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From Medieval Europe To Modern History.

3433 words - 14 pages

The Middle Ages served as a necessary bridge to bring the world from the ancient times in history to what we now consider modern history. It is considered to be more of a period of growth than decline. Without the Middle Ages the world would not have developed and made the grand leap into the Renaissance and the future. After the fall of Rome, in 476 AD, the world was thrown into a period of chaos and disunity that came to be known as the Dark Ages. Politically, economically, and socially, everything of the old system that had been tediously developed in the Roman Empire gave way. A new world arose based on religion, feudalism, and manorialism.In Medieval times the Roman Catholic Church embedded itself into the very core of everyday life in Europe. Setting before men a definite way of life, the Church served as means of education, spiritual redemption, and was both an important factor in their social and political life. In such a time of 'chaos' the people turned to the Church to tell them what to do. There was only one church during this time, all Christians belonged to it and in all parts its teachings were the same. In mass the Church interpreted the passages in the Bible for the people, in this way they were able to command the thoughts and beliefs of the lower classes. They also had the power to administer the seven sacraments, which a person needed to be able to enter heaven. With its infinite hold over the people, the Church claimed the right to direct and rule society, slowly becoming more than a spiritual institution.The Church fulfilled many of the functions of the modern state. It tried civil and criminal cases, and had binding decisions with such matters as marriage. The kings and rulers of the time would usually enforce the choices the Church made on these topics. The Church not only controlled scholarship and book production, but it also it alone cared for the poor, sick, and aged. The Church was originally under the leadership of a council of five Bishops. Eventually the Bishop of Rome took over, and the head of the Church became known as the Pope. The Pope was supposed to be of lineage from Peter and, thus, was thought to have dominion over mortal souls. The Church encouraged people to endure the harshness of everyday life and suffering with promise of eternal life in heaven. The medieval Church was also one of the great political powers of the time. It owned such a great deal of property that the Pope was able to draw revenue from them, administer justice in them, and have a papal army to defend them. As a result of the land being given to great bishops and abbots, the Church was drawn into the feudal system. The lands were held as fiefs to feudal lords and kings. As the owners of the fiefs were often chosen for their political influence, the power of the Church increased. Also as it had been the Church that had fostered and encouraged learning all throughout the Middle Ages, it had also been the Church who had preserved the...

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