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Middle Age Essays and Research Papers

Instructions for Middle Age College Essay Examples

Essay Instructions: Topic
The Middle age Crusade was much more violent and failed miserably to accomplish its goal of spreading the Gospel.

Write an analytical and argumentative essay.When quote a reference, remember to mention its author, its title and the PAGE where the reference was made

Excerpt From Essay:

Title: exam 3

Total Pages: 8 Words: 2349 References: 1 Citation Style: MLA Document Type: Research Paper

Essay Instructions: Here is your exam question:
"You are living in the Middle Ages. What new things are availalbe for you to experience?"
Single-space your paragraphs with double-spaces in between your paragraphs.
Use ONLY your lesson #3 reading material.



The Roman Catholic Church faced another threat to its universal power and sovereignty ? the rise of great European nations. As feudalism waned and the populace moved to cities, people gained a nationalistic spirit and pride. Their nations, modeled after the Eastern Roman Empire, were ruled by individual kings who were sovereign in their own domains. The popes struggled to bring all secular rulers under their papal authority.

In AD 1213, King John of England surrendered his kingdom to the pope as his permanent property. But the kings after John rejected papal control and taxes. The English Parliament even passed laws prohibiting land gifts to the Roman Church, papal appointments, and appeals to the pope. In AD 1366, Parliament rejected King John?s relinquishing of England as having no validity.


Urban and Business Development

During the times of feudalism, itinerant merchants trekked from manor to manor, selling their merchandise and sumptuous commodities. During the winter months, these peddlers settled in one place and traded with other local residents. These wintertime communities evolved into towns, or ?burgs,? and attracted specialized artisans and craftsmen.

DID YOU KNOW IT: Because the towns were located between the nobles? fortresses and the common people, the residents became known as the ?middle class.?

As the towns grew, voluntary trade associations among the merchants and skilled artisans (the guild) came into existence. Craft guilds quickly spread throughout Europe, increasing business and commerce for each city. As the standard of living improved, free market capitalism and religious freedom became realities.

Many cities formed trade alliances with each other to protect their traders and, of course, to corner the markets in their region. For example, the Hanseatic League was a coalition of eighty-five cities in northern Germany. To expand their businesses, these European merchants created the trade fair, where international merchants sold their national commodities and bought goods from other regions. New industries, such as Flemish wool and Sicilian silk, became international goods.

DID YOU KNOW IT: Until AD 500, China and Persia controlled the silk market. Justinian, the Byzantine emperor, sent two monks on a secret mission to China to learn the secret of manufacturing silk. The monks smuggled stolen silkworm eggs back to Constantinople. Silkworm-raising and silk production proliferated throughout Europe.

Professional Banking


As new towns sprang up throughout Europe, businesses prospered with a number of families becoming extremely wealthy. The inevitable result of such commerce was the institutional bank. One powerful Italian family shaped European finances and political affairs for over four hundred years ? the notorious Medicis. The well-respected Medici bank was the largest and most affluent of the fifteenth century AD.

DID YOU KNOW IT: The Medici family emblem, six red balls on a gold field, later evolved into the three balls symbolizing the modern pawnbroker.


Giovanni di Bicci de Medici (AD 1360-1429) founded his family?s multi-national banking dynasty. Giovanni?s son, Cosimo (AD 1389-1464), increased his family?s wealth. He was a patron of the arts and literature, professed to be the friend of the common man, and was conferred the title of a Roman emperor, Pater patriae, ?Father of His Country.?

The Black Death

As foreign trade increased, rats carrying plague-infested fleas traveled on merchant and caravan ships throughout Western Europe. The bubonic plague killed approximately 75,000,000 people, one-half of Europe?s population.


The new European towns required churches to meet the spiritual needs of the people. In following the Roman Catholic Church?s pronouncement that art represent Christian truth, architecture became the dominant artistic form during the Middle Ages.


