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The renaissance first appeared in the Italian city states because of the
similarity between their language and the Latin language. Humanism used
classical works to improve speaking and writing skills; therefore the Italians
had a great advantage. More manuscripts were made available for the Italians,
which led to the production of more intellectual leaders. The writing and
speaking skills of humanism was soon demanded at the princely courts. Humanism
transformed art, literature and political and social values. Eastern scholars
were invited by the Italians to join the West, to bring more Greek manuscripts
and to help regain command of the Greek language. The Italian states differed
from other states in that they were the leaders of the renaissance, with the
chancellor of Florence, Coluccio Salutati, and a group of humanists Italy
collected the ancient manuscripts. They were called the civic humanists, since
they felt that an active life was essential for full development. Two scholars
from Italy, Guarino de Verona and Vittorino de Feltre transformed education.
They used the ideas of humanism to establish a curriculum that spread to Europe.
The Florentine Neoplatonists led the way towards a new exploration of grand
ideals of truth and perfection. Ficino and Pico were both gifted Neoplatonists,
and with their philosophy they had a major influence on artists and thinkers for
the next two centuries. The Italian humanism left a deep imprint on European
thought and education. The Italian city states stimulated the development of the
Renaissance, since the movement first took place in Florence. Another advantage
was that Florence was famous for its art, since the greatest artists of the
1200s and 1300s, Giotto and Cimabue, were identified with the city. The
Florentine citizens were wealthy and ready to patronize art and the city had an
excellent design of luxury goods, such as silk and gold. Humanist ideas
eventually spread to Northern Europe because of the need for better educated
laity and the tension and violence in the society. Writers and artists were also
seemed to have little grasp on reality and displayed deep emotional instability.
The knights were becoming less important in battle and despite this the nobles
pretended to act as if the knights were more important. There was also the
instability of the religions, with the interest in death and trial of witches.
Printing aided the spread of humanism.