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Characters That Make Up the Renaissance

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It is often thought among historians that the Renaissance was unique to Italy and that the era centers around two set dates of 1350 and 1500. Theodore K. Rabb, however, refutes this idea and believes that the time period flows seamlessly from one era to another involving Northern Europe.

There are many characteristics that make up the Renaissance including gunpowder warfare, state building, capitalism, and the domestication of aristocracy. In The Last Days of the Renaissance and the March to Modernity Rabb declares how these characteristics define the Renaissance. Each of the components that make up the Renaissance work together, and over time they transform the way of life of that era.

The change in weaponry started out slow but gradually became a defining element of the Renaissance. Warfare had changed through the use of cannons. These new inventions were built for destruction at greater distances. Men that obtained cannons were put on a higher social status than those that did not and therefore upped the competition amongst the warriors. Cannons were cheap, easily made, and accessible to everyone on the battlefield (Rabb). They created a faster way to defeat the enemies. The castles that had been built before the invention of cannons were not sturdy enough to handle so much power and therefore became vulnerable to the explosions. Cannons had thus caused fear among the people. They feared them not only because of the noise but also the unpredictability of their landing. The misshapen projectiles that the cannons were put into did not give off great accuracy. Due to all of the damage from the cannons, there had to be change in the planning of the battlefield as well as the construction of houses and designing the city which is how cannons had made their impact on the era.

No less revolutionary than the upheaval in warfare was the affiliated transformation of politics known as state building. This overcame a wide diversity of areas from large territorial states to smaller principalities. Previous power was distributed among the aristocracy and clergy members. Ecclesiastics, townsmen, and nobles were chief sources of alternative authority. The victory over these competing powers was essential to the advance of state building (Rabb). What was distinct about the story of state building during the period was that between the fourteenth and seventeenth centuries, the rivals had vanquished. State building had centralized power, extended bureaucratization, increased taxes, and expanded war-making capabilities (Rabb). All things gave the Renaissance a new perspective politically and economically.

The new economic outlook was encircled by the rise of Capitalism. It was a slow process and did not advance at the same pace in all areas. There was debate about Capitalism penetration in the countryside. Advocates of gradual development in human affairs will admit that after the fourteenth century a new



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