Wednesday, 20 February 2013

Listing of Renaissance Men

This is a partial list of Renaissance men. Ref Wikipedia

Contents

[edit] Introduction

The terms Renaissance man and, commonly, homo universalis (Latin for "universal man" or "man of the world") are related and used to describe a man (or woman, as "Renaissance woman") who is well educated or who excels in a wide variety of subjects or fields.[1] The idea developed in Renaissance Italy from the notion expressed by one of its most accomplished representatives, Leon Battista Alberti (1404–72): that “men can do all things if they will.” [2] It embodied the basic tenets of Renaissance humanism which considered man empowered, limitless in his capacities for development, and led to the notion that people should embrace all knowledge and develop their capacities as fully as possible. Thus the gifted men of the Renaissance sought to develop skills in all areas of knowledge, in physical development, in social accomplishments and in the arts.
The following people represent prime examples of "Renaissance Men" and "universal geniuses", that is "polymaths" in the strictest interpretation of the secondary meaning of the word. The list is organized by date of birth.

[edit] List

  • Imhotep, 2650–2600 BC, was an Egyptian polymath,[3] who served under the Third Dynasty king, Djoser, as Vizir (or Chancellor ) to the pharaoh and high priest of the sun god Ra at Heliopolis. He is considered to be the first engineer, architect and physician in history known by name. The full list of his titles is:
Chancellor of the King of Egypt, Doctor, First in line after the King of Upper Egypt, Administrator of the Great Palace, Hereditary nobleman, High Priest of Heliopolis, Builder, Chief Carpenter, Chief Sculptor and Maker of Vases in Chief.
Imhotep was one of very few mortals to be depicted as part of a pharaoh's statue. He was one of only a few commoners ever to be accorded divine status after death.
  • Chamundaraya (940–989) (also called Chavundaraya) was a military commander, poet and a minister in the court of the Western Ganga Dynasty of Talakad (in present day Karnataka, India). A person of many talents, in 982 he commissioned the Gomateshwara, a monolithic sculpture in Shravanabelagola, an important place of pilgrimage for Jains. He was a devotee of the Jain Acharya Nemichandra and Ajitasena Bhattaraka and was an influential person during the reign of Kings Marasimha II, Rachamalla IV, and Rachamalla V (Rakkasa Ganga). A courageous commander with the title of Samara Parashurama, he found time to pursue his literary interests as well and became a renowned writer in Kannada and Sanskrit.[13][14] He wrote an important and existing prose piece called Chavundaraya Purana (also known as Trishasthi Lakshana Purana) in Kannada (978) and Charitrasara in Sanskrit. In his writing, he claims he was from the Brahmakshatriya Vamsa (Brahmin and converted to the Kshatriya caste).[15] He patronised the famous Kannada grammarians Gunavarma and Nagavarma I and the poet Ranna whose writing Parusharama Charite may have been a eulogy of his patron.[13] Because of his many lasting contributions, Chavundaraya is an important figure in the history of medieval Karnataka.
  • Trotula of Salerno 11th to 12th century Salerno, south Italy. Chair of Medicine, Salerno Medical School responsible for alleviating women’s suffering in illness and the specific medical needs of women. Physician, obstetrician, gynaecologist, medical teacher, writer, health planner and experimenter, responsible for major advances in female medicine, public health, pharmacology and medical teaching methods, as well as generally in science. Trotula became famous for establishing the distinct field of women’s health, and teaching men about women’s health. She wrote books used for many centuries about this area, most significant was Passionibus Curandorum, sometimes called The Book of the Diseases of Women or Trotula Major and also De Ornatu Mulierum known as Trotula Minor. These works discuss menses, conception, pregnancy, childbirth, and general issues of illness and treatments. In Trotula’s view men also suffered fertility problems. She promoted and experimented with opiates to numb pain during childbirth.[19]
  • Amir Khusrow (1253-1325 CE), an Indian Muslim scholar, he was a poet, inventor, mystic, writer, musician, linguist, soldier and historian.[33] Born to a Turkish-Afghan father and an Indian mother (the latter a native of Delhi) in Etah, North India he is best known for his poetry composed in Persian and Hindi (then called Hindustani) under the Delhi Sultans;[34] among his best known works were The Tale of the Four Dervishes and Khamsa-e-Nizami (or Khamsa-e-Khusrau) which includes the popular Indian classical romance Majnun-Laila.[35] He also spoke Arabic and Sanskrit. In 1285 Khusrow participated as a soldier in the war against the invading Mongols; he was taken prisoner, but he managed to escape. In 1301 when Ala ud din Khilji, the Delhi Sultanate Emperor, attacked Ranthambhor, Chittor, Malwa and other places, Khusro accompanied the king in order to write chronicles. As a Sufi mystic he was a close aide of Nizamuddin Auliya,a famous Sufi Saint. In 1321 he wrote the Tughlaqnama, a history of the Tughluq dynasty. Khusrow is also known to have invented the classical Hindustani instruments the Tabla and the sitar. He is known for introducing Qawwali, Khayal and Tarana types into Hindustani classical music.[36][37]
