During the Renaissance, academics thought that a well-rounded man should be proficient in both the arts and science. While we remember painters and scientists seperately for their artistry and science, they would not have seen a clear division.

It was thought a Renaissance man should -

  1. Be able to defend himself with a variety of weapons, especially the sword.
  2. Be able to play several musical instruments.
  3. Be able to paint and output other works of art.
  4. Be forever interested in advancing knowledge and science.
  5. Be able to engage in debates regarding issues such as philosophy and ethics.
  6. Be a skilled author and poet.
Because the Renaissance was the rebirth of interest in classical Greek and Roman culture, it is likely that these were traits that the ancients were thought to have held. Renaissance men, with the culture of striving for increased knowledge and ability, were vital to advancing Europe beyond the Dark Ages into the Age of Enlightenment.

Modern day Renaissance men can probably be split into two sections - the "formal" group, who are the well-known poets, authors and painters, and the "informal" group, who are the geeks and hackers that forever strive to advance their own knowledge, and in doing so benefit society.