History Western Civilization a Book Called the Essay

  • Length: 6 pages
  • Subject: Drama - World
  • Type: Essay
  • Paper: #16137744

Excerpt from Essay :

history western civilization a book called THE MAKING OF THE WEST.

Joan of Arc

Prior to becoming made into a saint in the early part of the 20th century, Joan of Arc was one of the primary causes of France's many victories in the Hundred Years War. The woman, who only lived to be 19 before she was eventually burned to death after being captured by the British, helped liberate many parts of France from British occupation during a relatively brief period of time, all of which took place during the 1420's prior to her death. Joan told several members of the French population that she was divinely inspired by visions from God to help her defeat the British and reclaim France's territory. With some dissent from France's military leaders, she was able to play an influential role in the Siege at Orleans, which was largely proceeded by several months' worth of defensive military tactics on the part of the French while Britain, which had already captured Paris and Normandy, attacked at its leisure. Joan was able to help the French army to change its strategy and to actually attack the British. She was oftentimes a decisive factor on the battlefield, receiving a number of injuries yet consistently leading French attacks.

The ultimate significance of Joan of Arc's religious conviction and daring acts on the battlefield was that King Charles VII was able to take part in his own coronation as the legal ruler of France. Also, Joan's religious beliefs were fairly instrumental in her becoming a patron saint for the country of France. There were some who believed that her claims of visions and her relationship to God was not founded upon Christianity but instead relied upon the black arts as a diviner, of sorts, at which point Joan was actually put on trial to attempt to discover the true source of her religious inspiration. She was found to be a good Christian, and henceforth forever represents the spirit of France on the battlefield and is now a saint, as well.

The Battle of Agincourt

The Battle of Agincourt took place during the Hundred Years War, which was, of course, fought largely between different factions of English and French rivals. This particular battle took place in the fall of 1415; some historians have dated it to have occurred in October 25. It was waged in the northern section of France known as Agincourt; rather significantly, the bulk of the fighting that took place during the Hundred Years War was actually in France, as the English forces occupied it and were bent on taking the French territory as their own. In the Battle of Agincourt, however, the English troops were largely outnumbered by the Forces of France. However, largely due to the efforts of Henry V, who was then the king of England, the English forces were able to soundly triumph in this altercation. Henry V actually played a substantial role in the battlefield military of England that day, actually engaging in combat with several French troops. One of the primary weapons that Henry and his army used that more than likely aided in their triumph that day was the crossbow, which enabled English troops to pick off their French counterparts from a distance and with a rapidity that forcibly upset the French soldiers.

The significance in this battle lies in the fact that it helped swing the tide of the war in the favor of the English for several years to come following the victory. Henry was able to capitalize on the success and strength of his performance on the battlefield in a political capacity as well, as he was able to marry the daughter of France's king at the time. Therefore, Henry's son, Henry VI, was heir to the throne. In that respect then, it is notable that this battle helped to legitimize English claims to the land and the throne of France.


Scholasticism is a branch of thought, or rather, of a method of thinking that was initially conceived of and practiced from approximately 1100 A.D. To 1500 A.D. During its inception, it was originally utilized as a way of reconciling traditional religious beliefs and convictions with those of non-ecclesiastical sources. Some of these sources include people with powerful influence in the fields of philosophy and morals such as Aristotle. As a way of thinking, Scholasticism largely revolves about a dialectical approach to resolving potential conflicts or points of divergence related to a certain line of thought. It typically forms an approach in which topics are questioned, which yields to responses for sides that are both for and against whatever the particular subject of discussion is. This method of thinking was largely employed within university settings as Europe attempted to emerge from the dark ages and revive intellectual interest that would go on to blossom during the Renaissance. Yet the primary purpose for the invention of this particular way of attempting both academic and religious subject matter was to defend orthodox views of the church and of Christianity from decidedly secular sources. By analyzing the distinctions and the differences inherent in a viewpoint, scholasticism ultimately attempts to rectify them and arrive at an ultimate truth (which many were hoping would be aligned with the religious tenets on the subject).

Scholasticism is primarily significant because it was the main method of awakening intellectual thought and inclination throughout Western Society during and at the end of the dark ages. It was important because it allowed both scholars and religious figures to not simply blindly accept traditional religious views or that of papal authorities as being the end-all ultimate source of truth and conviction on a subject. It allowed for growth and development of religion and intellect, and ultimately spread outside of ecclesiastical matters to encompass other areas of study as well.


Copernicus was a Renaissance figure who is primarily known for the publication of a treatise related to astronomy. The title of this piece of literature is De Revolutionibus Orbium Coelestium, which is translated as On the Revolutions of the Celestial Spheres. Within this manuscript, the author posited the rather controversial claim that contrary to popular theory, which held that the earth was at the center of the universe, and that everything else within the celestial sphere (including the sun) actually rotated about the earth, that the sun was actually at the center of the universe, and that everything within the universe rotated about the sun. The German astronomer was able to see this book into publication (in 1543). In addition to his advances within the field of astronomy, which he is primarily known for, Copernicus is also typified the range of breadth of scholastic and artistic pursuits which came to typify the magnates of the Renaissance time period. In addition to his work in astronomy, he was also a noted physician and mathematician, a visual artist, a propagator of economic theory, and German diplomat as well.

The significance of Copernicus' notion about the earth rotating about the sun can be found in the fact that it spawned the scientific revolution, which allowed for the engendering of the Enlightenment and a general search for knowledge and a questioning of the largely religious tradition that was thought to have governed science at the time. Copernicus' theory also is responsible begetting a religious controversy that displaced man (as God's favored creature) at the center of the universe. The modern field of astronomy is largely attributed to Copernicus and his labor within this field.

The Bubonic Plague

The bubonic plague is a highly contagious disease that is widely believed to stem from rodents (such as mice, rats, etc.) and which infects human beings through contact via the skin. It causes a swelling of certain glands and nodes within the human body and nearly always results in death. The bubonic plague gained a considerable amount of notoriety when it surfaced throughout the whole of Europe in the midway point of the 14th century to about the start of the 16th century. Its effect was devastating, as some estimates claim that nearly a hundred million Europeans lost their lives due to the infectious, fatal nature of this particular disease. Conservative estimates reveal that a third of Europe's entire population died as a result of this disease, while more liberal estimates state that approximately two thirds of the population on The Continent was killed by it. The disease was so effective in its wanton claiming of human life in part because medieval physicians were confused about the source of the epidemic, and had no idea about how to treat it.

The significance of the bubonic plague that swept through Europe in the 14th and 15th centuries was that in some ways it devalued the worth of human life, while in others it actually increased them. Violence and wars were fairly commonplace on the Continent during this particular time period, because people believed that they had limited time to live anyway. In…

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