The Romanesque style of architecture began around AD 1000. This style was derived from the Roman basilica, a rectangular building with arches, vaulted ceilings, immense walls, columns, and virtually no windows. Architects later added a transept that crossed the basilica at the eastern end, forming a Greek cross. These church buildings became repositories for relics, which were visited by Christians making pilgrimages. Famous relics increased a town?s prosperity, much as tourist attractions do today. In order to attract more pilgrims who would spend money for lodging, food, and souvenirs, churches would steal from other churches to obtain the best relics.

DID YOU KNOW IT: One famous Romanesque church was the ?Bible in Stone,? Sainte-Marie-Madeleine in Vezelay, France. This church claimed to have the bones of Mary Magdalene.


The Gothic cathedral was an outgrowth of the Romanesque style and created from AD 1137-1144. Its creator was Suger (AD 1081-1151), a French advisor to kings and the abbot of the royal Abbey Church of St. Denis, Paris. This new building style towered towards heaven with massive walls, round arches, stalwart piers, great towers, groin vaults, and ornamental arcading.

DID YOU KNOW IT: Stained-glass windows immersed the interior with a celestial array of colorful light. A glorious choir was placed in the east end. The purpose of all these elements was to bring God?s presence to the people.


A prominent example of a Gothic edifice is the Cathedral of Notre Dame (?Our Lady?) in Paris, France. It was the first building in the world to utilize flying buttresses (arched exterior side supports that stabilized the building). Its architects developed the Rayonnant (Radiant) style of replacing solid walls with sheets of stained glass. Notre Dame is considered the archetypical Early Gothic Style (AD 1145-1194) cathedral.


High Gothic Style (AD 1194-1300) cathedrals were spectacularly tall and had increased interior space. Two French cathedrals that epitomize the High Gothic style are the cathedrals at Chartres and Amiens.


An Italian Benedictine monk, Guido of Arezzo (AD 995-1050), invented the musical staff, the lines and spaces upon which notes are written. Guido named the musical tones from the first syllables of the first six phrases in the first stanza of a hymn to John the Baptist called Ut queant laxis. The tones are: ut (do), re, mi, fa, sol, and la. Sound familiar? Modern Western music is the descendent of Guido?s era.

DID YOU KNOW IT: In AD 1959, American songwriters Richard Rogers (music) and Oscar Hammerstein II (lyrics) produced a Broadway musical titled ?The Sound of Music.? The main character, Maria, sings Guido?s tones in a song title ?Do-Re-Mi? to the Von Trapp family children. The Broadway musical was transformed into a film musical starring Julie Andrews and Christopher Plummer, which won five Academy awards in 1965.


The University

Growing cities and booming commerce required skilled doctors and lawyers. The need for specialized disciplines created great associations of universitas magistrorum et scholarium (?communities of teachers and scholars?), or universities. The very first medieval university specializing in medicine was founded in Salerno, Italy, in AD 1060. In England, the University of Oxford was established in AD 1140 and the University of Cambridge in AD 1200.

One of the most prestigious universities, the University of Bologna, offered curriculums in law, medicine, theology, and philosophy. The first German university was the University of Prague, established in AD 1348. By AD 1500, almost one hundred universities dotted the European landscapes.


Classical traditions of learning were revived. The prospectus of a European university was taught in Latin and divided into two distinct parts, the trivium and the quadrivian, which combined made up the seven liberal arts.

DID YOU KNOW IT: The trivium included grammar, logic, and rhetoric while the quadrivium consisted of arithmetic, astronomy, geometry, and music. Students could earn baccalaureate (BA), masters (MA), and doctorate (PhD) degrees.


Both professors and students were called ?schoolmen.? Classical Greek philosophy (primarily Aristotle) was synthesized with Roman Catholic theology through dialectical reasoning, a method of learning known as scholasticism.


