This course, a companion to several earlier courses, traces the climax of the Renaissance in the late fifteenth and early sixteenth centuries. Ideas became increasingly secular after 1450, eroding the Church's power. Scholars, such as Mirandola, Erasmus and More, argued that the Church should confine itself to spiritual matters, while men should govern themselves here on Earth. While such arguments contributed to the period's many wars and (in part) to the turbulence of the Reformation, they also helped to liberate man's actions in the real world. Propelled by this freedom, and the rapid dissemination of ideas made possible by Gutenberg's press, the Renaissance culminated in the art of Leonardo and Michelangelo, the many voyages of discovery made by the sailors of Portugal, Spain and Italy, and Copernicus's heliocentric theory. The latter in particular paved the path for the Scientific Revolution yet to come.
Note: Although the Reformation began during this period, its major events have been deferred as much as possible for a later course.
This course was recorded at the Objectivist Summer Conference 2009 in Boston, MA.
(MP3 download; 4 hrs, 29 min, with Q & A; 245 MB)