II. The MIddle Ages, Renaissance, and Reformation 476 II. The MIddle Ages, Renaissance, and Reformation
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In addition to the belief that individuals with disabilities were "children of God," a strong motivation for segregation was economic survival. Persons with disabilities were likely among the poorest citizens, with few alternatives to begging for survival.


The Renaissance was an intellectual and cultural movement that began in Italy in the 1300s and spread throughout Northern Europe. This period signified a revival of classical learning, art and architecture, and the concept of the dignity of man, as depicted in the great works of Michelangelo and Raphael.

Scientists such as Isaac Newton were concerned with observation and scientific inquiry, trying to understand nature and the world around them. Italian artistic and scientific genius Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519) studied anatomy and the functions of the brain.

While religion remained a powerful influence, spiritual matters played a less important role. People were more interested in the arts and sciences, which led to advancements in health care and a better understanding of disabilities.

Person in Restraints
Person in Restraints