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Renaissance and Reformation. 1450-1600. Life in 1500. Life for most, especially the peasants, was not overly pleasant at this time Status was inherited rather than received

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Renaissance and Reformation


Renaissance and Reformation 1450-1600

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Life in 1500

  • Life for most, especially the peasants, was not overly pleasant at this time

  • Status was inherited rather than received

  • Antibiotics did not exist, and visiting a doctor, especially if surgery was needed often resulted in death as antiseptic practices had yet to exist

  • Clothing was seldom washed (as most owned 1 or 2 outfits at the most), and baths were unheard of (even royalty only bathed once or twice a year!!)

  • Human waste was thrown into the streets and rivers causing diseases to be spread, leading to death

  • The chances of surviving until marriage was 50/50 and 1 in 7 woman would die in child birth

Renaissance and Reformation 1450-1600

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And You Think You Have It Bad

Renaissance and Reformation 1450-1600

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Differences Between Now and Then

  • Local control of politics; central institutions were weak

  • Hierarchical Nature of Society

  • Tradition and Religion

  • Great danger from disease, poor hygiene, famine, natural disaster, war, violence

Renaissance and Reformation 1450-1600

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Religion: Powerful Force

  • Belief in the devil, hell, and a punishing God were powerful forces

  • Thinkers of the Renaissance and Reformation would challenge some of these beliefs

  • Religion guided people ex- Elizabeth I (Film)

Renaissance and Reformation 1450-1600

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Idea of a Divine Plan

Importance and Hierarchy

Dualism: Spirit vs. Matter




Overriding concept: Humanism

Importance of philology

Importance, return and restoration of classical texts, arts, literature and drama from Greek and Roman Period

Medieval versus Renaissance Worldview


Medieval View

Renaissance and Reformation 1450-1600

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  • As previously discussed, the main cause of the spread of this movement was the printing press – but there were other factors

  • The Empire of the Church of Rome (Latin Christendom) also played a factor as trade was encouraged between these nations

  • Also a factor was the fact that the Ottoman Empire (Islamic) controlled trade to the East

  • As merchants went from one port to another, these new ideas, especially as relates to Art went with them

  • The elite, fascinated with Florentine art work, began to travel to Italy and Italian Universities to learn and take more back home

  • Humanism also played a major role in the spread of this movement

Renaissance and Reformation 1450-1600

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Humanism = Skepticism

  • Humanism created a new type of person – the intellectual

  • One of the first was a man by the name of Desiderius Erasmus, who tried to make religion more moral

  • He did this by “correcting the Bible”, something that would help in the birth of a new movement – the Reformation

  • Questioning “truth” gained with Michel de Montaigne’s invention of the Essay

  • He argued the world was more than spirit, rather it was “stuff” and this meant the world had little room for God

  • This attempt to try to separate man from religion was a key factor in the birth of the sciences, even though at first, science could not shake the grasp of religion

Renaissance and Reformation 1450-1600

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Two Skeptical Dudes!

Renaissance and Reformation 1450-1600

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Protestant Reformation Defined:

Reformation, was a spiritual/religious revolution that aimed to correct the “problems” of the Catholic Church and sparked a century and a half of religious civil war. It resulted in the establishment of the Protestant branches of Christianity- e.g. Lutheranism, Calvinism etc

Renaissance and Reformation 1450-1600

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Causes of Protestant Reformation

  • Anti-Clericalism

  • An appetite for spiritual experience

  • Reliance of church interpretation ended with return to original sources

  • Martin Luther's 95 Theses

  • Indulgences

Renaissance and Reformation 1450-1600

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Causes of the Reformation Cont’d

  • Humanists maintained that the Church seemed more interested in its income than saving souls

  • Erasmus argued that the Pope was acting as a political leader rather than a moral one

  • The First break with the Church took place in what is now Germany (Germany won’t be formed until 1871!)

