Archive | October, 2018

The Doge’s Palace, Venice D.18.10.31

30 Oct

In the late middle ages was the Doge’s Palace in Venice – located across the Venetian Lagoon. The Doge is the Venetian word for what other Italians call the duce, the duke, the leader.
The Doge’s palace was the place where the leader of Venice lived. Venice was a republic, and the Doge was an elected official, though he was elected to a lifetime term.
This made the Venetian government a little different than many other governments of this period.
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The Unrest of the Ages D.18.10.30

29 Oct

The 14th and 15th Centuries were not all doom and gloom. The disruptions of war, the plague and schism led people to seek new ways of living and thinking. This contributed to the rediscovery and re-imagining of classical culture that we now call the Italian Renaissance.
Once Europe began to recover from the plague, the economy flourished and urban life increased, especially in the wealthy trading areas of Northern Italy and the low countries of the mouth of the Rhine.
In many ways, it was this new urban culture in cities like Florence, Venice, and Antwerp that gave rise to the modern world.
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The Medieval Dispute in the Church D.18.10.29

28 Oct

The church dispute of the three popes in Europe was resolved in the early 15th Century, and the papacy returned permanently to Rome where it can still be found today.
There is no doubt that this major destabilization of the institution of the papacy laid the ground for the protestant reformation of the next century.
It was easier for Luther and others to reject papal authority since that authority had been so seriously put into question by the schism of the 14th Century.
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Changes in the Medieval Church D.18.10.28

27 Oct

The return of Pope Gregory XI from France to Rome in 1377, there was schism in the church which had to be healed.
At that time there were three different people claiming to be popes all at once. Different areas of Europe declared allegiance to different popes based not on religion but politics.
None of this had anything to do with doctrinal difference. It was whichever pope was thought to have more influence; Then that particular country would go that way.
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Medieval Local and Worldly Church Powers D.18.10.27

26 Oct

The popes of old times were concerned with worldly power as well as spiritual affairs. This made it obvious to everyone that the determining factors seemed to be politics and not religion.
In 1377, Pope Gregory XI decided to return to Rome from France. Enough was enough. Rather than settling issues the move made things worse.
Once Gregory left and went back to Rome, French cardinals elected a second Pope who stayed in Avignon.
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Pope and Power D.18.10.26

25 Oct

In 1309 the Pope, whose authority was based on his position as the successor of St. Peter as the bishop of Rome, left Rome with his court and moved to Avignon in the south of France.
Seven successive Popes lived in Avignon, not Rome and all were not surprisingly French. They lived in France, not for any religious reason but because of the influence of the French monarchy.
The French king wanted the Pope to live in France so that he would have more influence over him. This politicization of the papacy made the office seem less spiritual, and more obviously influenced by worldly power.
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Medieval Wars D.18.10.25

24 Oct

The Medieval wars saw great victories particularly by the English but none that were decisive. It wore on endlessly, devastating large areas and wrecking countless lives for more than the hundred years.
Religious faith often offered comfort for earthly misfortune. But in those years, the Catholic church was torn by a political conflict that massively undermined Papal authority.
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The 14th Century D.18.10.24

23 Oct

As if the Plague were not enough, the 14th Century was a time of almost constant warfare throughout much of Europe.
England and France were engaged in the aptly named Hundred Years War. Arising from the fact that the English king held title to French lands.
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Depopulation from the Medieval Plague D.18.10.23

22 Oct

Depopulation was an unimaginable tragedy. The labor shortages following the plague meant that there was more employment, and that workers had more power in the economy.
The traditional customs tying people to the land broke down, helping to move the economy from feudalism and serfdom to the beginnings of a modern wage economy.
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Medieval Medicine D.18.10.22

21 Oct

The plague spread throughout medieval Europe and given the rudimentary state of European medicine and science, no one at the time had any idea how the plague was spread.
They knew it was better to be in the country than in crowded cities but that was about it. The impact of the plague was enormous and hard to quantify, especially so long after the fact.
The scale of loss is hard to imagine. Many people at the time believed the plague had to be a punishment sent by God. That was the only thing that could explain such a massive and universal calamity. Some people turned to religion for comfort. Others focused instead on the immediate pleasures of earthly life.
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