History Optional Paper- 2 Solution – 1994: Q.5 (a)

History Optional Paper- 2 Solution – 1994: Q.5 (a)

Q.5 (a) “The Renaissance was not a political or religious movement. It was a state of mind”. Comment.


The given statement comes from the Story of Mankind written by Hendrik van Loon in “The Story of Mankind” mentions the given statement. The following arguments support this statement.

The Renaissance was not a political or religious movement because:

(1) The men of the Renaissance continued to be the obedient sons of the mother church.

(2) They were subjects of kings and emperors and dukes.

The Renaissance was a state of mind because:

(1) The outlook of men upon life was changed. This change was seen in the different way of wearing clothes, different language spoken, different way of life they lived, different way of thinking, different way of expressions in art, architecture and literature.

(2) They no longer concentrated all their thoughts and their efforts upon the blessed existence that awaited them in Heaven. They tried to establish their Paradise upon this planet and they succeeded in a remarkable degree.

(3) Man found a distinct culture outside the Church with law and ideals of its own. The discovery of ancient literature and art contributed to this end. A practical and theoretical interests in things which is purely human started to develop.

(4) Glorification of man was done by Renaissance humanists lionizing the human intellect, arguing that man, as God’s creation, was not debased and degraded, but capable of wonderful things. They began to conceive that the human body is noble in itself and worthy of patient study.

(5) The Middle Ages were “internationally minded.”  After renaissance, people started to become “nationally minded.” Feeling of nationality started taking birth: like Englishmen or Frenchmen or Italians while speaking English or French or Italian. But the people of the Middle Ages rarely talked of themselves as Englishmen or Frenchmen or Italians. They all belonged to one and the same church they felt a certain bond of brotherhood.
And as all educated men could speak Latin, they possessed an international language which removed the language barriers which started growing up during renaissance.

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