Dante Alighieri writes Divine Comedy

The Divine Comedy was written during the last few years of Alighieri’s life while in exile from his homeland of Florence. This epic poem is written in three parts: Inferno, Purgatory, and Paradise. In each part Dante recounts the travels of his alter ego through hell, purgatory, and heaven. The Divine Comedy has had an impact so great on not just the Middle Ages but on literature in general; Dante was able to weave together philosophy, literature, and pagan myth as well as astrology, mathematics, cartography, Christian theology, history, physics, politics, and literary theory. It has influenced the thought of Italian language from being vulgar to beautiful and made the Tuscan dialect what we know as modern Italian.




Boniface VIII issues bull Unam Sanctam

Historians consider Unam Sanctam one of the most extreme statements ever made by the Catholic Church. It was presented by Pope Boniface and states the necessity of belonging to it for eternal salvation and the position of the pope as the head of the Church. Unam Sanctam can be seen as the beginning of the dislike towards the Church because of its sternness and complete dictation of how the Church will be seen as others.



The Renaissance in Italy

The Italian Renaissance was the beginning of the Renaissance where there was a great cultural change and achievement in Europe. The word renaissance (rinascimento in Italian) means rebirth. Important events and figures from the Italian Renaissance include the Great Schism, Giovanni Bellini, Lorenzo de’ Medici, Christopher Columbus, Leonardo da Vinci, Fall of Constantinople, Niccolo Machiavelli, Michelangelo Buonarroti, Giovanni de’ Medici, S Ignatius Loyola, and others.



The Great Schism

During the year 1378, the papal court was based in Rome and an Italian was elected as Pope Urban VI. The cardinals that represented French interest refused to accept him and declared his reign of pope being void and placed Clement VII as pope. Urban VI remained as the pope and stayed in Rome while Clement VII moved to Avignon. Some countries accepted Urban as pope while others called for Clement. This confusion continued for nearly 40 years while both popes claimed to be the true successor of St. Peter.



Christine de Pisan writes in defense of women

The article Christine De Pisan Instructs Women on How to Handle Their Husbands is important to the renaissance because it is giving advice to the wives of artisans on how to maintain all of the necessities of life.Throughout this article Christine De Pisan talks about many things workmen’s wives should encourage their husbands to do. She thought woman should do things such as make their husbands get to work early and work late, get involved in her husband’s work to the point where they know every detail about it, make sure her husband doesn’t make bad deals with bargainers, and lover their husbands as much as they can.

1492Expulsion of Jews from Spain

Isabella and Ferdinand had total control over the churches of Spain. They had an agency that made sure Jews and Muslims converted to the catholic religion. If the change didn’t occur they were exiled and their properties were taken. Spain stayed a loyal catholic country throughout the sixteenth century. Spain also provided a secure base for the European Counter Reformation.

1513Niccolo Machiavelli, The Prince

Machiavelli’s work The Prince was said to have been written as a cynical satire on the ways rulers behaved not as a guide line for how rulers should act. He also talks about tyranny. You shouldn’t take the things he says about tyranny literally though. This is because it contradicts his family tradition of republican service.

1516Thomas More, Utopia

Thomas More is the best known English humanists. His Utopia rivaled William Shakespeare’s plays as the most read English work in the sixteenth-century. More’s Utopia was an imaginary society that was based off of reason and tolerance that overcame political and social injustice. To do this all goods and property had to be held equally and everyone had to earn their own bread by working.

1517Martin Luther's Ninety- Five Theses

Martin Luther's Ninety- Five Theses was his protest against the impression that indulgences remitted sin, which made it seem as if salvation could be bought and sold. The Ninety- Five Theses made Martin Luther a central figure in the national German culture because the theses were embraced by Nuremberg humanists, who translated and widely circulated them. On October 31, 1517, it is said that Martin Luther not only mailed the Ninety- Five theses to local bishops but he also posted the theses to the castle church door so that anyone could take action against indulgences.

Ninety-Five ThesesNinety- Five Theses Rap Music Video

Henry VIII declared head of English Church

Henry VIII supported the Pope against Martin Luther and his Ninety- Five Theses. Since Henry's first wife Catherine did not provide him with a son he wanted to get an annulment. He wanted an annulment so that he could marry Anne Boleyn, but the annulment wasn't granted. In order for Henry VIII to get an annulment and solve all of his problems it was suggested that he declare himself supreme in English spiritual affairs.