Two of the first great schoolmen were Anselm (AD 1033-1109) and Peter Abelard (AD 1079-1142). Anselm?s famous dictum is: ?I believe in order to understand.? He means that faith in the Bible precedes the rational and logical understanding of Biblical scripture. Abelard taught that: ?A doctrine is not to be believed because God has said it, but because we are convinced by reason that it is so.? He means that human reason can understand the Scriptures without any divine aid. These opposing views have been debated ever since.

The three greatest scholastics were Thomas Aquinas (AD 1225-1274), Duns Scotus (AD 1265-1308) who was a Dominican friar and trained Franciscan, and William of Ockham (AD 1285-1349), an Oxford-trained theologian.


Thomas Aquinas merged the Greek philosophy of Aristotle with Christian doctrine to create what is called Thomism. Aquinas believed that reason was the final judge of all matters. His method was a ?middle way? or via media. Those who differed with Aquinas dubbed his method as the via antique (the old-fashioned way). The via moderna (modern way) stated that the Bible and reason were distinctly separated. The Roman Catholic Church, abhorring any disagreement, sided with Aquinas.

DID YOU KNOW IT: When Thomas Aquinas was a youth he had the nickname of ?The Dumb Ox.? Thomas was a large lad who was slow to speak and who had a quiet demeanor. When Albert the Great spoke of Aquinas, ?You call him a Dumb Ox; I tell you that the Dumb Ox will bellow so loud that his bellowing will fill the world.? Aquinas became the greatest thinker during the Middle Ages. His Magnus opus (greatest work) was his Summa Theologica (AD 1265-1274), a work that tries to explain the nature of the universe and the purpose and significance of existence.


Duns Scotus agreed with Aquinas? position, but taught that faith was greater than human reason. He divided faith and reason into two independent areas of learning. For Scotus, God and his Scriptures can be understood only through personal feelings and mystical experiences.


William of Ockham believed that spiritual matters rested only on truths of faith and theology. He refuted the absolute power of the pope and adamantly attacked any teaching not found in the Scriptures.



During the Middle Ages, a Franciscan named Robert Grosseteste (AD 1175-1253) invented the scientific method. He examined the natural world and its phenomena in step-by-step procedures, using universal laws to predict particulars that he verified through experimentation. Grosseteste?s work was instrumental to the development of western science.


Roger Bacon (AD 1214-1294), a Franciscan friar, was a professor at Oxford University, England. He is famous for promoting the scientific method and for his emphasis on empiricism. Bacon explained the recurring sequence of observation, hypothesis, experimentation, and independent verification as the scientia experimentalis (?science of experience?).

DID YOU KNOW IT: Roger Bacon foresaw a fourfold universal science that:

1) endorsed and advanced the increase of Christianity;
2) expanded life;
3) promoted health; and,
4) created a fusion between Biblical theology and his science of experience.


Nicholas Oresme (AD 1323-1382) opposed Aristotle?s teaching of a stationary earth. He proposed the rotation of the earth long before Copernicus.


John Wycliffe

John Wycliffe (AD 1320-1384), from Oxford University, was one of the most exceptional scholars of the Middle Ages. In his lectures and writings, Wycliffe dared to disagree with the pope and the Roman Catholic Church because he could not find the papal claim of absolute authority in the Bible. He also attacked the immorality of the clergy, the doctrine of salvation by works, and transubstantiation, the Roman Church?s position on the Lord?s Supper.

DID YOU KNOW IT: The Roman Church?s prohibition that kept laypeople from owning and reading their own Bibles angered Wycliffe the most.


Despite rampant illiteracy, Wycliffe was determined to provide a Bible for the commoner. He translated the entire Bible from the Vulgate into vernacular English in AD 1382. Copies of the Wycliffe Bible were circulated through all of England. He gained great support and admiration for giving the Bible to ordinary people. Wycliffe?s enemies unfairly nicknamed his followers ?Lollards,? a common derogatory moniker for the uneducated.


