A musical instrument is an instrument created or adapted to make musical sounds. In principle, any object that produces sound can be considered a musical instrument—it is through purpose that the object becomes a musical instrument; the history of musical instruments dates to the beginnings of human culture. Early musical instruments may have been used for ritual, such as a trumpet to signal success on the hunt, or a drum in a religious ceremony. Cultures developed composition and performance of melodies for entertainment. Musical instruments evolved in step with changing applications; the date and origin of the first device considered. The oldest object that some scholars refer to as a musical instrument, a simple flute, dates back as far as 67,000 years; some consensus dates early flutes to about 37,000 years ago. However, most historians believe that determining a specific time of musical instrument invention is impossible due to the subjectivity of the definition and the relative instability of materials used to make them.
Many early musical instruments were made from animal skins, bone and other non-durable materials. Musical instruments developed independently in many populated regions of the world. However, contact among civilizations caused rapid spread and adaptation of most instruments in places far from their origin. By the Middle Ages, instruments from Mesopotamia were in maritime Southeast Asia, Europeans played instruments from North Africa. Development in the Americas occurred at a slower pace, but cultures of North and South America shared musical instruments. By 1400, musical instrument development was dominated by the Occident. Musical instrument classification is a discipline in its own right, many systems of classification have been used over the years. Instruments can be classified by their material composition, their size, etc.. However, the most common academic method, Hornbostel-Sachs, uses the means by which they produce sound; the academic study of musical instruments is called organology. A musical instrument makes sounds.
Once humans moved from making sounds with their bodies—for example, by clapping—to using objects to create music from sounds, musical instruments were born. Primitive instruments were designed to emulate natural sounds, their purpose was ritual rather than entertainment; the concept of melody and the artistic pursuit of musical composition were unknown to early players of musical instruments. A player sounding a flute to signal the start of a hunt does so without thought of the modern notion of "making music". Musical instruments are constructed in a broad array of styles and shapes, using many different materials. Early musical instruments were made from "found objects" such a shells and plant parts; as instruments evolved, so did the selection and quality of materials. Every material in nature has been used by at least one culture to make musical instruments. One plays a musical instrument by interacting with it in some way—for example, by plucking the strings on a string instrument. Researchers have discovered archaeological evidence of musical instruments in many parts of the world.
Some finds are 67,000 years old, however their status as musical instruments is in dispute. Consensus solidifies about artifacts dated back to around 37,000 years old and later. Only artifacts made from durable materials or using durable methods tend to survive; as such, the specimens found. In July 1995, Slovenian archaeologist Ivan Turk discovered a bone carving in the northwest region of Slovenia; the carving, named the Divje Babe Flute, features four holes that Canadian musicologist Bob Fink determined could have been used to play four notes of a diatonic scale. Researchers estimate the flute's age at between 43,400 and 67,000 years, making it the oldest known musical instrument and the only musical instrument associated with the Neanderthal culture. However, some archaeologists and ethnomusicologists dispute the flute's status as a musical instrument. German archaeologists have found mammoth bone and swan bone flutes dating back to 30,000 to 37,000 years old in the Swabian Alps; the flutes were made in the Upper Paleolithic age, are more accepted as being the oldest known musical instruments.
Archaeological evidence of musical instruments was discovered in excavations at the Royal Cemetery in the Sumerian city of Ur. These instruments, one of the first ensembles of instruments yet discovered, include nine lyres, two harps, a silver double flute and cymbals. A set of reed-sounded silver pipes discovered in Ur was the predecessor of modern bagpipes; the cylindrical pipes feature three side-holes. These excavations, carried out by Leonard Woolley in the 1920s, uncovered non-degradable fragments of instruments and the voids left by the degraded segments that, have been used to reconstruct them; the graves these instruments were buried in have been carbon dated to between 2600 and 2500 BC, providing evidence that these instruments were used in Sumeria by this time. Archaeologists in the Jiahu site of central Henan province of China have found flutes made of bones that date back 7,000 to 9,000 years, representing some of the "earliest complete, tightly-dated, multinote musical instruments" found.
