Crisis and renaissance 1340 1500 summary



Crisis and renaissance 1340 1500 summary


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Crisis and renaissance 1340 1500 summary


1340 – 1500
Crisis and Renaissance

1A)  Mehmed II, an Ottoman ruler, epitomized the paradoxical ideas of crisis and renaissance during this time period.  His successful siege of Constantinople was a disaster for the Christian world, while his interest in culture led him to become a patron of the arts.

2)  The fact that Mehmed II was particularly interest in Italian art demonstrates the connection between power and culture.  Rome’s political influence had translated into cultural dominance. 

3)  Humanism was a cultural movement that originated during this time period, stressing classical learning and individual participation in government.

4)  The values of renaissance men and women included family, honor, social status, and individual distinction. 

5)  Just as men competed with fellow men, states competed with rival states for wealth and glory.

Part One – The Crises

1B)  The fourteenth and fifteenth centuries encompassed 5 Main Crises:

                        1.  Black Death
2.  The Hundred Years’ War
3.  Ottoman Conquest
4.  The Great Schism
5.  Wide-spread Religious Intolerance

2)  Minority groups suffered greatly from the myriad of resulting tensions.

1C)  Famine in the early fourteenth century resulted from bad weather and overpopulation.

2)  Because of the population decrease resulting from the Black Death, workers received higher wagers (as the labor force shrunk).  The price of grain fell (because there was less demand).  As grain became less profitable, farmers cultivated other crops, which greatly diversified European agriculture.

3)  The wages/demands of peasants were increasing, and the price of renting land as a tenant farmer was decreasing.  This placed greater financial strain on the gentry class.  They turned to their monarchs for help control the rising proletariat (as it were), and they turned to war in the hopes of supplementing their income with captured spoils. 

4)  Higher wages translated into a significant increase in material comforts for both urban and rural members of the lower class.

5)  The prospect of imminent death drove some people to seek instant material gratification, while others devoted themselves to religious fervor in the hope that God might be prevailed upon to forgive them and spare their lives.

6)  A smaller population with a higher average income expressed little demand for cheap, mass-produced, utilitarian goods.   Without a market, the woolen industry collapsed.

1D)  In the Hundred Years’ War, England and France fought for control of Aquitaine.  It was one of the largest and most prosperous regions in France, but it had been controlled by England since Eleanor of Aquitaine divorced Louis VII of France and married the Henry II, the English king, several centuries earlier.   

2)  The English army was comprised of noblemen, farmers, and mercenary soldiers.

3)  The French kings could not assemble and direct their army without the consent of their barons. 

4)  The Hundred Years’ War resulted in the rise of France as a distinct country and the creation of a new power, a collection of territories known as Burgundy.

5)  Joan of Arc helped the French army succeed in their siege of Orleans and persuaded the heir apparent to affirm his position as the sole legitimate leader of France by undergoing the formal coronation ceremony at the traditional site (Reims cathedral), which was in the possession of Burgundy. 

6)  The Jacquerie was a class war fought by the urban and rural proletariat against the urban and rural nobility.  The rebels were angered by the high war taxes and the military ineptitude of the ruling class.

7)  The king of England, Richard II, pledged to the rebel-peasants that he would reduce land rent and rework the feudal system, but he reneged on both these promises once his forces emerged victorious.

8)  Charles VII created a standing army in France after the Hundred Years’ War.

9)  France conquered the territories of Burgundy.

10)  England entered a period of civil war, lasting from the 1460s to 1485.  As the two contending parties were Lancaster (symbolized by the red rose) and York (symbolized by the white rose), this period is called The War of the Roses.  Henry VII (from the house of Tudor) emerged as the reigning monarch in 1485.

11) Henry VII reconciled the houses of Lancaster and York, ending the war and strengthening the monarchy.

1E)  Osman I was the first leader of the Ottoman Empire.  He conquered territory in Anatolia and the Balkans.