  • Weak rulers in Germany (who reported to the Pope) could not control independent religious ideas nor could they prevent abuses of power by the Pope

Renaissance and Reformation 1450-1600

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Germany’s States

Renaissance and Reformation 1450-1600

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  • In Rome, Pope Leo X was continuing to rebuild St. Peter’s Basilica and to pay for this, he sent representatives to raise the money

  • He sent Johann Tetzel to Northern Germany

  • Tetzel asked people (usually the poor) to buy INDULGENCES, or pardons from punishment for sin

  • Indulgences had originally been a reward for pious deeds, such as helping a poor person go on a crusade

  • Renaissance Popes, in contrast, sold indulgences simply to raise money

Renaissance and Reformation 1450-1600

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Who’s Who in the Story Thus Far

Renaissance and Reformation 1450-1600

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Martin Luther

  • Faith alone will bring salvation

  • Ceremonies and good deeds made no difference in saving sinners

  • The only thing that counted was an inner faith in God…this is called “Justification by grace through faith

  • 1517, he published his 95 Theses, arguing against the sale of indulgences

Renaissance and Reformation 1450-1600

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In your own words, explain what each statement means:

  • Vain is the hope of salvation through letters of pardon, even if a commissary-nay, the Pope himself- were to pledge his own soul for them

  • Again, why does not the Pope, whose riches are at this day more ample than those of the wealthiest of the wealthy; build the one Basilica of St. Peter with his own money, rather than with that of poor believers?

Renaissance and Reformation 1450-1600

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The Church was not Impressed

  • Even though Luther had no intention of causing a major split from the Church, news of his actions spread, thanks in part due to the printing press

  • Church Leaders denounced him

  • Luther was on a roll – he then claimed that the Bible was the sole religious authority and that religious leaders, such as a Pope, could not tell a person what to believe (note: some feel Luther was responding to the fact that most Bishops were not from the areas where they preached, rather they were “political” appointments that paid well)

Renaissance and Reformation 1450-1600

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The Ball started to Roll…

  • In 1521 Leo X declared Luther a heretic and had him excommunicated

  • Luther was then summoned to a special meeting in Worms and was commanded to rescind all of his ideas under threat of arrest and possible death

  • Luther refused and was smuggled out by the leader of the territory where he lived

  • In hiding, Luther translated the Bible into German so that all could read it, rather than be told was it said…in Latin, which many could not read or understand

  • The Pope, nor The Holy Roman Emperor Charles V could stop the spread of these new ideas – The Reformation had begun!

Renaissance and Reformation 1450-1600

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The Spread of Protestantism

  • Many German state rulers sensed revolution and feared being overthrown – they also saw the opportunity to keep money in their own pockets rather then send it to Rome

  • Thus, many states established the Lutheran Church as the main religion

  • Charles declared war on these “Protestant Princes” but while he could defeat them in battle, he could not stop the break of the Church

  • In 1555, he compromised and signed the Peace of Augsburg, which allowed each German leader to choose their own religion – most chose Luther’s faith

Renaissance and Reformation 1450-1600

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The Church of England

  • In England it would be the King that would cause the break with the RCC

  • Henry VII had originally defended the Church against Luther’s teaching and for his efforts, the Pope had named Henry “Defender of the Faith”

  • But, Henry’s inability to produce a male heir and his own narcissistic ways caused the split

  • Henry wanted to divorce Catherine and marry Anne Boleyn, a maid in hopes of producing a male heir

  • To do this he needed permission from the Church, something Pope Clement VII refused

Renaissance and Reformation 1450-1600

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Henry VIII part II

  • Henry also didn’t like seeing his money leave for Rome, nor did he like the fact that his laws could be overthrown by Rome

  • Therefore, he created a new church, and had himself named “The Defender of the Faith,” as head of the Church of England (ironic)

  • Henry would marry 6 times in all and finally fathered a son, the future Edward VI

  • One of the main changes the Church of England did was to remove all distractions from faith, meaning the alters were stripped, paintings were painted over and stain glass windows were destroyed…such a waste

  • A secondary result was the fact that many Catholics fearing, rightfully for their lives began to flee, many to the new world (we’ll get to this later)

Renaissance and Reformation 1450-1600

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Divorced, executed, died, divorced, executed, widowed…quite the catch!

Renaissance and Reformation 1450-1600

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Calvinists widowed…quite the catch!

  • Luther’s “protest” resulted in 100’s of other sects being born (most would die out)

  • One of the more influential of these was Calvinism

  • In 1536 John Calvin wrote The Institutes of the Christian Religion, which essentially explained what the faithful should believe in regards to all religious questions

  • He also stated that God had already chosen who was selected to go to heaven – Predestination

  • Calvin and those “elected” to go to heaven set up shop in Geneva

  • The movement soon spread to France, where Calvinists became known as Huguenots

  • At one point 1/3 of the French nobility would be Huguenots and this was a threat to the monarchy.

Renaissance and Reformation 1450-1600

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Bloody Massacre widowed…quite the catch!

