More than ever before, the Renaissance stands as one of the defining moments in world history. Between 1400 and 1600, European perceptions of society, culture, politics and even humanity itself emerged in ways that continue to affect not only Europe but the entire world. This wide-ranging exploration of the Renaissance sees the period as a time of unprecedented intellectual excitement and cultural experimentation and interaction on a global scale, alongside a darker side of religion, intolerance, slavery, and massive inequality of wealth and status. It guides the reader through the key issues that defined the period, from its art, architecture, and literature, to advancements in the fields of science, trade, and travel. In its incisive account of the complexities of the political and religious upheavals of the period, the book argues that Europe's reciprocal relationship with its eastern neighbours offers us a timely perspective on the Renaissance that still has much to teach us today.