Francesco Petrarca (1304-1374) was a poet and an early humanist whose ideas personified the essence of the Renaissance. At an early age, he was fascinated with the great Roman and Greek classics, and later on devoted much effort in tracking down lost manuscripts. He was completely uninterested in the works of Aristotle, and general philosophy that relied on speculation. Consequently, he had no interest in Scholastic philosophy, which was often based on Aristotelian principles, as emphasized in the writings of St. Thomas Aquinas. The idea of the medieval period being a “dark age” sprung from Petrarch. He saw the time in which he lived as a barbaric period and much preferred the ancient world. He was focused on gaining worldly fame, and this was a precursor to the idea of individualism and secularism of the Renaissance. This is not to say that Petrarch was not religious. He always carried St. Augustine’s Confessions with him. In 1341, he became the poet laureate of Rome, resurrecting an office not used since the ancient world. He also invented a poetic form called the sonnet. Petrarch was a prolific thinker whose ideas were forerunners to those of the Renaissance. He was not irreligious, but he advocated secularism, and emphasized this-worldly pursuits. He sought after personal, worldly fame as a form of immortality, and laid the foundation for Renaissance individualism.