  • The result was Civil war, culminating in the massacre of 1000’s in the St. Bartholomew massacre

  • Again, sensing that the tide could not be stopped King Henry IV issued in 1598 the Edict of Nantes, which gave Huguenots the freedom of worship

  • While the Huguenots would have relative peace many would flee to the new colonies

Renaissance and Reformation 1450-1600

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Counter Reformation widowed…quite the catch!

  • Actions taken by Catholic Church to counteract the impact of Protestant Reformation once they realised that the Protestant movement represented a real threat

  • Includes: Council of Trent, Roman Inquisition, Index of Prohibited Books, creation of religious orders, dealing with heretics

Renaissance and Reformation 1450-1600

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Council of Trent (1546- 1563) widowed…quite the catch!

  • All medieval church law was valid and important

  • Upheld the notion that God should be worshipped with splendor

  • People must depend on priests as forgiveness came through the Church

  • Priests and Bishops would be more locally selected and Indulgences would be restricted

  • Latin would remain official language

  • Re-emphasized the importance of “good works” and “faith”

  • No new definition of sacraments

  • All of this appealed to those that found ceremonies comforting and who respected authority figures

  • More importantly, this appealed to those who wanted to believe that a person could gain salvation through actions

Renaissance and Reformation 1450-1600

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Council of Trent widowed…quite the catch!

Renaissance and Reformation 1450-1600

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Roman Index of Prohibited Books widowed…quite the catch!

  • a process of reviewing and censoring books

  • Catholics, or nations that were lead by Catholics, were banned from reading books that were considered harmful to faith or morals

  • Those found with banned books could be declared heretics

Renaissance and Reformation 1450-1600

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Roman Inquisition widowed…quite the catch!

  • a tribunal designed to find heretics and bring them to justice

  • It was based on the Spanish Inquisition which sought to remove all non Catholics from Spain, namely the Jews

  • Now, anyone thought of being a non-Catholic could be put on trial and tortured

Renaissance and Reformation 1450-1600

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Religious Orders widowed…quite the catch!

  • To further strengthen support for the Church, leaders saught out those devoted to teaching, propaganda, and social services, e.g.- Jesuits (Society of Jesus)

  • Founded by Ingatius de Loyola in 1534

  • Believed that salvation could be done by good deeds

  • This movement stressed taking vows of chastity, poverty and obedience to the Pope

  • This military like body soon became the most effective tool of spreading Catholicism both within Europe and to new lands

  • They helped slow the spread of Protestantism in European nations like France and Germany, and spread it to lands such as China and Japan and North America

Renaissance and Reformation 1450-1600

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Scripture interpreted by wisdom widowed…quite the catch!

Good Works and Faith

7 Sacraments

Stick with Latin

Clergy must be celibate and chaste

Purgatory is real

Honour Saints

Scripture as you read it

Faith Alone

2 Sacraments- Eucharist, Baptism

Language of the people

Clergy could marry

Go to Heaven or Hell

Criticized Honouring Saints

When the Dust Settles:Catholicism vs. Protestantism

Renaissance and Reformation 1450-1600

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Renaissance and Reformation 1450-1600 widowed…quite the catch!

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So…where are we? widowed…quite the catch!

  • Some hoped the era of religious reformation would bring about a new tolerance – this did not happen

  • The period of 1530 to the mid 1600’s was a time of devastating religious wars in France, Germany , the Netherlands, and Switzerland

  • Persecution still occurred; this time against varying groups

  • There were other drastic, less obvious but more important changes

  • The Pope lost power to new “National Governments”

  • In order to spread their doctrines, various churches created schools (universities), thus beginning the age of ideas and thought, something that will become apparent in future units!

Renaissance and Reformation 1450-1600

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Niccolo Machiavelli widowed…quite the catch!

  • One of the most Significant Political Thinkers of Renaissance

  • Wrote, The Prince (1532)- How a Prince can hold and maintain power

  • Defense of Despotism (rule by tyranny)

Renaissance and Reformation 1450-1600

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Machiavelli’s Ideas widowed…quite the catch!

  • Rejected the restrictions of honour and religion

  • Rulers should only be concerned with power and should only be bound by rules that make him/her successful

  • Rulers must be skilled in the art of war

Renaissance and Reformation 1450-1600

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Machiavelli’s Ideas widowed…quite the catch!Continued

  • Men are evil

  • It is better to be stingy then liberal

  • It is better to be feared then loved

  • Keep your word only when it is too your advantage

  • Known for the saying “ the end justifies the means”

Renaissance and Reformation 1450-1600