Carolingian, Macedonian, and Islamic Renaissance

It is an intriguing phenomenon to realize that the Carolingian, Macedonian, and Islamic Renaissance at one point coexisted. They both have their influences drawn from similar cultures and they also had their lifespan extending to as far as from the 7th to 15th century.

The Macedonian Renaissance occurred between 867 and 1056 A.D. This renaissance is also referred to as Macedonian art that occurred during the Byzantine Empire that was ruled by the Macedonian dynasty. The peak of this renaissance can be said to have occurred in the 10th century. During this time, the Macedonian Renaissance was characterized by growing enthusiasm in the realm of classical scholarship. In addition, there was the assimilation and incorporation of classical motifs. These motifs were incorporated into Christian themes of the Macedonian art. In lieu of the glorification of man, this art substituted the human figure with deity. The replaced nude human images and figures with those of Jesus, God and Mary the Virgin. Other figures that were holistically Christian and were elevated included Saints and martyrs of the time. The controversy stems from the assumption that Jesus was human hence they Macedonian Renaissance imperceptibly perpetrated the humanist heritage. This humanist heritage was replete in the Roman Empire and the Macedonia Renaissance borrowed it and modified it. It is imperative to appreciate that the Macedonian civilization developed from the debris of the Roman Empire. This form of art is famous for representation of Jesus Christ’s image as well as of the Virgin Mary in icon form. During this time there was the standardization of the church mosaic. This is a unique feature of this renaissance. With less precedence given to sculptures, there was unique form of art that was intriguing: ivory sculpture which was another peculiar characteristic of Macedonian Renaissance (, 1)

On the other hand, the Carolingian Renaissance occurred towards the end of the eight century. Instead of coming up with a totally new cultural form, there were slight modifications that bordered on replication of the Roman culture. The distinct feature of this renaissance is the inception of a language that harmonized communications for a better portion of Europe. Medieval Latin was that common language that was coupled with its expression through literature and writing. This was also reflected the ease with which studies in disciplines such as liturgical, jurisprudence, architecture and art were taught across Europe. Finally, another unique feature is the establishment of standardized curriculums that were implemented in schools of that time. A strong connection to the Romans is evident through the Carolingian miniscule that was unequivocally a heavily borrowed element from Roman art. Another element that was clearly Roman-inspired is the Romanesque Art and architecture that the Carolingians adopted. This was a Northern Europe aspect that was encouraged by the then ruler called Charlemagne (Kreis, 1).

The Islamic Renaissance occurred between the 8th and 13th century just about the same time as the Carolingian one. Unlike the other two forms of renaissance, the Islamic world was a point of coalescence of different cultures. Being a cauldron of different cultures, the renaissance borrowed different elements from; the Chinese, Egyptians, the Mesopotamians, Persians, North African and Indian. The major innovations that occurred during this time gravitated towards academia. The Arabs made a better version of paper that was better than the Chinese. This led to the establishment of libraries and universities in the Arab world (Al-Hassani, et al…, 110-115).Islamic medicine heavily borrowed its knowledge from both ancient Roman and Greek physicians: Celsus, Soranus, Hippocrates, and Galen. The Muslim physicians during the renaissance pioneered in the establishment of hospitals as ell as medical schools. This was a groundbreaking move not found in any other renaissance. This renaissance had an impact in almost every facet of human life. It encompassed art, science, agriculture, medicine, technology and many other interrelated fields such as academia. It was the most ramified form of revolution whose effect has reverberated for centuries and its effect is still evident through inventions such as coffee, bathing soap, small-pox vaccine, three-course meals, toothpaste, Persian carpets and distilled alcohol (Al-Hassani, et al…, 120-123).

It is beyond a shadow of the doubt that all the three Renaissances drew one or several elements from the Roman culture. This was either Western or Eastern roman inspired.

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