The 18th Century in Europe has been called the 'Age of Enlightenment'. It has also been referred to as the 'Age of Reason' and the 'Age of Improvement'. As is so often the case with historical processes which commentators find convenient to encapsulate under a title such as the 'Enlightenment', it is difficult to decide when this period begins and when it comes to an end. The roots of the Enlightenment lie in the European Renaissance of the 16th Century. A new perspective had developed with regard to the relationship between humanity and the universe. Rather than being condemned to be the passive victims of irrational forces or divine providence, human beings were coming to be seen as potential masters of their own destiny, liberated by their capacity to exercise reason - to think and question.