The word humanitas was created by Cicero to describe a good human. In Cicero's opinion it was a necessity for the education in the Classical studies.

Pliny the Younger defined it as the capacity to win the affections of lesser folk without impinging on greater (Ep. IX, 5).

Very important is the revival of the Classical Antiquity in the Age of Renaissance by the Italian humanists beginning from Francesco Petrarca, who discovered and studied texts by Cicero.

During the Age of Enlightenment in Germany the term "Humanität" in the philosophical sense of humanity, was used for "a better human being" or Humanism. It is used for example by Johann Gottfried Herder in his "Briefe an die Humanität" and by Friedrich Schiller.

It is a theme of the philosophy of freemasonry. Some orders of freemasonry are called "Humanitas".

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