Life in the Renaissance

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Although the Renaissance was a time of significant change in comparison to the Middle Ages, there were times of both peace and prosperity, and war, disease and famine. For the average man in the street (or village) daily life had changed little since the Middle Ages. Diet was similar, life was short (an average life expectency of 30 - 35 years in most parts of Europe, with perhaps a 50% child mortality rate within the first year of life), and war and disease were commonplace.

In comparison to the 14th century, however, the 15th century and the 16th century were both times of population growth, economic growth, and relative prosperity, especially for the town people and those of privilege.

Those who lived in areas where economic growth was strongest, including Italy and the Netherlands could certainly expect to be better dressed and perhaps better educated in this period than, say, 100 years earlier, even if they were not significantly better fed.