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A World Lit Only By Fire

972 words - 4 pages

A World Lit Only By Fire by William Manchester is not only informative of the conflicts that occurred in Europe, but it is humorous and includes perspectives and anecdotes that are not viewed as impartial. It is structured into three separate sections: The Medieval Mind, The Shattering and One Man Alone.
The first section effectively talks about the substantial events that occurred in the year 500; this includes the fall of the Roman Empire and the reasons that lie behind its fall. Manchester continues on by speaking of the Dark Ages that instantaneously followed the collapse of the Roman Empire. He speaks of the Black Death and how Europe experienced multiple “climatic changes”, such as ...view middle of the document...

During this particular time period, the people were unable to think for themselves and act independently. Society did as the Church said because they truly believed that everything revolving around religion was morally correct. Erasmus ridiculed those who thought this way, a tactic he used skillfully in order to gain more followers. He published a book named Encomium Moriae, translated as The Praise of Folly. The book was originally created to amuse Erasmus’s friend, Thomas More. The book includes a bantering tone and clearly attacks theologians of this time period. The mere thought of this book angered the priests and of course, this did not stop Erasmus from spreading his statements of ridicule across the lands of which he travelled. It did not take long for Erasmus to target Pope Julius II, nicknamed “The Fearsome Pope” and “The Warrior Pope”. Erasmus produced a skit that was created to ridicule Pope Julius II to all extents; it was named Iulias exclusus. Soon after Pope Julius II’s death, the skit spread like wild fire amongst the communities, quickly becoming the hot topic of various cities. The Roman Curia of the Holy See were very displeased with Erasmus and his actions. The Curia acted in the name of Pope Julius II, so when they learned of Erasmus’s cruel jokes, they longed for Erasmus to stop his nonsense and spend the rest of his days in remorseful piety (Manchester 126).
Society as a whole in Europe was ruled by utter confusion and things were fairly unstable during this time. The people followed rules that they so blindly believed and in a nutshell, the people committed acts that would most likely be viewed as absurd and obscene today. Once Erasmus made an appearance however, the people began to open up their minds and saw the true colors of...

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