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By Jules Molk (ed)

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Florin: A coin made in Florence, Italy; later used by various European countries. Free will: Exercise of individual choice independent of the will of God. xxxiv Renaissance and Reformation: Almanac French Wars of Religion (1562–98): Series of conflicts between Catholics and Huguenots (Protestants) in France. Fresco: A wall painting made by applying paint over a thin layer of damp lime plaster. Friar: A man who belongs to a religious order that takes a vow of poverty. G Galaxy: A very large group of stars.

After his father died in 1326 Petrarch abandoned law and participated in the fashionable social life of Avignon. The following year, in the church of Saint Clare, Petrarch saw and fell in love with a young woman whom he called Laura. She did not return his love. The true identity of Laura is not known, but there is no doubt regarding her existence or the intensity of the poet’s passion. He began writing the Canzoniere (Song book), a series of love lyrics inspired by Laura. In these poems he departed from the medieval convention of seeing a woman as a spiritual symbol and depicted Laura as a real person.

Words to Know xxxv Heretic: One who violates or opposes the teachings of the church. Hermit: A member of a religious order who retires from society and lives in solitude. D. 962. Holy Spirit: The third person of the Christian Trinity (God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit). House: A family of rulers. Huguenots: French Protestants. Humanism: A human-centered literary and intellectual movement based on the revival of classical culture that started the Renaissance. Humanistic studies: Five academic subjects consisting of grammar (rules for the use of a language), rhetoric (art of effective speaking and writing), moral philosophy (study of human conduct and values), poetry, and history.

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