Renaissance

Conrad Gessner’s Truly Renaissance Knowledge

Conrad Gessner’s Truly Renaissance Knowledge

On March 26, 1516, Swiss naturalist and bibliographer Conrad Gessner was born. His five-volume Historiae animalium (1551–1558) is considered the beginning of modern zoology, and the flowering plant genus Gesneria is named after him. He is considered as one of the most important natural scientists of Switzerland and was sometimes referred to as the ‘German Pliny‘. The Godson and Protege of Zwingli Conrad Gessner was born and educated in Zürich, Switzerland as the…
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Henry the Navigator and the Age of Discoveries

Henry the Navigator and the Age of Discoveries

On March 4, 1394, Infante Henry, Duke of Viseu, better known as Henry the Navigator, was born. He was an important figure in the early days of the Portuguese Empire and the Age of Discoveries in total. He was responsible for the early development of European exploration and maritime trade with other continents. Legend or Historical Fact Henry has become a legendary figure, and it is somewhat difficult to disentangle the historical…
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Thomas Bodley and the Bodleian Library

Thomas Bodley and the Bodleian Library

On March 2, 1544, English diplomat and scholar Sir Thomas Bodley was born. His greatest achievement was the re-founding of the library at Oxford that was named in his honor. Moreover, he established new ideas and practices library of which also modern libraries still benefit today. The Roots of the Bodleian Library The Bodleian Library is the main research library of the University of Oxford and it is one of the oldest…
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Friedrich Spee and the Cautio Criminalis

Friedrich Spee and the Cautio Criminalis

On February 25, 1591, German Jesuit and poet Friedrich Spee was born, who is best known for his book Cautio Criminalis, in which he argued publicly against the trials for witchcraft and against torture in general. He was one of the noblest and most attractive figures of the awful era of the Thirty Years’ War. Friedrich Spee and the Thirty Years War Friedrich Spee von Langenfeld was born to a noble family…
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Giordano Bruno and the Wonders of the Universe

Giordano Bruno and the Wonders of the Universe

On February 17, 1600, Dominican friar and philosopher Giordano Bruno was burned on the stake after the Roman Inquisition found him guilty of heresy. His cosmological theories went beyond the Copernican model in proposing that the Sun was essentially a star, and moreover, that the universe contained an infinite number of inhabited worlds populated by other intelligent beings. Becoming a Dominican Friar Giordano Bruno was born as Filippo Bruno in Nola,  in the Kingdom of…
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Johannes Gutenberg – Man of the Milennium

Johannes Gutenberg – Man of the Milennium

On February 3, 1468, German blacksmith, goldsmith, printer, and publisher Johannes Gensfleisch zur Laden zum Gutenberg – or simply Johannes Gutenberg – passed away. His invention of mechanical movable type printing started the Printing Revolution and is widely regarded as the single most important event of the modern period. The Art or Printing The art of printing presumably laid its foundation in Asia around the 6th century, when Buddhistic priests in China built printing block…
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Francisco de Enzinas and the Translation of the New Testament

Francisco de Enzinas and the Translation of the New Testament

On December 30, 1552, classical scholar, translator, author, and Protestant apologist of Spanish origin Francisco de Enzinas, also known by the humanist name Francis Dryander, passed away. De Enzinas was the first to translate the New Testament from Greek to Spanish. Early Years Francisco de Enzinas was born in Burgos, Spain, probably on 1 November 1518, as one of ten children of the successful wool merchant Juan de Enzinas and his wife…
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Hermann Conring and the Science of German Legal History

Hermann Conring and the Science of German Legal History

On November 9, 1606, German intellectual Hermann Conring was born. Conring made significant contributions to the study of medicine, politics and law. Conring was polyhistor and Reichspublizist, as well as medical doctor and personal physician of Queen Christina of Sweden, Danish State Councillor and director of the Bremen-verdische Archive in Stade. He is regarded as the founder of the science of German legal history. In addition, Conring also conducted research in the fields…
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Denis Pétau and the Science of Chronology

Denis Pétau and the Science of Chronology

On August 21, 1583, French Jesuit scholar Denis Pétau was born. Pétau, also known as Dionysius Petavius, was one of the most brilliant scholars in a learned age. Carrying on and improving the chronological labors of Joseph Justus Scaliger,[2] he published in 1627 an Opus de doctrina temporum. Denis Pétau – Early Years Denis Pétau was born at Orléans, where he had his initial education. He attended the University of Paris, where…
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Michelangelo Buonarotti – the Renaissance Artist

Michelangelo Buonarotti – the Renaissance Artist

On March 6, 1475, Italian sculptor, painter, architect, and poet of the High Renaissance Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti Simoni was born. Michelangelo exerted an unparalleled influence on the development of Western art. He is considered to be the greatest living artist during his lifetime, he has since been described as one of the greatest artists of all time. Despite making few forays beyond the arts, his versatility in the disciplines he took…
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