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Opisz wybraną epokę historyczną - Describe a Historical Epoch of Your Choice

'The Renaissance does not mean a revival of the antiquity or a revival of art. but it means a revival of man.'
This is how Zygmunt Lempicki described my favourite historical epoch. The Renaissance is an epoch of humanism and reformation. Humanism assumed that man should be in the centre of the interests of philosophers and artists. Humanists propagated a need for creating individual and strong human being. Terence said: 'I am a human and nothing which is human is alien to me.'

In Poland the Renaissance lasted from the16th century till the 1630s. It was the epoch of the Reformation - the religious and national movement of the 16th century aimed a reform of the Catholic Church. It began in 1517 when Martin Luther criticised in his "Thesis of indulgence" the practice of absolving sins for money. The movement caused many religious wars, but it strengthened national aspirations, brought a new type of art, weakened the power of the church and strengthened secular power.

The Renaissance means a revival of ideals of the antiquity and science. A number of great geographical discoveries were made at that time. The discovery of America by Christopher Columbus broadened human minds, caused an influx of money to Europe and in consequence more sumptuous style of life. It also resulted in the formation of strong countries, a departure from European universalism and the formation of national languages. One of the most important events was the invention of print in 1450 by John Gutenberg.

It was also during the Renaissance that the Protestant churches were established. As far as philosophy is concerned, one can mention Erasm of Rotterdam who propagated ideas of irenism (not to make wars), Niccolo Machiavelli - a follower of the rule: 'The end justifies means', or Sir Thomas More, who, in his book Utopia presented an ideal system on an island called Utopia where people live in communion with nature, and where no social division exists.

The Renaissance is the epoch of great foreign writers such as Giovanni Boccaccio, William Shakespeare, Francois Rabelais, Pierre Ronsard, and Polish ones such as Jan Kochanowski and Mikolaj Rej.

In conclusion I would like to say that the Renaissance was a magnificent epoch, an epoch of man, of a great concern for money and possessions. That is the epoch I like most of all.

[Arkadiusz Szymczak]

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