The Renaissance was an era of rebirth, which is why it is often called the “rebirth of civilization.”

This time period was marked by a renewed interest in classical learning, art, and culture.

It was also a time when new technologies and ideas, such as the printing press and the scientific method were born. The Renaissance was truly a time of great progress for humanity!

But why was the Renaissance important? What is it that makes it such a significant era in the history of humankind? Let’s find out!

Why Was The Renaissance Important?

Here are 21 reasons why the Renaissance was so important:

  1. The Renaissance reintroduced a spirit of inquiry and questioning that we still use today
  2. The rise of Renaissance Humanism opened the doors to the pursuit of knowledge and intellectualism
  3. The rejection of religious dogma started in the Renaissance
  4. The Protestant Reformation was a result of the freedom of thought permitted in the Renaissance
  5. The Printing Revolution was one of the defining changes of the Renaissance
  6. During the Renaissance, ideas spread like wildfire across Europe like never before
  7. The Renaissance saw the birth of new art forms and styles.
  8. Literature flourished and new genres were created during the Renaissance.
  9. Intellectuals found the freedom to explore new ideas and question accepted beliefs.
  10. Advances in Science and Scientific Discoveries laid the foundation for the Scientific Revolution.
  11. The Renaissance clarified our place in the Universe through advances in Astronomy.
  12. Patronage of the Arts resulted in masterpieces as the world had never seen before
  13. Knowledge of Medicine and the Human Body expanded greatly during the Renaissance
  14. The Renaissance created a sense of European Superiority which had positive and negative implications for the world
  15. Rapid growth in new technologies (eg navigation, cartography, shipbuilding, etc.)
  16. The Renaissance launched the Age of Exploration
  17. The Renaissance led to a Trade and Commercial Revolution
  18. The Renaissance created the foundations of the modern Banking System
  19. The Renaissance was the Exportation of Religion to distant lands
  20. The Renaissance changed European Politics and sowed the seeds of the modern Nation-State.
  21. The Renaissance led to the Age of Enlightenment

Let’s now look closely at each of these 21 reasons why the Renaissance was so important and how it left an indelible mark on our modern world.

21 Consequences of the Renaissance

#1. Reintroduced a spirit of inquiry and questioning

One of the most profound changes during the Renaissance was the reintroduction of inquiry and questioning that was prevalent during the times of Antiquity. This type of thinking was not only allowed but encouraged, and became the basis of new ideas and discoveries.

Unlike the thinking of the Middle Ages, when religious doctrine was held in the highest regard, scholars of the Renaissance began to think independently and challenge old assumptions.

This spirit of inquiry and questioning is still seen in modern times, in how we approach problem-solving, find answers, and strive for innovation.

#2. Rise of Renaissance Humanism

Renaissance Humanism was a movement that sought to revive classical learning and culture. It was based on the idea that humans had the potential to develop their natural abilities and pursue noble goals.

This movement led to a newfound appreciation for literature, art and the humanities. Instead of focusing solely on religious matters, Renaissance Humanism opened up a new world of possibilities and encouraged the pursuit of knowledge and intellectualism.

Renaissance Humanism was a big step forward from medieval thinking and led to an influx of new ideas, resulting in a more enlightened society. It led to enormous changes in education including the introduction of the classical works of Plato and Aristotle and the teaching of Greek alongside Latin.

It sowed the seeds of Secularism, individual thought, and responsibility which became the precursor to modern democracy.

#3. The rejection of religious dogma

Hand-in-hand with humanism was a rejection of religious dogma. Renaissance Humanists wanted to change religion by introducing new interpretations of scripture and reinterpreting the authority of the Church.

This was a momentous change in thinking, paving the way for religious reformations and the idea of freedom of thought. Instead of accepting dogma without question, people began to think more freely and challenge the status quo.

#4. The Protestant Reformation

The Renaissance’s impact on the Catholic Church was most telling in reformist movements. The freedom of thought promoted by the Renaissance allowed for the emergence of new ideas and philosophies, such as those presented by Martin Luther during the Protestant Reformation.

This challenge to the Catholic Church was a direct result of the new thinking that emerged during the Renaissance and it had lasting implications for religious beliefs in Europe.

The Protestant Reformation changed the religious landscape in Europe, splitting Christianity into Catholicism and Protestantism and sparking a period of religious wars.

#5. The Printing Revolution

In 1440, Johannes Gutenberg invented the printing press which revolutionized communication, literature and education. The Gutenberg Press, which was made using movable types, allowed books and documents to be created more easily, leading to an increase in literacy and knowledge.