1540Jesuit order founded

The Jesuits were founded by Ignatius Loyola in the 1530s, and was recognized by the church in 1540. the Jesuits were based on a military model because Ignatius Loyola wanted people to be “Soldiers of Christ”. Ignatius Loyola preached self mastery through discipline, self sacrifice, and obedience. This preaching strategy helped counter the reformation and win many Protestants back to the Catholic fold especially in Austria and parts of Germany.
1541John Calvin becomes Geneva's reformer

In May 1534 John Calvin joined the Reformation. John Calvin was part of the political revolt and religious reform in Geneva. In the late 1520s Genevans revolted, and in 1527 the city council took power. On May 21, 1536 Geneva officially adopted the Reformation. In June 1536 Calvin arrived in Geneva. John Calvin drew up articles for the governance of the church which was approved after much debate in 1537.

1543Copernicus, On the Revolutions of the Heavenly Spheres
Nicolaus Copernicus wrote On the Revolutions of the Heavenly Spheres to express his theories about his heliocentric theory. Copernicus thought that the planets moved around the sun which contradicted the geocentric system. The heliocentric theory/ model said that everything in the solar system orbits around the sun where as the geocentric view said the sun orbited everything. It turned out that Copernicus' theory/ model was no more accurate than the Ptolemaic model.

1545-1563Council of Trent

The Council of Trent played an important role indetermining the outcome of the Counter
Reformation. Although, it is a controversial argument to say that the Council of Trent represented a positive move by the Catholic Church. The council was called by Pope Paul III and first gathered in December 1545. The council only gathered for talks for four and a half years and disbanded in 1563. The purpose behind calling the council was to examine reform and doctrine as well as address the issues that upset the Protestants in hope to please them and lure them back.


English Book of Common Prayer
The Book of Common Prayers was written by Thomas Cranmer. It was a book that had a collection of prayers and readings in it. It was forced into all English Churches in 1549 by the Act of Uniformity. In 1552 the Second Act of Uniformity made all English churches use a revised version of the Book of Common Prayers. Cranmer also wrote a forty-two article confession of faith which set forth moderate Protestant Doctrine.


Kepler, The New Astronomy

Johannes Kepler was a German Astronomer. He discovered that planets orbit in an elliptical not a circle. Kepler published his thoughts about how the planets orbit into his book The New Astronomy. To solve the problem of planetary motion Kepler uses Brahe’s empirical data and Copernicus’s heliocentric theory.


Galileo, Dialogue on the Two Chief Systems of the World

Pope Urban viii gave Galileo permission to further discuss Copernicus’s heliocentric theory. Galileo continued discussing the heliocentric theory in his book Dialogue on the Two Chief World Systems.
Galileo Wrote the book to explain, defend, and expand on Copernicus’s theory. Within his book Galileo contradicted the church’s belief so he was put under house arrest by the pope for betraying him.


Descartes, Discourse on Method

Descartes was a mathematician that invented analytic geometry. He published his book Discourse on Method which was about solving problems using knowledge and math instead of solving them theoretically. Descartes wanted to have wide circulation so rather than be in Latin Descartes work was in French. In this book Descartes denied all forms of intellectual authority except his own reason.

Hobbes, Leviathan

Hobbes was a political philosopher in the seventeenth century. He spent a lot of time with Rene Descartes, Galileo, and William Harvey who was the discoverer of blood circulation with in body. Hobbes published an influential piece of work named Leviathan.Hobbes goal was to provide a philosophical justification for a stronger central government. He believed that humans and societies were selfish and only thought about themselves.


Newton, Principia Mathematica

In 687 Newton published the Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy, which in Latin translates to Principia Mathematica. Newton reasoned that the planets and all other physical objects in the universe moved through mutual attractions, or gravity. Newton found that “the force of gravity towards the whole planets did arise from and was compounded of the forced of gravity towards all its parts,and towards every one part was in the inverse proportion of the squares of the distances from the part”. Newton demonstrates this relationship mathematically' he made no attempt to explain the nature of gravity itself.


