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Renaissance and 14th century

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Using approximately 300 words describe the social, political, and religious misfortunes of the 14th century and the effect of these events on the psychological and material fortunes of Europeans.

How did the Renaissance help Europeans deal with and recover from this century of material, political, and religious confusion? Why did the Renaissance start in Italy?

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The 14th century was a time of confusion and problems that impacted Europe. These are the major problems that impacted the society, politics and religion of the 14th century.

A. The Black Death
The Black Death(1348-50): The Black Death was a pandemic of bubonic plague spread by Oriental rat fleas on black rats that traveled on merchant ships. It is estimated that it killed 75-100 million people in Europe or about 60 percent of the European total population. In the 13th century, the Little Ice Age dropped the temperature that brought colder winters and reduced harvests. There were high population rates which created a Great Famine in 1315-1317. Because of the Black Death, religious fervor and fanaticism grew that persecuted Jews, lepers, beggars, and pilgrims as reasons for the black death. They also attacked many Jewish communities such as Mainz and Cologne.

Politically, the aristocracies and monarchies of Europe were unable to rule their lands effectively. The 100 years war(1337-1453) between France and Britain dragged on forever and involved other western European countries that taxed the people. The conflict was over Edward III of England who refused to respect the rule of the French king Phillip VI of France The war was in three separate periods of Edwardian Era War(1337-60), the Caroline war(1369-1389), and the Lancaster War(1415-53). This placed a stress on the aristocracies and hurt their legitimacy among the people of their lands. Other inventions such as the longbow, pikes, crossbows, and gunpowder enabled armored aristocrats to be killed by peasants and militias. The armored horse cavalry which was important before the war was replaced by lightly armored horses. As a result, the monarchs had to support mercenary armies because they could not provide the defense to the peasants. The uprising of the Jacquerie, French peasants, and the Peasant's Revolt saw the lack of confidence in the monarchy and called for the eradication of the feudal system. It also awakened French nationalism and made it into a centralized state. It also shaped England's modern political culture.

B. The middle class
The guild was a group of middle-class merchants that was to prosper in economic prosperity but because of the reduction of markets of the fourteenth century, the guild had to exploit their workers, limit guild access and there was a great competition between the guilds. They began to be replaced by capitalist forms of economy. Because of the Black Death, they had little labor supply which forced the middle class to freeze salaries to pre-Death levels which showed that the middle class wanted to exploit the poorer classes.

C: The Great Schism
The worst religious misfortune was the Great Schism of the Catholic Church and where ...

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The following posting helps with problems involving social, political and religious misfortunes of the 14th century and the effects of these events on the psychological and material fortunes of Europeans.