Middle Ages, or Medieval period



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Middle Ages

In European history, the Middle Ages, or Medieval period, lasted from the 5th to the 15th century. It began with thecollapse of the Western Roman Empire and merged into the Renaissance and the Age of Discovery. The Middle Ages is the middle period of the three traditional divisions of Western history: Antiquity, Medieval period, and Modern period. The Medieval period is itself subdivided into the Early, the High, and the Late Middle Ages.

Early Middle Ages: Depopulation, deurbanisation, invasion, and movement of peoples, which had begun in Late Antiquity, continued in the Early Middle Ages. The barbarian invaders, including various Germanic peoples, formed new kingdoms in what remained of the Western Roman Empire. In the 7th century, North Africa and the Middle East,

High Middle Ages: During the High Middle Ages, which began after AD 1000, the population of Europe increased greatly as technological and agricultural innovations allowed trade to flourish and the Medieval Warm Period climate change allowed crop yields to increase. Manorialism, the organisation of peasants into villages that owed rent and labour services to the nobles, andfeudalism, the political structure whereby knights and lower-status nobles owed military service to their overlords in return for the right to rent from lands and manors, were two of the ways society was organised in the High Middle Ages. TheCrusades, first preached in 1095, were military attempts by Western European Christians to regain control of the Middle Eastern Holy Land from the Muslims. Kings became the heads of centralised nation states, reducing crime and violence but making the ideal of a unified Christendom more distant. 

Late Middle Ages: The Late Middle Ages was marked by difficulties and calamities including famine, plague, and war, which much diminished the population of Western Europe; between 1347 and 1350, the Black Death killed about a third of Europeans. Controversy, heresy, and schism within the Church paralleled the warfare between states, civil wars, and peasant revolts occurring in the kingdoms. Cultural and technological developments transformed European society, concluding the Late Middle Ages and beginning the early modern period.

Dark Ages


The Dark Ages is a historical periodization used originally for the Middle Ages, which emphasizes the cultural and economic deterioration that supposedly occurred in Western Europe following the decline of the Roman Empire. The label employs traditional light-versus-darknessimagery to contrast the "darkness" of the period with earlier and later periods of "light".The period is characterized by a relative scarcity of historical and other written records at least for some areas of Europe, rendering it obscure to historians.

Originally the term characterized the bulk of the Middle Ages, or roughly the 6th to 13th centuries, as a period of intellectual darkness between extinguishing the "light of Rome" after the end of Late Antiquity, and the rise of the Italian Renaissance in the 14th century. This definition is still found in popular use but increased recognition of the accomplishments of the Middle Ages has led to the label being restricted in application. 

The Medieval Church


The Medieval Church played a far greater role in Medieval England than the Church does today. In Medieval England, the Church dominated everybody's life. All Medieval people - be they village peasants or towns people - believed that God, Heaven and Hell all existed. From the very earliest of ages, the people were taught that the only way they could get to Heaven was if the Roman Catholic Church let them. Everybody would have been terrified of Hell and the people would have been told of the sheer horrors awaiting for them in Hell in the weekly services they attended.

The control the Church had over the people was total. Peasants worked for free on Church land. This proved difficult for peasants as the time they spent working on Church land, could have been better spent working on their own plots of land producing food for their families.

They paid 10% of what they earned in a year to the Church (this tax was called tithes). Tithes could be paid in either money or in goods produced by the peasant farmers. As peasants had little money, they almost always had to pay in seeds, harvested grain, animals etc. This usually caused a peasant a lot of hardship as seeds, for example, would be needed to feed a family the following year. The Church also did not have to pay taxes. This saved them a vast sum of money and made it far more wealthy than any king of England at this time. The sheer wealth of the Church is best shown in its buildings : cathedrals, churches and monasteries.

Protestant Reformation


The Protestant Reformation was the schism within Western Christianity initiated by Martin LutherJohn Calvin, and other earlyProtestants. Although there had been significant attempts at reform before Luther, the date most usually given for the start of the Protestant Reformation is 1517, when Luther published The Ninety-Five Theses, and for its conclusion in 1648 with the Peace of Westphalia that ended the European wars of religion.

It led to the creation of new national Protestant churches. The largest of the new churches groupings were the Lutherans (mostly in Germany, the Baltics and Scandinavia) and the Reformed churches (mostly in Germany, France, Switzerland, the Netherlands and Scotland). It also influenced the Church of England decisively after 1547 under Edward VI and Elizabeth I although the national church had been made independent under Henry VIII in the early 1530s for political rather than religious reasons. There were many smaller bodies such as the Free Christians, as well.


16th century


The protests against the corruption emanating from Rome began in Germany when reformation ideals developed in 1517-1521 with Martin Luther expressing doubts over the legitimacy of indulgences and the plenitudo potestatis of the pope. The Reformation was born of Luther's dual declaration – first, the discovering of Jesus and salvation by faith alone; and second, identifying the Papacy as the Antichrist. The highly educated Reformation leaders used prophecies of the Bible as their most powerful weapon in appealing to committed believers to break from Babylon, the fallen church, (i.e. Rome) and to split from the Antichrist (the Pope) who had assumed the place of God. The reformers were unanimous in agreement and this understanding of prophecy furnished importance to their deeds.

