Explorers of the Renaissance

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Editorial Reviews

VOYA - Matthew Weaver
With lush, gorgeous packaging, this Britannica Educational series wraps its arms around the most influential era in history, the Renaissance. Readers will find many names familiar, and perhaps finally realize why they occasionally run across the legacies of philosopher Rene Descartes or painter Hieronymus Bosch. The series best serves as a coffee table marvel or introduction to the time period. It is debatable how well it would serve by itself as a reference for reports or research, but it provides a marvelous jumping-off point in the quest for further knowledge. The books cut through a few common misperceptions—Galileo Galilei was never in a dungeon or tortured— and give a few neglected historical figures their due, especially the spread about explorer Amerigo Vespucci. The books also provide an overwhelming list of names flying at the reader out of nowhere. The two volumes pertaining to Painters and Musicians are especially limited—descriptions of the artists' contributions would benefit greatly with even more audio-visual support materials for examples. It is occasionally unclear why a person was included, if they did not have an especially compelling story or contribution to society the way we know it today. But then, we meet Sofonisba Anguissola, one of the first known female painters to establish an international reputation, or Sir John Harington, inventor of the flush toilet and twice banished for scandalous wit, and the series more than proves itself invaluable. It is everything you did not know you wanted to know about the Renaissance, before you even thought to ask. (The Renaissance) Reviewer: Matthew Weaver
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781615308798
  • Publisher: Britannica Educational Publishing
  • Publication date: 12/15/2012
  • Series: Britannica Renaissance Series
  • Pages: 228
  • Sales rank: 978,782
  • Age range: 14 - 17 Years
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Table of Contents

Introduction x

Chapter 1 The Age of Discovery 1

Ptolemy's Maps 3

The Overland Route to Cathay 5

Europeans in the Court of the Great Khan 5

The Polos of Venice 6

In the Footsteps of the Polos 9

The Sea Route East by South to Cathay 12

Rounding the Cape of Good Hope 12

Around Africa to Malaysia 13

The Sea Route West to Cathay 16

Christopher Columbus 16

Other Explorations 18

Magellan's Voyage Around the World 20

Chapter 2 The Great Overland Explorers 23

Giovanni Da Pian Del Carpini 23

Willem Van Ruysbroeck 26

Marco Polo 28

Travels of the Polo Family 28

Polo's Journey to Asia 29

Sojourn in China 32

The Return to Venice 33

Compilation of Il Milione 34

Nature and Content of Il Milione 35

Subsequent Reputation 37

Giovanni da Montecorvino 38

Odoric of Pordenone 39

Ibn Battutah 41

Life and Travels 41

The Spurious Tales of Sir John Mandeville 42

Assessment 48

Chapter 3 The Great Eastward Navigators 50

Dinís Dias 50

Alvise Ca' da Mosto 51

Diogo Cao 52

Pêro da Covilhap 53

Bartolomeu Dias 55

The Caravel 58

Vasco da Gama 60

The First Voyage 60

The Second Voyage 63

The Third Voyage 65

Pedro Álvares Cabral 65

Chapter 4 Westward with Christopher Columbus 70

Early Career and Preparation for the First Voyage 70

The First Voyage 75

The Second and Third Voyages 79

The Fourth Voyage and Final Years 84

Assessment 88

Columbus's Small World 89

Chapter 5 Other Westward Navigators 92

John Cabot 92

Sebastian Cabot 95

Amerigo Vespucci 96

Early Life 96

Vespucci's Voyages 98

Later Life and Reputation 100

From Amerigo to America 101

Ferdinand Magellan 102

Early Life 103

Allegiance to Spain 106

Discovery of the Strait of Magellan 109

Circumnavigation of the Globe 111

Assessment 111

Juan Sebastián del Cano 113

Chapter 6 Monarchs and Sponsors 115

Henry the Navigator, Prince of Portugal 115

Early Life 115

Sponsorship of Expeditions 118

Final Maritime Ventures 120

Assessment 121

John II of Portugal 122

Early Life 122

Assertion of Power 124

African Exploration 124

Isabella I of Castile 126

Early Life 127

Reign 129

Isabella's Jewels 131

Assessment 135

Ferdinand II of Aragon 135

Conclusion 141

Glossary 142

Bibliography 144

Index 147

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