Scholars agree that there are no reliable methods of determining the exact chronology of musical instruments across cultures. Comparing and organizing instruments based on their complexity is misleading, since advancements in musical instruments have sometimes reduced complexity. For example, construction of early slit drums involved f
Eastern Europe is the eastern part of the European continent. There is no consensus on the precise area it covers because the term has a wide range of geopolitical, geographical and socioeconomic connotations. There are "almost as many definitions of Eastern Europe as there are scholars of the region". A related United Nations paper adds that "every assessment of spatial identities is a social and cultural construct". One definition describes Eastern Europe as a cultural entity: the region lying in Europe with the main characteristics consisting of Greek, Eastern Orthodox and some Ottoman culture influences. Another definition was created during the Cold War and used more or less synonymously with the term Eastern Bloc. A similar definition names the communist European states outside the Soviet Union as Eastern Europe. Majority of historians and social scientists view such definitions as outdated or relegated, but they are still sometimes used for statistical purposes. Several definitions of Eastern Europe exist today, but they lack precision, are too general, or are outdated.
These definitions vary both across cultures and among experts political scientists, as the term has a wide range of geopolitical, geographical and socioeconomic connotations. There are "almost as many definitions of Eastern Europe as there are scholars of the region". A related United Nations paper adds that "every assessment of spatial identities is a social and cultural construct". While the eastern geographical boundaries of Europe are well defined, the boundary between Eastern and Western Europe is not geographical but historical and cultural; the Ural Mountains, Ural River, the Caucasus Mountains are the geographical land border of the eastern edge of Europe. In the west, the historical and cultural boundaries of "Eastern Europe" are subject to some overlap and, most have undergone historical fluctuations, which makes a precise definition of the western geographic boundaries of Eastern Europe and the geographical midpoint of Europe somewhat difficult; the East–West Schism divided Christianity in Europe, the world, into Western Christianity and Eastern Christianity.
Western Europe according to this point of view is formed by countries with dominant Roman Catholic and Protestant churches. Eastern Europe is formed by countries with dominant Eastern Orthodox churches, like Belarus, Greece, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Russia and Ukraine for instance; the schism is the break of communion and theology between what are now the Eastern and Western churches. This division dominated Europe for centuries, in opposition to the rather short-lived Cold War division of 4 decades. Since the Great Schism of 1054, Europe has been divided between Roman Catholic and Protestant churches in the West, the Eastern Orthodox Christian churches in the east. Due to this religious cleavage, Eastern Orthodox countries are associated with Eastern Europe. A cleavage of this sort is, however problematic; the fall of the Iron Curtain brought the end of the East-West division in Europe, but this geopolitical concept is sometimes still used for quick reference by the media or sometimes for statistical purposes.
Another definition was used during the 40 years of Cold War between 1947 and 1989, was more or less synonymous with the terms Eastern Bloc and Warsaw Pact. A similar definition names the communist European states outside the Soviet Union as Eastern Europe. Historians and social scientists view such definitions as outdated or relegated. Eurovoc, a multilingual thesaurus maintained by the Publications Office of the European Union, has entries for "23 EU languages", plus the languages of candidate countries. Of these, those in italics are classified as "Eastern Europe" in this source. UNESCO, EuroVoc, National Geographic Society, Committee for International Cooperation in National Research in Demography, STW Thesaurus for Economics place the Baltic states in Northern Europe, whereas the CIA World Factbook places the region in Eastern Europe with a strong assimilation to Northern Europe, they are members of the Nordic-Baltic Eight regional cooperation forum whereas Central European countries formed their own alliance called the Visegrád Group.
