In the 1400s Europe awoke from a thousand-year slumber, what later writers at the time called a “Dark Age.” It rediscovered its genetic roots in classical Greece and Rome. This awakening would be deemed a “rebirth,” or in French, a “Renaissance.” This book explains how this “rebirth” emerged from the breakdown of the Middle Ages to produce an entirely new vision of man. It discusses exemplars in arts and letters and how their works reflected this new vision. It also considers the new institutions that emerged, institutions that came to define the modern world. Finally, it considers the critical questions of why these events occurred there, at that place, and then, at that time. The Best One-Hour History series is for those who want a quick but coherent overview of major historical events. It will also serve those who need a competent high-level introduction before going further. Each volume provides a clear and concise account of the episode under discussion. In about an hour, the reader will obtain a well-grounded understanding of why each subject holds iconic status in Western Civilization.