Wycliffe paid a high price for liberating the Bible from the Roman Church?s priests. He was expelled from Oxford and forbidden to preach. Though he wasn?t killed, he was severely harassed for the rest of his life. Seventeen years after his death, in December AD 1384, the Roman Catholic Church sentenced to death anyone who taught or preached Wycliffe?s beliefs.

DID YOU KNOW IT: In May of AD 1415, at the Council of Constance, Wycliffe was posthumously charged with over 200 crimes against the Church and condemned as a ?stiff-necked? heretic. Pope Martin V ordered Wycliffe?s body was exhumed in AD 1428. After his body was burned, his ashes were thrown into the River Swift in Lutterworth, England.

Because of his zeal for the Scriptures, Wycliffe is known as the ?Morning Star of the Reformation? and considered a forerunner of that movement.

Jan Huss


Another individual who dared to stand against the power of the Roman Catholic Church was Jan Huss (AD 1369-1415), the headmaster and dean of the University of Prague. Jan Huss preached to the people in their own language instead of Latin, which only the priests could understand. Huss had read the writings of John Wycliffe and agreed that the pope was not infallible.

DID YOU KNOW IT: Huss believed that the true Christian Church was found in the pages of the Bible, not in the teachings and lifestyles of the Roman Church. He accentuated the principle of Sola Scriptura (the Bible alone), referring to complete reliance on the Bible as the Christian?s only authority in faith (theology) and practice (Christian living).

Salvation is only through Jesus, Huss taught, and only God, not any human priest or pope, could forgive a person?s sins.


The Roman Church ordered Huss to attend the Council of Constance. He agreed on the condition that the Church protect him from all harm, including death. At the council, Huss refused to recant his positions against the pope and the Roman Church unless he could be shown from the Scriptures that his teachings were wrong.

DID YOU KNOW IT: The Roman Church broke their promise of protection and condemned Huss. His arms were secured behind his back and his neck was chained to a stake. Wood and straw were piled completely around him, covering all but his head. Then he was burned.

Huss? beliefs spread. His followers, called Hussites, printed the world?s first non-Roman Catholic hymnbook in AD 1501.

The Brethren

As the work of Wycliffe and Huss spread throughout Europe, more people challenged the abuses, exploitation, and immorality of the Roman Church. Gerhard Groote (AD 1340-1384) established a small but powerful group called the Brethren of the Common Life that endorsed Christian morals, Bible study, prayer, and service. The Brethren founded schools so that children could learn to read the Bible. These schools were the forerunner of modern education.

Four of the most important members of the Brethren were the mystic Thomas a Kempis (AD 1380-1471), Wessel (John) Gansfort (AD 1420-1489), Desidirus Erasmus (AD 1466-1536), and Martin Luther (AD 1483-1546).
The Imitation of Christ, a devotional manual written by Kempis, remains a classic. Gansfort became one of the most noteworthy scholars of the 15th century. Erasmus, Prince of the Humanists and an early herald of the Reformation, challenged the Roman Catholic?s translation of the Vulgate by writing a critical Greek New Testament in AD 1514. Martin Luther studied under the Brethren at Magdeburg.

The Beginning
of Exploration

As the European nations formed, a nationalistic competition began to send explorers to new lands in search of wealth and personal prestige for the kings. Crusaders brought back a variety of commodities back to Europe that spurred trade with the East and opened caravan routes. In the thirteenth century, Europeans journeyed to the Far East. Marco Polo (AD 1254-1324), the most famous of these explorers, traveled throughout Asia and met the mighty Kublai Khan (AD 1215-1294), the fifth great Khan of the Mongol Empire. Polo visited China in AD 1271 and returned to Italy in AD 1295.

DID YOU KNOW IT: His colorful adventures in the Orient are chronicled in his book, The Kingdoms and Marvels of the East. His explorations ignited an enthusiastic curiosity in everything Asian. Christopher Columbus was inspired by the adventures of Marco Polo.