The Northern Future Forum, the Nordic Investment Bank, the Nordic Battlegroup, the Nordic-Baltic Eight and the New Hanseatic League are other examples of Northern European cooperation that includes the three countries collectively referred to as the Baltic states. Estonia Latvia Lithuania The Caucasus nations of Armenia and Georgia are included in definitions or histories of Eastern Europe, they are located in the transition zone of Western Asia. They participate in the European Union's Eastern Partnership program, the Euronest Parliamentary Assembly, are members of the Council of Europe, which specifies that all three have
North Africa is a region encompassing the northern portion of the African continent. There is no singularly accepted scope for the region, it is sometimes defined as stretching from the Atlantic shores of Morocco in the west, to Egypt's Suez Canal and the Red Sea in the east. Others have limited it to top North-Western countries like Algeria and Tunisia, a region, known by the French during colonial times as "Afrique du Nord" and is known by all Arabs as the Maghreb; the most accepted definition includes Algeria, Morocco, Tunisia and Egypt, the 6 countries that shape the top North of the African continent. Meanwhile, "North Africa" when used in the term North Africa and the Middle East refers only to the countries of the Maghreb and Libya. Egypt, being part of the Middle East, is considered separately, due to being both North African and Middle Eastern at the same time. North Africa includes a number of Spanish and Portuguese possessions, Plazas de soberanía, Ceuta and Melilla and the Canary Islands and Madeira.
The countries of North Africa share a common ethnic and linguistic identity, unique to this region. Northwest Africa has been inhabited by Berbers since the beginning of recorded history, while the eastern part of North Africa has been home to the Egyptians. Between the A. D. 600s and 1000s, Arabs from the Middle East swept across the region in a wave of Muslim conquest. These peoples, physically quite similar, formed a single population in many areas, as Berbers and Egyptians merged into Arabic and Muslim culture; this process of Arabization and Islamization has defined the cultural landscape of North Africa since. The distinction between North Africa, the Sahel and the rest of the continent is as follows: Nineteenth century European explorers, attracted by the accounts of Ancient geographers or Arab geographers of the classical period, followed the routes by the nomadic people of the vast "empty" space, they documented the names of the stopping places they discovered or rediscovered, described landscapes, took a few climate measurements and gathered rock samples.
A map began to fill in the white blotch. The Sahara and the Sahel entered the geographic corpus by way of naturalist explorers because aridity is the feature that circumscribes the boundaries of the ecumene; the map details included topographical relief and location of watering holes crucial to long crossings. The Arabic word "Sahel" and "Sahara" made its entry into the vocabulary of geography. Latitudinally, the "slopes" of the arid desert, devoid of continuous human habitation, descend in step-like fashion toward the northern and southern edges of the Mediterranean that opens to Europe and the Sahel that opens to "Trab al Sudan." Longitudinally, a uniform grid divides the central desert shrinks back toward the Atlantic Ocean and the Red Sea. The Sahara-Sahel is further divided into a total of twenty sub-areas: central, southern, eastern, etc. In this way, "standard" geography has determined aridity to be the boundary of the ecumene, it identifies settlements based on visible activity without regard for social or political organizations of space in vast, purportedly “empty” areas.
It gives only cursory acknowledgement to what makes Saharan geography, for that matter, world geography unique: mobility and the routes by which it flows. The Sahel or "African Transition Zone" has been affected by many formative epochs in North African history ranging from Ottoman occupation to the Arab-Berber control of the Andalus; as a result, many modern African nation-states that are included in the Sahel evidence cultural similarities and historical overlap with their North African neighbours. In the present day, North Africa is associated with West Asia in the realm of geopolitics to form a Middle East-North Africa region; the Islamic influence in the area is significant and North Africa is a major part of the Muslim world. Some researchers have postulated that North Africa rather than East Africa served as the exit point for the modern humans who first trekked out of the continent in the Out of Africa migration. North Africa has three main geographic features: the Sahara desert in the south, the Atlas Mountains in the west, the Nile River and delta in the east.
