During the Middle Ages, the scientific understanding of cosmology was a combination of the ideas of Aristotle, Ptolemy, and others. They believed in a fixed, motionless earth at the center of a series of cocentric spheres where there were perfectly spherical planets in circular orbits at a constant speed. This theory is known as the … Continue reading The Heliocentric Model of the Solar System, the Role of Religion, and the Enlightenment.
The German Reformation began in 1517 when Martin Luther nailed his 95 theses on the door of the castle church in Wittenberg. Luther challenged many of the teachings of the Catholic church, such as indulgences, papal authority, and devotion to the saints. His teachings began the Protestant Reformation, which divided Western Europe religiously as had … Continue reading The English, German, and Catholic Reformations
In 1520, Martin Luther wrote a book called On the Freedom of a Christian. Luther continued discussion on the doctrine of justification by faith, which said that faith alone justifies people so they can have eternal life. Luther said that good works, or good actions that we do, can not get us to heaven. Only … Continue reading Martin Luther’s On the Freedom of a Christian & John Calvin’s Institutes of the Christian Religion
The condition of the Catholic church on the eve of the Protestant reformation was mixed. Piety and lukewarmness existed alongside each other. People were more attracted to the more dramatic aspects of religion, such as the arrival of popular preachers, high masses on important feast days, feast days of patron saints, and pilgrimages to the … Continue reading The Catholic Church on the Eve of the Protestant reformation & Martin Luther’s 95 Theses
The Black Death was a deadly outbreak of the plague that arrived in Europe in the mid 14th century. The Black death impacted Medieval society immensely, and the outlook of the people was changed permanently. In the words of Boccaccio in his Decameron that: "...practices contrary to the former habits of the citizens would hardly … Continue reading Are the Decameron and the Canterbury Tales closer in outlook to Greek and Roman literature than they are to Hebrew, Christian, and medieval literature?
Marsilius of Padua was a philosopher who lived in the 13th and 14th centuries AD. He wrote a book called Defensor Pacis, which dealt with political and religious themes. He believed that the state was not subject to ecclesiastical oversight and in the autonomous state. He said that governments should not be subject to any … Continue reading Louis of Bavaria and the teachings of Marsilius of Padua
In Boccaccio’s Decameron, he offered an account of the Black Death in 1348 and described how it affected Florence. Boccaccio said that the origin of the plague was in the east, and that it arrived in Florence even though numerous precautions had been taken by the people. The people of Florence tried to prevent the … Continue reading Boccaccio’s Decameron: His Account of the Black Death Compared to His Stories
The Prince is a political work written in 1513 during the Renaissance by the humanist writer Machiavelli. Machiavelli suggested several strategies to his readers on how to be a good prince. He suggested that it is better to be feared than loved, because fear motivates people to do things, while love of a prince can … Continue reading Machiavelli and The Prince
In the epic poem The Song of Roland and the book The Little Flowers of St. Francis of Assisi, we see very little instruction to the common man. Both of them speak of groups of people who were considered especially holy by many people, and speak of their deeds. These people were put on a … Continue reading Late Medieval literature and Christian guidance for the common man
The Little Flowers of St. Francis of Assisi had several stories about the afterlife of some friars in the Franciscan order. One of the stories describes a devout friar named John Della Penna. He joined the Franciscan Order as a child, expecting to go to heaven at once. He did not go to heaven as … Continue reading Did The Little Flowers give the common man confidence regarding life beyond the grave?