An explosion of classical learning, the Italian Renaissance (?rebirth?) occurred in AD 1300. Learning focused on the Greco-Roman humanities as ancient manuscripts were discovered, sought after, and brought to Italy for study.

The Revival of
Classical Learning


A revival of learning, the studia humanitatis or humanistic studies, took the place of scholasticism and Aristotelianism. The belief that these studies liberated the mind led to the concept of a liberal education or artes ligerales (liberal arts). Connoisseurs in philology, a combination of linguistics and literary studies, called themselves ?humanists? because of their studies in the studia humanitatis. This developed into the Italian Renaissance.


One of the most important disciplines that the humanists returned to was the science of textual criticism. This science compares the manuscripts and variant readings of a document to reconstruct an authoritative copy as close as possible to the original work called an autographa (or autograph copy). The more manuscripts of a document that the scholar possesses, the greater the accuracy of the finished copy.

Lorenso Valla

Lorenzo Valla (AD 1406-1457), a famous textual critic, exposed the Constitutum Constantini (?Donation of Constantine?) as a fake. This document, purportedly written by Emperor Constantine in the fourth century AD, supposedly gave political power over all secular rulers in the Western Roman Empire to the papacy.

DID YOU KNOW IT: Valla proved, through the science of textual criticism, that the document had been written in the eighth century AD, not Constantine in the fourth century AD.

Vittorino da Feltre

Vittorino da Feltre (AD 1378-1446), a textual critic, established a school based on humanistic studies that included physical education, moral training, and field trips to create a well-rounded student.

DID YOU KNOW IT: Feltre?s school and curriculum helped lay the foundation for future European and American schools.

Modern Literature


Modern literature began with Italy?s ?supreme poet,? Dante Alighieri (AD 1265-1321). His masterpiece, Divine Comedy, is believed to be the greatest Italian literary work of all time.


Petrarch (AD 1304-1374), dubbed the ?Father of Humanism,? wrote his Letters to Ancient Authors (AD 1372) as if the great writers of the past ? men such as Cicero, Virgil, and Seneca ? were the living recipients of his work. In Secretum (My Secret), Petrarch described the corruption of his human condition through deadly sins.


Boccaccio (AD 1313-1375) was the first great writer of prose in a modern language. His masterpiece, The Decameron (AD 1351), is a compilation of 100 accounts pertaining to the Black Death epidemic. These stories are about ten young men and women who journey to a country home to escape the plague of the city. They each tell a tale a day for ten days, arguing for a viewpoint of ?eat, drink, and be merry.?


The Romance languages, such as Italian, French, Spanish, and German, derive from the Latin of the Roman Empire. Important literary works written in these languages are the German Nibelungenlied, the Spanish Poema del Cid, the French Chanson de Roland, and the heroic poetry of England?s King Arthur.


One of England?s five greatest poets, Geoffrey Chaucer (AD 1343-1400), wrote one of the first great works of literature in the English language in AD 1385. The Canterbury Tales is about a pilgrimage to the tomb of Thomas a Becket, the twelfth-century martyr. Thirty-one pilgrims told tales ? two each going and returning ? and provided a reward for the best story told. In his works, Chaucer adeptly depicted English life during the Middle Ages.


Christine de Pizan (AD 1364-1430) was the first Western woman to earn a living through her writings and the first Western writer to raise the issue of women?s rights in society and culture. In AD 1405, she wrote The Book of the City of Ladies, which raises the status of women and gives them dignity.

DID YOU KNOW IT: Christine de Pizan fought against misogyny through persuasive dialogue and believed that women, as the moral and intellectual equals of men, should be educated.

Art of the Early
Italian Renaissance

Wealthy Italian families often supported classical humanities and became financial patrons of the classical arts. For example, the powerful and wealthy Medici family financed art and architecture in Florence, Italy. But the Roman Catholic Church became the most avid patron of the arts as the leaders commissioned exquisite paintings and sculptures to grace their great cathedrals.


