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Modern World History: The Renaissance in Florence: Project Home

"The Nativity" by Domenico Ghirlandaio

Domenico Ghirlandaio Italian Early Renaissance Painter, 1449-1494 The Nativity c 1482
Encyclopædia Britannica Image Quest, "Domenico Ghirlandaio Italian Early Renaissance Painter, 1449-1494 The Nativity C 1482", accessed 16 Aug 2012,

The Renaissance

Yet the Renaissance was more than a "rebirth." It was also an age of new discoveries, both geographical (exploration of the New World) and intellectual. Both kinds of discovery resulted in changes of tremendous import for Western civilization. In science, for example, Copernicus (1473-1543) attempted to prove that the sun rather than the earth was at the center of the planetary system, thus radically altering the cosmic world view that had dominated antiquity and the Middle Ages. In religion, Martin Luther (1483-1546) challenged and ultimately caused the division of one of the major institutions that had united Europe throughout the Middle Ages--the Church. In fact, Renaissance thinkers often thought of themselves as ushering in the modern age, as distinct from the ancient and medieval eras.

The Renaissance

1325 – The Renaissance begins in Italy; Muslim culture in Spain reaches its peak.

1331 – Nicaea falls to the Ottomans.

1347-1351 – At least 25 million people die in Europe’s “Black Death” (bubonic plague).  The Plague reaches Genoa from Crimea.

1353 – Boccaccios’s Decameron is written.

1361 – The second wave of the Plague.

1370-1444 – Life of Leonardo Bruni.

1374Petrarch dies.

1376-1382 – John Wycliffe, pre-Reformation religious reformer, and followers translate the Bible from Latin into English.

1377-1466 – Life of Filippo Brunelleschi.

1378-1455 – Life of Lorenzo Ghiberti

1386-1466 – Life of Donatello.

1387 – Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales is written.

1395-1441 – Life of Jan van Eyck.

1397 – Norway, Denmark and Sweden are united by the Union of Kalmar.  Medici bank is founded.

1397-1475 – Life of Paolo Uccello.

1400 – Chaucer dies.

1404 – The University of Turin is founded.

1406 – Florence conquers Pisa.

1409 – The University of Leipzig is founded.

1412-1431 – Life of Joan of Arc.

1415 – Henry V defeats the French at the Battle of Agincourt.  Jan Hus, Bohemian preacher and follower of Wycliffe, is burned at the stake in Constance as a heretic.

1420Brunelleschi begins work on the Duomo in Florence.

1434 – Cosimo de Medici begins his 30-year domination of Florence.

1435-1488 – Life of Andrea del Verrocchio.

1442 – Naples and Sicily come under the rule of the Spanish House of Aragon.

1444-1510 – Life of Sandro Botticelli.

1444-1514 – Life of Donato Bramante.

1447 – The Vatican Library is founded.

1450 – Gutenberg invents the moveable printing press; Florence becomes the center of Renaissance arts and learning under the Medicis; Francesco Sforza conquers Milan.

1452-1519 – Life of Leonardo da Vinci.

1453 – Constantinople falls to the Turks, under Mehmed II, ending the Byzantine Empire and beginning the Ottoman Empire.

1455 – The Wars of the Roses, civil wars between rival noble factions, begin in England (to 1485).  Johann Gutenberg completes first printed Bible.

1456 – Ottoman Turks capture Athens.

1462 – The Platonic Academy is founded. 

1463 – Venice begins a 16-year war with the Turks.

1469-1522 – Life of Niccolo Machiavelli

1471 – The University of Genoa is founded

1473-1543 – Life of Nicolaus  Copernicus.

1475-1564 – Life of Michelangelo Buonarroti.

1479 – Venice is defeated by the Turks.

1483-1520 – Life of Raphael.

1488-1576 – Life of Titian.

1494 – Charles VIII invades Italy; Medici is driven from Florence.

1494-1534 – Life of Corregio.

1497Michelangelo sculpts the Bacchus.

1503-1566 – Life of Nostradamus.

1503Leonardo da Vinci paints the Mona Lisa.

1504 – Spain conquers the Kingdom of Naples.  Michelangelo sculpts the David.

1506-1626 – St. Peter’s Church in Rome is constructed, designed and decorated by such artists and architects as Bramante, Michelangelo, da Vinci, Raphael, and Bernini.

1509 – Michelangelo paints the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel.  Erasmus’ Praise of Folly is written.

1512 – Medici power is restored in Florence.

1513Machiavelli writes The Prince.

1515Sir Thomas More writes Utopia.

1527 – Troops of the Holy Roman Empire attack Rome, imprison Pope Clement VII, ending the Italian Renaissance.  Castiglione writes The Courtier.  The Medici family is expelled from Florence.

1530 – Medici is restored.

1532 – Machiavelli’s The Prince is published posthumously.

1536 – Michelangelo completes his Last Judgment.  Guicciardini writes The History of Italy.

1548 – The University of Messina is founded.

1558 – The Renaissance reaches its height in England: Shakespeare, Marlowe, Spenser.

1580 – Montaigne’s Essays are published.

1587 – Monteverdi composes the First Book of Madrigals.

1605 – Cervantes writes Don Quixote de la Mancha, the first modern novel.

Weinsteiger, Brigitte.  “Historical Timelines: Medieval & Early Modern Europe Timeline.” Pennsylvania State University.