Covering the period comprising the Renaissance and Reformation, this volume introduces a unique set of interdisciplinary biographical dictionaries providing basic information on the people who have contributed significantly to the culture of Western civilization. Unlike general dictionaries which focus on political and military figures, this book covers such figures as the religious leaders who contributed to the Reformation, scientists who paved the way for a new view of the universe, and Renaissance painters, sculptors, and architects, as well as writers, musicians, and scholars. While the great personalities are included—Michelangelo, Shakespeare, Galileo—the volume covers lesser known figures as well—the Muslim scholar Leo Africanus, the Flemish geographer-astronomer Gemma Frisius, the English travel writer Thomas Coryate. Although many of the subjects also had political influence, the entries are written to highlight their individual cultural achievement.
An exciting, tumultuous, and chaotic age, the years from 1500 to 1620 saw increasing discontent with Catholicism and the beginning of Protestantism with Luther's 95 theses, great strides in the development of the printing press and a resulting increase in literacy, the humanist movement with its emphasis on the arts of antiquity, a proliferation of literature and art inspired by but moving beyond classical forms, and conflict between the triumph of Renaissance culture and the theologians of the Protestant Reformation. The resulting cultural production was astounding. This volume covers those who contributed to the fields of art and architecture, music, philosophy, religion, political and social thought, science, mathematics, literature, history, and education. With over 350 entries written by 72 scholars, the book provides a good basic resource on an exciting age.