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Nor was the new culture here exclusive and aristocratic.It sought the general spread of intelligence, and was active in the development of primary and grammar schools.
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Renaissance Humanism came much later to Germany and Northern Europe in general than to Italy, and when it did, it encountered some resistance from the scholastic theology which reigned at the universities.
Humanism may be dated from the invention of the printing press about 1450.
Its flourishing period began at the close of the 15th century and lasted only till about 1520, when it was absorbed by the more popular and powerful religious movement, the Reformation, as Italian Humanism was superseded by the papal counter-Reformation.
Marked features distinguished the new culture north of the Alps from the culture of the Italians.
It received an impulse from the South, but made its own path.
In the North, Humanism entered into the service of religious progress.
German scholars were less brilliant and elegant, but more serious in their purpose and more exact in their scholarship than their Italian predecessors and contemporaries.
The university and school played a much more important part than in the South according to Catholic historians.
The representatives of the new scholarship were teachers; even Erasmus taught in Cambridge and was on intimate terms with the professors at Basel.
During the progress of the movement new universities sprang up, from Basel to Rostock.
Again, in Germany, there were no princely patrons of arts and learning to be compared in intelligence and munificence to the Renaissance popes and the Medici.