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Essay/Term paper: Medieval europe and the renaissance

Essay, term paper, research paper:  Humanities

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When I look at the conflicts that medieval European people faced and the conflicts that modern people face, I see a huge difference. Our government, economics, science, mobility, art, literacy and health are very different. Some aspects of religion are different, but not many. The Black Death and feudalism are some major contributions to the medieval times.

The Black Death is known as a beneficial divider between the central and Middle Ages. The changes are numerous. They include the introduction of gunpowder, importance of cities, economic and demographic crises, and powerful new currents in culture and religion. Overall, the late middle ages were characterized as a period of chaos. The Black Death did not cause the chaos, but the plague definitely contributed towards it, as well as making more problems. The Black Death erupted in the Gobi desert in the late 1320"s. There is no real explanation why. The plague bacillus was alive and active long before that. Europe had suffered from an epidemic in the 6th century. But the disease became relatively dormant in the following centuries. It is said that it was due to the climate beginning to cool in the 14th century. Whatever it was, the outbreak began and spread fast. It mostly went west, but it spread everywhere. The Asian nations suffered greatly as anywhere. In China, the population dropped from 125 million to 90 million. The plague was so widespread; it was said that there was not enough living to bury the dead. Rodents ran the unsanitary streets that carried the fleas that had the disease. This is how the Bubonic Plague was spread. The people believed at the time that the gods were punishing them for things they had done wrong in the past. The Bubonic Plague is transmitted either though an infected rodent (rats, rabbits, etc.) carrying bugs (fleas). It was first thought that the rats themselves transmitted the Bubonic Plague because when people found dead rats in the towns' streets, they would usually flee their civilization in fear of the rodents. But it was observed that people would only get the disease if they came in contact with a rodent or rat that was dead for a short amount of time. The Bubonic Plague is not very common these days, but that is because we live in the United States where our sanitary level is fairly high. But in Africa, Asia, and South America, several people die from it every year. In fact, there is reported that worldwide there are one thousand to three thousand cases of the Bubonic Plague each year. In the United States, the Bubonic Plague is only found in warmer and more unsanitary regions like the southwest (Arizona, New Mexico, etc.). Around ten to fifteen or so a year are infected with the Bubonic Plague, and of them, only 14 percent (one out of seven) actually die from the disease. The last outbreak of the Bubonic Plague in the United States was in the years of 1924 to 1925 in Los Angeles. The Bubonic Plague virus was discovered and isolated in 1984 by two men in Hong Kong, Japan known as Yersin and Kitasato.

In the 1400"s, the feudal system became weak and the national governments became stronger. People put more emphasis on humanism than on the church. This period was called the Renaissance. During this time, technology became more advanced, as well as art, literature, and education. The Renaissance took place between 1300 and 1600 according to modern scholars. Many dramatic changes happened during the Renaissance. This was a period of new inventions and beliefs.

During the Renaissance, technology became more available to the common public. The printing press was invented during this time. This invention made it possible for books to be published, not handwritten. Ideas of the Renaissance were spread in some of these books and the common people were able to have a copy of the Bible. Some other inventions were the astrolabe, the quadrant, and the compass. These devices were used in sailing. The quadrant and the astrolabe told the person where they were, and the compass told them the direction they were going in. Ships were also invented at this time.

The Protestant Reformation caused the weakening of the Roman Catholic Church. This brought out the different reactions about how the people felt about church and its importance in their lives. This led to the exploration of different lands and religions. The people started learning about Rome and Greece. They learned about these two countries" culture and art. They also contributed to the development to the Age of Exploration. This happened because the Catholic Church wanted more souls. They thought they could go to America to convert the Native Americans.

Trade began to grow. This brought on the wealthy middle class of doctors, lawyers, and bankers. These people had more money so they became more educated and more self-sufficient. They did not have to rely on the feudal system anymore and that led to the expansion of a powerful national government. Since the middle classes were wealthy, they could afford trips across the ocean. They could also buy books and art.

The Age of Exploration was caused by the Renaissance period. Technology became more advanced, the Catholic Church was reformed and a middle class emerged. These new ideas encouraged people to explore and discover new things. In our present life, we have a strong middle class, religious freedom and a lot of technology advances. If the Renaissance would not have happened, it"s possible that we wouldn"t have these things or that America would not even been discovered.


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