Renaissance: New IdeasPetrarch (1304-1374), Italian scholar called the father of the Renaissance
Glossary• Scholar• Humanism• Secular• Inquiry• Astronomy• Dissection• Medicine
Humanism• new ideas that emerged 1400 - 1600• interest for the classics (Greek and Roman) was at the same time a result as well as a cause of the growing secular view of life.
New mentality The humanist mentality stood at a point midway between medieval beliefs (faith)and the modern scientific attitude (reason)
New mentality (II)• The individual experience on earth became more interesting than the doubtful afterlife.• Human experience and the man itself became the measure and centre of all things.• Medieval unreasoning faith replaced by doubt and inquiry.
Garden of Earthly Delights, El Bosco (1480-1490)
Astronomy: a new universe• A new understanding of the universe and humanity’s place in it: astronomy• Astronomers’ main aim was to study the movement of the stars and planets and so build up a more accurate picture of what the universe was like
New methods to study the universe • Math, geometry and observation (with the help of the telescope) • Astronomers challenged traditional ideas, like the theory supported by the Church of the Earth as the centre of the universe.
The new view of the universeNicolaus Copernicus (1473-1543)• He was born in Poland, and came to Italy to study Greek, mathematics, astronomy and medicine• He did not have advanced telescopes• He based his work on logic and geometric calculation to prove that the Earth, other planets and stars revolved in circles around the Sun• He published his ideas in The Nicolaus Copernicus Revolution of the Celestial Spheres (1543)
The new view of the universeJohann Kepler(1571-1630)• He was a German astronomer• He used mathematical calculations to work out how the planets moved and proved Copernicus’ theory• He realised that Copernicus had been wrong in one aspect: the planets travelled around the Sun in elliptical, not circular orbits• Kepler’s ideas challenged the Johann Kepler Church’s teaching and he was expelled from his university
The new view of the universeGalileo Galilei (1564-1642)• He was born in Pisa, Italy• He studied mathematics and physics; lecturer at the University of Pisa in 1589 (25 years old)• He perfectioned the telescope Dutch scientists were using at his time• Through observations using his improved telescope, he proved Copernicus and Kepler were right• The Church tried to stop Galileo’s Galileo Galilei work (Inquisition) but the silencing came too late: his ideas were widely accepted by scientists
Galileo facing the Roman Inquisition (Cristiano Banti, 1857)
New challenging ideas• The Earth, other planets and stars revolved around the Sun• Planets followed elliptical orbits around the Sun
Resistance to new ideas• The Church was very worried by the new theories about the universe• It banned the astronomers’ studies and tried to stop Copernicus and Galileo• The silencing of the new ideas came too late: Renaissance theories about the universe were by then being accepted by scholars all over Europe.
On life and death• In the Renaissance life was much shorter than today (life expectancy was around 30 years)• War, starvation and disease were all major causes of death in 14th century Italy. One of the most feared diseases was the plague• People had many of their own explanations for the plague. In the early 15th century here was a greater understanding of the plague as a result of various outbreaks. But people didn’t know how the disease worked –how it affected the human body
A procession of ‘flagellants, who believed the plague was apunishment sent by God. They whipped each other as a way of asking God to forgive them.
Old ideas…• During the Middle Ages the most important book about medicine was a Roman text written in the 2nd century.• Galen based his work on the dissection of animal’s bodies and his descriptions were fairly accurate.• Galen’s book was studied in medical Galen dissecting a pig (illustration schools for 1400 years included in the edition of Galen’s after his death. works published in Venice in 1556)
… were about to be challenged• In the Middle Ages Church discouraged new ideas.• Church still didn’t allow the dissection of human corpses: there was no way to improve medicine.• By the 15th century, the rules about dissection were being relaxed.• The new Renaissance attitudes emerging in Italy began to make it possible to observe the human body closely.
And anatomy changed it all!The new interest in anatomy allowed people to question previous ideas on the human body.
Andreas Vesalius• Vesalius (1514-1564) was a Belgian doctor• In 1537 he moved to Italy and became professor at Padua University• He was able to obtain bodies of executed criminals for dissection• The evidence Vesalius collected from his observations allowed him to write The Fabric of the Human Body -the fist atlas of the human body- in 1543.
And the human body would never be the same…• Vesalius’ findings came as a shock to people who had been taught not to question traditional established knowledge.• Scientific methods: dissection, observation and experiment became the accepted way of improving medical knowledge.