Between the end of the High Middle Ages (about 1350) and the Protestant Reformation in the sixteenth century, the character of Western Civilization was profoundly altered. Earlier chapters have already told how most institutions and values characteristic of the High Middle Ages began to disintegrate. Meanwhile, other institutions and ideas, many of which we think of as modern, gradually came to the fore. The intensification of this process of transition from medieval to modern is called the Renaissance. [excerpt]
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Bloom, Robert L. et al. "VI. Renaissance Humanism. Pt. VI: Renaissance Humanism." Ideas and Institutions of Western Man (Gettysburg College, 1958), 1-2.