2)  The Ottomans made use of the rivalries and divisions within the Christian forces.

3)  Mehmed II earned the title “Conqueror” after his victorious siege of Constantinople.

4)  Within the Islamic culture of the Ottoman Empire, there were Christian princes, Christian harem women, and Christian children raised as Muslim Janissaries.

5)  Conquered peoples maintained a certain degree of autonomy (including religious and social structures) once they accepted Ottoman superiority and consented to pay taxes.

6)  Eastern European monarchies were (for the most part) weak and unstable.

7)  The mid-fourteenth century saw the rise of Poland and Lithuania (as independent powers).  The Mongols were also a dominant force in the east.

8)  Jogaila was a Lithuanian prince who united Poland and Lithuania by marrying the widow of Polish King Casimir III, who died without a son.  In order to assume the Polish crown, Jogaila converted to Roman Catholicism and took the name of Wladyslaw II.

9)  Muscovy became a world power after the collapse of the Mongols.

10)  The Muscovite imperial title, spelled either “Tsar” or “Czar”, is derived from “Caesar.”

11)  Ivan III claimed full property rights over all conquered territories and peoples.

12)  The Muscovite empire was influenced by the religious tradition of the Russian Orthodox Church and the Mongolian political notion of citizens being in the service of the ruler.

1F)  After the exorbitant costs of the Hundred Years’ War and the general recession throughout Europe, Edward III of England was unable to pay his debts to the prominent bankers of Italy, who consequently declared bankruptcy.

2)  Fewer merchants were willing to lead expeditions to Asia because the Mongols no longer protected the land routes, and thus there was great danger of being attacked by the Ottomans.

3)  The foundation of Europe’s economy was the large population of urban and rural laborers.

4)  Soldiers were often underprivileged citizens, rather than knights and nobles as they had been in the past.

5)  Women in the underclass rapidly resorted to domestic servitude and prostitution.

1G)  The Avignon papacy fell under the influence of the French monarchy. 

2)  The Avignon papacy gained authority over the clergy by asserting the right to assign all benefices.

3)  The Avignon papacy transformed the papal taxes used to fund the Crusades into a regular system of papal taxation.  Consequently, the popes acquired considerable wealth.

4)  The Curia developed into a symbiosis of positions that resembled a secular, bureaucratic government.  (The Avignon Papacy is sometimes called the “Babylonian Captivity”, referring to the Jewish exile from their homeland at the behest of their Babylonian conquerors.)

5)  In church hierarchy, the cardinals are second only to the pope.

6)  William of Ockham believed that the authority and merit of the church did not stem form the material pretentions of the papacy and the cardinals, but rather from the allegiance of the faithful masses.  Ideas of this sort would later evolve into a key tenet of Lutheranism.

7)  In The Defender of the Peace, Marsilius of Padua questioned the legitimacy of papal authority, claiming that the laity ought to have a voice in selecting the leader of their church.  Thus, in effect, he was denying that the papacy was deliberately instituted by Jesus Christ through Peter.

8)  Urban VI was Pope when the “Great Schism” began.

9) Charles V of France recognized the Avignon pope, Clement VII, in hopes that the papacy would remain in France.

10)  The Schism spread discord and enmity amongst the masses as commoners took sides.  For a while it threatened to divide the Church into two separate entities.  Orders from Clement and Urban placed different parts of Christian Europe under interdict (a kind of ecclesiastic censure/sanction), depriving them of a many sacraments and Christian burial rites.

11)  “Conciliarists” were intellectuals who hoped to end the Schism by calling a church council, even though canon law dictates that only the pope has that ability. 

12)  At the Council of Constance, the assembled cardinals and bishops deposed two of the three popes, accepted a resignation from the third, and named Martin V as the true pope.  In an attempt to further eradicate dissent within the church, they also ordered the execution of Jan Hus on grounds of heresy.

