Christendom in the 15th Century

POPE ALEXANDER V (1409-1410)
POPE ALEXANDER V (1409-1410)
POPE GREGORY XII (1406-1415)
POPE GREGORY XII (1406-1415)

THREE POPES

The leading lights of the Catholic Church met at Pisa in 1409 to solve the problem of having two popes. It was at Pisa, that the church leaders decided that the solution to their problem would be to depose both men and declare a new pope. Unfortunately, the two popes refused to cooperate and accept their dethronement—so now there were three popes. Their desire for unification had only created further separation, and in turn, the existence of three popes filled Christendom with strife, crime, and tumult.


In 1411, one pope started a crusade against another, promising forgiveness of sins to anyone who would support him financially. All three popes soon made the same offers. Christians were confused. How could they know and be certain which of them was the Vicar of Christ; how could anyone be sure of where to lay their allegiance when three different men claimed the same title?


In 1414, 50,000 Catholics met in Constance. That meeting lasted a total of four years. The newest pope agreed to step down after evidence was presented that he was sexually voracious, and an avaricious murderer. The council itself attracted 700 prostitutes to Constance.


Four years later, the Council of Constance came to announce that the council itself, not the pope, was to be the final authority in the church. After all these centuries, the pope had a master.

POPE BENEDICT XIII (1394-1417)
POPE BENEDICT XIII (1394-1417)
POPE JOHN XXIII (1410-1415)
POPE JOHN XXIII (1410-1415)
JOAN OF ARC
JOAN OF ARC

JOAN OF ARC

Joan of Arc was born in 1412.  When she was thirteen-years-old, God spoke to her.  Four years later, she dressed in men’s clothes and led the French to a glorious victory over the English.  She was then deemed “The Maid of Orleans.”  Her virginity was a curious source of pride to the French soldiers. 

Joan of Arc wore a specially made suit of armor that created a stirring image around which her legend could flourish.  As her legend grew, she demanded that the soldiers of France not only give up swearing, and attend church, but that they must also refrain from looting— they complied. 

Joan was captured in 1430. After her capture, the English set up a church tribunal, which convicted her as a witch—wearing men’s clothes served as the convincing evidence.  She was led out to a market place in Rouen and burned at the stake.  She was nineteen years old. Thanks to her inspiration, the 116-year war, the Hundred Years War, ended in a victory over the English for France.  

BROTHELS

“The Golden Age of Prostitution” in Europe was from 1350 to 1480.  Public whorehouses were licensed to operate in most towns, sometimes as many as one for every 60 men.  It was seen by Church and state as a means to temper street disorder, and prepare young men for conjugal duty.  After 1480, everything changed.  Expensive courtesans served the wealthy, fallen women were reeducated, and men without means went without professional services.  

15TH CENTURY CAPITALISTS
15TH CENTURY CAPITALISTS

CAPITALISTS

The 15th Century saw the blossoming of Capitalism in Europe.  It began with people who had money in France backing merchants who had the desire and connections to import silk, spices, weapons, and armor from Italy. Soon, “bills of exchange” that were an early form of checks were created, to keep robbers from purloining gold en route from place to place to pay for goods.   It was not long before money and credit moved effortlessly around Europe. 

These pioneer capitalists are not the petty dealers and vendors, competing intensely in small-scale local market economies.  These men were of superior intelligence and commanded large sums of ready cash.  They would become rich and powerful long-distance merchants by concentrating on single transactions of great promise, eventually including money trading.  

EARLIEST COMPLETED WORK OF LEONARDO DA VINCI "THE ANNUNCIATION" (1475)
EARLIEST COMPLETED WORK OF LEONARDO DA VINCI "THE ANNUNCIATION" (1475)
CHALK PORTRAIT OF MICHELANGELO BY VOLTERRA
CHALK PORTRAIT OF MICHELANGELO BY VOLTERRA
SELF PORTRAIT OF RAPHAEL AS A TEENAGER
SELF PORTRAIT OF RAPHAEL AS A TEENAGER

RENAISSANCE

The Renaissance officially began in 1450, according to historians. At the time, it wielded no political, cultural, or social influence whatsoever in the everyday lives of people in large sectors of European society, and huge areas of European territory.

