The Renaissance was a time when a new view of the world was born; based in a rebirth of knowledge from Greece and Rome. Understanding this world view and how it came to be will make an understanding of the Enlightenment meaningful.
We begin with Petrarch and Boccaccio. A mere 700 years past.
Petrarch 1304 - 1374
Boccaccio 1313 - 1375