  • Donatello (1386-1466) - an Italian painter and sculptor.
  • Nicholas of Cusa (1401–1464); was a cardinal of the Catholic Church from Germany (Holy Roman Empire), a philosopher, theologian, jurist, mathematician, and an astronomer. He is widely considered one of the great geniuses and polymaths of the 15th century.
  • Leone Battista Alberti (1404–1472), painter, poet, medallist, philosopher, hydraulic engineer, cryptographer, including machine assisted encryption, musician, and architect, and writer-novellist.[40][41]
  • Leonardo da Vinci (1452–1519)[42][43] "In Leonardo Da Vinci, of course, he had as his subject not just an ordinary Italian painter, but the prototype of the universal genius, the 'Renaissance man,' …"; "prodigious polymath… Painter, sculptor, engineer, astronomer, anatomist, biologist, geologist, physicist, architect, philosopher, humanist.".[44] Leonardo's scientific accomplishments are often reduced to inventions (of which he made very many) or to speculation, and an adventurous spirit. Recent writing shows that he was in fact a serious and brilliant scientist, concerned with what today is called 'systems theory', or complex systems; but he devised scientific reasoning models for experimentation, and conducted experiments with validation procedures, all of which qualify him as a scientist in the true sense as well.[45] For the extraordinary and unprecedented range of his work, of which only a minority survives, he is justly considered by many the most diversely talented person, or, as Helen Gardner says "The scope and depth of his interests were without precedent… His mind and personality seem to us superhuman".[46]
  • Galileo Galilei (1564–1642), "Italian scientist, mathematician, astronomer, physicist, and philosopher. He made fundamental contributions to many sciences such as motion, materials, astronomy; he adapted telescope devices to astronomical purposes. As a natural philosopher committed to accounts of the world in mathematical terms moved away from descriptive accounts of the material world to mathematical ones tested empirically by experiments devised according to scientific method and reasoning. He formulated laws on circular inertia, on falling bodies, and parabolic trajectories. Several of these launched the change in how motion was understood and studied and this was decisive in understanding the physical universe. Galileo was a true Renaissance man, excelling at many different endeavors, including lute playing and painting."[50] Galileo is considered by some to have been the true revolutionary (along with Descartes) of the so-called revolution in thought often called the Copernican revolution.[51]
  • Juan Caramuel y Lobkowitz (1606–1682) was a Spanish Catholic scholastic philosopher, ecclesiastic and writer who published no less than 262 works on grammar, poetry, oratory, mathematics, astronomy, architecture, physics, politics, canon law, logic, metaphysics, theology and asceticism.
  • Blaise Pascal (1623–1662) was a French mathematician, physicist, the first constructor of mechanical calculators, philosopher, theologian, and one of the greatest masters of French prose. Not frequently described as polymath, as the word doesn't exist in French, he was, for instance, praised by Chateaubriand, who said "There was a man who, aged 12, had rediscovered mathematics using rounds and bars; aged 16, written the deepest book on conics seen since Antiquity; aged 19, reduced to mechanical means a science which exists only in the mind; aged 23, found the weight of air, (…), then turned his thoughts towards God (…) giving its definitive shape to the language used later by Bossuet and Racine (…) This frightening genius was named Blaise Pascal" [52]
  • Gottfried Leibniz (1646–1716); "Leibniz was a polymath who made significant contributions in many areas of physics, logic, mathematics, history, librarianship, and of course philosophy and theology, while also working on ideal languages, mechanical clocks, mining machinery…"[55] "A universal genius if ever there was one, and an inexhaustible source of original and fertile ideas, Leibniz was all the more interested in logic because it …"[56] "Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz was maybe the last Universal Genius incessantly active in the fields of theology, philosophy, mathematics, physics, …"[56] "Leibniz was perhaps the last great Renaissance man who in Bacon's words took all knowledge to be his province."[57]
