In 1528, an Italian writer named Baldassare Castiglione wrote The Book of the Courtier, in which he described the qualities of an ideal Renaissance man. The qualities he listed included proficiencies in sports, the arts, music, and learning. Read the following excerpt from this work: Our Courtier . . . will have to be more than indifferently well seen, at the least in those studies which they call Humanity, and to have not only the understanding of the Latin tongue, but also of the Greek, because of the many and sundry things that with great excellency are written in it. —The Courtier (Il Cortegiano) By Baldassare Castiglione
Most of all, according to Castiglione, this man should present himself with a grace and modesty that does not call attention to his abilities, but instead allows them to be shown with an air of casualness.
Why do you think Castiglione emphasized an understanding of Greek and Latin? Based on the passage above, what values do you think were important during the Renaissance?
Essential Question: How did global contact create social and cultural change during the Renaissance?
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