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Renaissance started with the significant improvement of the economic status of Florence which was spawned after the Black Death, a plague that wiped out at least one third of the population of all of Europe at the High or End of the Middle Age. …
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The Contrasting Period of the Dark Age and the Enlightenment Period
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The Contrasting Period of the Dark Age and the Enlightenment Period Perhaps the two most contrasting period in the history of mankind where human being’s potential and capacity for creativity and innovation was repressed and then later blossomed was during the Dark Age and the Enlightenment Period. It is contradictory that even the meaning and usage of the word is a direct opposition to the other with the root of enlightenment which is the light is directly opposed to the contrasted word “Dark”. It was during the Dark Age, around circa 5th to 15th AD, where religion and superstition pervaded and even sanctioned by the state and the church that almost all aspect of life was governed not by rational thinking, but by blind faith and unquestioning obedience to the church. This was the time where church and religion almost governed all aspects of the human life. The worst thing during this period was that science, art and anything that has something to do with human creativity and innovation that did not conform to the doctrine of the Catholic dogma, was deemed as “heresy” and thus, severely penalized. Punishment ranged from suffering the racks, whipping, dipping in cesspools, to burning at the stake. This period was mainly characterized by brutality and assault to the human mind and dignity. During this time, war was perpetual and unabated, where people were poor and constantly displaced by conflict over land and territory disputes that migration of people due to the eradication of cities was common. Education was also confined to the monasteries that majority cannot read and write. It was the time where people were still thinking that the sun revolves around the earth where the Inquisition sits as Judge Supreme especially on cases such as heresy. “Heresy inquisitions involved the pursuit, arrest, interrogation, possible torture, and punishment (most notoriously with death penalty) of those who persistently, after attempts at correction, refused to “believe as the Roman church teaches and preaches” (Ames, 2005, pg. 12). The trouble was that the Church saw itself as the custodian of all truth and it had taken up a very dogmatic stance in every area of human knowledge. (Harvey, 2006, pg. 472) In contrast to this was the Renaissance or the Enlightenment Period. If there is one moment at which most people define the birth of modern Europe civilization, it is surely the period between 1400 and 1600 known as the Renaissance. . . where significant intellectual and artistic developments that led to social changes can be best traced in Europe, particularly in Florence, Italy, during the High Middle Age when the economic condition of the people of Europe significantly improved(De Grazia, 2007, pg. 458). Renaissance started with the significant improvement of the economic status of Florence which was spawned after the Black Death, a plague that wiped out at least one third of the population of all of Europe at the High or End of the Middle Age. As the population was significantly diminished by the plague, the supply for labor also diminished. As a result, this shortage of workers necessitated the rising of the wages of workers along with the increasing demand for them. And as higher wages bettered the standard of living of many of the citizens of Florence, feudal serfdom was no longer necessary and eventually died out. This higher wages also meant purchasing power for the workers which made the economy robust providing merchants and citizens alike the money and resources to dabble on arts and science. This better economic condition of Europe also facilitated invention, particularly the invention of the printing press which made books and written text readily available to the general public. Where before books were only available in the monasteries, printing press made it available especially to the rising middle class and merchants who are able to afford them. This invention was a significant vehicle in dispersing to the general population the rediscovery of the humanist thoughts and renewed interest in classical ideas that it became a movement in almost all aspect of European life. The Renaissance is the invention (or beginning) of every modern this-or-that: of subjectivity, the literary, literary subjectivity, pragmatism, technology, the world market, mercantile capitalism, commodity fetishism, slavery, contact with the East, urban sprawl, providentially driven fatality akin to terrorism, every manner of consciousness and the unconscious, including historical consciousness and more recently ecological consciousness (De Grazia, 2007, pg. 458). While the opposite of it which repressed human ingenuity was its precursor which is the Dark Age. REFERENCES: De Grazia, Margreta. The Modern Divide: From Either Side.. Journal of Medieval & Early Modern Studies, Fall2007, Vol. 37 Issue 3, p453-467, 15p; DOI: 10.1215/10829636-2007-008 Ames, Christine Caldwell. Does Inquisition Belong to Religious History? American Historical Review, Feb2005, Vol. 110 Issue 1, p11-37, 27p Harvey, Simon, The Enlightenment and Ideas of Liberty in Europe; Asia Europe Journal, December 2006, v. 4, iss. 4, pp. 471-76 Read More
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