A burgeoning interest in classical learning and art had been gathering steam for three hundred years. The Renaissance is incomprehensible without reference to the depths of disrepute into which the previous fount of all authority, the Medieval Church, had fallen. The Renaissance freed princes from the control of the Roman Catholic Church. The Renaissance led to the Reformation, which led to the Scientific Revolution, which led to the Enlightenment.

The great men of the Renaissance, such as the artists Sandro Botticelli (1446-1510) and Raphael Santi (1483-1520), were filled with self-confidence. They credited God with their ingenuity, which they felt could, and should, be used to unravel the secrets of God’s universe. By extension, they felt that man could control and improve his fate on Earth.

The pioneering luminaries of the Renaissance include many Florentines such as the architect Filippo Brunelleschi (1379-1446); the sculptor Donatello (1386-1466); and the political writer Machiavelli (1469-1527). Florence is the “Mother of Modern Europe.”

The greatest of the Florentines was Leonardo da Vinci (1462-1519). His notebooks contain anatomical drawings; and designs for a helicopter, a submarine, and a machine gun. As a young boy he bought caged birds just to set them free. He did the same for the secrets of art and nature.

The causes of the Renaissance are deep and wide. The Byzantines who visited Ferrara, to reconcile the Church, also spent time in Florence. Some of them were persuaded to stay and teach Greek. Soon, westerners were reading the New Testament in the original language for the first time. Renaissance literature exploded in vernacular languages, and saw the world afresh in every way. The growth of cities and trade, technical progress, and the rise of Capitalism were major factors. The roots of it are in the realm of ideas.

Renaissance thinkers became known as “humanists.” Humanism featured a renewed interest in the human body, an emphasis on the sovereign state, and gave rise to the Protestant emphasis on individual conscience. The Renaissance masters saw no contradiction between humanism and Christianity. They would have been horrified at the suggestion. The overwhelming themes of European art were of Christian devotion. All of the great masters were Christian believers. One of the greatest, the mighty Michelangelo Buonarroti (1474-1564) created the sculpture David; painted the Sistine Chapel; and designed the dome of the new St Peter’s Basilica.

TOMB OF POPE NICHOLAS V
TOMB OF POPE NICHOLAS V
POPE JULIUS II AS PAINTED BY RAPHAEL IN 1512
POPE JULIUS II AS PAINTED BY RAPHAEL IN 1512

ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH

Lorenzo Valla (1406-1457) exposed the Donation of Constantine as a forgery, and the work of the devil; and proved that the apostles did not write the Apostles’ Creed. As a reward he was appointed secretary to Pope Nicholas V.

Nicholas V became the pope in 1447. He was an ambitious and cultured Florentine. Nicholas used the wealth of the Church to bring Renaissance art and architecture to Rome. He also collected the 1,200 manuscripts that started the Vatican Library. Rome was filled with new churches, and the pope and his top church officials lived in luxury and ostentatious splendor.

To raise money to pay for all of this, Pope Innocent VIII approved the sale of forgiveness, called “indulgences.” And he created thousands of meaningless ecclesiastical jobs, which he then sold to the highest bidder.

Pope Alexander VI was the infamous Rodrigo Borgia. He gained the office through huge bribes in 1492, at age 61, and moved into the Vatican with his 19-year-old girlfriend. Alexander’s passions were gold, women, and the careers of his bastard children.

Alexander had the Florentine reformer, hellfire preacher, and fanatical friar Savonarola (1452-1498), tortured and killed to silence his criticisms of the vast sex shows the pope was staging at the Vatican. Alexander also commissioned work from Michelangelo.

In 1506, Pope Julius II laid the foundation stone for a new St Peter’s church in Rome, the glorious abode for St Peter’s ancient corpse that we see there today.

The people of Europe were disgusted at the decadence of the clergy, and this would soon lead to religious revival. Europe was full of tales about the purchase of Church offices (Simony), rampant nepotism, promiscuous priests, idle monks, and above all, the sheer worldly wealth of the Roman Catholic Church.

SAVONAROLA STATUE FERRARA ITALY
SAVONAROLA STATUE FERRARA ITALY
SAVONAROLA BEING BURNT AT THE STAKE
SAVONAROLA BEING BURNT AT THE STAKE

SAVONAROLA

Savonarola was a serious and sensitive boy enamored with the study of religion. He was trained to be a physician but he joined the Dominicans to fight evil. Savonarola was deeply distressed by the corruption within the Catholic Church. He spent his young adulthood praying, fasting, teaching, and preaching. Many considered him to be a prophet.


