What is a Renaissance Man?


Is Steve really a Renaissance Man or just the geek next door with delusions of grandeur.

You be the judge.


(Excerpts from Renaissance Man  Part 1 :The Beginning by John Stringer)
   One of the more irritating usages that have been eroding our language over the last few years is the description of anybody who has even a small knowledge of the world outside his own professional skill as a ‘Renaissance Man’.
What I want to do here is have a look what it really takes to qualify as an RM. Let me start off with a disclaimer. I do not pretend to qualify (even close) to being an RM. Very few of the people I know well do, either.

• Whatever he does, to have it seem as though it is natural and


easy to him.

• To speak well with a good vocabulary.

• To be wise and well versed in current affairs.

• To be able to accommodate himself to the manners of


whatever community or country that he is in.

• To be able to discuss issues, able to propose reasonable


explanations for things.

• To be able to manage issues towards a favorable outcome.

• To play games such as dice or cards for pleasure, not just to


make money; and not to complain at his bad luck if he loses.

• To be able to play a reasonable game of chess, without being


too fancy!

• To be capable of interacting well in company.

• To speak and write the language that is most in use among the

ordinary people, without inventing new words, using fancy specialist terms (‘jargon’), or strange phrases, or using old-fashioned words and phrases that are no longer in common use.


• To be an honest man, and of an upright conscience.

• To have the virtues of the mind, as justice, manliness, wisdom,


temperance, noble courage, etc.

• Not to be rash, nor pretend to know things that he doesn’t.

• To confess his ignorance in those qualities that he knows


himself to have no skill in.

• To have to be persuaded to show his feats and qualities at the


desire and request of others, and not rashly show off himself.

• To have an ability in drawing and painting.

• To dance well, without over-nimble steps or fancy tricks.

• To sing well from a song-book.

• To delight and refresh the listeners’ minds in being pleasant,


and a merry talker, appropriate to the time and place.

• To be nimble and quick at playing tennis.

• To be a good horseman for every saddle.

• To swim well.

• To run well.

• Not to serve a wicked person.

• To consider well what it is that he does or says, in relation to


those people who are present.

• The final end of a Courtier, where to all his good conditions
  and honest qualities tend, is to become an Instructor and Teacher of his Prince or Lord, inclining him to virtuous practices: and to be frank and free with him, always putting him in mind to follow virtue and to flee vice, and to shut his ears against flatterers.
So there we are. The concept of the Renaissance Man has been described, and although the idea of a ‘job specification’ is perhaps a little inappropriate, we have available to us a list of the sort of qualities that might be expected.