Was there really only one Renaissance?

I recently read a book called “Age Of Discovery” written by Ian Goldin & Chris Kutarna. This impressive and inspiring work is sub-titled “”Navigating The Risks And Rewards Of Our New Renaissance”. The theme of the book is that, since around 1990, we have been living in a time which is in effect a New Renaissance and we should learn some of the lessons from the original Renaissance of 1450-1550.

However, in first chapter of the book, the authors argue that renaissances can be you found in every civilisation. As well as the European Renaissance, they instance:

  • The Mayan Classic Period of 300-900
  • The early centuries of Korea’s Choson Dynasty (1392-1897)
  • The Islamic Golden Age from 750-1260
  • China’s Tang Dynasty of 618-907
  • India’s Gupta Empire of 320-550
  • The Mughal Empire under Akbar the Great (1556-1605)

We should avoid adopting a superior Western-centric view of history and appreciate that many parts of the world have exhibited periods of great cultural and technological flourishing.


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