Savonarola became popular and powerful. He was a good Catholic in all his ways except he did preach justification by faith and the importance of living a godly life.


Savonarola became the dictator of Florence, and the city underwent a startling transformation under his leadership. Churches were crowded, people read the Bible, businessmen returned ill-gotten gains, sinful carnivals became a time to serve the poor and sing hymns. But the Roman Catholic clergy hated him. He did not acknowledge the pope’s authority and openly condemned his character. The pope summoned Savonarola to Rome in 1495, but he refused to go.


In 1497, the children of Florence gathered a pile of indecent books and pictures and made a “Bonfire of the Vanities” of them while singing hymns.  Savonarola was soon after condemned of heresy by the pope, brutally tortured, hanged, and his body burnt.

GUTENBERG BIBLE (FIRST BOOK EVER PRINTED)
GUTENBERG BIBLE (FIRST BOOK EVER PRINTED)

GUTENBERG

Johann Gutenberg of Mainz, Germany invented the world’s first printing press in 1450. This invention revolutionized information technology, eventually made hand copyists obsolete, and transformed the western mind. Suddenly, limitless copies could be made of every book, cheaper than ever, and infinitely faster.

The first book to roll off the first printing press was the Bible, soon appearing in German, Italian, Dutch, French and Spanish. Finally, ordinary Christians could read the Bible for themselves and they were puzzled to find no mention in it of papacy, purgatory or pilgrimages.

In 1485, Europe’s first censorship office was set up in Frankfort, and the first edict banned vernacular translations of the Bible.

VLAD THE IMPALER HAVING A QUIET LUNCH
VLAD THE IMPALER HAVING A QUIET LUNCH

DRACULA

Vlad the Impaler (1431-1476) was the Prince of Wallachia, a kingdom squeezed between Hungary and the Ottoman Turks, both of which considered him their vassal.  As a 12-year-old boy he was held hostage by the Ottoman sultan, who subjected him to homosexual rape for years that is the source of his later psychiatric problems. 

Vlad, otherwise known as Dracula, escaped and rose to power in 1456.  He raised an army to fight the Muslims and in one expedition captured 23,833 prisoners, whom he impaled on a needle-thin stake, specially sharpened and greased, that was then rammed in the victim’s rectum and out through the mouth in such a way that the death throes could last for days.  Later, he decided to kill his own subjects.  Perhaps 20,000 men, women, and children were impaled on a forest of stakes beneath his castle window.  

WHERE DID THE SEPHARDIC JEWS GO WHEN EXPELLED FROM SPAIN IN 1492?
WHERE DID THE SEPHARDIC JEWS GO WHEN EXPELLED FROM SPAIN IN 1492?
KING FERDINAND & QUEEN ISABELLA OF SPAIN
KING FERDINAND & QUEEN ISABELLA OF SPAIN
CHRISTOPHER COLUMBUS AUDIENCE WITH FERDINAND AND ISABELLA
CHRISTOPHER COLUMBUS AUDIENCE WITH FERDINAND AND ISABELLA

SPAIN

Spain drove out the Muslims late in the 15th Century, and at the same time was transformed from a weak, backwater of Europe to a burgeoning superpower.  Some of the Muslims became pirates—corsairs—who terrorized the coasts of western and southern Europe for centuries, taking hundreds of thousands of slaves. 

King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella wanted a homogenous society in Spain comprised of nothing but Christians.  Henceforth, all of the 200,000 Jews living in Spain were expelled in 1492, for not converting within 90 days to Christianity. The catch was that all converts had to reveal anybody they knew who didn’t convert. 

Spain had been the safe haven for Jews for centuries, and had become the center of Jewish learning and finance.  Half of those expelled fled to Portugal, next door.  Many went to Northern Africa and Turkey, where they would have to live as second-class citizens under Muslim rule.  The only Christian nation that would take them was the Netherlands, and so many Jews moved there.

Spain had been the home for these Jewish families for fifteen hundred years.  They were expelled on August 2nd—the same day on the Hebrew calendar as the destruction of Jerusalem in 586 B.C. that began the exile to Babylon; the same day as the destruction of the temple of Jerusalem in 70 A.D. that began their exile among the Gentiles; the same day as their expulsion from England in 1290. 

