Class Notes, September 2014

September Main Lesson   The Renaissance

The Humanists, Petrarch, “a Classical Education”, Machiavelli’s  “The Prince”, the often cited and emulated book on Governing, Castiglione “The Book of the Courtier” an immensely popular book on Courtesy.

Scientific Revolution:  Principle of Doubt, the need for Proof, Scientific Method, Descartes “Discourse on Method”, Sir Francis Bacon, theory based on repeatable experiments.  The Telescope and the Microscope; two world-altering inventions.

Copernicus “On the Revolution of the Celestial Spheres.” Heliocentric theory countering Ptolemy’s geocentric theory.  Galileo discovers the moons of Jupiter revolving around the planet. His “Dialogue on the Two Great Systems of the World” causes him to be called before the Inquisition. Kepler, mathematician, discovers the elliptical orbits can mathematically prove the heliocentric theory.

Vesalius “ On the Fabric of the Human Body” becomes a landmark work in medicine. Harvey describes the heart and circulation of the blood through arteries and veins, the blood vessels. Using the microscope Hooke discovers cell structure in cork, Leeuwenhoek discovers bacteria.
Gutenberg’s Printing Press makes information available to many; growth of knowledge leads to the founding of many universities.

Art:  Florence, Italy,  Giotto, Masaccio,  Botticelli “La Primavera”, “The Birth of Venus”,
Leonardo da Vinci, “Mona Lisa”,  “The Last Supper”, prototypic flying machine, anatomical drawings, Michelangelo, Buonarroti, the sculptures “Moses”, “David”, “The Pieta”, The Sistine Chapel’s “Creation of Adam”.
Brunelleschi’s theories of Perspective, Raphael’s “School of Athens”,  Savonarola’s art burnings.
Dutch Master: Durer, Hals, Van Dyke, Brueghel,  Vermeer, Bosch.
Religious Reformation : Martin Luther, 95 Theses, nailed to Cathedral door,  spread by printing press; prompted by Pope’s extravagances, and burdensome Indulgences, requiring common people to pay for their salvation, religious  sects,  Protestantism spreads, the Catholic Church and the Pope fight back.
Calvinists and Puritans, Henry VIII, King of England divorces daughter of Ferdinand and Isabella of Spain, against the Catholic Pope’s strict orders, and founds the Church of England, so he can remarry.

The Age of Discovery
Technological advances: mapmaking,  navigational instruments, astrolabe, compass, galleys, caravel ships, cannons, latitude and longitude.
The Commercial Revolution, standardized money, joint-stock companies, mercantilism, balance of trade, favorable balance of trade, tariffs, subsidies to promote manufacturing,  colonies to supply resources.
Portugal and Prince Henry the Navigator; Dias to the Cape of Good Hope, Vasco da Gama went around the Cape, across the Indian Ocean to India, bringing home spices and jewels.
Columbus, Ferdinand and Isabella, thought to reach India sailing West.  They landed on San Salvador, and what is now the West Indies, (not the East Indies or India as Columbus believed till his death).
Vespucci sails to what is now Brazil, writes about this new world corroborated by Balboa’s discovery of the South Sea (the Pacific Ocean) after crossing the isthmus of Panama, and a mapmaker calls this new world “America” after the explorer. Magellan makes the arduous journey around South America, and through the Straights of Magellan out into this very vast peaceful sea he called “Pacific”(Latin for peaceful) Ocean, and all the way to the Philippines and then on to Borneo where he was killed in a fight with the islanders. His crew member Elcano and 18  sailors  made it back to Spain, the first circumnavigation of the world.

The Columbian Exchange: the new world gave the old world potatoes, corn and tomatoes, turkey, grey squirrels and muskrat, the old world gave the new world horses, cattle, goats, chickens, cats, measles, typhus, plague and smallpox.
Portugal, Spain, England, France and Netherlands all colonized the Americas, Asia and Africa and traded places as most powerful nation over the next two centuries. Some overextended defending colonies, lost too many men at sea.  The mighty Spanish Armada seeking to wrest revenge and restore Catholicism to England, was defeated in rough seas in the English Channel. The triangular trade between Europe, Africa and the Caribbean,  including the slave trade, was carried on by all those nations, for profit and national power. The Dutch East India and Dutch West India Companies thrived. King Louis XIV, the “Sun King”, Absolute Monarch, as ordained by God, ruled France absolutely, built Versailles, to keep his nobles watched, and sought to expand France to all its natural borders including the North Sea and the Rhine.
The next time we visit world history we’ll explore what happened in North and South America, and in Asia, as a result of this profligate, empire-building by these European nations.
We’ve worked on one-point perspective drawings, and put our rulers and pencils to copies of School of Athens by Raphael, done pencil drawings of Michelangelo’s Moses, and lifesize chalk drawings of the statue. We’ve drawn colored pencil drawings of the Caravel Explorer, the most popular ship in world exploration of the times we studied, and had lively discussions of the remarkable personalities, and ramifications of the events I’ve mentioned above.

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