Humanism: an attitude of mind emanating from 15th century Italy which swept over all of Europe during the 16th century and aimed at the revival of the traditions of Antiquity. In Tirol Eleonore von Österreich, wife of Duke Sigmund, and Nicholas of Cusa, bishop of Brixen, were the first individuals to promote Humanism; they were followed by Johannes Fuchsmagen, who was born in Hall in Tirol and later moved to Vienna, where Enea Silvio Piccolomini, secretary to Friedrich III from 1437, was a proponent of Humanism. In the sciences Georg von Peuerbach (1423-1461), a mathematician and astronomer, created a link between the new philosophy and the sciences. His circle included Regiomontanus, who continued to propagate his ideas, and Cardinal Basilius Bessarion. During the reign of Maximilian I, Humanism was greatly furthered when he called Conradus Celtisto Vienna in 1497. Celtis was the leading champion of Humanism in Austria, who united his friends and followers in the Sodalitas litteraria Danubiana. In 1501 Maximilian founded the Collegium poetarum et mathematicorum, which was to devote itself to the disciplines of humanist thought mentioned in its name and was given the right to award the laurel of poetry to worthy candidates. Leading personalities of the time in Austria were K. Peutinger (Peutingersche Tafel ), L. Sunthaym, J. Stabius and others. Celtis' early death prevented further advances, but such scholars as J. Cuspinianus and J. Watt continued the humanist tradition at the University of Vienna until 1518. Humanism prevailed as an educational movement, gained access to universities and schools and attracted the interest of noblemen, it inspired poetry, the publication of the works of the ancient and medieval authors, resulted in the introduction of Roman Law as the basis for jurisprudence and contributed greatly to the revival of humanist thought.
Literature: K. Großmann, Die Frühzeit des Humanismus in Wien bis zu Celtis' Berufung, Jahrbuch für Landeskunde von Niederösterreich, 1929; A. Lhotsky, Umriß einer Wissenschaftspflege im alten Niederösterreich, 1964; Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (ed.), Humanismus-Forschung seit 1945, 1975; H. Engelbrecht, Geschichte des österreichischen Bildungswesens, vol. 1, 1982; G. Hamann and R. Grösing, Der Weg der Naturwissenschaften von J. v. Gmunden zu J. Kepler, 1988.
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