Early Modern Society, ca. 1500 –  politics and religion Richard Fitzsimmons Strathallan School
Introduction <ul><li>Around 1480, Europe was in a state of flux and change … the ‘stable’ world of the medieval period see...
Politics … <ul><li>Europe consisted of five power blocs. Within each, and between each, relations were often very unstable...
Europe around 1520
France <ul><li>Only recently relieved from English and Burgundian rule, France was ruled by the Valois family </li></ul><u...
Spain <ul><li>The kingdoms of Aragon and Castile were united under Ferdinand and Isabella in 1479. </li></ul><ul><li>Grana...
Italy <ul><li>Italy was a confused mixture of small states, each of them in conflict with their neighbours. </li></ul><ul>...
Holy Roman Empire <ul><li>Rulers of the Empire were elected, though since 1437 the Habsburgs had taken the throne. </li></...
Fringes of Europe <ul><li>Even the fringes of Europe were unstable … </li></ul><ul><li>Scandinavia – joint kingdom of Denm...
The condition of the Church … <ul><li>The Papacy was in theory supreme ruler over the Catholic church, though in practice ...
Criticism of the Church … <ul><li>In the Middle Ages, the clergy had often been criticised both by ordinary people, and by...
What were the criticisms ? <ul><li>Simony – the selling of important offices in the Church to the highest bidder (e.g. Alb...
What did people believe ? <ul><li>In medieval Europe, people’s lives were often short.  Simple diseases killed many people...
What did people believe ? <ul><li>If you had been a good Christian but not received all the proper spiritual supports from...
Obsession with death …? <ul><li>The passion and pattern of the Christian life and death. This complex 15 th  C German illu...
The Penitential Cycle
Seven Sacraments <ul><li>Baptism  – introduction to the community and Church </li></ul><ul><li>Confirmation  – when the in...
How did the Church affect everyday life ? <ul><li>‘ Holy’ days and feast days </li></ul><ul><li>Key festivals such as Chri...
What happened next ? <ul><li>The main drive for Church reform came from the laity, as many became dissatisfied with orthod...
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Early Modern Society, Politics And Religion

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Early Modern Society, Politics And Religion

  1. 1. Early Modern Society, ca. 1500 – politics and religion Richard Fitzsimmons Strathallan School
  2. 2. Introduction <ul><li>Around 1480, Europe was in a state of flux and change … the ‘stable’ world of the medieval period seemed increasingly under threat. Why ? </li></ul><ul><li>The increasing power of monarchs in particular countries (e.g. Spain and France) </li></ul><ul><li>The development of the ‘nation state’, threatening the overall authority of the Holy Roman Empire, and the Papacy </li></ul><ul><li>Rulers began to claim ‘absolute’ power, limited only by, and answerable to, God. </li></ul>
  3. 3. Politics … <ul><li>Europe consisted of five power blocs. Within each, and between each, relations were often very unstable … </li></ul><ul><li>Western Europe – France, Burgundy, England </li></ul><ul><li>Iberia – Castile, Aragon, Portugal </li></ul><ul><li>Italian States – Venice, Milan, Florence, Naples, Papal States </li></ul><ul><li>Holy Roman Empire – based in central Europe and ruled by the Habsburg family </li></ul><ul><li>The Ottoman Empire </li></ul>
  4. 4. Europe around 1520
  5. 5. France <ul><li>Only recently relieved from English and Burgundian rule, France was ruled by the Valois family </li></ul><ul><li>Louis IX (1461-83) had consolidated royal power and secured a number of marriage treaties which were later to add the southern Netherlands and Burgundy to the kingdom. </li></ul><ul><li>Charles VIII (1483-98) invaded Burgundy and provoked war with the Holy Roman Empire – this war was later to break out again under the following French king Francis I, and his rival HRE Charles V in the 1520s. </li></ul>
  6. 6. Spain <ul><li>The kingdoms of Aragon and Castile were united under Ferdinand and Isabella in 1479. </li></ul><ul><li>Granada was added to the kingdom in 1492, completing the reconquista and expelling the moors from the Iberian peninsula. </li></ul><ul><li>This branch of the Habsburg family laid the foundations for later greatness under Charles I and his son Philip II. </li></ul><ul><li>Portugal was more interested in investing time in her overseas empire. </li></ul>