The Atlas Mountains extend across much of northern Algeria and Tunisia. These mountains are part of the fold mountain system that runs through much of Southern Europe, they recede to the south and east, becoming a steppe landscape before meeting the Sahara desert, which covers more than 75 percent of the region. The tallest peaks are in the High Atlas range in south-central Morocco, which has many snow-capped peaks. South of the Atlas Mountains is the dry and barren expanse of the Sahara desert, the largest sand desert in the world. In places the desert is cut by irregular watercourses called wadis—streams that flow only after rainfalls but are dry; the Sahara's major landforms include large seas of sand that sometimes form into huge dunes. The Sahara covers the southern part of Algeria and Tunisia, most of Libya. Only two regions of Libya are outside the desert: Tripolitania in the northwest and Cyrenaica in the northeast. Most of Egypt is desert, with the exception of the Nile River and the irrigated land along its banks.
The Nile Valley forms a narrow fertile thread. Sheltered valleys in the Atlas Mountains, the Nile Valley and Delta, the Mediterranean coast are the main sources of fertile farming land. A wide variety of valuable crops including ce
The kit violin, dancing master's kit, or kit, is a stringed instrument. It is a small violin designed to fit in a pocket—hence its other common name, the pochette, it was used by dance masters in royal courts and other places of nobility, by street musicians, until around the 18th century. The rebec was used in the same way. Several kit violins are called for in Monteverdi's 1607 Orfeo; the word "kit" arose from an abbreviation of the word "pocket" to "-cket" and subsequently "kit". Trichet is said to have described the kit's leather carrying case as a poche, hence, "The Pocket Violin". Mersenne wrote that it was common practice among kit violin players to carry the violin in a pocket. "Kit" is believed to have first been used in the first quarter of the 16th century England where it was mentioned in Interlude of the Four Elements, c. 1517. The instrument's body is small, but its fingerboard is long relative to the instrument's overall size, to preserve as much of the instrument's melodic range as possible.
Many violinists in the eighteenth century used kits because of their portability. The pochette or pocket fiddle was used by dance masters—not during dances, but when teaching. Niel Gow is known to have played a kit, carried one in his pocket whenever he walked from his house in Inver to Blair Castle, where he worked. Thomas Jefferson owned at least two kits. A common misconception is, they were made for adults. The "pocket fiddle" or "pochette" should not be confused with a saddle fiddle, the latter being a proper fiddle or violin with a nearly full-sized fingerboard and a full-sized violin body
Arabic music is the music of the Arab World with all its different music styles and genres. Arabic countries have many styles of music and many dialects. Arabic music has a long history of interaction with genres, it represents the music of all the peoples that make up the Arab world all the 22 states. Pre-Islamic Arabian Peninsula music was similar to that of Ancient Middle Eastern music. Most historians agree that there existed distinct forms of music in the Arabian peninsula in the pre-Islamic period between the 5th and 7th century AD. Arab poets of that time—called shu`ara' al-Jahiliyah or "Jahili poets", meaning "the poets of the period of ignorance"—used to recite poems with a high notes, it was believed. The choir at the time served as a pedagogic facility where the educated poets would recite their poems. Singing was not thought to be the work of these intellectuals and was instead entrusted to women with beautiful voices who would learn how to play some instruments used at that time such as the drum, the guitar or the rebab, perform the songs while respecting the poetic metre.
The compositions were simple and every singer would sing in a single maqam. Among the notable songs of the period were the huda, the nasb and rukbani. Both compositions and improvisations in traditional Arabic music are based on the maqam system. Maqams can be realized with either vocal or instrumental music, do not include a rhythmic component. Al-Kindi was a notable early theorist of Arabic music, he joined several others like al-Farabi in proposing the addition of a makeshift fifth string to the oud. He published several tracts including the cosmological connotations of music, he identified twelve tones on the Arabic musical scale, based on the location of fingers on and the strings of the oud. Abulfaraj wrote the Kitab al-Aghani, an encyclopedic collection of poems and songs that runs to over 20 volumes in modern editions. Al-Farabi wrote a notable book on music titled Kitab al-Musiqi al-Kabir, his pure Arabian tone system is still used in Arabic music. Al-Ghazali wrote a treatise on music in Persia which declared, "Ecstasy means the state that comes from listening to music".
