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western civilization essay

Updated on March 2, 2014

Throughout the course of history there has been a set distinction of growth from individuals and groups to grow from the exchange of ideas of them along with things in varying areas of the world. There is so much that can be correlated with such exanges to precisly distinguish our current world and how we got here and who we are from what has been said and done in the past. Material pocessions have always carried a certain value to life or at very least an idea of life, this process shapes and carries forth with the person to form culture and an individuals identity.
The depiction or the difference between church and state is simple being that there it was Ceasaropapism meaning one man acting as both emperor and head of church. Arguable that Rome never fell it just changed its dynamics and location the Byzantine empire may be of considered ahead of its time it terms of order among the people where the people seemed united either against policy or church. From about the eighth century to tenth society was depicted as individualism without freedom unlike Rome there was practically no political sphere to crystallize a public culture besides the chariot race riots. What held the Byzantines together was Orthodox Christianity where Paganism was few and far between, and not warring to gain control like the Romans they not only coexisted they were able to convert the Slavs to their values. And the rise of Islam was entirely do to the idea that the prophet Muhammad was seen as an absolute messenger from God with all authority. The culture differs quite simply as two prophets differ yet Jesus was born previously and the church's and empire changed dramatically the two are almost incomprehensibly different where the teachings of Christianity was mainly to turn the other cheek and that God forgives Islam was founded by spreading by association of Arabs and unifying. Even an extremely devoted historian would find it difficult to percisely depict, characterize and find differences between the two empires, it stands out that Islam started out in theory as a spread of the same religion which laid the foundation for the empire the Byzantines autocracy where no one person in a group was exempt from the Justinian code and that they believed that slaves were natural as Aristotle did mostly because they were outsiders and looked down on. What we see in the book is important in modern society because we learn how certain values whether they be sociological political or religious effect the enclosed world of an empire or society and the fact that things are always changing whether by chance or pursuit.

The Ostrogothic kingdom was unique because it managed to maintain governing and literary tradition of Rome combined with the great Barbian war minded traditions. Seemingly impossible such diverse groups happen allot when not necessary but able, mainly due the understanding nature of the rulers. And dreams of unity in Visigothic Spain was finished quickly when King Recared took in Orthodox Christianity and gave up Arian tradition. When the pagan Saxons, Angles, Jutes, Frisians, Suebians and others went to Britain to conquer as federation soldiers and stayed as rulers over a long period of time they began to reform and convert from and then with great Christian scholars and churches and became missionaries on their own. The mixture of Frankish soldiers and Roman rulers spread rapidly acoss western Europe and although Clovis and his successors after him absorbed the Visigothic kingdom of Toulouse the expansion of the Franks were mainly due to the longing synthesis and then divided to Clovis’s 4 sons. This was mainly theoretical and success was mainly due to a developed coup making their Roman and Germanic traditions balanced, yet still divided and finally distinguished.
It is quite disorienting exactly how the spread of tradition, political, social; religious and families can change such a large area of land from borders to almost a united empire in this chapter but the reader can infer it was mainly due to trade and missionaries as well as immigrants and not so much conquering that synthesis occurred. Somewhat of a great time lapse is responsible too yet things were almost constantly changing in terms of borders, the end result of Charlemagnes education reform laid the platform for the Carolingian Renaissance which is so crucial to today because peace time was at this time so wonderful that a seemingly infinite doctrines and art were formed that still awake historians and museum goers.


