Sunday, May 31, 2009

When Did the Middle Ages End for You?

Voting is over and I do not like the poll staying on the top of every page so I am transferring the info to an entry.

With the fall of Constantinople in 1453  - 1 vote (11%)
With the discovery of the New World in 1492  - 3 votes (33%)
With the birth of Petrarch in 1304 - 0 votes (0%)
When Martin Luther posted his '95 Theses' on the door of
All Saints Church in 1517  - 2 votes (22%)
Other   - 3 votes (33%)

the poll is closed, there were a total of 9 votes. 

Sunday, May 17, 2009

The End of the Middle Ages

       I picked 1492 and the discovery of North and South America by Europeans as my point at which the Middle Ages ended but lately I have been wondering if that is the best date.
It is a time when the discovery of this whole other continent and foods and peoples changed the face of Europe but 1453 has much to recommend it also.
      The Middle Ages are held to have begun with the fall of Rome in 410 at the hands of Alaric the Visigoth.  It is an important moment and shook the faith of the Christians so much so that Augustine of Hippo wrote his book City of God in response to the question that if this was the true faith, why did God allow the city to fall.  It had stood for so many centuries while it was pagan.
       Constantine, fearing the advances of the Germanic tribes, had already removed the capital of the Roman Empire to a new city which he named Constantinople, now called Istanbul. This move split the empire into the Western Roman Empire and the Eastern.  So it is fitting, in a way, that the Middle Ages end with the fall of the Eastern Empire since it began with the fall of the Western.
       Petrach was an Italian writer who re-discovered Classical writers and 'began' the movement towards Humanism.  He is also credited with coining the phrase "Dark Ages". 
     When Martin Luther translated the Bible into German so that everyone could read it, it heralded the end of the power of the Roman Church which had ruled the Middle Ages.
     So what do you think? Which year really showed that the Middle Ages were over and done with?
     There are other options like the arrival of the Black Death.  The end of the Hundred Years War and some even choose the French Revolution as the final nail in the casket of the Middle Ages. 
(voting is over, results shown in previous post)