  • Benjamin Franklin (1706–1790); "The ultimate creole intellectual… A true polymath of the Enlightenment style, he distinguished himself on both sides of the Atlantic by researches in natural sciences as well as politics and literature." He was a leading author, political theorist, politician, printer, scientist, inventor, civic activist, publisher and diplomat.
  • Maria Gaetana Agnesi (1718–1799) a great female polymath. Born in Milan, Italy, she was the second ever female university professor, a brilliant linguist, geometer, theology, logician, algebraist, mathematician and philosopher.[60] She wrote a book discussing differential and integral calculus. A child prodigy she spoke French as well as her native Italian from five years of age and in childhood also acquired Greek, Hebrew, Spanish, German and Latin. From age nine, she was delivering educated talks and later lectures, including a famous logical claim for the right of women to a full and equal education with men. Appointed by Pope Benedict XIV to Bologna University chair of mathematics.[61][62]
  • Hiraga Gennai (1728–1780) Edo period Japanese pharmacologist, student of Western studies, physician, author, painter and inventor.
  • Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749–1832) was a German poet, novelist, playwright, natural philosopher, diplomat, civil servant. His works span the fields of poetry, drama, literature, theology, philosophy, humanism and science. Goethe's magnum opus, lauded as one of the peaks of world literature, is the two-part drama Faust.[65] "Germany's greatest man of letters—poet, critic, playwright, and novelist—and the last true polymath to walk the earth"[66] "Goethe comes as close to deserving the title of a universal genius as any man who has ever lived".[67] "He was essentially the last great European Renaissance man."[68] His gifts included incalculable contributions to the areas of German literature and the natural sciences. He is credited with discovery of a bone in the human jaw, and proposed a theory of colors. He has a mineral named in his honor, goethite. He molded the aesthetic properties of the Alps to poetry, thus, changing the local belief from "perfectly hideous" and an "unavoidable misery," to grandeur of the finest most brilliant creation.
  • Giacomo Leopardi (1798–1837) was an Italian poet, essayist, philosopher, moralist, historian, linguist, translator and philologist.
  • Hermann von Helmholtz (1821–1894) was a German physician, physicist and philosopher who made significant contributions to several widely varied areas of modern science.
  • Alexander Borodin (1833-1887) was a Russian-Georgian composer, chemist, and educationist. Co-discoverer of the Aldol reaction and the Hunsdiecker reactions, Borodin was also a pioneer in the field of women's higher education in the sciences in Russia. He also translated books in German, French, English, and Italian into Russian, and was a pianist, flautist, and amateur cellist. Although he composed only in his spare time, it is, however, as one of Russia's greatest 19th-century composers that he is now best remembered.
  • Harry Johnston (1858–1927) was a British explorer, botanist, linguist, writer, painter and colonial administrator.
  • Theodore Roosevelt (1858–1919) was a naturalist, explorer, hunter, author, soldier, politician, and statesman who began the Progressive movement and is considered one of the first modern American Presidents. He is regularly rated as one of the top 5 best. Roosevelt was fluent in 9 languages, author of 17 books, and was an avid cowboy and explorer that catalogued new rivers in South America and Africa. He had a lengthy career in politics, becoming one of the most active members of the New York assembly and ascending to governor, vice-President, and then President. He won his nation's highest award for military valor, the Medal of Honor, and the world's highest award for peace, the Nobel Peace Prize.
  • Rabindranath Tagore (1861–1941), an Indian Bengali poet, novelist, musician, playwright and painter who reshaped Bengali literature and music in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. As author of Gitanjali and its "profoundly sensitive, fresh and beautiful verse",[76] and as the first Asian to win the Nobel Prize in Literature,[77] Tagore was perhaps the most widely regarded Indian literary figure of all time. He was a mesmerizing representative of the Indian culture whose influence and popularity internationally perhaps could only be compared to that of Gandhi, whom Tagore named 'Mahatma' out of his deep admiration for him.

[edit] See also

[edit] References

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