English Toleration Act

The English Toleration Act of 1689 permitted worship by all Protestants and outlawed only Roman Catholics and those who denied the Christian doctrine of the Trinity. It did not, however, extend full political rights to people outside of the church of England. Before the Toleration Act Protestants were divided and there were legal penalties for not following the strict tenants of the church of England. The importance of the Toleration Act at the time of its inception can be summed up in the words of A.V. Dicey in that, “it gave from it was enacted substantial religious freedom to the vast majority of English people.

Toleration Act


Locke, Essay Concerning Human Understanding

Locke's goal in writing his book which included his Essay Concerning Human Understanding was to elucidate the basic structures of human thoughts. The Essay Concerning Human Understanding became the major work of European psychology during the eighteenth century. In this Locke described human mind at birth as a “blank slate” whose content would be determined by sense experience. Locke's view psychology had preserved religious knowledge.


Montesquieu, Spirit of the Law

When writing Spirit of the Law Montesquieu held up the example of the British Constitution as the wisest model for regulating the power of government. Montesquieu's Spirit of the Law, perhaps the single most influential book of the century, exhibits the internal tensions of the Enlightenment. Montesquieu pursued an empirical method, taking illustrative examples from the political experience of both ancient and modern nations. For these, he concluded that no single set of political laws could apply to all people at all times and in all places.


First Volume Diderot's Encyclopedia

Under the heroic leadership of Denis Diderot and Jean Le Rond d' Alembert, the first volume Encyclopedia in 1751. the Encyclopedia, in part a collective plea for freedom of expression, reached fruition only after many attempts to censor it and halt its publication. It was the product of the collective effort of more than a hundred authors, and its editors had at one time or another solicited articles from all the major French philosophes. The Encyclopedia also included numerous important articles and illustrations on manufacturing, canal building, ship construction, and improved agriculture,making it an important source of knowledge about eighteenth-century social and economic life.


Rousseau, Social Contract and Émile

Jean-Jacques Rousseau criticized the inequalities of society which were ‘justified’ by “natural law”. His ideas were fundamental to the ideology of the French Revolution which justified the rebellion of the poor. His writings include The Social Contract and Émile both of which became important works of literature. Émile is about the importance of education of certain things at certain stages of life while The Social Contract helped inspire political reforms and argued against the idea of how monarchs have the divine power to legislate. Both Rousseau and his writings affected the transforming ideas.



Voltaire, Treatise on Tolerance

Voltaire was one of the most influential philosophes of the Enlightenment which was the time when people began to turn away from religion and focus on the sciences and faults politics and society. He wrote the Treatise on Tolerance which encouraged people to understand his idea that superstition and beliefs without a physical foundation can poison a person’s mind. Voltaire warns that ignorance turns to violence against our neighbors because of how readily we are to believe what we hear without wanting to understand. Both Voltaire and the Treatise on Toleration greatly influenced the changing thoughts of the time and were stepping stones for where we are today and our rights of freedom of religion.



Goethe, The Sorrows of Young Werther

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe was an author who wrote Romantic novels during the 1700’s. The Sorrows of Young Werther is about a young artist who is sent to be with his friend in the fictional village of Wahlheim. It is here that Werther encounters a young lady who he falls in love with and where he experiences the simple ways of peasants. It was this piece of literature that Napoleon Bonaparte considered as one of Europe’s greatest works. It spread throughout Europe and was greatly popular to the point where people started to dress as the character Werther is described.




Smith, Wealth of Nations
The Wealth of Nations, written by Adam Smith, had a great impact on the rising bourgeois of Europe and the newly independent United States. This work gave the growing bourgeois the strength to fight back and an idealized government to fight for. He was convinced that feudalism would strangle industrial growth and that the only way to practice economics was to do so with capitalism.



Kant, Critique of Pure Reason
The Critique of Pure Reason is thought to be one of the most influential works of philosophy. It discusses the idea that all knowledge contradicts itself, which is known as a posteriori and a priori. The main subject of his writing being a priori which is obvious knowledge that doesn’t require science or research. He discusses the Law of Contradiction which is the equivalent of saying that the statement “The sky is blue” is not analytical because it is obvious but yet at the same time it is.