Some Considerations

1348–52 The Black Death; death by bubonic plague of 1/3 to 2/5 of the population of Europe

Foundation of the Knights of the Garter, first of the chivalric 'Orders of Knighthood'—play-acting rather than serious warfare, romantic rather than realistic. If knighthood was still in flower, the scent was patchouli.

The Hundred Years War (France & England)
  • 1346–Battle of Crécy
  • 1356–Battle of Poitiers
  • 1415–Battle of Agincourt
    Jeanne d' Arc of Domrémy (hero and martyr) 1428–1430

The Great Schism: two popes (Rome, Avignon) and then three (Pisa) at the same time. Ended by an Ecumenical Council at Constanz in Switzerland (1417) which deposed the various pretenders and elected a new pope (Martin V). Despite papal claims, it seems that at least once a Church Council was superior to the popes. There is actually another case: Pope Honorius I (625–638) was condemned for heresy by an Ecumenical Council (Constantinople, 681). [See: J. Chapman, The Condemnation of Pope Honorius I (1907).]

Henry of Portugal ('Prince Henry the Navigator', 1394–1460): organization of the first expeditions to the Canary Islands, Central Africa, Madeira (1438), Sierra Leone (1450's).

Moveable type. The printing press: first wood-block prints by 1423, popularized by Johann Fust, his son-in-law Peter Schöffer, and the former's partner, Johannes Gutenberg, in Mainz ('Gutenberg's Bible': 1452-1456). Presses established at Strassburg (1460), Subiaco (1464), Cologne (1464), Rome (1467), Basel (1467), Venice (1469), Nuremberg (1470), Paris (1470), Utrecht (1470). See: S. H. Steinberg, Five Hundred Years of Printing (Penguin 1955).

May 29: The Fall of Constantinople to Mohammed II. End of the Byzantine Empire of Constantine XI.
1485 England: Wars of the Roses end. Tudor Dynasty: 1485–1603.

Spain: The Reconquista and the founding of the Spanish Inquisition, under the direction of Cardinal Ximenes and the Dominican priest Tomas de Torquemada.
1492-1498 The voyages of Christopher Columbus. Discovery of the 'New World' (though Columbus always thought and wrote that he had discovered the western route to India).
ca. 1498 (Allegedly) first case of syphilis in Europe (a gift to one of Columbus' sailors from the New World). See Girolamo Fracastoro (1478–1553) Syphilis, sive de morbo Gallico (1530).
1517 Prof. Dr. Martin Luther, an Augustinian brother, teaching in the University of Wittenburg, posted his "95 Theses" on October 31.

© 7/21/2003
January 22, 2010 8:31 PM

John Paul Adams, CSUN

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