The exiled Spanish Jews became known as the Sephardi, a corruption of the old word for Spain.  They remained dispersed until the creation of the state of Israel in 1948.

1492 was also the year that Cristobal Colon (1446-1506), who we know as Columbus, was named “Admiral of the Ocean” and sailed from Spain to the New World.   

SPANISH INQUISITION
SPANISH INQUISITION

SPANISH INQUISITION

The Spanish Inquisition, under Tomas de Torquemada, himself secretly a Jew, burnt 2,000 Christians suspected of backsliding.  Heresy and treason became indistinguishable. King Ferdinand personally attended the burnings and enjoyed them.

Pope Sixtus IV authorized the Spanish Inquisition in 1478.  It was to last for three hundred years. 32,000 Christians were burned at the stake during the entire history of the Spanish Inquisition.  321,000 other people were punished and had their property confiscated by the King.  

Grounds for arrest included rumors or accusations. Arrestees were held in secret prisons, with no contact with the outside world.  They could not know the names of their accusers or witnesses, nor were they allowed to see any documents pertaining to their case.  The charge could be simply saying that the Virgin Mary did not affect cures.  Virtually everyone arrested was tortured to extract a confession and the names of other supposed heretics. 

CHRISTOPHER COLUMBUS
CHRISTOPHER COLUMBUS

CHRISTOPHER COLUMBUS

Christopher Columbus and his brother were mapmakers in Lisbon.  As Columbus sailed westward into the unknown, he wrote Bible verses in his journal such these from Isaiah 49: “Listen to me, all of you in far-off lands! The Lord has called me before my birth; from within the womb he called me by name.  I shall make you a light to the Gentiles, and you will bring my salvation to the ends of the earth.” 

Columbus was the first in his party to set foot on land.  He named the land he stood upon San Salvador meaning Holy Savior.  He and his men knelt in the sand and he prayed aloud:  “O Lord, Almighty and everlasting God, by thy holy Word thou hast created the heaven and the earth and the sea; blessed and glorified be thy name and praised be thy majesty, which hath designed to use us, thy humble servants, that thy holy Name may be pronounced in this second part of the earth.”  

PORTUGAL

The conquest of Constantinople and the rest of Christian Byzantium by the Muslims Turks cut Europe off from the trading routes with India and the Levant.  Portugal solved this problem when its explorer, Vasco da Gama, completed and unbroken voyage from Lisbon to Calcutta in 1497, in a new type of ship, the caravel.  

THE STATE

A map of Europe from 1493 shows thirty sovereign states.  Today only three of those remain: Switzerland, Monaco and Andorra.  The formation of a civilized state had as its aim a legal framework within which empires, monarchies, and republics organize their government, gain recognition, and control their dependencies. 

ERASMUS STATUE IN ROTTERDAM BY HENDRICK DE KEYSER (1622)
ERASMUS STATUE IN ROTTERDAM BY HENDRICK DE KEYSER (1622)

ERASMUS

Erasmus of Rotterdam (1466-1536) was a great scholar and satirist. He would frequently visit London and Cambridge. Erasmus published the west’s first New Testament translated directly from the original Greek in 1516.



Born Gerhard Gerhards, he was a devout Christian priest and a savage wit. Erasmus wrote of Pope Julius II, “What disasters would befall Rome, if ever the supreme pontiffs, the Vicars of Christ, should make the attempt to imitate His life of poverty and toil? Thousands of scribes, sycophants, and pimps would become unemployed.”

MUSLIMS BUYING SLAVES IN AFRICA IN THE 15TH CENTURY
MUSLIMS BUYING SLAVES IN AFRICA IN THE 15TH CENTURY

SLAVERY

Slave trading had gone on in Africa since time immemorial. In 1441, the Portuguese got in on the action, trading European goods to African kings for slaves. Muslims had been doing this for centuries, as they still are to this day.

The first black slaves were shipped to Portugal, but in 1515 Spain started something new—trading goods for African slaves that were then sent to the New World, where they were traded for sugar.

In 1562, the English broke the Portuguese and Spanish monopoly, and began their own triangle—they traded European goods (especially firearms) to African kings for slaves; traded the slaves in the West Indies for goods from the New World; and sold those goods back in England.