In 1252, Safi al-Din developed a unique form of musical notation, where rhythms were represented by geometric representation. A similar geometric representation would not appear in the Western world until 1987, when Kjell Gustafson published a method to represent a rhythm as a two-dimensional graph. By the 11th century, Islamic Iberia had become a center for the manufacture of instruments; these goods spread throughout France, influencing French troubadours, reaching the rest of Europe. The English words lute and naker are derived from Arabic oud and naqareh. Bartol Gyurgieuvits spent 13 years as a slave in the Ottoman empire. After escaping, he published De Turvarum ritu et caermoniis in Amsterdam in 1544, it is one of the first European books to describe music in Islamic society. The origins of the "belly dance" are obscure, as depictions and descriptions are rare, it may have originated in pre-Islamic Arabia. Examples have been found from 200 BCE, suggesting a possible pre-Islamic origin. In the early 20th century, Egypt was the first in a series of Arab countries to experience a sudden emergence of nationalism, as it became independent after 2000 years of foreign rule.
Any English, French or Turkish songs got replaced by national Egyptian music. Cairo became a center for musical innovation. Female singers were some of the first to take a secular approach. Egyptian performer Umm Kulthum and Lebanese singer Fairuz were notable examples of this. Both have been popular through the decades that followed and both are considered legends of Arabic music. Across the Mediterranean, Moroccan singer Zohra Al Fassiya was the first female performer to achieve wide popularity in the Maghreb region, performing traditional Arab Andalusian folk songs and recording numerous albums of her own. During the 1950s and 1960s, Arabic music began to take on a more Western tone – Egyptian artists Umm Kulthum and Abdel Halim Hafez along with composers Mohammed Abdel Wahab and Baligh Hamdi pioneered the use of western instruments in Egyptian music. By the 1970s several other singers had followed suit and a strand of Arabic pop was born. Arabic pop consists of Western styled songs with Arabic instruments and lyrics.
Melodies are a mix between Eastern and Western. Beginning in the mid-1980s, Lydia Canaan, musical pioneer regarded as the first rock star of the Middle East fused English lyrics and Western sound with Middle-Eastern quarter tones and microtones and became the first internationally successful Lebanese recording artist. Western pop music was being influenced by Arabic music in the early 1960s, leading to the development of surf music, a rock music genre that gave rise to garage rock and punk rock. Surf rock pioneer Dick Dale, a Lebanese American guitarist, was influenced by the Arabic music he learnt from his uncle the oud and derbakki drum, skills which he applied to his electric guitar playing when recording surf rock in the early 1960s. In the 1990s, several artists have taken up such a style including Amr Diab, Najwa Karam, Nawal Al Zoghbi, Nancy Ajram, Haifa Wehbe, Fadl Shaker, Majida Al Roumi, Wael Kfoury, Asalah Nasri, Myriam Fares, Carole Samaha, Samira Said, Hisham Abbas, Kadhem Al Saher, Mostafa Amar, Ehab Tawfik, Moham
The Ottoman Empire known in Western Europe as the Turkish Empire or Turkey, was a state that controlled much of Southeast Europe, Western Asia and North Africa between the 14th and early 20th centuries. It was founded at the end of the 13th century in northwestern Anatolia in the town of Söğüt by the Oghuz Turkish tribal leader Osman I. After 1354, the Ottomans crossed into Europe, with the conquest of the Balkans, the Ottoman beylik was transformed into a transcontinental empire; the Ottomans ended the Byzantine Empire with the 1453 conquest of Constantinople by Mehmed the Conqueror. During the 16th and 17th centuries, at the height of its power under the reign of Suleiman the Magnificent, the Ottoman Empire was a multinational, multilingual empire controlling most of Southeast Europe, parts of Central Europe, Western Asia, parts of Eastern Europe and the Caucasus, North Africa and the Horn of Africa. At the beginning of the 17th century, the empire contained numerous vassal states; some of these were absorbed into the Ottoman Empire, while others were granted various types of autonomy during the course of centuries.
