The World Lit Only by Fire, written by William Manchester, is book based on the middle/ medieval ages. Early into the book, Manchester writes, “Was the medieval world a civilization, comparable to Rome before it or to the modern era that followed? If by civilization one means a society which has reached a relatively high level of cultural and technological development, the answer is no” (15). The author’s opinion is clear; he does not believe that the medieval ages ever achieved the title of a civilization.
To solidify his thesis, the author explains how life was like during these times, how major events developed and how important roles took their place in history during the medieval age.
To start off there was no form of time tracking; clocks did not exist at this time. Specific dates during this age are still questioned. Major events that happened whose dates are roughly known are the long-term events. Examples of these events are: frequent famines and the Bubonic Plague (Black Death) epidemic.
Towns were not known at this time only villages and they were distant from one another. Travel was expensive, difficult, and dangerous. Thieves were all over the place notably in forests and when a lonely person would stumble upon their path they would take everything and brutally wound the person. A notorious of these thieves is Robin Hood.
This era was a time superstition. The population believed in everything. The populace believed that anything that was unexplainable was the work of sorcery and witchcraft. People during this time were small usually around the five feet margin. Anyone who succeeded six feet was thought to be a giant and was tortured.
The Roman Catholic Church ruled over the medieval ages. All political p...
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...ving the world was spherical. Ferdinand proved the Church wrong and in doing so weakened the belief in God and opened the world to logic.
The development that started after the heavy medieval ages is what interested me the most. It was called the Medieval Renaissance because it was such a complete change during that era. Science took shape on the world and the medieval age was beginning to turn into what the world is now. This connects to history’s central theme of evolving or changing for the better. Almost nothing during this time relates to the world now due to this renaissance. The medieval way of life back then was horrible, but no matter how difficult life can get now it can never fall to what the medieval age was like. With all that I learned about the medieval age by reading this book; I want to learn even more through my World History Class.
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