Before Christian abolitionists stopped the slave trade in the Nineteenth Century, 15 million Africans had been purchased for slavery by Europeans. 3.5 million of them died during the passage across the Atlantic Ocean.


Sources for this article include Europe by Norman Davies;  The One Year Book of Christian History by E. Michael and Sharon Rusten;  A Short History of Christianity by Stephen Tomkins;  and Great Tales from English History by Robert Lacey

More by this Author


Comments 62 comments

Ann Nonymous profile image

Ann Nonymous 6 years ago from Virginia

Wow...you covered a lot James. I enjoyed this hub a lot...maybe because of the guest appearance of Joan of Ark You really do an incredible job of condensing history for us modern day readers! Bravo!


carolina muscle profile image

carolina muscle 6 years ago from Charlotte, North Carolina

You never cease to amaze me with your interesting posts, James!


Hello, hello, profile image

Hello, hello, 6 years ago from London, UK

Aren't they good Catholics? Thank you, James, for another good historical lesson. Fine writing, as always, and well put together.


RevLady profile image

RevLady 6 years ago from Lantana, Florida

A great reflection James that brought Job's inquiry to mind, "What is man that you make so much of him, that you give him so much attention."

Blessings my dear brother in Christ Jesus our Lord!

Forever His,


Tom Whitworth profile image

Tom Whitworth 6 years ago from Moundsville, WV

James,

Your writing gives hope to my reason for being an independent Christian. Organized religion has been a bane to humanity.


ceciliabeltran profile image

ceciliabeltran 6 years ago from New York

I admire people who really spend time making sure their hubs are wellsprings of information.


djbraman profile image

djbraman 6 years ago

You know, history like this being brought to the forefront should be an awakening for any Christian that reads it, because the Constantine era brought us so far from Jesus' teachings and the Apostolic church. It was when I began to study the history of the church that my desires to reconnect to our Hebraic roots burned in my soul. We lost so much of God's ways, his seasons, and the real truth of how Jesus was the fulfillment of the law, yet we've had to contend with legalism in the Catholic church robbing us of the freedom of the law of sin that Jesus died to free us from. I think you give us a perfect view of who is not the remnant of Christ! Amen brother, keep educating us, you are a light shining into a darkened world.


Dim Flaxenwick profile image

Dim Flaxenwick 6 years ago from Great Britain

Fantastic content and so well written. I shall continue to come here for my history lessons. Had no idea about 3 popes at one time. Thank you, James. x


Amez profile image

Amez 6 years ago from Houston, Texas

I'm Truly Inspired by your excellent piece of writing, I love to fine great model and advance styles, I have much to learn, so I look forward to following your Hubs. Thank You again. Ed


sheila b. profile image

sheila b. 6 years ago

You have so much more of history in this article than many put in a whole book.


OpinionDuck profile image

OpinionDuck 6 years ago

James

Another great history lesson by you in this hub.

The three Popes situation is similar to the Muslim problem of who should have taken over after Mohammad died.

The hub supports my contention that there is too much human decision making in a religion, that should be made by God.

As in the case of Mohammad, all he had to do was select who he wanted to take over when he died. He didn't do that either when he was alive or after he died.

Also the Pope that broke the Thou Shalt Not Kill Commandment with his Inquisition.

Murder or Kill, hmmmm


michiganman567 profile image

michiganman567 6 years ago from Michigan

You are on a role James, keep up to good work. The Church of Rome has given Christianity a bad name.


Saintatlarge profile image

Saintatlarge 6 years ago from Canada

Hi James, As we see the "Church" ideals in the hands of men eventually turns everything inward. There was no lesson learned when Jesus rebuked the Pharisee and religeous spirit of the day. They took all that the earthy unrighteous Kings after Solomon were akin to and did far worse, even on a global scale.

We are blessed that God used the reformers to set things aright or Christianity would continue to suffer in the dark ages. The 'Renaissance' being a portal for which New Life and light was given to the whole world.

Two years ago i heard a well respected prophetic teacher speak of the need today of a 'Spiritual Renaissance' to come and awaken a new era for the body of Christ and the world. Blessings James, L.


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 6 years ago from Chicago Author

Ann Nonymous--- Thank you for being my first visitor. I do apologize for not responding to your comments sooner. I have been away for a few days.