Literacy


The Reformation was a triumph of literacy and the new printing press. Luther's translation of the Bible into German was a decisive moment in the spread of literacy, and stimulated as well the printing and distribution of religious books and pamphlets. From 1517 onward, religious pamphlets flooded Germany and much of Europe. By 1530, over 10,000 publications are known, with a total of ten million copies. The Reformation was thus a media revolution.

Scandinavia


All of Scandinavia ultimately adopted Lutheranism over the course of the 16th century, as the monarchs of Denmark (who also ruled Norway and Iceland) and Sweden (who also ruled Finland) converted to that faith.

In Sweden, the Reformation was spearheaded by Gustav Vasa, elected king in 1523. Friction with the pope over the latter's interference in Swedish ecclesiastical affairs led to the discontinuance of any official connection between Sweden and the papacy from 1523. Four years later, at the Diet of Västerås, the king succeeded in forcing the diet to accept his dominion over the national church. The king was given possession of all church property, church appointments required royal approval, the clergy were subject to the civil law, and the "pure Word of God" was to be preached in the churches and taught in the schools—effectively granting official sanction to Lutheran ideas.


England

Church of England


The separation of the Church of England (or Anglican Church) from Rome under Henry VIII, beginning in 1529 and completed in 1537, brought England alongside this broad Reformation movement; however, religious changes in the English national church proceeded more conservatively than elsewhere in Europe. Reformers in the Church of England alternated, for centuries, between sympathies for ancient Catholic tradition and more Reformed principles, gradually developing into a tradition considered a middle way between the Roman Catholic and Protestant traditions. the English Reformation came rather from the fact that it was driven initially by the political necessities of Henry VIII.

Henry had once been a sincere Roman Catholic and had even authored a book strongly criticising Luther, but he later found it expedient and profitable to break with the Papacy. King Henry decided to remove the Church of England from the authority of Rome. In 1534, the Act of Supremacy made Henry the Supreme Head of the Church of England. Between 1535 and 1540, under Thomas Cromwell, the policy known as the Dissolution of the Monasteries was put into effect. 


Renaissance


The Renaissance from FrenchRenaissance "re-birth",  was a cultural movement that spanned the period roughly from the 14th to the 17th century, beginning in Italy in the Late Middle Ages and later spreading to the rest of Europe. The Renaissance was a cultural movement that profoundly affected European intellectual life in the early modern period. Beginning in Italy, and spreading to the rest of Europe by the 16th century, its influence was felt in literature, philosophy, art, music, politics, science, religion, and other aspects of intellectual inquiry. Renaissance scholars employed the humanist method in study, and searched for realism and human emotion in art.

As a cultural movement, it encompassed innovative flowering of Latin and vernacular literatures, beginning with the 14th-century resurgence of learning based on classical sources, which contemporaries credited to Petrarch, the development of linear perspective and other techniques of rendering a more natural reality in painting, and gradual but widespread educational reform.



In politics, the Renaissance contributed the development of the conventions of diplomacy, and in science an increased reliance on observation. Historians often argue this intellectual transformation was a bridge between the Middle Ages and Modern history. Although the Renaissance saw revolutions in many intellectual pursuits, as well as social and political upheaval, it is perhaps best known for its artistic developments and the contributions of such polymaths as Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo, who inspired the term "Renaissance man". There is a consensus that the Renaissance began in Florence, Italy, in the 14th century. Various theories have been proposed to account for its origins and characteristics, focusing on a variety of factors including the social and civic peculiarities of Florence at the time; its political structure; the patronage of its dominant family, the Medici; and the migration of Greek scholars and texts to Italy following the Fall of Constantinople at the hands of the Ottoman Turks.

Humanism


 Humanist education was based on the programme of 'Studia Humanitatis', that being the study of five humanities: poetry, grammar, history, moral philosophy and rhetoric. Humanist scholars shaped the intellectual landscape throughout the early modern period. Political philosophers such as Niccolò Machiavelli andThomas More revived the ideas of Greek and Roman thinkers, and applied them in critiques of contemporary government. The humanists believed that it is important to transcend to the afterlife with a perfect mind and body. This transcending belief can be done with education. The purpose of humanism was to create a universal man whose person combined intellectual and physical excellence and who was capable of functioning honorably in virtually any situation.

P.S. 1: The quiz will include all types of questions ( multiple choice, fill in the blanks and classic) and will be 15%.

P.S. 2: The bonus question will be about the short story I told you during the seminar about Henry VIII. You will not find it among the notes you are given so you might want to search the web about Henry VIII and his attention towards protestantism, what derived him to convert the religion of his country from catholicism to protestantism, what were the effects of his second wife Anne Boleyn and his advisor Thomas Cromwell etc. There will either be one bonus question (2pts), or two (1 pt each).

Good Luck.


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