Welcome to "A Renaissance Primer: A Guide for Persona Development". If you have taken the time to begin reading this introduction chances are that you may be considering a Renaissance persona. Or, perhaps, you've already made that decision. If so, congratulations in selecting a time period that is lively, colorful, vibrant and elegant. Hopefully, this collection of articles will be of some assistance to you.
The primer is a series of articles that address various aspects of the Renaissance. It is not the final authority on any of these topics nor is it meant to cover every phase or part of the Renaissance. It is not an in-depth scholarly study that will reveal new or unknown information. It is, however, designed to provide a starting point !or research and to give the reader a foundation in some areas of interest in this most interesting era of history. if 1 have slighted an area in which you are interested, I do apologize. This primer was very much a labor of love and, unfortunately, its choice of topics reflects the writer's interests.
The first article, "Swashbucklers and Musketeers: A Beginner's Guide to Renaissance Persona Development" offers some (hopefully) helpful hints about how to develop a Renaissance persona. It addresses, in broad terms, now to select a name and nationality, lists and describes several role models and persons of interest who lived during the time period in question, a details a persona biography and describes clothes and manners.
The next series of articles, "A Survey of Renaissance Europe" provide basic historical information about Spain, France, the Italian states, England and the German states. This information may be useful in selecting a nationality or in creating your persona biography. But remember that these articles only scratch the surface of the fascinating history of each of these countries or regions.
The piece entitled "Courtly Graces and Manners in the Renaissance" discusses the concept of the perfect courtier as described by Castiglione and details manners in Spain, France, Italy, Germany and England in the 16th century. It also describes how Elizabethan society was structured and discusses, in general terms, the structure of the nobility in Germany and Spain.
"Male Fashion in the Renaissance Costuming" describes the mode of dress in 16th century England, Spain, France and Italy. It describes the colors and fabrics people of that time and those places preferred and what accessories were used to set off their clothes to best advantage.
Music was an important part of life in the Renaissance. "The Renaissance Lute in England" describes how the English made this instrument the paramount stringed instrument in Europe during the late 16th and early 17th centuries. it discusses the lives of England's most famous lute composers and their contributions to the art of music making.
"Astronomy in the Renaissance" describes the revolution that took place within that field of study during the 16th century. This change in the "Universe-view" of the Renaissance man, although not fully complete until the mid-17th century, allowed the science of astronomy to fully separate itself from the precepts of astrology The article describes how Copernicus changed the view of the Universe, how his model was defended and attacked by his contemporaries and, finally, the impact that it had on how Man, viewed his place in the Universe.
The Renaissance in the SCA is often identified with rapier combat. I have included an article that addresses this subject: "The Art of Swordplay in the Renaissance" It is a serious discussion of the rapier, the development of swordplay in the 16th century and Renaissance dueling.
Some of you will recognize a few of the articles that make up the primer as expanded versions of articles that I previously had published in "The Eldern Pages". The other articles are completely new and address topics about which 1 have not previously written.
Finally, I have provided --a bibliography of books that were important in the creation of this primer. Most of them were extremely good. Some were a bit dry but packed with useful information. I will leave it to you to discover which are which.
One final note: the national boundaries on the map of Europe in 1580 are very general. The map is provided to give the reader in idea of how different Europe was then and a point of reference while reading the articles.
I wish you the best of luck with your life in the Renaissance.