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The Protestant reformation

The Protestant Reformation as such has given the rise to the protestant churches, simultaneously declining the role and weight of the catholic power.

There are numerous causes, which have created the soil for the revolutionary movements in the religious area at that time, and though it is possible to say that ‘causes of reformation cannot be located in any one event or in any one aspect of medieval society’, (Cameron, 1991) being a matter of both politics and religion, together with social discontent, it is still essential to look at the causes separately in order to decide, which of them has been the most important and the determining factor in causing the Protestant Reformation. First of all, the causes of the Reformation should be looked for in the fourteenth century.

The role of ecclesiastics in the civil life of people was becoming so prevailing at that time, that it could not but make some zealous personalities think about possibility of changing the status of Catholicism towards its being diminished. The ecclesiastical structure of the state bodies was no longer confined to performing ecclesiastical functions, but was rather spread onto all spheres of human life. Second, the abuses which have been noted in terms of clergy and people, especially what concerned the lowest level of scientific knowledge, had to be changed.

Third, national consciousness has mostly been developed alien to church, with the desire of the state to control all possible aspects of national life. Fourth, with the growing influence of the Catholic Church, the rapid decrease in morality and rise of voluptuousness has proved Catholics to be unable to develop the religious structure of society. (Cameron, 1991) The most important of these reasons has of course been the striving of the Church to interfere with all life activities possible at that time, leading to repeating collisions between Church and the secular State, which also wanted to control the same spheres of human life.

What advice does Machiavelli give to a prince? The Prince is a unique writing, because is it mainly one large piece of advice given to Prince by the author as for how he may be able to acquire additional lands, and how he can control them; it is understandable, that in the present time Machiavelli’s advice would not work, because the modernity is mostly ruled by laws, and not by wars, but for the time in which it was written, The Prince was a very relevant work of art and philosophy.

‘Because how one ought to live is so far removed from how one lives that he who lets go of what is done for that which one ought to do sooner learns ruin than his own preservation: because a man who might want to make a show of goodness in all things necessarily comes to ruin among so many who are not good. Because of this it is necessary for a prince, wanting to maintain himself, to learn how to be able to be not good and to use this and not use it according to necessity. ’ (Machiavelli, 1997)

It is agreed, that such kind of advice cannot be given to senators or presidents, but it is admitted that it is practical enough to be used in the life conditions of that time. In order to receive more land, Machiavelli gives four basic suggestions: it is possible to acquire land through inequity, through other’s arms, through fortune and through the use of virtue and one’s own arms. (Machiavelli, 1997) The latter is supposed to be the most beneficial choice according to Machiavelli.

It is also seen as the easiest way, because through the use of one’s own arms and virtue as instruments for acquiring more land, it will also be possible to keep this land after it is conquered through keeping positive relations with loyal assistants; virtues will only help to rule the land in the proper way. On the contrary, acquiring land through using fortune is seen by the author as one of the most difficult means, especially in relation to hanging on the land after it is owned by the Prince.

(Machiavelli, 1997) Discuss the Age of Exploration. What were the motivations for the age? Why is it significant? Please name the two explorers and describe what they ultimately accomplished. The Age of Exploration is often called being ‘Elizabethan’, and taking place through the period of the 16th century, it has many motives in its background; though of course, the meaning of various motives was different, but they deserve being mentioned here.

‘Many motives prompted the Age of exploration including Scientific curiosity, bred of the Renaissance spirit of free inquiry, the crusading spirit in which Europeans thrilled at the thought of spreading Christianity among heathen peoples; and the opportunities to acquire wealth, fame and power, as well as the scientific improvements in Navigation during the Age of Exploration. ’ (Wilson, 1991) Although the age is called ‘Age of Exploration’, its principal motive was not in looking for the new countries and lands, but in looking for the new routes to the markets of the Old World.

Appearing in the new land and meeting millions of new people has been an accident, but it has become the major calling for other explorers. Marco Polo has been one of the most prominent explorers of that time period; it may seem surprising that his principal accomplishment is not in having conducted much exploration and traveling, but in having fixed all his experiences in the written form, which have later been called ‘The Travels of Marco Polo’. However, it is truth, because he was one of the talented explorers who not only discovered much, but was able to leave the message to the next generations.

(Wilson, 1991) Amerigo Vespucci has become famous for giving name to America; in reality, America was named after him. He has not discovered America – this deed belongs to Christopher Columbus, but in 1507 the first map with using the name ‘America’ was published, and since that time the New World has been named after Amerigo Vespucci. (Wilson, 1991)

References

Cameron, E. (1991). The European Reformation. Oxford: Oxford UP Machiavelli, N. (1997). The Prince. Yale University Press. Wilson, Ian. (1991). The Columbus myth: Did men of Bristol reach America before Columbus? Toronto: Simon & Shuster.

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