Enlightenment and Renaissance


Dante Alighieri

1265 - 1321

He was an Italian poet and moral philosopher. He wrote the poem "The Divine Comedy" which indicated sections representing the Christian afterlife. He is seen as the father of modern Italian and his poems have been flourished before his death.

Geoffrey Chaucer

1340 - 1400

Geoffrey was an English author and poet. He made the unfinished work called "The Canterbury Tales" and was considered on of the best poetic works in English. In 1357, he became a servant to Countess Elizabeth of Ulster and continued on to being a servant. When he died he was the first one to be buried in Westminster Abbeys Poets Corner.


1386 - 1466

Donatello was an Italian sculptor and was the best Florentine sculptor before Michaelangelo. He studied early with well known sculptors and learned the Gothic style. However, over his career he developed a more lifelike emotional style in his sculptors. He was the most influential artist of the fifteenth century in Italy.

Prince Henry the Navigator

1394 - 1460

Henry was a Portuguese prince who guided in both the Age of Discovery and the Atlantic slave trade. Although he was'nt a sailor nor a navigator, he sponsored a great deal of exploration along the west coast of Africa. Henry is known as an originator of the Age of Discovery and the Atlantic slave trade.

Johannes Gutenberg

1398 - 1468

Johannes was a German Inventor and created a method of a movable type and used it to create one of the Western world's first major printed books, the “Forty-Two-Line” Bible. He started experimenting with printing in 1438. His masterpiece, and the first book ever printed in Europe from movable type, is the “Forty-Two-Line” Bible which was completed no later than 1455. He died thirteen years later.

Lorenzo de Medici

1449 - 1492

Lorenzo de' Medici was Florentine statesman, ruler and patron of arts and letters. He ruled Florence with his brother Giuliano from 1469 to 1478. After the latter's assassination, the crowd stood by the Medici and tore the assassins limb from limb. Lorenzo was considered the Wise, “the needle on the Italian scales,” and ruled from 1478 to 1492. He was known as the most brilliant of Medici.

Christopher Columbus

1451 - 1506

The most famous and well known Christopher Columbus was an Italian explorer who discovered the "New World" of the Americas on a journey sponsored by King Ferdinand of Spain. His first journey was to the Atlantic Ocean in which cost him his life. He participated in several other journeys like to Africa, Indian, etc. he has been thanked for opening up the Americas to the European colonization. He was also the first person to discover that the world is round.

Leonardo da Vinci

1452 - 1519

Leonardo was an Artist, Inventor, Writer and a Mathematician. He was a leading and intellectual artist of the Italian Renaissance and was known for his famous drawings, " The last Supper" and "Mona Lisa." Leonardo was born on April 15, 1452. Even though he received little information and education, his gifts of being an artist were recognized at an early age. Because of this gift Leonardo was a very multitalented and prosperous person in the arts. He has effected many writers, mathematicians, and artist today as people look up to him. Today, the Mona Lisa Smile portrayed is still the most famous art ever displayed and has inspired many people.

Niccolo Machiavelli

1469 - 1527

Niccolò Machiavelli was an Italian renaissance historian born in Florence, Italy. He was best known for writing a handbook for politicians that inspired the term " Machiavellian" called The Prince. He was also best known for his writings, poems, and plays and has inspired the Enlightenment period and many people today.


1474 - 1564

Michaelangelo is regarded as the most famous artist of the Italian Renaissance. One of his most famous works are the "David" and "Pieta" statues. Michaelangelo became an apprentice to a painter before studying to become a sculptor. He was talented and mastered all of the arts in Italy.

Ferdinand Magellan

1480 - 1521

Ferdinand was a Portugeuse explorer that led the first European voyage of discovery to circumnavigate the globe. As a young boy he studied mapmaking and navigation. Later in life he began to sail in large fleets and was engaged in combat. He assembled a fleet of ships which circumnavigated the world in a single voyage.

Martin Luther

1483 - 1546

Martin was a theologian that forever changed Christianity when he began the Protestant Reformation in the 16th century in Europe. He became the most influential figures in Christian history when he began the Protestant Reformation. He went to question the Roman Catholicism and he had followers that split from the Roman Catholic Church to begin protest tradition.


1483 - 1520

Raphael was a leading artist of the Italian Renaissance classicism and was best known for his " Madonnas" paintings all around Italy.

Miguel de Cervantes

1547 - 1616

Miguel was a Spanish writer that created one of the worlds greatest literary masterpieces " Don Quixote." Miguel was first a soldier however he was badly wounded. He had spent five years in prison after that. He finally finished his literary success after being in prison and war.

William Shakespeare

1564 - 1616

William is widely regarded as a national English poet and the greatest dramatist of all times. He has written a lot of plays, books, poems and other forms of literature that are still famous to this day. Shakespeare's poems capture the range of human's emotion and conflict. His famous works like "Hamlet, Romeo and Juliet, and King Lear" have inspired theater actors and plays.


1564 - 1642

Galileo was an Italian Scientist and scholar that made observations that laid the foundation for modern physics and astronomy. He was a Math professor who made pioneering observations of nature with implications for the study of Physics. He also invented a telescope that supports the Copernican theory which supports a sun centered solar system.

Thomas Hobbes

1588 - 1679

Thomas was an English Philosopher that was best known for his book Leviathan and his political views on society. He also was known for having views on how humans could survive in harmony while avoiding the perils and fear of conflict.

John Locke

1632 - 1704

John was an English philosopher and his works lie at the foundation of modern philosophical empiricism and political liberalism. At Oxford School, he studied medicine, which played a big role in his life. He became a highly influential philosopher, writing about topics like political philosophy, epistemology, and education. Locke's writings helped him find modern Western philosophy.

Baron de Montesquieu

1689 - 1755

Also known as Charles-Louis de Secondat, Baron de Montesquieu was a French philosopher and was a highly influential political thinker during the Age of Enlightenment. He was born in the Aquitaine region of France during the Age of Enlightenment. Through his education and travels he became a sharp social commentator and political thinker who gained the respect of his fellow philosophers with his masterwork The Spirit of Laws, which went on to have a major influence on English and American government.


1694 - 1778

He was a French writer, playwright, and poet. He established himself as to being one of the leading writers of the Enlightenment. His famous works were the tragic play Zaïre, the historical study The Age of Louis XIV and the satirical novella Candide. Often at odds with French authorities over his political works, he was went to jail twice and spent many years in exile. Voltaire was widely known to be one of France's greatest Enlightenment writers.

Jean Jacques Rousseau

1712 - 1778

Jean is best known as an influential 18th-century philosopher who wrote the acclaimed work A Discourse on the Arts and Sciences. Jean was also known as one of the most influential thinkers during the 18th-century European Enlightenment period. His first philosophical work, A Discourse on the Arts and Sciences, discussed how science and arts had caused the corruption of virtue and morality. He was also a composer and music theorist.