Thank you for the laudations. I am truly glad that you enjoyed my article. :)


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 6 years ago from Chicago Author

carolina muscle--- Thank you for your warm words, my friend. I appreciate your affirmation.


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 6 years ago from Chicago Author

Hello, hello--- You are welcome. Thank you for the accolades. I appreciate your support. :-)


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 6 years ago from Chicago Author

RevLady--- Job's inquiry is truly something for all of us to reflect upon. Thanks for that reminder. I always look forward to hearing from you. God Bless You, Sister.


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 6 years ago from Chicago Author

Tom Whitworth--- I can only hope to provide some hope to others. Thank you for saying that. It's great to hear from you, my brother.


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 6 years ago from Chicago Author

ceciliabeltran--- Well, I sincerely appreciate the admiration. Thank you for taking the time to read my work and note your thoughts about it. Welcome to the Hub Pages Community. I look forward to reading your work soon.


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 6 years ago from Chicago Author

djbraman--- I so appreciate your gracious compliments. As I thrice read your words, I was filed with humble gratitude. Thank you for adding your wise comments to my article. God Bless You.


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 6 years ago from Chicago Author

Dim Flaxenwick--- You are welcome. Thank you for your ongoing encouragement and the wonderful words you wrote to me.


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 6 years ago from Chicago Author

Amez--- You are surely welcome, Ed. Thank you very much for your wonderful compliments. :)

James


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 6 years ago from Chicago Author

sheila b.--- I can't imagine anything nicer one could say to me than this. Thank you.


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 6 years ago from Chicago Author

OpinionDuck--- Thank you! :D

God is not a dictator. He tells us how it is. Some believe him and some don't. It is up to each individual to decide according to their own conscience.

No one can defend the Inquisition. I would only caution about trying to understand this or any other history using only our modern sensibilities. To understand history, we must try our best to go back in time and stand in their shoes. I can think of much more despicable acts by human beings with far, far greater numbers of victims in the 20th Century.


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 6 years ago from Chicago Author

michiganman567--- I have been on a roll. I am going to take a break from writing and try to catch up on the real world and catch up on the other writers around HubPages.


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 6 years ago from Chicago Author

Saintatlarge--- L, you wrote:

"Two years ago i heard a well respected prophetic teacher speak of the need today of a 'Spiritual Renaissance' to come and awaken a new era for the body of Christ and the world."

Lord have mercy! This is sorely needed by the world today and I surely hope it will come to pass--and I believe it will.

I will be turning to the Reformation when I resume this series in a week or two.

Thank you very much for this visit and your comments.


gusripper profile image

gusripper 6 years ago

James i think that this was the worst century of human history.Thats because i believe TURKISH was the worst kind of race.My opinion


itakins profile image

itakins 6 years ago from Irl

I wonder what future generations will write about now!


Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 6 years ago from England

Hiya, wow, this was great. I love history, but there are so many gaps that this hub has just filled. Brilliant. I never knew about the three popes. And the other stories I did know about, but not all those great details. A story I do know about the Pope is that, I am not sure if they still do it, but they used to carry the pope across the top of the other Cardinals when the Pope was to be appointed as leader, because they had to look up his clothes! This was because at one stage in history, a girl managed to fool everyone and became Pope. But I am not sure at what time in history this happened. great stuff, thank you Nell


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 6 years ago from Chicago Author

gusripper--- I am sad to report that there have been many worst centuries in history, with the 20th near the top. I do appreciate your opinion. Thank you for coming by and sharing your point of view.


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 6 years ago from Chicago Author

itakins--- That is a darn good question. Probably about how the United States built an incredible nation only to throw it all away by turing their backs on the foundational virtues of their history for fads and subversive ideologies that eventually crushed the freedom of its people entirely.


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 6 years ago from Chicago Author

Nell Rose--- I do recall something about a female pope. I am going to have to dig into that and see what I can find out about it. I love history, too. Thank you for the compliments and you are most welcome, too. It's great to hear from you, Nell.


A M Werner profile image

A M Werner 6 years ago from West Allis

James, four years of meeting sounds like the healthcare debate in Washington now. I wonder if they have as many courtesans available. This is such a wide and diverse time period, you could have gotten several hubs out of this one -in fact the Renaissance itself could be several. Thanks for touching on so many varied issues with quick, telling paragraphs. Peace.