More than anything else, it was this Printing Revolution that allowed ideas to spread rapidly during the Renaissance. By the year 1500, there were more than 20 million books in circulation in Europe and a yearning for knowledge that had been absent in the Middle Ages.

#6. The Rapid Spread Of Ideas across Europe

Even though the Renaissance started in Florence, thanks to innovations like the printing press, the ideas, art, and culture of the Renaissance spread rapidly across Europe.

The spread of ideas was also brought about because of relative political stability in Italy and the migration of Renaissance artists from kingdom to kingdom.

The Fall of Constantinople in 1453, which allowed for a mass exodus of Greek scholars and intellectuals to Italy, also played an important role in the spread of Renaissance ideas.

#7. The birth of new Art Forms and Styles

Perhaps the most visible impact of the Renaissance was on art as it changed art forever. The Renaissance was an era of unprecedented creativity that saw the birth of new art forms and styles.

The Renaissance gave rise to the concept of the artist as an individual creator, and it saw the emergence of painters like Michelangelo and Leonardo da Vinci. It also saw the development of techniques such as linear perspective, chiaroscuro and sfumato which changed the way art was perceived.

The Renaissance also saw the creation of a new form of portraiture, known as the devotional portrait, which was used to depict religious figures in a more realistic style.

So for anyone who asks – Why was the Renaissance important – we say visit the Uffizi, visit the Sistine Chapel, visit the Louvre, and you’ll have your answer.

#8. The flourishing of Literature

The freedom of thought during the Renaissance had a profound impact on contemporary Literature. Writers were able to express themselves more freely, and this was reflected in the Literature of the time.

The Renaissance saw a dramatic shift in focus from religious themes to more secular ones. Writers like Dante, Petrarch, and Boccaccio wrote in the vernacular languages instead of Latin, making their works more accessible to a wider audience.

The Renaissance also saw the rise of the sonnet form and the emergence of dramatists like Shakespeare, who wrote plays that were popular with the masses.

The Printing Revolution made books and manuscripts cheaper to produce, making them more accessible to a wider audience.

#9. Intellectuals found the freedom to explore new ideas and question accepted beliefs

The Renaissance changed the environment in which intellectuals could work. There was a new openness to exploring different ideas and philosophies, which had been absent in the Middle Ages.

This shift in thinking allowed intellectuals to explore the concept of humanism, which focused on the potential of the individual and sought to liberate people from oppressive social norms.

Intellectual discourse during the Renaissance was also marked by a resurgence of interest in ancient Greek and Roman ideas. This resulted in the rediscovery of lost texts and a revival of classical thought which had a profound impact on the thinking of the time.

#10. The foundations for the Scientific Revolution.

Perhaps the greatest strides during the Renaissance, as they relate to the modern world, were made in the field of science. The Renaissance laid the foundations for the Scientific Revolution and shifted scientific thought away from religious dogma towards more rational explanations.

The Renaissance’s contributions to the scientific revolution include the invention of the telescope and the microscope, advances in mathematics and astronomy, and the works of great scientists like Galileo, Copernicus, and Vesalius.

The work of these scientists proved that the Ptolemaic system was inaccurate, setting the stage for the Copernican Revolution and the development of modern science.

#11. Advances in Astronomy and Our Place in the Universe

One of the everlasting accomplishments of the Renaissance has been to understand our place in the universe. Astronomers like Copernicus, Galileo and Kepler revolutionized our understanding of astronomy by proposing concepts that challenged traditional views about the structure of the universe.

Galileo’s use of the telescope enabled him to make discoveries that overturned centuries of accepted wisdom and provided the foundation for modern astronomy. His observations confirmed the theory of heliocentrism, which states that the sun – and not the earth – is at the center of our solar system.

Kepler’s laws of planetary motion revolutionized our understanding of the movements of planets and further affirmed the heliocentric model. These discoveries changed our perceptions of the universe and opened the door to new fields of scientific inquiry.

#12. Masterpieces through the Patronage of the Arts

The Patronage of Arts was a key feature of the Renaissance, and it allowed artists to create some of their most influential works. Patronage freed artists (within reason) to explore new ideas and techniques without worrying about day-to-day existence.

This patronage system also gave us some of the world’s greatest works. St. Peter’s Basilica and the Sistine Chapel were both commissioned by the Catholic Church, The Duomo in Florence was built by the powerful Medici family, who also funded many famous works of art we can find in Florence.

Thanks to patronage, artists like Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo and Raphael pushed the boundaries of their craft and created masterpieces that have endured for centuries.

#13. Expansion in the Knowledge of Medicine and the Human Body

The Renaissance was a very important period for advances in the field of medicine. The relatively liberal attitude and the spirit of inquiry of the Renaissance paved the way for advances in medical knowledge and understanding.