  7. 7. Italy <ul><li>Italy was a confused mixture of small states, each of them in conflict with their neighbours. </li></ul><ul><li>Venice: the strongest and most important trading state. </li></ul><ul><li>Milan: controlled by the Sforza family – politically ambitious, particularly towards Papacy … </li></ul><ul><li>Florence: controlled by the Medici family – also politically ambitious and frequently aided Italy’s instability. </li></ul><ul><li>Papal states – ruled by the Popes as secular rulers. </li></ul><ul><li>Kingdoms of Sicily and Naples – often fought over by Habsburgs, Valois and others </li></ul>
  8. 8. Holy Roman Empire <ul><li>Rulers of the Empire were elected, though since 1437 the Habsburgs had taken the throne. </li></ul><ul><li>But, the empire was not a unified territory – it consisted of + 300 states, all of which clung strongly onto their own privileges. </li></ul><ul><li>The Emperor was the figurehead of the Empire, but also claimed to be the secular leader of Europe; the Habsburgs ruled directly over some lands in Austria and the Netherlands. </li></ul>
  9. 9. Fringes of Europe <ul><li>Even the fringes of Europe were unstable … </li></ul><ul><li>Scandinavia – joint kingdom of Denmark and Norway had pretensions to unite with Sweden </li></ul><ul><li>Poland had to fight for its existence </li></ul><ul><li>Russia had recently (1480) been declared united under Ivan III </li></ul><ul><li>In south-east Europe the Ottomans had taken Constantinople in 1453, and were looking to expand into southern Europe. By 1480 the Ottomans had taken Serbia and Albania, reaching the Danube in Hungary. Only Hungary and Venice had had any success against the Ottomans, but the big question of most Christians was, would the Turks threaten the heartland of western Europe ? </li></ul>
  10. 10. The condition of the Church … <ul><li>The Papacy was in theory supreme ruler over the Catholic church, though in practice its authority had been in decline in clashes with the HRE. </li></ul><ul><li>Credibility had been seriously damaged during the period 1378-1417 when there were rival Papal courts at both Rome and Avignon – each claiming to be the source of true authority in the Church. </li></ul><ul><li>Successive Popes tried to establish positions as secular princes within Italy </li></ul><ul><li>Popes such as Alexander VI (Borgia) and Julius II were more concerned with military exploits than religious ones, or in advancing the cause of their families within Italy. </li></ul><ul><li>There were increasing challenges to Papal authority over the right to appoint to senior positions within the Church in several countries – e.g. France, Spain … </li></ul>
  11. 11. Criticism of the Church … <ul><li>In the Middle Ages, the clergy had often been criticised both by ordinary people, and by other clergy. Towards the end of the 15 th century these criticisms seemed to be getting louder and more numerous. This criticism is often referred to as anticlericalism … </li></ul><ul><li>Late 15 th C and early 16 th C literature satirised the clergy, particularly the monastic orders. Many felt that the Church had lost its way in teaching and in standards of clerical morality. </li></ul>Begetting the antichrist – Strasburg, 1480
  12. 12. What were the criticisms ? <ul><li>Simony – the selling of important offices in the Church to the highest bidder (e.g. Albrecht of Mainz ) </li></ul><ul><li>Pluralism – the holding of several Church jobs at once </li></ul><ul><li>Absenteeism – neglecting Church duties by not being there </li></ul><ul><li>Clergy who lacked money, education and proper knowledge of church doctrine </li></ul><ul><li>Lecherous monks and nuns leading scandalous lives in monasteries </li></ul><ul><li>BUT, be careful of painting too gloomy a picture of the Church – there were plenty of the lay people who were happy with the ‘service’ the Church was providing. </li></ul><ul><li>There were some church leaders who were devout, organised and determined to improve the standards of the clergy - e.g. Cardinal Ximenez de Cisneros in Spain. </li></ul><ul><li>Whilst a lot of criticism came from the clergy it was the laity who increasingly demanded reform. </li></ul>
