Renaissance," French for "rebirth," perfectly describes the intellectual and economic changes that occurred in Europe from the end of thirteen through the sixteenth centuries. During the era known by this name, Europe emerged from the economic stagnation of the Middle Ages and experienced a time of financial growth. Also, and perhaps most importantly, the Renaissance was an age in which artistic, social, scientific, and political thought turned in new directions
The Renaissance was a period in time of the New Modern World. People begun to reveal their uniqueness and ambitions of how they felt and lived. Europe was gradually recovering from the "Black Death", which wiped out one-third of the population. Humanists began to search monasteries, churches, and other institutions for ancient scholars.
Dante Alighieri (1265-1321) who wrote Divine Comedy, written in Italian instead of Latin, was a major contributor to the Renaissance. Therefore, not only the scholars could read his writing, but also the population had access. Divine Comedy has been called "the glimmer of the dawn." Francesco Petrarch (1304-1374) is believed to be the real initiator in the learning of literature. He also wrote in Italian. As the initiator he opened doors and directed talents for many others. Many modern has criticized Jacob Burkhardt, a nineteenth-century Swiss Historian, in his interpretation of the Renaissance in his writing of Civilization of the Renaissance in Italy (1860).
Some historians, as Peter Burke feels that Jacob focused on a particular group instead of the whole. There are many different opinions and thoughts on the Renaissance. Denys Hay saw the Renaissance as a style of living with medieval patterns. Robert S.
Lopez paying attention to the financial aspects, while Johan Huizinga felt that the Renaissance was the end of medieval times. Beside their different thoughts all seem to be in agreement that the Renaissance was a time of great growth, expansion and new ideas.