1H)  Church and state alike worked to obliterate minority factions that did not adhere to the established beliefs.

2)  Our book says that anticlericalism in England during this period resulted from a combination of intellectual dissent, social unrest, and nationalist sentiment. 

3)  At different times, John Wycliffe challenged many aspects of the Church, including the ever-increasing materialism of the papacy, the practices of monasticism and excommunication, the doctrine of transubstantiation, devotion to saints and images, etc.  In short, he presented many of the general criticisms that Martin Luther would later nail to his door.

4)  Wycliffe believed that salvation should be achieved through individual prayer, devotion, and study of the scriptures.

5)  Bohemia was the birthplace of the Hussitism, a religious movement led by Jan Hus.  Also called “Utraquists”, the Hussites believed that common laypeople should have the right to receive Holy Communion as both bead and wine, a privilege that would symbolically demonstrate the equality between laity and clergy.  After the execution of Jan Hus, the Hussites gathered at Mount Tabor, assumed the name “Taborites”, and began a campaign to expand their influence throughout the area.  The papacy ultimately granted them the ability to receive both forms of the Eucharist.

6)  Critics of the clergy denounced the corruption and questionable moral conduct of the so-called “leaders” of the Church. 

7)  The Bohemian nobility protected Jan Hus and Jerome of Prague.

8)  As stated in question 6H one, the Hussites believed that common laypeople should have the right to receive Holy Communion in the form of both bead and wine.

9)  When the Church ordered the execution of Jan Hus, the Hussite movement intensified and increased its influence.

10)  Believing that the plague was a form of divine punishment, frightened and desperate people turned to self-flagellation as a means of doing penance for their sins, receiving God’s forgiveness and absolution, and escaping death.

11)  Religious intensity spurred by the plague led to anti-Semitic violence.

12)  Some instances of violence against the Jewish community were entirely spontaneous.  Others were planned and organized in advance by the local authorities.

1I)  Internal dynastic wars ultimately strengthened the monarchy of Spain.  The same was also true in France and England.

2)  The marriage of Isabella and Ferdinand effectively united Castile and Aragon, a powerful alliance which greatly contributed to the conquest and reunification of Spain.

3)  In order to reduce the authority of the nobles, Isabella and Ferdinand formed alliances with the cities.

4)  The Reconquista ended in 1492 with the fall of Granada.

5)  Catholicism became evidence of allegiance to the state, as well as the Church. 

6)  Spanish Jews faced the choice of expulsion from Spain or conversion to Christianity.  The term “conversos” refers to those who opted for the latter alternative.  These new Christians were subject to a great deal of suspicion.  The desire of investigating their true loyalties and exerting greater control over them led Isabella and Ferdinand to begin the Inquisition in 1478.

7)  The expulsion of the Jews uprooted the largest and most prosperous Jewish communities in Europe, creating an influx of Jewish immigrants to Italy, North Africa, and the Ottoman empire.

Part Two – The Renaissance

1A)  Vernacular literature and the ideals of humanism (as expressed by Gothic sculptors) formed the basis of the Renaissance.

2)  Vernacular: adj. using the native language of a region; relating to or expressed in the native language or dialect

3)  Renaissance artists expressed new-found power and influence of their states.

4)  The governments of these states began to exert control over personal matters.

1B) The great vernacular writers typically came from the urban middle-class.

2)  Giovanni Boccaccio wrote Decameron, a series of short stories about the Black Death.  Geoffrey Chaucer wrote Canterbury Tales, a book about people of different social origins travelling together on a pilgrimage.  And Christine de Pisan wrote The Book of The City Ladies, in which she praised womanhood.

3)  Vernacular literature explored many different aspects of life, including lover, greed, and salvation.

4)  Vernacular literature became popular through the patronage of the nobility.

5)  Writers continued to use classical Latin and Greek, in addition to the vernacular languages. 

6)  Humanism advocated a return to the knowledge of the ancient peoples and the study of the humanities.  See also question 2A zero.

