The wakening of Europe from the dark ages.
The emergence of Islam and its rise to the status of a world empire in the 8th century came as a result of the collapse of the Roman Empire in Western Europe and the Middle East and its subsequent fall into the middle ages. Pejoratively referred to as the “dark ages”, it was a period that roughly span 10 centuries (Between the 5th and 15th centuries) and during which European society was plagued by population decline, high rates of illiteracy, slavery within a feudal system, and religious persecution. Indeed, it was in a stark contrast to the high Islamic civilization of the time. And so when the two histories merged during the crusades, Europeans were exposed for the first time to the higher quality of life in the Middle East. We know that they finally realized the benefits of using soap, that their culinary tastes were enriched by spices, and that they were enthralled by the beautiful Middle Eastern textiles. By the end of the crusades, there was a growing need for these coveted products and so Europeans began thinking of ways to get to the source of these products and bypassing the Muslim-controlled trade routes in Asia Minor, Mesopotamia, and Persia. It is from this economical perspective that Europe began waking up from the long slumber of the middle ages. What follows is even more important as this latter development converges with other religious, political, and scientific breakthroughs that will eventually propel Western European civilization as a dominant force to reckon with.
Your task in this writing assignment is to reconstruct the story of the European Rebirth that began after the last crusade while paying special attention to this gradual shift of power from the East to the West.
Based on your reading of chapter eleven “Meanwhile in Europe’, explore some or all of the following questions. In your final writing submission, you should include at least four out of the seven answers to the questions below. Failure to do so would affect your grade points as explained in details in the rubric.
How did the previously discussed Crusades lead to the exploring impulse that would later be called the ‘Age of Discovery’? Give examples of famous European explorers and their achievements in navigation…
What is the Italian Renaissance? Why did it happen in Italy? How did it change Italian society?
The Middle Ages in Europe saw the rise of illiteracy where only clerics were able to read and the only book worth reading was the Bible in Latin. How did books gradually begin to resurface in European knowledge?
What was the reaction of the Catholic Church upon the rediscovery of Greek texts? And how did these texts inspire the establishment of the early European universities?
How did the corruption of the Catholic Church lead to the Protestant Reformation? What is the content of this ‘protest’? and how did it attempt to reform Christianity?
What are some of the non-religious consequences (cultural, political, and scientific…) of the Protestant Reformation?
What is mercantilism? How could it be considered as a consequence of the birth of the nation-state as a new form of political organization? And how did it thrust Europe forward into the world?
Explain how the synergy of different religious, political, and scientific development