Royal Diadem 6 years ago

What I got from this hub is the many different transformations that Christianity has gone through. Some good and some embarrassing. Great Hub


lctodd1947 profile image

lctodd1947 6 years ago from USA

So much of this christian history I did not know. This reinforces my faith and knowledge that there have been men of God since day one and will be forever.

Thanks for sharing this excellent hub.....as always, it is super...


cheaptrick profile image

cheaptrick 6 years ago from the bridge of sighs

I always feel like I'm sitting in a class room[with out the crappy parts]when I read your work.I miss my school days and visiting here is a step back for a short time.Thank you for that.

Dean


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 6 years ago from Chicago Author

A M Werner--- You pose a good question. I would imagine there is no shortage of courtesans in DC. This article is certainly a mere quick sketch for MTV-era attention spans. It was fun working on the condensation. You are welcome and I thank you for taking the time to read my work. I appreciate your fine comments.


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 6 years ago from Chicago Author

Royal Diadem--- You got the drift perfectly well. That is what it is about. Some good, some embarrassing. You've got that right. :D Thanks for coming.


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 6 years ago from Chicago Author

Ictodd1947--- Oh yes, there have long been men of God. And will be forever. You are very welcome. Thank you for reading and commenting. :-)


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 6 years ago from Chicago Author

cheaptrick--- You are welcome, Dean. Thank you for coming to class. I appreciate it.

James


cameciob profile image

cameciob 6 years ago

James,I think you covered two of the most disturbed centuries on human history, the religious decadence and the search for salvation, the battle for power and the unstopped human curiosity that exploded in art and discoveries. This is a great hub and was a reminder for me to be grateful I live in 21st century.


Lita C. Malicdem profile image

Lita C. Malicdem 6 years ago from Philippines

This is not an easy read for me if I base it on the nth times I read this historical post. James, you are a wonderful writer for going into this research again. May our Christian brothers have chance to ponder upon this revelation about the church. Thanks for this great content you share with the likes of me, a practical believer (or unbeliever?). God bless you friend.


stars439 profile image

stars439 6 years ago from Louisiana, The Magnolia and Pelican State.

Your work is stunning as usual, and photographs are and abounding education in their own right. Your work should be in fine University libraries. God Bless You.


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 6 years ago from Chicago Author

cameciob--- Thank you for your compliments. If I may quote your fine words:

"the unstopped human curiosity that exploded in art and discoveries"

That is a great line, my dear. I enjoyed reading your comments and I appreciate this visit.


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 6 years ago from Chicago Author

Lita C. Malicdem--- You're welcome, dear. I hope all is well with you over there. Thank you for the gracious compliments. God Bless You!


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 6 years ago from Chicago Author

stars439--- Thank you so much, my brother. Your accolades have made my evening a gratified one indeed. It's always great to hear from you.


Cathi Sutton profile image

Cathi Sutton 6 years ago

Wonderful Hub! Well written and well researched. Thanks for a very informative and entertaining read!


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 6 years ago from Chicago Author

Cathi Sutton--- Thank you! You are very welcome. I am glad to hear from you today. :D


DeBorrah K. Ogans profile image

DeBorrah K. Ogans 6 years ago

James A. Watkins, Quite thorough and informative! A most intriguing account of Christendom in the 15th century! You continue to present an excellent account of the insidious and often menacing events that have plague the history of the Church down the ages. It does make me wonder what is being recorded now… There is still much that continues to go on… This has been very enlightening but makes one wonder where is the respect for God’s Sovereignty. “What profiteth a man to gain the world and loose his soul…” I must say it does make me love and trust the Lord just that much more it is in Him I am confident…!

The Renaissance Art is most magnificently wonderful! I agree Leonardo da Vinci was quite gifted with the stroke of the brush! Thank you again for sharing your narrative gift with the pen. Heartrending yet wonderfully presented exegesis! May you continue on…. Be enouraged!! Great lecture Professor! In His love & Blessings!