7)  Humanists studied the humanities, also called the liberal arts, which included literature, history, and speech.

8)  Imitating ancient methods of persuasive speaking led to greater interest in ancient beliefs and ideas.

9)  Civic humanism was the use of ancient ideas and rhetoric in public political affairs.

10)  Many Greek scholars fled to Italy after the Ottoman Empire gained control of Constantinople.  This made Greek studies more common in the western Europe.

11)  Humanists believed that the study of ancient culture was perfectly consistent with the Christian religion.  Many of them sought to reconcile ancient philosophy with Church teachings.

12)  The humanist curriculum included grammar, rhetoric, poetry, history, moral philosophy, and classical Latin.

13)  Johannes Gutenberg invented the printing press.

14)  Mechanical printing made it easy to produce texts in bulk.  Knowledge became more accessible to the masses, and the broader availability of the printed word promoted intercourse between scholars separated by great distances.

1C)  Artists sought to depict the world as naturally and realistically as possible, in contrast with the exaggerated pictographic styles of earlier centuries. 

2)  Many artists worked to cultivate the impression that they were highly gifted individuals with true creative temperament who produced invaluable works.  Thus, their profession achieved a high degree of respect from the public.

3)  Artists were dependent upon their patrons for their living, and therefore had to work within whatever restrictions these patrons might impose.

4)  As artists developed individual identities and unique styles during the fifteenth century, they gained more liberty in their work.

5)  Artists considered the human figure to be the greatest mode of expression.

6)  The increased popularity of portraiture reflected a generally higher opinion of human existence.

7)  Unlike earlier forms, Renaissance painting created the illusion of a three-dimensional space and therefore produced more natural and realistic scenes. 

8)  Visual perspective in art demonstrated a new perception of the world – humans achieving dominance over nature.  Man assumed the role of creator and, in renaissance painting, could exercise control over space.

9)  Renaissance architecture combined artistic creativity with scientific knowledge.

1D)  Machiavelli believed that government was a human invention with no natural foundation, and, as such, that all forms of government amounted to the same thing – a civic elite imposing its will on the rest of the citizenry. 

2)  Machiavelli claimed that the city-states of Italy and the monarchies of England and France were equally authoritarian and repressive.

3)  Venice and Florence were both republics.

4)  Venice maintained an economy heavily based in trade overseas, which satisfied the needs of all social tiers.  Therefore, there was very little in the way of social discord and instability.  Florence, on the other hand, endured an unceasing variety of internal political struggles.  The Medici family surfaced as the supreme authority in 1434.

5) Cosimo de’ Medici was the most famous political figure in Florence.

6) Lorenzo de’ Medici invested large amounts of money in the arts.  This helped secure and legitimize the reign of the Medici family. 

7) With the exception of Venice, the political situation in Italy during the renaissance was extremely turbulent.  Wars between neighboring city-states, political struggles inside each of them, and increasing papal intervention combined to produce varying degrees of upheaval.  The disorder reached a climax in 1494 when a group of foreign European powers invaded Italy. 

8)  During the renaissance, the papacy expanded its army and navy, continued the imposition of papal taxes, further increased the power of the papal government, patronized artists and writers, constructed and refurbished churches, and created the Vatican Library.

9)  Diplomacy became more vital and more elaborate due to continued warfare, competition between states, and the centralization of power throughout Europe.

10)  Milan was the most active state in the development of diplomacy.

11)  Diplomacy between Italian city-states came to an end when foreign European powers invaded Italy, after which the system of city-states ceased to exist.

1E)  Much of our information about Florentine society comes from a comprehensive survey issued by the government in 1427 and completed in 1430.

2)  The social hierarchy of Florence was comprised of four main classes: the slaves and servants, the workers and artisans, the elite professionals (e.g. doctors, merchants, especially prosperous artisans), and the ruling faction of patrician bankers. 

