The French word “renaissance” is equivalent to “rebirth” in English. The time period named for this term was indeed a rebirth of the creativity and human spirit lost with the classical age. Most importantly, the Renaissance was a revival of an interest to learn. In many ways, it is the opposite of the preceding Middle Ages. Their world revolved around the Roman Catholic Church; belief in god dictated every aspect of life. On the contrary, the Renaissance was secular and emphasized the predominance of individuality and human values, known as humanism. However rigid or dark the Middle Ages may seem, they were essential for setting the stage for the Renaissance. In 1095, Pope Urban II launched what he called a “holy war.” This war, issued to regain control of the Holy Land from the Muslims, occurred from 1095 to 1099 and became known as the First Crusade. The Second Crusade began in 1144 with hopes of recapturing the City of Edessa, and it ended in 1149 without having accomplished what it was intended for. The third and final crusade (1189-1192) was organized to take Jerusalem back from the Muslim leader, Saladin, also failing to accomplish its original goal. However, there is a reason the Crusades are recognized as “history’s most successful failure – ” The impacts of these religious wars were as influential as it gets. Women had opportunities to manage affairs with the men away at war. The ships that transported crusaders were used by merchants to bring back goods such as tea, coffee, sugar, spices, crops, and silk. Europeans saw these as exotic, which stimulated an interest in trade, especially between Europe and Southwest Asia. This increased trade was one of the most prominent attributes of the High Middle Ages. It was also vital for paving the way for the Renaissance. With expanding trade came prosperity for Europe, specifically Italy, along with new trading cities. The fast growth of such business is labeled as the Commercial Revolution. The revolution...
Cited: Beck, Roger B. World History: Patterns of Interaction. Evanston, IL: McDougal Littell, 2005. Print.
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