebastian Münster was born. His work, the Cosmographia from 1544, was the earliest German description of the world. In (Western) Germany, he is best known for his portrait on the former German 100 DM banknote – of course only to people who are old enough to remember the old Deutsche Mark banknotes (valid from 1962-1991). Sebastian Münster – Youth and Education…
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