With Constantinople as its capital and control of lands around the Mediterranean basin, the Ottoman Empire was at the centre of interactions between the Eastern and Western worlds for six centuries. While the empire was once thought to have entered a period of decline following the death of Suleiman the Magnificent, this view is no longer supported by the majority of academic historians; the empire continued to maintain a flexible and strong economy and military throughout the 17th and much of the 18th century. However, during a long period of peace from 1740 to 1768, the Ottoman military system fell behind that of their European rivals, the Habsburg and Russian empires; the Ottomans suffered severe military defeats in the late 18th and early 19th centuries, which prompted them to initiate a comprehensive process of reform and modernisation known as the Tanzimat. Thus, over the course of the 19th century, the Ottoman state became vastly more powerful and organised, despite suffering further territorial losses in the Balkans, where a number of new states emerged.
The empire allied with Germany in the early 20th century, hoping to escape from the diplomatic isolation which had contributed to its recent territorial losses, thus joined World War I on the side of the Central Powers. While the Empire was able to hold its own during the conflict, it was struggling with internal dissent with the Arab Revolt in its Arabian holdings. During this time, atrocities were committed by the Young Turk government against the Armenians and Pontic Greeks; the Empire's defeat and the occupation of part of its territory by the Allied Powers in the aftermath of World War I resulted in its partitioning and the loss of its Middle Eastern territories, which were divided between the United Kingdom and France. The successful Turkish War of Independence against the occupying Allies led to the emergence of the Republic of Turkey in the Anatolian heartland and the abolition of the Ottoman monarchy; the word Ottoman is a historical anglicisation of the name of Osman I, the founder of the Empire and of the ruling House of Osman.
Osman's name in turn was the Turkish form of the Arabic name ʿUthmān. In Ottoman Turkish, the empire was referred to as Devlet-i ʿAlīye-yi ʿOsmānīye, or alternatively ʿOsmānlı Devleti. In Modern Turkish, it is known as Osmanlı Devleti; the Turkish word for "Ottoman" referred to the tribal followers of Osman in the fourteenth century, subsequently came to be used to refer to the empire's military-administrative elite. In contrast, the term "Turk" was used to refer to the Anatolian peasant and tribal population, was seen as a disparaging term when applied to urban, educated individuals. In the early modern period, an educated urban-dwelling Turkish-speaker, not a member of the military-administrative class would refer to himself neither as an Osmanlı nor as a Türk, but rather as a Rūmī, or "Roman", meaning an inhabitant of the territory of the former Byzantine Empire in the Balkans and Anatolia; the term Rūmī was used to refer to Turkish-speakers by the other Muslim peoples of the empire and beyond.
In Western Europe, the two names "Ottoman Empire" and "Turkey" were used interchangeably, with "Turkey" being favoured both in formal and informal situations. This dichotomy was ended in 1920–23, when the newly established Ankara-based Turkish government chose Turkey as the sole official name. Most scholarly historians avoid the terms "Turkey", "Turks", "Turkish" when referring to the Ottomans, due to the empire's multinational character; as the Seljuk Sultanate of Rum declined in the 13th century, Anatolia was divided into a patchwork of independent Turkish principalities known as the Anatolian Beyliks. One of these beyliks, in the region of Bithynia on the frontier of the Byzantine Empire, was led by the Turkish tribal leader Osman I, a figure of obscure origins from whom the name Ottoman is derived. Osman's early followers consisted both of Turkish tribal groups and Byzantine renegades, many but not all converts to Islam. Osman extended the control of his principality by conquering Byzantine towns along the Sakarya River.