3)  The uppermost one percent of the city’s households owned twenty-five percent of the city’s wealth.

4)  Men could have outnumbered women due to female infanticide or falsification of numbers in a society which they heavily dominated.

5)  As demonstrated by Alessandra’s efforts to marry off her daughter Caterina, marriages were determined by the standing of both families, the amount of money contained in the dowry, and the political influence of the prospective in-laws.  Thus, both families could expect to gain something from the creation of a new alliance.

6)  Recorded ancestry and potential inheritance were confined exclusively to male relatives.

7)  Women were frequently erased from family records after their marriage.  They claimed no inheritance (apart from their dowries), and they were entirely subordinate to their husbands.

8)  Women in northern Europe enjoyed more freedom than their counterparts in Florence.  For example, the former could receive inheritance and hold respectable jobs.

9)  Families in Florence who were able arranged for their children to be cared for by wet nurses.  Families who couldn’t often left their children in the care of public hospitals and charities.

10)  The Ospedale degli Innocenti cared for vast numbers of orphaned and abandoned children of Florence.

11)  The majority of the children given to the care of the Ospedale degli Innocenti were girls from underprivileged families.

12)  Illegitimate children often received acknowledgement from their fathers and assumed respectable positions in society.  Their mothers, however, were rarely able to marry after bearing a child outside of wedlock.

13)  The Florentine government was intent upon eliminating infanticide and homosexuality.  To combat the latter, they even went so far as to open government-funded brothels.

14)  Homosexuality merited significantly harsher punishments than rape.

Part Three – the Beginning of World History

1A)  The gradual shift from the medieval world to the modern world is characterized by European exploration, exploitation, and conquest.

1B)  The Atlantic Ocean presented new opportunities for trade free from war, piracy, and the authority of the naval powers (e.g. the Ottomans, the Venetians) seeking to dominate the Mediterranean.

1C)  The Portuguese traded gold and slaves from the western cost of Africa.

2)  Prince Henry the Navigator instigated further Portuguese expeditions, financed by proceeds from the Order of Christ.

3)  Famous Portuguese explorers include Bartholomeu Dias (who sailed to the Cape of Good Hope), Vasco de Gama (who later sailed to India via the Cape of Good Hope), and Ferdinand Magellan (who led a voyage to circumnavigate the earth.)
4)  The Portuguese ventured into new lands with the hopes of achieving fame and glory, discovering vast riches, and/or converting the native peoples to the Christian religion.

5)  The Treaty of Tordesillas prevented war between Spain and Portugal by apportioning equal shares of the land bordering the Atlantic. 

1D)  The Travels of Marco Polo greatly influenced the European explorers who sailed east during the late fifteenth century with little other knowledge of what they might find there.

2)  Isabella of Castile and Ferdinand of Aragon financed Columbus’s voyages. 

3)  Columbus and his crew intended to claim territory and gold for Castile (while defeating and evangelizing the native peoples).

4)  When Columbus ascertained on his second voyage that there was no gold to be found on the Caribbean Islands, the Spaniards continued to pursue profit in the new lands by enslaving the native peoples. 

5)  Eventually, Spain began sending priests and government officials to cement their position and reap further benefits in the New World.

1E)  Whereas slaves had previously been captives, prisoners, and occasionally purchases from all manner of races, Portuguese traders turned the process of procuring slaves into an industry that generated hordes of Africans for sale to suit the needs of large plantations.

1F)  The largest empires in America before the arrival of the Europeans were the Aztecs and the Incas in the highlands of Mexico and Peru.

2)  Hernán Cortés conquered the Aztec empire with the help of other local tribes.  Francisco Pizzarro conquered the Incas and took control of the Andes Mountains.  Spain ultimately claimed almost all of South America. 

3)  The first three European powers to establish colonies in the Americas were Portugal, Spain, and France.


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Crisis and renaissance 1340 1500 summary