There were many different values and purposes of Renaissance education. Different philosophers and thinkers had contrasted opinions on education and other ideas of the Renaissance, but they all felt that change was necessary. The renaissance was a rebirth of society and the revival of education brought Europe out of the Dark Ages. The Renaissance began in the fourteenth century and it reached its height in the fiftieth century. During the sixteenth and seventeenth century it spread throughout Europe. Aeneas Sylvis Piccolomini had some of the earliest views on the need for change in how people were educated.
Piccolomini wrote On the Education of Free Man and he saw the need for more education. Piccolomini felt that it was necessary to study history in order to be able to ensure a better future. He felt that a world without education was one where darkness covers the land. The great Italian thinker, Baldasare Castiglione dealt more with politics.
His book, The Courtier was the most widely read book in Europe at the time. The Courtier, which was written in 1528 presented an idealized picture of life at court and the relationship between the prince and the courtier. Castiglione, who was a courtier and a diplomat himself, felt that all gentlemen should be learned in humanities, verse and prose. Unlike many other thinkers of the Renaissance, Castiglione felt that this education was necessary to entertain women and the ability to judge the writing of other people.
Castiglione s feelings on education did not agree with many of the other Renaissance thinkers such as Piccolomini. Piccolomini felt that education would save society from a dark mask. Castiglione felt that education would produce a proper gentlemen. These two men were thinking at different levels and this is just another valu of the Renaissance. The role of women was also beginning to significantly change during the Renaissance.
Men had many different ideas about how women should be educated. Juan Luis Vives. Vives was a Spanish humanist and he wrote The Instruction of A Christian Woman in 1523. Vives felt that books should teach women god manners and that women should be taught from holy scriptures or the sayings of philosophers. This idea of educating women was a revolutionary idea, even thought the lengths to which women could go wee extremely limited. Vives wrote about how women should be taught from Holy Scriptures.
This idea is a little strange in the Renaissance, because most thinkers were secularists and believed in breaking with the church. Obviously Vives is an exception to this common characteristic of Renaissance thinkers. Never the less, Vives s ideas were revolutionary. In the late sixteenth century, there were schools for women where the women were taught things such as reading, writing, dancing and embroidery.
The fact that there are schools for women shows the development of the Renaissance, but there is once again a limit to what women can learn at these schools. Although women were receiving education, it was not even comparable to that of men. In a letter written in the mid-seventeenth century, the reopening of French Jesuit school was discussed. The writer of this letter had a realistic point of view and felt that not everyone had to be educated. The writer felt that schools are a necessity, but to many of them is an unfavorable thing. This writer felt that there was a greater need for more hardworking bodies than dreamy and contemplative spirits.
This is a valid point, because society needs people to work than to think in order for people to survive. This is just another different Renaissance opinion. The differences in opinions and ideas of Renaissance writers is such a metaphor of the point of the Renaissance itself. People were not following the crowd; new and contrasting ideas were being born.
Thinkers challenged each other and learned from each other and this essentially was the beauty of the Renaissance, it was a time of long needed change.