Renaissance Terms Defined :

Renaissance: The rebirth of those intellectual and artistic energies that characterized ancient Greek and     Roman civilizations, and with this, the awakening of a whole range of new interests in human beings and the world in which they live

Restoration: A new time when political leaders sought to establish society on a firm basis, and a time when dislike of change became a guiding principle.

Reformation: The movement of religious protest against the authority and corruption of the Roman Catholic Church.

Elizabethan: Elizabeth's lead in England through difficult times toward increasing national confidence caused her court in London to become the center of an exuberant literary culture that was "Renaissance" in the fullest sense of that term.

Jacobean: Time period when James I ruled his kingdom of Scotland together with that of England until 1625.  This is known as the Jacobean Era.  Jacobean comes from Jacobaeus, a Latin form of the name James.

Madrigal: A musical form where as many as twelve different vocal parts or lines may be combined to form a bewildering texture, as in a sonnet or sestina, with their complicated rhyming and rhetorical patterns.

Metaphysical: A speculation on the basic principles governing the realms of knowledge and being.

Neoclassicism: The name given to quite distinct movements in the visual arts, literature, theater, music, and architecture.  These movements were in effect at various times between the 18th and the 20th centuries.

Roundheads: Parliamentary forces made up primarily of grimly determined dissenters who wore their hair cropped off severly.

Cavaliers: The king's supporters, many of them carefree, long-haired, and reckless from families of country gentry.  They battled the Roundheads in England's civil war in 1642.

Great Chain of Being: The way the Elizabethans saw the world as a vast, unified hierarchical order.  Mineral. vegetable, animal, human, angels and God.


Spenserian: Relating to the characteristics of the sonnet as written by Edmund Spenser, especially the interlocking rhyme scheme (abab bcbc cdcd ee).  He then invented the special 9-line stanza form for his epic poem, The Faerie Queene: (ababbcbcc).

Petrarchan: A form of sonnet that has an eight line thought division with the rhyme scheme (abba abba) followed by a six line thought division (cde cde).


Baroque: A highly ornamental style of European architecture and art that lasted from the mid-16th to the early 18th centuries.  It is also classical music of the 17th century, the period  of such composers as Purcell, Vivaldi, and Telemann.