A World Lit Only by Fire: The Medieval Mind and the by William Manchester

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By William Manchester

From stories of chivalrous knights to the barbarity of trial by means of ordeal, no period has been a better resource of awe, horror, and beauty than the center a while. In handsomely crafted prose, and with the grace and authority of his outstanding reward for narrative heritage, William Manchester leads us from a civilization tottering near to cave in to the grandeur of its rebirth--the dense explosion of strength that spawned a few of history's maximum poets, philosophers, painters, adventurers, and reformers, in addition to a few of its such a lot stunning villains--the Renaissance.

Using in simple terms secondary resources, Manchester plunges readers into the medieval way of thinking in an enthralling, marvelously brilliant renowned background that humanizes the tumultuous span from the darkish a while to the sunrise of the Renaissance. He delineates an age whilst invisible spirits infested the air, while tolerance was once visible as treachery and "a mafia of profane popes desecrated Christianity." along with re-creating the laborious lives of normal humans, the Wesleyan professor of heritage peoples his tapestry with such figures as Leonardo, Machiavelli, Lucrezia Borgia, Erasmus, Luther, Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn. Manchester ( The fingers of Krupp ) devotes a lot consciousness to Magellan, whose globe-straddling voyage shattered Christendom's implicit trust in Europe because the heart of the universe. His portrayal of the center a while as a time whilst the robust and the smart flourished, whereas the creative, the cerebral and the unlucky suffered, earrings real.

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In 1215 the medieval papacy had reached its culmination at the Fourth Lateran Council, held in a Roman palace which, before Nero confiscated it, had been the home of the ancient Laterani family. The council, representing the entire Church, was brilliantly attended. Its decrees were of supreme importance, covering confession, Easter rites, clerical and lay reform, and the doctrine of transubstantiation, an affirmation that at holy communion bread and wine are transformed into the body and blood of Christ.

This lockstep continued for a period of time roughly corresponding in length to the time between the Norman conquest of England, in 1066, and the end of the twentieth century. Inertia reinforced the immobility. Any innovation was inconceivable; to suggest the possibility of one would have invited suspicion, and because the accused were guilty until they had proved themselves innocent by surviving impossible ordeals—by fire, water, or combat—to be suspect was to be doomed. EVEN DURING the Great Schism, as the interstice of the rival popes came to be known, the Holy See remained formidable.

1000—are still widely known as the Dark Ages. ” Yet there are no survivors to be offended. Nor is the term necessarily pejorative. Very little is clear about that dim era. Intellectual life had vanished from Europe. Even Charlemagne, the first Holy Roman emperor and the greatest of all medieval rulers, was illiterate. ” Nevertheless, if value judgments are made, it is undeniable that most of what is known about the period is unlovely. After the extant fragments have been fitted together, the portrait which emerges is a mélange of incessant warfare, corruption, lawlessness, obsession with strange myths, and an almost impenetrable mindlessness.

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