As the Aristocratic education of military might progressed in the middle ages with young boys learning valueable lessons of how to handle weopons, more important to society though, the importance of honor, pride, and family tradition to keep their status, the descendants of slaves in this area worked hard to figuratively fight their way out of low social status' and becoming serfs. This Serfdom was a gradual ascension mostly from working in unison but as well as the technique of a three field system, new system of crop rotation & with the help of lords the use of heavy plows with ox and horses they were able do the work much easier and gain a much worthier thing on the way, opportunity in the time of rapid population growth. This growing class was now allowed to buy the right to marry without the lord's permission, they got out of the way of the lords jurisdiction as well as many other rights. The rights themselves were not as important as the foundation which raised personal and family values within the class.
The result of this change of serfdom status led to religious changes, while the cultural values of the Aristocrats remained as a warrior status and the rural churches almost singularily meant action in the sense of the church clergy performating liturgical celebrations. What we view now perhaps as psychosematic or maybe just things that we can not explain was viewed as a divine and supernatural ability and an undying connection to heaven. Having that these communities with monasteries called "cities of God" across the land eventually became wealthy and powerful places which was a great thing for all the peoples spirits.
Learning about the High Middle ages is important to our current generation because most of us do not understand how we got into this position and perhaps the feeling that we are not only failing ourselves but failing eachother. How important good morals character and tradition are to a potentially thriving society is in my opinion the most important aspect and why religion still stays strong, not as strong but reflecting back to see the gross generalization of well being and community can perhaps put us back to our roots and the importance of respect. (Although it was kind of too good cause it led to the Crusades, didn't cover that, don't really want to).

The conflict between the monarchs and families in Europe was mainly due to The Hundred Year's War which in a nutshell was three extended disputes, first being rights in Gascony (southern France) over sovereignty from English Kings who also wanted north of France & the French did not want too many of the British. The ongoing mentality was that there was no Muslim enemy, yet, rivalry at the heart was set out of alliance's that ends up bringing together states, communities and familiies. England and Flinnish (cloth towns)& French Kings were interested in merchants, English side with merchants. This ended with French pushing back towards the coast, with gunpowder coming soon into scene, Joann of Arc Rallying cry rose to infamy during this horrific struggle, her claim of auditory hallucinations or apparitions from saints gave France the acute mental strength to keep fighting an overwhelmingly gruesome war and Ending a century of warefare France ultimately wone because of their astonishing and new gunpowder. By states making wars, wars making states, stronger states for the most part come out of wars, producing major shifts in stability and government, monarchy suffered immensely, over this war for succession. End of 1400’s England and France survive and everything intact.
Joan becomes a divine martyr.
The Black Death destroyed half to a third of European population in a very short period of time, this epidemic from fleas (microbes)doesn’t fully cease till 1800’s blaming non-Europeans did not help one bit, it just grew tension. The drastic decline of population changed everything and people randomly came together push back ways and traditions of Europe.
Through a depiction of an alternative lifestyle called “Decamrion” by Giavanio Burcharshio of five young men and five young women who realized world is coming to end and decide to go to a country house, telling eachother scandalous and entertaining stories of adultery, murder, robbery, corruption. This was extremely important and the underbelly of idealism, and a secret truth of the current logic that we are human and we make mistakes, starting the Renaissance. Although it slightly counters older European traditions it is easy to see that it may coincide with Christian teaching that we are born sinners. This artistic response along with countless following does bring European art, once dominated by Church to everyone.
Essentially a new shift to the world and daily tradition, criticism of Elites from peasants & sensibilities toward the self and God. People didn't fully know what times they were in-historicically, drawing back from classical lifestyle led to a rise in urban and consumer centered lifestyle.
The childhood of the Renaissance showed allot of attention ti emotions and people marrying later in life and maybe never if you are poor this culture is often thought as a deeply romantic period due to attention to unadulturated true love in the sense that it the choice now belongs to the person.
Aesthetics and attention to detail of things that are meaningful to you (House decorations- space in house/feels incomplete if not)- eventually see this in paintings- painting of bowl of fruit-reflects & has depth, creates new vocabulary(desire/ beauty)- shift away from religious stuff- important people showing off- allot of money goes into Religious art- flat
Macheoveli- The Prince- Caluclating how things really are- links to humanitarian & secular movement- not God its going to come down to resources and people
VERY Violent and simultaniously Creative- shift in pursuit- Starts 2 classes CAPITALISTS and Buegresee, cities have states and powerhouses for powerful people (Artists- having portraits made of themselves-pushing boundaries. Mona Lisa- visual simitry detailed & balanced not common -Expression blurrs with Idea- connections with art math science architecture- Multidisciplenary

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