This was exemplified by the works of Flemish anatomist Andreas Vesalius, who in 1543 published a set of books ‘De Humani Corporis Fabrica Libri Septem’ describing in detail the human anatomy as it was then known.

French surgeon Ambroise Pare performed surgery using silk threads with which he stitched veins and arteries. English doctor, William Harvey studied the circulatory system and rose to the position of Physician Extraordinary to King James I of England.

#14. The start of a sense of European Superiority

One of the side effects of the successes of the Renaissance period was the rise of European nationalism and a sense of superiority.

The successes in science, art, literature and philosophy during this period resulted in a strong sense of cultural confidence in Europe. This, combined with the discoveries being made by Europeans during their explorations around the world, led to a deepening of European nationalism and a feeling of superiority to other parts of the world.

This would eventually lead to unfortunate acts of colonialism and imperialism, but it was also a strong contributing factor to the development of modern Europe.

#15. Rapid growth in maritime technologies

Maritime technologies like shipbuilding and navigation also advanced rapidly during the Renaissance period. This was due to improvements in shipbuilding techniques that made larger ships possible, as well as the development of improved navigational instruments like the astrolabe and quadrant.

#16. The launch of the Age of Exploration

The sense of European superiority, competition between nations, the search for wealth and power, the demand for new products, and the rapid growth in maritime technologies, all together ushered in the Age of Exploration.

Explorers like Christopher Columbus and Vasco da Gama, among many others, opened up new trade routes with the Americas, India and other parts of Asia. While the Age of Exploration brought riches to European nations, it also brought conquest and also exploitation to these distant lands.

#17. Trade and Commercial Revolution

The Renaissance also saw unprecedented levels of trade and commerce. The demand for new products like spices, silks and other luxury items led to a surge in commercial activities and travels to distant lands to source these products.

The growth of trading cities like Genoa, Venice, Amsterdam, and London saw a huge increase in economic activity and the growth of industry. The long-distance trading also stimulated the development of banking, insurance, and financial instruments and would eventually lead to a trade and commercial revolution.

The Renaissance also saw the wealth of merchants and bankers. Some of them, like the Medicis, would yield tremendous power and become de facto rules in their own right.

#18. Foundations of the Modern Banking System

The Renaissance was a major catalyst for the development of modern banking systems. During this period, new forms of credit and bookkeeping were developed which eventually led to the rise of modern banking.

The first banks were created in Italian cities such as Florence and Venice, which became centers of financial activity during the Renaissance.

The development of modern banking systems established a system of money circulation and credit that laid the foundation for economic development in the modern era.

The use of bills of exchange, the establishment of banking families, and the development of double-entry bookkeeping all helped to establish a framework that allowed modern banking systems to flourish.

#19. The Exportation of Religion to distant lands

Another way that the Renaissance affected the Catholic Church was the exportation of religion to distant lands. The Age of Exploration and the subsequent colonization of the Americas, India, and other parts of Asia saw many Catholic missionaries travel to these regions to spread the word of Christianity.

Spain and Portugal, both major powers during the Renaissance, were particularly active in spreading Catholicism. They sent missionaries to Africa, Latin America and Asia to convert people from other religions.

This had a profound effect on the religious landscape of these regions and would lay the foundations for Christianity to become the dominant religion in much of the world.

#20. European Politics and the Modern Nation-State

The Renaissance was a shift of power away from the Catholic Church to European monarchs and rulers. This period saw the emergence of powerful European nation-states such as Spain, France, England, and Portugal.

In Italy city-states such as Venice, Florence, and Genoa began to challenge the traditional power of the Catholic Church. This shift in political power created a new form of government that would eventually become the basis for the modern nation-state.

#21. The Path to the Age of Enlightenment

All aspects of the Renaissance like the humanist philosophy, the spirit of inquiry, and the freedom of thought laid the foundations for the Age of Enlightenment.

The ideas of reason and rational thought that were prevalent during the Renaissance period would eventually lead to the emergence of modern science and philosophy making the Renaissance one of the most pivotal and important periods in history.

To Wrap Up …

So why was the Renaissance important? In this article, we saw 21 of the main reasons why the Renaissance was so important. From the rise of Humanism to the development of banking and modern nation-states, the Renaissance had a far-reaching impact on the course of history.

It was a period of immense cultural, political, and intellectual progress, and it created the foundations for the modern world. It laid the groundwork for the Age of Exploration, the Scientific Revolution, and eventually the Enlightenment. The Renaissance truly changed the world and set the stage for centuries of growth and progress.