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Euro Kagan, Western Heritage Essay Sample

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1. What were the underlying and precipitating causes of the Hundred Years’ War? What advantages did each side have? Why were the French able to drive the English almost entirely out of France?

The first underlying and precipitating cause of the Hundred Years’ War was that England and France were too closely proximate emergent territorial powers. Another cause of the Hundred Years’ War was that Edward III of England was a vassal of Philip the Fair of France, and therefore held several sizeable French territories as fiefs. Also one of the underlying and precipitating causes of the Hundred Years’ was the quarrel between the French and the English for the fief of Flanders. The advantages of the English were;

* France’s struggle to become a centralized “modern state” from a fragmented feudal society.
* France borrowing from Italian bankers in order the fund the war, which created many internal conflicts.
* Military superiority over the French

* Frances’s mediocre royal leadership
The advantages of the French were;
* Three times the population of the English
* France was wealthier then England
* The French also fought on their soil.
The French were able to drive the English almost entirely out of France because of the Peace of Bretigny. 2. What were the causes of the Black Death, and why did it spread so quickly throughout Western Europe? Where was it most virulent? What were its effects on European society? How important do you think disease is in changing the course of history?

The causes of the Black Death were the decades of overpopulation, economic depression, famine, and bad health that Europe suffered. The reason it spread so quickly is because no one’s immune systems were prepared for a plague. And everyone was filthy because everyone bathed once a year. So if one trader got it from Verona, and came back to Paris, then it wasn’t long before the whole city was infected. The Black Death was most virulent in densely populated areas like the Netherlands. The Black Death created an importance of skilled artisan and reduced the economic power of the landed nobility. I think disease is very important to changing the course of history.

3. Discuss the struggle between Pope Boniface VIII and King Philip the Fair. Why was Boniface so impotent on the conflict? How had political conditions changed since the reign of Pope Innocent III in the late twelfth century, and what did that mean for the papacy?

Boniface was so impotent because it was an assault on traditional clerical rights. Political conditions changed because the French had started taxing the clergy. That meant that the clergy wouldn’t have enough money to function.

4. Briefly trace the history of the church from 1200 to 1450. How did it respond to the political power of the monarchs? How great an influence did the church have on secular events?

In ever endeavor by the royalty to instate the monarchy as the superpower; the palpate has done everything in their power to peacefully keep society’s faith in the clergy and the church. The church had much influence in secular events.

5. What was the Avignon papacy, and why did it occur? What effect did it have on the state of the papacy? What relation does it have to the Great Schism? How did the church become divided and how was it reunited? Why was the conciliar movement a setback for the papacy?

The Avignon papacy was the new innovated papacy, it occurred from Clement V’s challenge to the papacy’s agility both politically and economically. It expanded papal taxes and the practice of collecting annates. The great schism ended the Avignon papacy. The church was divided by the lollards and the hussites dispute and reformed by the great schism. Because they now had two popes who constantly argued about what was best for the church.

6. Why the kings were in the late thirteenth and fourteenth centuries able to control the church more than the church could control the kings? How did the kings attack the church in this period? Contrast these events with ones in earlier ones in which the pope dominated rulers.

The kings were able to control the church because the society had lost faith in the church due to the Black Death. Kings attacked the church by taxing them and controlling who the head clergy were. In older times there was no questioning of the church, so it was believed that if you prayed enough your ascension was inevitable, so if the king spoke up over the church then the church would excommunicate them and tell them they were going to hell. But when the Black Death struck, the first reaction was that if you prayed then you would be spared but that wasn’t the case because even some popes contracted the bubonic plagued. Faith was lost in the church.

Chapter 10
1. Discuss Jacob Burkhardt’s interpretation of the Renaissance. What criticisms have been leveled against it? How would you define renaissance in the context of fifteenth and sixteenth-century Italy?

Burkhardt’s interpretation of the renaissance implied that society was evolving in such a superior intellectual way that made Italians seem like a super race “full, whole nature of mankind” was achieved by the Italians, implying that no other race was too mediocrely advanced that they couldn’t even be called man. (In my opinion). Some of the criticisms of burkardt’s interpretation of the renaissance said that he overlooked the continuity between the middle ages and the renaissance. I would define the renaissance as a convenience that although needed to found what civilizations are today, is a load of luck, Events that happened perfectly to aid the advancement of the day’s modern society.

2. How would you define the renaissance humanism? In what ways was the renaissance a break with the Middle Ages and in what ways did it owe it’s existence to medieval civilization?

To me, renaissance humanism was determining what made a human, and also the belief that there was more to life then death. The renaissance was a break with the middle ages because the idea of humanism was started, in the early middle ages the idea of life was birth, work, reproduce, work, and die. Now there is the idea that life has more to offer then just an end.

3. Who were some of the famous literary and artistic figures of the Italian Renaissance? What did they have in common that might be described as “the spirit of the renaissance”?

Some of the famous figures of the renaissance were Dante, Erasmus, Raphael, Michelangelo, and Leonardo. What they had in common was that they were all alive at the same time and all knew each other, also, their art and writing was different and revolutionary.

4. Why did the French invade Italy in 1494? How did this event trigger Italy’s political decline? How do the actions of Pope Julius II and the ideas of Niccolo Machiavelli signify a new era in Italian civilization?

The French invaded because the Ludovico asked for their aid in a war between Milan and the rest of Italy’s superpowers. And the French then saw the weakness in Italy’s political power and exploited it. This event divided Italy. The ideas of these two revolutionary men symbolized the start of new area due to their ideas that showed the truth behind the everyday world, such as Machiavelli attending to things that everyone knew but no one would address.

5. A common assumption is that creative work proceeds best in periods of calm and peace. Given the combination of political instability and cultural productivity in renaissance Italy, do you think this assumption is valid?

No, because some of the creative work was fueled by turmoil and war, like the paintings of death during the time of the bubonic plague.

6. How did the renaissance in the north differ from the Italian renaissance? In what ways was Erasmus the embodiment of the northern renaissance?

The north being closer to the church was provided with less room to expand their ideas and progrees to a new era, because the church wanted to keep the old ways because the old ways held the church head of the society. Erasmus gave society leverage from the strangle hole of the church by translating the holy bible to English so the people didn’t have to go to church to pray.

7. What factors led to the voyages of discovery? How did the Spanish establish their empire in the Americas? Why was the conquest so violent? What’s was the experience of the native peoples during and after the conquest.

Factors that lead to the voyages were Spain’s economic success and the need for tradable resources. Spain established their empire by slaughtering all the local inhabitants of the islands and claiming them. During the conquest locals were raped, slaughtered, and killed. And after the conquest they grew a hatred for foreigners.

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