It is not well understood how the early Ottomans came to dominate their
The Renaissance is a period in European history, covering the span between the 14th and 17th centuries and marking the transition from the Middle Ages to modernity. The traditional view focuses more on the early modern aspects of the Renaissance and argues that it was a break from the past, but many historians today focus more on its medieval aspects and argue that it was an extension of the middle ages; the intellectual basis of the Renaissance was its version of humanism, derived from the concept of Roman Humanitas and the rediscovery of classical Greek philosophy, such as that of Protagoras, who said that "Man is the measure of all things." This new thinking became manifest in art, politics and literature. Early examples were the development of perspective in oil painting and the recycled knowledge of how to make concrete. Although the invention of metal movable type sped the dissemination of ideas from the 15th century, the changes of the Renaissance were not uniformly experienced across Europe: the first traces appear in Italy as early as the late 13th century, in particular with the writings of Dante and the paintings of Giotto.
As a cultural movement, the Renaissance encompassed innovative flowering of Latin and vernacular literatures, beginning with the 14th-century resurgence of learning based on classical sources, which contemporaries credited to Petrarch. In politics, the Renaissance contributed to the development of the customs and conventions of diplomacy, in science to an increased reliance on observation and inductive reasoning. Although the Renaissance saw revolutions in many intellectual pursuits, as well as social and political upheaval, it is best known for its artistic developments and the contributions of such polymaths as Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo, who inspired the term "Renaissance man"; the Renaissance began in the 14th century in Italy. 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 the time: its political structure, the patronage of its dominant family, the Medici, the migration of Greek scholars and texts to Italy following the Fall of Constantinople to the Ottoman Turks.
Other major centres were northern Italian city-states such as Venice, Milan and Rome during the Renaissance Papacy. The Renaissance has a long and complex historiography, and, in line with general scepticism of discrete periodizations, there has been much debate among historians reacting to the 19th-century glorification of the "Renaissance" and individual culture heroes as "Renaissance men", questioning the usefulness of Renaissance as a term and as a historical delineation; the art historian Erwin Panofsky observed of this resistance to the concept of "Renaissance": It is no accident that the factuality of the Italian Renaissance has been most vigorously questioned by those who are not obliged to take a professional interest in the aesthetic aspects of civilization – historians of economic and social developments and religious situations, most natural science – but only exceptionally by students of literature and hardly by historians of Art. Some observers have called into question whether the Renaissance was a cultural "advance" from the Middle Ages, instead seeing it as a period of pessimism and nostalgia for classical antiquity, while social and economic historians of the longue durée, have instead focused on the continuity between the two eras, which are linked, as Panofsky observed, "by a thousand ties".
The word Renaissance meaning "Rebirth", first appeared in English in the 1830s. The word occurs in Jules Michelet's 1855 work, Histoire de France; the word Renaissance has been extended to other historical and cultural movements, such as the Carolingian Renaissance and the Renaissance of the 12th century. The Renaissance was a cultural movement that profoundly affected European intellectual life in the early modern period. Beginning in Italy, spreading to the rest of Europe by the 16th century, its influence was felt in literature, art, politics, science and other aspects of intellectual inquiry. Renaissance scholars employed the humanist method in study, searched for realism and human emotion in art. Renaissance humanists such as Poggio Bracciolini sought out in Europe's monastic libraries the Latin literary and oratorical texts of Antiquity, while the Fall of Constantinople generated a wave of émigré Greek scholars bringing precious manuscripts in ancient Greek, many of which had fallen into obscurity in the West.
It is in their new focus on literary and historical texts that Renaissance scholars differed so markedly from the medieval scholars of the Renaissance of the 12th century, who had focused on studying Greek and Arabic works of natural sciences and mathematics, rather than on such cultural texts. In the revival of neo-Platonism Renaissance humanists did not reject Christianity. However, a subtle shift took place in the way that intellectuals approached religion, reflected in many other areas of cultural life. In addition, many Greek Christian works, including the Greek New Testament, were brought back from Byzantium to Western Europe and engaged Western scholars for the first time since late antiquity; this new engagement with Greek Christian works, the return to the original Greek of the Ne