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Medieval Europe’s Influence on the Renaissance Essay

In the Middle ages of Europe there were many factors that helped lead to the beginning of the renaissance. For instance the creation of universities that let people study latin literature and art, which lead to new establishments of middle age sculptures and paintings. With the availability of knowledge for the study of basic wisdom and the relationship between nature and god, people began to question the churches ideas, this lead to people creating new religious beliefs. Also the feudal system began to fall apart do to Norman invasions of England and fighting between the king and churches power, this caused city states to emerge and monarchical systems to be restored.

In the middle ages people began to study the development of god which lead to multiple questioning of the churches beliefs, people were also able to study ancient literature and develop a new perspective of art and advancement in literature, lastly the feudal system began to fail causing city states to be created which used a monarchical system instead of feudalism; these changes influenced the renaissance to begin by setting the basic outline for a rebirth of Europe.

During the middle ages people would attend church every day. Not many European citizens understood how to read or write so when the church had said something was true most people believed them. Then scholasticism began to develop which taught men the study and analysis of gods and their relationship to the universe. Universities were also established which taught basic knowledge. With the development of scholasticism and universities it lead people to ask more questions, like why something had happened or how it came about. The church didn’t always have the answers to these questions which caused people to distrust the church and come up with their own ideas and beliefs.

Dominic Guzman was an example of people that expanded theological theories. When the Bubonic Plague came and the church couldn’t help people from dying from the disease, more people banished the church from their lives. Less and less citizens followed the church which weakened its power. This lead to people not focused on the church and more focused on the individual person, in other words they became more selfish and were more fascinated in their own values, interest, and dignity of their self. The focus on the individual person instead of church was the first footsteps in the development of humanism.

With the development of universities people were able to study literature and art all across Europe. The major literature that people studied in medieval Europe was latin. Another language that excelled was Germanic and Romance in the Northern parts of Europe. A lot of poetry and folk tales was composed in the Germanic and Romance languages. The study of Latin influenced people to produce art derived from the classical antique times, like The Roman Temples. Sculptors and painters put their modern twist on ancient ideas, which created a new type of art. The modernization of the classical Latin Church ideas influenced the ideas for the renaissance. In Middle Ages most people painted things flat or two dimensional, but in the time Giotto the three dimensional paintings started to be established.

This influenced the renaissance art to expand the three dimensional idea and master the new look. Many paintings and sculptures in medieval time had to do with religious ideas. For example, the Virgin Mary, which had interpreted the churches view of Jesus’s mother Mary. This was a freestanding sculpture like most pieces had been done. Middle Age art brought back past things into a new perspective or new light. For instance, John of Salisbury of the twelve century had studied language and excelled in many pieces of work that he wrote, like the “Metalogicus” which is a philosophical treatise in four books. The Middle Ages had reinvented the ancient ideas and set foundation of a new pathway for the renaissance people to follow.

In Medieval Europe Feudalism was established to draw together political and social life. This system weakened the king and strengthened the nobles’ authority. The feudal system was a system of the king granting land to his noblemen and the church in exchange for soldiers and supplies being provided in the time of war. The nobles would divide and distribute the granted land to knights who became the nobles’ vassal. Many people had to work on the land, most were peasant farmers and they would receive some crops in exchange for their labor. In the Middle Ages the feudal system began to fall apart because of competition of power, this encouraged England, France, and much of Europe to become centralized states. Each area’s feudal system fell for different reason.

England’s feudalism was abolished because of the invasion by William the Conqueror, in 1066. William crowned himself king of England and the people were forced to follow a monarchical system, this is when the king or a monarch rules the land. The change from a feudal system to monarchical system was happening across Europe, with leadership changing people started to develop their own centralized governments. City states began to develop that focused on the leadership of a government and the king, they wrote laws and came up with their own army. Middle class supported their state’s government because they needed their support to be able to continue with trading.

The economy began improving in the city states as merchants could trade more efficiently, with more freedom with the centralized governments. Also the King’s power was not able to get out of control because documents, like the Magna Carta, were written to maintain peace. As feudalism ended it encouraged the city states to develop which set the structure for the economy of the renaissance.

The rebirth of Europe was influenced by many medieval developments including the creation of universities that allowed people to gain knowledge, which let them question church beliefs and study ancient literature and art ;in addition, the fail of feudalism caused changes of authority affecting future rulership. People began to question the church and when bishops and nuns didn’t know the answer to everything people decided not to trust the church and would develop their own beliefs; the Black Death had a large impact on the leaving of churches.

When people were able to study ancient literature and art they started to produce art derived from classical pieces, but with modifications, this began the interest and improvement of art for the renaissance. Furthermore, the feudal system began to fail in the Middle Ages which caused city states to develop and the monarchical system, including a centralized government, to be established that helped the economy grow. The factors of church, literature and art, and the control of the economy set the structure for the renaissance.


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