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"The Renaissance was a load of bloody Italians poncing around claiming to be the golden age of the Greeks come round again.

A reawakening of Europe to the arts and sciences. This era took many distinct forms depending on decade and geographic location. In Hollywood History, The Renaissance is home to Tudor Mansions, Shakespeare, King Henry the VI and his 8 wives (or was it King Henry the VIII and his 6 wives?) global exploration, and Leonardo Da Vinci (who spent nearly all of his time painting the Mona Lisa and working on that damn "code" of his...)

Actually, since "the Renaissance" as an overall historical phenomenon covered about 300 years, it can be portrayed in a variety of different ways depending on the exact year or decade. Its essence also tends to vary according to geography, since the great artistic flowering associated therewith began in north-central Italy sometime in the 1300s (with Dante, Giotto, etc.) and gradually (sometimes very, very slowly) spread throughout the rest of Europe after that. As a history buff, it can be quite annoying to see that most "Renaissance fairs" select England rather than Italy as their model, since England was slow to receive the Renaissance heritage and was still a fairly barbaric nation during the time of Michelangelo. So your average Renaissance fair in America will as likely as not feature a parade of dirty peasants and noisy farm animals - giving the impression that the Renaissance was a lot more backward than it actually was. Of course, it may also be because some people have a hard time in general telling apart the Renaissance from the Middle Ages aesthetics-wise.

See also: The Renaissance and Industrial Revolution


Popular tropes from this time period are

  • Death by Sex
  • Distressed Damsel
  • Good People Have Good Sex
  • Gratuitous Iambic Pentameter
  • Historical Domain Character: Henry VIII., Leonardo da Vinci, and Elizabeth I. alone have probably clocked more time in fictions than their combined actual lifetimes.
    • The Borgias are also fairly popular historical domain characters, though subject to villain upgrades.
  • Knight in Shining Armor
  • Only One Name: Generally used by people who were at the top of their fields; Michelangelo, Palladio, Petrarch etc.
  • Pimped-Out Dress: The Middle Ages actually had them rather low key. This is when they started to really get fancied up.
  • Rescue Romance
  • Worthless Yellow Rocks/Ridiculous Future Inflation: Believe it or not, this actually happened, and a good history of the Renaissance will tell you about it. For reasons that are slightly too complex to explain, in the 14th century, the King of Mali left a shit-ton of gold in Egypt, which caused the price of gold in Egypt to plummet, and when Italians sold their wares in Cairo, the prices they got were ridiculously good back home. This interacted with the Black Death--which caused massive deflation in Europe--to make gold pile up in the hands of artisans and merchants rather than nobles, which provided the financial impetus for the whole Renaissance. The whole continent of Africa would like to say to Europe, "You're f***ing welcome, jackasses."
  • Ye Olde Butcherede Englishe: Well, it's from this time that Early Modern English with thee, thou, yon, etc. originates. Most writers don't really know how to make an actual sentence in Early Modern English.

Works associated with this time period are:

Anime and Manga

Film

  • Ever After, including Leonardo da Vinci himself as a minor character.
  • Shakespeare in Love
  • The Princess Bride looks vaguely like the Italian Renaissance.
    • The kingdoms, Florin and Guilder, are named, oddly enough, after Renaissance currency.
  • Considering it features Leonardo da Vinci, the extremely vague setting of Quest of the Delta Knights was probably intended to be this.

Literature

Live-Action TV

  • Blackadder, second series
  • Elizabeth R
  • The Six Wives of Henry VIII
  • The Doctor Who episode "The Shakespeare Code" was set here, shortly after the premiere of Shakespeare's ~Love's Labour's Lost~, and took remarkable trouble to get their dates right. The Doctor frequently quoted Shakespeare to Shakespeare, causing the playwright to say things like "I might use that," until he quoted Henry V, and got the response of "That's mine!" as it had already been written. Martha was surprised to learn that Shakespeare wasn't bald yet and hadn't written anything about witches yet.

 The Doctor: ... Rage, rage against the dying of the night...

Shakespeare: I might use that.

The Doctor: You can't, it's someone else's.

  • The Borgias, a series set in Renaissance Rome around 1500, which follows the schemes of Pope Alexander VI and his family.
  • Leonardo, set in 1467 Florence; a kids' adventure series about a teenaged Leonardo da Vinci.

Video Games

  • Assassin's Creed II, Assassin's Creed Brotherhood, and Assassin's Creed Revelations.
    • The Assassin's Creed Lineage film (prequel to Assassin's Creed II), has Giovanni Auditore (Ezio's father) speculate on how history will view the Renaissance, given the outward rebirth of culture and the hidden corruption and the secret war between the Templars and the Assassins.
  • The Soul Series, although the culture is never directly described.
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