This little article here is probably very rough, I have been feeling a bit pressured to get it published as soon as possible. I promise to add more postings that will expand and refine on some of the topics in this passage.
Monday, January 10, 2005
As my first actual posting on history, I want to start by tackling one of the biggest historical fallacies of our time. Way too many of us believe that the medieval ages were a dark gloomy time when human progress was nonexistent, war and destruction was everywhere, and the whole world was made up of isolated little kingdoms. All of this is what the guys in the Renaissance want you to believe. In fact, much of the world was enormously ahead in terms of technology and the Arts. In China they were already using block printing, developing new military ideas, and exploring many parts of the world. In the Middle East the progress done by the Greeks and Romans was continued. Great advances were being made in medicine, astronomy, literature, mathematics, and philosophy. Also, in these two regions, vast empires were forming, empires that would often come in touch with each other, causing enormous amounts of knowledge and materials being exchanged. Up too the eleventh century Europe was still a rather isolated place. It was still recovering from the destruction of the Roman Empire and numerous invasions by foreigners. A brief glimpse of light did appear with Charlemagne in France, but it disappeared after his death. The First Crusade changed all of that. Despite the fact of the brutal killings of many people this event changed Europe for ever. It was the first time when the West came into a major confrontation with the East. The knights who returned to Europe brought with them all kinds of curious and exotic goods and ideas. This sparked great interest and soon large-scale trade began between Europe and the East. This led to the rise of the Italian trading cities. These cities began to explore more of the world. As they began to interact with the peoples of the East and increased their trade with them the wealth of the Italian merchants increased. These wealthy families wanted something to spend all that money on so they began to look around. First they started hiring painters, sculptors, and musicians to make beautiful pieces of work. Slowly their hunger for art and soon knowledge increased. As they continued to finance these artists another group of people emerged. These people's tastes of ancient culture was sparked by the recent events. Soon, with the help of the Italian merchants, they started to dive into the works of the Ancients, the Greeks and the Romans. It is in this way that the Renaissance was starting.