During this time period, paintings lacked linear perspective so they appeared flat and unnatural. Three artists changed Western art with their innovations. The first, a Florentine named Giotto (AD 1267-1337), brought life to his art by painting his Biblical subjects in three dimensions. His most acclaimed works are: Descent from the Cross, Madonna Enthroned, and The Last Judgment.

DID YOU KNOW IT: Giotto was reputed to be the ugliest man in Florence. The writer Dante asked Giotto how he could paint such beautiful pictures, yet have such plain-looking children. Giotto replied: ?I made them in the dark.?


The second artist, Jan van Eyck (AD 1370-1441), has been called ?The Father of Oil Painting.? He utilized precise details to create a realism that hadn?t been achieved before him. Eyck?s masterpieces are the Ghent Altarpiece, created for the cathedral in Ghent, Belgium, and his Arnolfini Wedding Portrait.


The third artist revolutionized painting by creating a mathematical three-dimensional perspective copied by all subsequent artists and sculptors. Masaccio (AD 1401-1428) was the first to use systematic linear perspective and chiaroscuro, the contrast of light and dark in defining objects from a solitary starting place of illumination in his Holy Trinity (AD 1425).
Architecture and Sculpture

Four artists of the Italian Renaissance revolutionized architecture and sculpture. Filippo Brunelleschi (AD 1377-1446), an engineer and architect, designed the dome for the Florence Cathedral (AD 1419-1436). Lorenzo Ghiberti (AD 1378-1455), best known for works in sculpture and metalworking, is famous for his ?Gates of Paradise? on the north and east doors of the Baptistery in Florence, Italy.

Leone Batista Alberti (AD 1404-1472) designed the Palazzo Rucllai, the fa?ade of ?Santa Maria Novella, and the church building of Sant?Andrea, Mantua. As a theorist, in his On Painting (AD 1436) Alberti codified the principles of linear perspective.

Donatello (AD 1386-1466) sculpted in the style of the Classical freestanding figure, called contrapposto. The weight of the sculpture is on one leg and the other leg is bent. His masterpiece, the bronze David, was the first self-supporting sculpture since ancient times.

Excerpt From Essay:

Title: Middle Ages

Total Pages: 4 Words: 1489 Works Cited: 3 Citation Style: APA Document Type: Essay

Essay Instructions: Five issues or challenges between the Middle Ages and the French Revolution that will shed light on a contemporary problem faced by society today

Excerpt From Essay:

Title: classical art

Total Pages: 5 Words: 1728 Bibliography: 4 Citation Style: MLA Document Type: Research Paper

Essay Instructions: Choose one of the following options and write approximately 5 pages, citing at least 4 sources (books or articles from scholarly journals) in MLA style. Proper citations are important- not only will incorrect citations result in a lower grade; it is a matter of academic integrity. Please use the correct method for each type of source and make sure to include a Works Cited page. must include a work cited page,mla format. PLEASE USE MY TEXT BOOK ITS IMPORTANT TO INCLUDE INFORMATION FROM IT. THE PAINTING ,SCULPTURES ETC SHOULD BE TAKEN FROM MY TEXT BOOK IN THE MIDDLE AGES. THE NAME OF THE TEXT IS JANSON'S BASIC HISTORY OF WESTERN ART.

Throughout the history of medieval art, artists would occasionally return to a classicizing style, harkening back to Greek or Roman times. Choose 3 or 4 works of painting, sculpture and/or architecture from the Middle Ages that have classicizing features and discuss this phenomenon. Remember to describe each work in detail and try to use key terms from the book in your discussion of the pieces. Make sure to answer the following questions: Which features of the piece are classicized? Are some features classicized while others are conventionally medieval? What might the artist’s intentions have been in referring back to classical art?

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