The Renaissance - from French Renaissance, meaning "rebirth"; Italian: Rinascimento, from re- "again" and nascere "be born" - was a cultural movement that spanned roughly the 14th through the 17th century, beginning in Italy in the late Middle Ages and later spreading to the rest of western Europe. The term is also used as a somewhat indiscriminate sense as a historic era, but as the cultural advances and social changes normally associated with the term were both spotty and uneven, as an age in historiography the term can only be used in the loosest and most general sense. The cultural movement encompassed a revival of learning based on classical sources, the development of linear perspective in painting, and gradual but widespread educational reform--all of which affected the manner in which people viewed and interacted in the world, and so is sometimes given as the dividing line between the late middle ages era and the early modern era. The Renaissance saw developments in most intellectual pursuits, gradual technological progress, and improvements in husbandry and agriculture allowing more people to leave the land and live in cities but is perhaps best known for its artistic aspect and the contributions of such polymaths as Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo, who have inspired the term "Renaissance men". There is a general -- though by no means unchallenged -- consensus that the Renaissance began in Tuscany in the fourteenth century. Various theories have been proposed to account for its origins and characteristics, focusing on a variety of factors, including the social and civic peculiarities of Florence at this time, its political structure, and the patronage of its dominant family, the Medici. The Renaissance received a major boost in the 15th century, when the Fall of Constantinople and the closing of its university by the Ottoman Turks forced thousands of Greek scholars to flee to Italy bringing with them the majority of the texts of Hellenic and Roman literature and law, that survive today. The Renaissance has a long and complex historiography, and there has always been debate among historians as to the usefulness of the Renaissance as a term and as a historical age. Some have called into question whether the Renaissance really was a cultural "advance" from the Middle Ages, instead seeing it as a period of pessimism and nostalgia for the classical age. While nineteenth-century historians were keen to emphasize that the Renaissance represented a clear "break" from medieval thought and practice, some modern historians have instead focused on the continuity between the two eras.] Indeed, it is now usually considered incorrect to classify any historical period as "better" or "worse", leading some to call for an end to the use of the term, which they see as a product of presentism. The word Renaissance has also been used to describe other historical and cultural movements, such as the Carolingian Renaissance and the Twelfth-century Renaissance. The Renaissance was a cultural movement that profoundly affected European intellectual life in the early modern period. Beginning in Italy, and spreading to the rest of Europe by the 16th century, its influence was felt in literature, philosophy, art, politics, science, religion, and other aspects of intellectual enquiry. Renaissance scholars employed the humanist method in study,
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