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In 1453, the Ottoman Empire conquered Constantinople, compelling many Greek thinkers and their works to move westward.
That same year, the Hundred Years War ended, bringing stability to northwestern Europe.
In 1440, Lorenzo Valla used textual criticism to expose the Donation of Constantine, a document which had given huge swaths of land to the Catholic church in Rome, as a forgery, one of the classic moments in European intellectual history.
In 1446, Bruneschelli died, and in 1450, Francesco Sforza became the fourth Duke Milan and founded the powerful Sforza dynasty.
Rodrigo Borgia was appointed Pope Alexander VI in 1492, a rule considered broadly corrupt, and he had Savonarola excommunicated, tortured, and killed in 1498.
The Italian Wars involved most of the major states of Western Europe in a series of conflicts beginning in 1494, the year the French king Charles VIII invaded Italy.
Leon Battista Alberti published "On the Art of Building" (1443 to 1452), Thomas Malory wrote (or compiled) "le Morte d' Arthur" in 1470, and Marsilio Ficino completed his "Platonic Theory" in 1471.
The last quarter of the 16th century witnessed an explosion of important sailing discoveries in the Age of Exploration: Bartolomeu Dias rounded the Cape of Good Hope in 1488, Columbus reached the Bahamas in 1492, and Vasco da Gama reached India in 1498.
Artistic works of this period include Botticelli's "Primavera" (1480), Michelangelo Buonarroti's relief "Battles of the Centaurs" (1492) and painting "La Pieta" (1500), and Leonardo da Vinci's "Last Supper" (1498).Much of this was driven by humanism, a philosophy that emphasized the ability for humans to act, rather than simply rely on the will of God.Established religious communities experienced both philosophical and bloody battles, leading among other things to the Reformation and the end of Catholic rule in England.This timeline lists some major works of culture alongside important political events that occurred during the traditional period of 1400 to 1600.However, the roots of the Renaissance go back a few centuries further yet.