The Renaissance as a cultural movement began in the Late Middle Ages in Florence, Italy (coming along with the Fall of Constantinople) and eventually spread to the rest of Europe over the course of the centuries, mainly Germany, France, and England. The period between 1500 and 1650 is characterized by a renewed interest, thus the name Renaissance from rinascere 'to be reborn', in the classical literature and language, as well as ancient Greco-Roman culture, philosophy, art and architecture. In England, the reign of Elizabeth I, also known as the Golden Age, heralded the start of the Renaissance.

There was a flood of new publications, surprisingly in English, although the classical written languages were Greek and Latin. In consequence, influences on the English language were immense. Even scientific treatises were now more regularly written in English. As there were sometimes not enough words to express circumstances in the most precise way, lexical inventory through borrowing, neologisms, and adaptions from Latin, Greek, Spanish, Italian, French, and Portuguese enriched the English language.

Writers such as William Shakespeare, Christopher Marlowe, Edmund Spenser, or Sir Francis Bacon contributed to an tremendous expansion of the English vocabulary.

Before the Renaissance, the Reformation had the greatest impact on the English language so far.

Renaissance art: Titian, Sacred and Profane Love, c. 1513-1514

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Renaissance architecture: The Dome of St Peter's Basilica, Rome

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