Adil WaleedHumanism/Renaissance Assignment 226th October 2014Simply put, Classical Humanism was an intellectual movement that gave the Renaissance its distinctly secular stamp. Humanism and its ideals spread throughout the art, literature, learning and civic life, first in Italy, then in all of Europe in the fifteenth century. In essence, it was a rediscovery re-evaluation of the aspect of classical civilization and the application of these aspects to intellectual and social culture in the historical definition it is also in many ways a reaction against scholasticism. The Italian Renaissance was one of the most productive periods in this history of art and literature, all due to Classical Humanism. Nothing in the letter to Lapo suggests that Petrarch was a devout Christian; yet, in fact, Petrarch’s affection for Cicero was matched only by his devotion to Saint Augustine and his writings.
Indeed, in their introspective tone and their expression of intimate feelings and desires, Petrarch’s letters reveal the profound influence of Augustine’s Confessions, a work that Petrarch deeply admired. Torn between Christian piety and his passion for Classical antiquity, Petrarch experienced recurrent psychic conflict. In his writings there is a gnawing and unresolved dissonance between the dual imperatives of his heritage: the Judeo-Christian will to believe and the Classical will to reason. Yet it did not prevent him from pursuing worldly fame.
At Rome in 1341, he proudly received the laurel crown for outstanding literary achievement. The tradition, which looks back to the ancient Greek practice of honoring victors in the athletic games with wreaths made from the foliage of the laurel tree, survives in our modern honorary title “poet laureate.”