Renaissance Education

Humanists believed that the study of humanities was essential for the education of a good citizen. During the classical era, the Romans had placed great emphasis on the values of wisdom and virtue, a concept which they referred to as humanitas. Eventually, the term humanities came to refer to the seven liberal arts of antiquity which included arithmetic, grammar, logic, astronomy, geometry, music and rhetoric. Early Renaissance Italian humanists such as Battista Guarino and Aeneas Sylvius Piccolomini asserted that a man must study the humanities to acquire virtue and to attain enlightenment. Likewise, Baldassare Castiglione, an Italian diplomat and author, instructed modern Renaissance gentleman in The Book of the Courtier to become learned in a wide variety of subjects including the humanities, classical poetry, and in writing verse and prose. These Italian humanist views were echoed by northern Christian humanists such as Desiderus Erasmus who wrote in his book On the Art of Learning that students should study the classics because "the whole of attainable knowledge lies therein.aE Each of these Renaissance humanists affirmed the key role of the classics in attaining knowledge. Despite this emphasis on



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