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Life After Death: The Renaissance Era.

1321 words - 5 pages

Life After Death: The Renaissance Era"All this meant change, and was therefore resented by the medieval mind."-William ManchesterMedieval Europe was a time when nobles ruled and knights battling to the death were Saturday evening entertainment. This era, which seems so ancient from Europe as we know it today, shifted rather quickly from a backwards society into a flourishing period called the Renaissance. In Manchester's historical essay, A World Lit Only By Fire, four main events happened which helped 'shatter' medieval Europe, allowing the Renaissance to bloom. In his essay, the Black Death, Manchester explores the beginnings of formalized education, the fall of the Catholic Church, and the invention of the printing press, which are all explained and analyzed to provide the reader with a story of how medieval Europe transformed into the Renaissance.When times are at their absolute worse, there is nowhere to go but up. Around the late 1300's a pandemic broke out across Europe, which came to be known as "The Black Death." Almost suddenly, a rare disease swept through Europe that no one could explain. Most blamed God; others blamed foreign people of the east, as the concept of bacteria was unfathomable for this age. Everyone agreed on one thing: Armageddon was near. "The mounting toll of disease... was far from the only sign that society seemed to have lost its way. In some ways the period seemed to have been the worst of times- an age of treachery, abduction, fratricide, depravity, barbarism, and sadism." Life could literally not get any worse. The people of the era psychologically needed more. One can live only so long without anything to hope for. One way or another, times needed to get better. Again, because of this longing for something more, people began to listen to new ideas and accept new ways of life where as if times had not been so desperate these ideas and ways of life would have been outrageous.Since people were at their absolute desperation, they were consequently more open to changing their standard ways of life. More than ever, people were going to universities, learning how to read and write, and expanding their horizons beyond their immediate surroundings. Education turned from a hopeless dream into a reality for many. There was still a lower class that could not afford to educate themselves or their children, but for the first time, middle class citizens could open a book from the ancient Greeks or the bible and read a translated version. New ideas were everywhere:Before the Dense, overarching, suffocating medieval night could be broken, the darkness had to be pierced by the bright shaft of learning- by literature, and people who could read and understand it... Until late in the fifteenth century most books and nearly all education had been controlled by the Church.People like Martin Luther-who understood how important literacy was and translated the entire Bible in order for the -not just priests and scholars- to understand,...

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