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 6 years ago from Chicago Author

DeBorrah K. Ogans--- It is always so great to hear from you, my dear. You never fail to encourage and inspire me. Thank you so much for being you. You are a woman of excellence who is wise and discerning. :D


prettydarkhorse profile image

prettydarkhorse 6 years ago from US

Vasco de Gama is an explorers as well as Columbus, genius men -- they perfected the maps and routes! I can see clearly the 15th century -- the challenges faced by the Roman Catholic church was too much at that time, the Inquistion is a bad dream -- but it happened, people faltered at times, specially if they see teachings as a "LAW" in their own rights, thus they become like dictators, as always the people are not perfect! and thank you for this very educational hub, I enjoyed it, Maita


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 6 years ago from Chicago Author

prettydarkhorse--- Yes, Genius men. Brave men. People are not perfect, yes. I am so glad you came and left word that you enjoyed this Hub. It is great to hear from you and you are most welcome. I've missed you.


cristina327 profile image

cristina327 6 years ago from Manila

This is indeed another excellent hub, a great historical account. Thank you for sharing this great wealth of information. This is indeed another hub to treasure. Great work congratulations.


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 6 years ago from Chicago Author

cristina327--- Thank you very much for taking the time to read my Hub and then to write your nice note. You are welcome.


cantueso 6 years ago

"A map of Europe from 1493 shows thirty sovereign states. Today only three of those remain: Switzerland, Monaco and Andorra."

Do you think that the States that joined the European Union gave up their sovereignty when they opted for a single currency? (but no common foreign policy, no common army, no common legislation)

Sop for instance right now (April 2010) you would see in the papers that maybe Germany might want to leave the union. The union is in troble, precisely because it is little more than a business club.

When the EU was founded, many Americans criticised just that and said the EU could not last. They said it was like two people deciding to join their accounts without getting married.

Besides, England and some other countries never joined the Union. What about Russia?


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 6 years ago from Chicago Author

cantueso— Well, the states in the EU surely gave up some of their sovereignty. But not all. Maybe not even most. Perhaps I should have said only three of those states remain with the same borders.

Thank you very much for taking the time to read my articles and for leaving your excellent comments.


blue parrot profile image

blue parrot 6 years ago from Madrid, Spain

Well, I am Swiss and live in Spain, but I read mainly US newspapers, and I have always had a problem with geography. However, your idea of Europe was a shock to me. I see your background is religious. I hope your religious formation does not interfer with your geography, as, you know, sometimes it did.

The borders? There were "corrections" after World war II, but since then all the countries have kept their borders. None have given up their sovereignty. Right now again many people are holding their breath: is the club going to break apart? Was it simply financed by Germany as long as Germany was too weak (and guilt laden) to do otherwise?

But there was never any intention, nor any commitment for anyone to yield his sovereignty. There was a dream in that sense, a hope for some, a fear to others, that sooner or later a super state might evolve ...

Well, things were allowed to drift and drifted in the other direction.


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 6 years ago from Chicago Author

blue parrot— I hope my geography is not skewed. Remember that I am discussing the borders of 1493. I don't see how religion can affect geography. I take it you are speaking of the EU? I am not a European but if I was I would be against the EU on the basis that the smaller and more local the government the better.

Thanks for coming by and leaving your comments. Welcome to the Hub Pages Community.


blue parrot profile image

blue parrot 6 years ago from Madrid, Spain

Yes, the smaller a State, the better does it work for all kinds of reasons:

-- The difference between a local government and the central government is not very big.

-- There is not immense prestige attached to the top.

-- People understand things better and they know more of the important players more closely.

-- Relatively more people are members of some government.

However, a small company also works better than a big one, but the big one gets power and connections and buys up the small one.

Locally, small is best, but internationally big survives better. I think that was the idea behind the EU: to compete against the omnipresence of the US and the dollar.


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 6 years ago from Chicago Author

blue parrot— I must say, you have made several outstanding points in your comments. You are an amazingly perceptive and discerning person. Thank you very much for sharing your wisdom here.


aguasilver profile image

aguasilver 6 years ago from Malaga, Spain

James, couldn't help noticing the following under the inquisition...

"Arrestees were held in secret prisons, with no contact with the outside world. They could not know the names of their accusers or witnesses, nor were they allowed to see any documents pertaining to their case."

So no connection there to Guantanamo and Homeland Security then!

Just leaps of the page to me!

John


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 6 years ago from Chicago Author

aguasilver— A very interesting correlation, my friend. I hope you are settling in to your new digs nicely. It's great to hear from you, John. Ciao!

James

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