The Renaissance was a revolutionary movement. It marked a definite and deliberate break with the past. It swept away the medieval forms of economy, of building, of art and thought. These were replaced by a new culture, capitalist in its economy, classical in its art and literature, and scientific in its approach to Nature. The feudal system dominated by the lords and the Church had given way to nation-states, where the kings or princes provided patronageto the new scientists. So they didn't have to depend any more on the Church. With the economy picking up again, the despair of the Dark Ages and the resignation of the ages of faith gave way to a period of hope marked by a frank admission of physical enjoyment. In the changing social milieu, money became much more impofint than it had ever been before. Even the attitude towards making money changed. Any way of making money was good as long as it worked, whether by honest manufacture of trade, by inventing a new device, by opening a mine, by raiding foreigners or by lending money at interest.
In these changed social conditions, the technicians and artists were no longer so despised as they had been in classical or medieval times because they were essential to the making as well as spending of money. The practical arts of weaving, pottery, spinning, glass making, mining, metal-working etc. became respectable. Initially, this enhanced the status of craftsmen. But later, by the seventeenth century the merchant and the capitalist madufacturers started controlling the production more and more. As a result, both craftsmen and peasants were reduced to the status of wage labourers.
In its intellectual aspect, the Renaissance was the work of a small and conscious minority of scholars and artists who set themselves in opposition to the whole pattern of medieval life and thought. The Renaissance also reestablished the link between the traditions of the craftsmen and those of the scholars. With this coming together of the doers and the thinkers in the changed economic situation, the stage was set for a rapid growth in science. Let us see what changes occurred in sciehce and technology during this period.