Scholars and artists of the Renaissance were fascinated by the great cultures of ancient Greece and Rome. They believed that studying the achievements of the past was the key to creating a glorious future. They pored over ancient texts and sifted through ruins to unearth objects such as monuments, coins, and statues. Growing awareness of this era known as classical antiquity influenced Renaissance architecture, art, and city planning. It also transformed the study of history and formed the basis of the cultural movement called humanism.The study of ancient cultures began in Italy, particularly in Rome, where citizens lived among the crumbling remains of a long-dead civilization. Scholars of the ancient world, known as antiquarians, searched these ruins for clues to life in lost civilizations. Meanwhile, historians in Britain and other parts of Europe worked to uncover their own countries’ distant past.Many Renaissance artists portrayed the ancient world in their paintings and sculptures. However, they viewed antiquity through the lens of Christianity and often blended images of antiquity with Christian themes. Artists gathered ideas about the ancient world from their Bibles as well as from the writings of classical authors. Italian artists could also seek inspiration in the ruins that surrounded them and in other relics of the ancient world.