European Downfall Essay

855 words - 3 pages

European down fallThroughout the fourteenth century there were several calamitous events that brought about disaster to the steady dependable medieval customs. These events called for a more modern way of life that would bring medieval society to its knees. The three calamitous events that brought Europe out of The Middle Ages were The Hundred Years War, the decline of the Roman Catholic Church, and the persistent struggle from death caused by the bubonic plague.The first calamitous event is the Hundred Years War, in where French efforts to attain feudal territories from English hands caused ten years of hostility and constant bitterness between growing nations. Furthermore, the English began to seek claim to the French throne; Giving birth to The Hundred Years War. The Hundred Years War began in 1337 the French clearly outnumbered the English four to one, but the English possessed three new secret weapons: foot soldiers, the longbow, and gunpowder; The invisible enemy that would later eliminate the French army. The Hundred Years War caused a major blow to feudalism. Gunpowder and the longbow worked to out due hand-to-hand combat, thus doing away with the medieval code of chivalry. Furthermore, the French were outnumbered by the English, so they resorted to ambush tactics, which violated the rules of feudal warfare. These new military tactics would influence change and later dominate modern warfare.The second calamitous event that brought Europe out of the Middle Ages is the decline of the Roman Catholic Church. The expansion of European nation-states contributed to the weakening of Christian influence and authority. Therefore, the Papacy was relocated from Rome to Avignon, which was an attempt to compete in prestige in political influence with the secular rulers of Europe. By corrupt means the Avignon popes established luxurious and powerful courts to accomplish their purpose. The Avignon popes also began selling church offices or otherwise known as simony, to charge taxes on clergymen, in order to force them out so members of their own families could join the ecclesiastical office. Last but not least the popes began selling indulgences that guaranteed their relatives and friends from escaping purgatory. These shameful efforts at financial and political overdoing damaged the character of the Church.Sadly, the return of the Papacy to Rome in 1377 was followed by one of the most devastating events in church history, The Great Schism. Two popes were elected from the troubled nation-states Avignon and Rome, creating violent controversy within the Church. The rival popes began excommunicating each other, causing the lay people...

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