  13. 13. What did people believe ? <ul><li>In medieval Europe, people’s lives were often short. Simple diseases killed many people. Only 40% of children born lived to become adults. Medieval scientific knowledge was very primitive, meaning people died young very often. They worried about what happened to them when they died. </li></ul><ul><li>The Church answered such concerns clearly and simply. There were three possibilities for a person when they died. </li></ul><ul><li>If you had been a good Christian, attended Church regularly, done good deeds and received the proper spiritual supports from a priest you would enjoy life after death in Heaven . </li></ul><ul><li>If you had not been a good Christian, ignored the Church, done things which were wrong, and received no spiritual supports from a priest you would suffer torment forever in Hell after death. </li></ul>
  14. 14. What did people believe ? <ul><li>If you had been a good Christian but not received all the proper spiritual supports from a priest you would spend time in Purgatory after death. In purgatory you suffered the torments of hell until you had made up for the unforgiven sins committed during your life. After this you would enter heaven. Prayers of people still on Earth, such as your relatives or monks, could shorten your time in purgatory. </li></ul><ul><li>The Church provided a sense of certainty in an uncertain world. As few people could read or write, paintings on church walls often showed the pleasures and joys of heaven beside the sufferings and torments of hell. This presented people very clearly with the possibilities awaiting them after death. </li></ul><ul><li>The Church offered hope of saving yourself from hell and reaching heaven. Everyone attended church every Sunday and on holy days such as Easter and Christmas. The priest was a central figure in everyone’s hopes for salvation. He supplied the essential spiritual supports without which, the Church taught, no-one could enter heaven. </li></ul>
  15. 15. Obsession with death …? <ul><li>The passion and pattern of the Christian life and death. This complex 15 th C German illustration offers a meditative focus for analysis of Christian life and death. At the foot of Christ’s cross, a soul appeals to Mary for aid to evade the Devil’s hook. </li></ul><ul><li>In the centre, on the left, three figures depict different relationships with the crucified Christ; imitatio in carrying the cross, confirmatio in sharing the pain of the five wounds and devotio in worship. </li></ul><ul><li>To the right, a dying Christian appeals to Christ while in the balance above him the arma Christi , the instruments of the Passion, outweigh the penitent’s sins. </li></ul>
  16. 16. The Penitential Cycle
  17. 17. Seven Sacraments <ul><li>Baptism – introduction to the community and Church </li></ul><ul><li>Confirmation – when the individual made their own vows to live a Christian life </li></ul><ul><li>Eucharist – in re-enaction of the Last Supper – could only be done by the priest (intermediary between God and Man) </li></ul><ul><li>Penance – punishment given by the priest to someone after confession (variety of punishments) </li></ul><ul><li>Marriage </li></ul><ul><li>Ordination – Holy Orders (becoming a priest) </li></ul><ul><li>Extreme Unction (Last Rites) – absolution (forgiveness) of sins on one’s deathbed </li></ul>
  18. 18. How did the Church affect everyday life ? <ul><li>‘ Holy’ days and feast days </li></ul><ul><li>Key festivals such as Christmas and Easter </li></ul><ul><li>Saints’ days </li></ul><ul><li>Pilgrimages to important religious sites eg. Rome, Canterbury, Jerusalem </li></ul><ul><li>Everyday services such as the Mass, weddings, burials, baptisms, confession etc </li></ul><ul><li>Economic ties such as tithes, alms for the poor etc </li></ul>
  19. 19. What happened next ? <ul><li>The main drive for Church reform came from the laity, as many became dissatisfied with orthodox interpretation of Catholic belief, or the moral laxity of the clergy. </li></ul><ul><li>Evidence of a growing interest by the laity in the workings of the Church, fuelled by a greater desire for personal salvation, and their commitment to making the Church ‘work’ … </li></ul><ul><li>- establishment of chanteries to say prayers for the dead </li></ul><ul><li>- lay confraternities (esp. in Germany) </li></ul><ul><li>- building of new Churches and chapels in Germany </li></ul><ul><li>- collections of relics (e.g. Frederick of Saxony – 17,443) </li></ul><ul><li>- up-surge in pilgrimages (Rome, Jerusalem, Compostella) </li></ul><ul><li>- renewed interest in religious cults – Virgin Mary, saints </li></ul><ul><li>- advent of printing meant greater access to religious and devotional literature than before. </li></ul>

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