The War of the Spanish Succession

The War of the Spanish Succession (1701 – 1714) began because the Spanish emperor, Charles II, had no heir to the throne. When Charles died, Louis XIV of France suggested that his own grandson, Philip of Anjou (later Philip V), should be the next Spanish king. He reinforced his argument by stating that Charles had accepted this proposal in his will. On the other hand, Leopold I of the Holy Roman Empire brought forth his own candidate for the Spanish throne. The two sides (Holy Roman Empire and France) then became rivals, both wanting an alliance with Spain.

Another factor leading to this war was a general concern that if France joined with Spain, it would become too powerful—both economically and militarily. Lastly, in order to avoid this war, there was a proposal to break up the Spanish lands: the Netherlands, Italian lands, and Spain. England and Louis XIV agreed to this, but  Continue reading

The Levellers

The Levellers were a group of political thinkers in the seventeenth century, during the English Civil War. They are often considered the first influential Western libertarian movement.

The root of the Levellers’ philosophy came, for the most part, from the idea of self-ownership. In other words: you own yourself. They also believed in the right to do what you want with your own property. “You can do what you want, as long as it doesn’t violate another’s individual rights.” Continue reading

Three High Renaissance Artists

Leonardo da Vinci (1452 – 1519) was the epitome of a Renaissance man, being skilled in at least ten occupations. Among these were architecture, sculpture, painting, science, engineering, botany and inventing. Ten works have survived that we can surely attribute to Leonardo. Three of these are the ‘Last Supper’, the ‘Virgin of the Rocks’ and the  ‘Mona Lisa.’ Continue reading

Three Early Renaissance Artists

Three of the most prominent early Renaissance artists were Ghiberti, Donatello and Botticelli.

Lorenzo Ghiberti (1378 – 1455) is most famous for his work of the twenty-eight bronze door panels on a baptistery in Florence. There was an annual competition in which seven artists competed to complete the work of art required. Ghiberti had fashioned the best, out of all seven bronze depictions of the ‘Sacrifice of Isaac.’ Ghiberti was then engaged to make twenty-eight bronze panels depicting scenes from the New and Old Testament. This took twenty years to complete.

Bronze Panel Depicting the Sacrifice of Isaac

Bronze Panel Depicting the Sacrifice of Isaac

Donatello (1386 – 1466) had been Ghiberti’s assistant in fashioning the twenty-eight bronze panels. However, he is best-known for his statue of David (1440’s), which has strangely feminine qualities. Continue reading

Petrarch — Father of Humanism

Petrarch, born Francesco Pertrarca, was a Renaissance humanist who lived from 1304 to 1374. He once said,

God has given us our vast intellectual and creative potential to be used to their fullest.

Petrarch is most popularly known as the Father of Humanism and he is sometimes mentioned as the Father of the Renaissance.

Petrarch loved the ancient classics and from an early age he studied and read Cicero, instead of his law books. He wanted to bring back the ancient manuscripts, some of which had fallen into obscurity. Petrarch found several unknown documents from writers such as Cicero, Homer, Virgil and Seneca in monasteries. Continue reading