This paper is devoted to the events in world history which took place in the XV-XVI centuries. This paper is going to concentrate on the factors which prevented Europe from its global expansion at that time. Also, it will touch the events outside of Europe.
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To start with, it is necessary to claim that there are three major factors which did not allow Europe to expand over the globe. First of all, this is the feudal order which existed in Europe at that time. The continent was split into small counties whose armies were not numerous enough to get involved in strong battles outside the continent. Therefore, small states were supposed to unite so as to expand the European influence worldwide. This was a far goal to be reached (“Chapter 15” 755). Second, there were strong states in the east that were rather a warrior. Besides, they were willing to expand their influence worldwide. Thus, European states were better not to speed up the events. Third, the 14th century was marked by the overthrow of the Byzantine Empire, which resulted in the most wonderful period of the European culture.
Renaissance is acknowledged to be one of the most significant époque in world history. It came to replace the Medieval Ages and was followed by the Enlightenment. It played a notable role in European culture. It started in the 14th century in Italy and in the 15th century in other European countries. The main features of the époques are its civil nature of culture and anthropocentrism. The latter implies an interest in people and their deeds. Apart from that, this was the time when people got interested in the culture of antiquity. This was its renaissance. This is how the term appeared. It was used by Italian humanists, for instance, by Georgio Vazari. Nowadays, the term “renaissance” is used to signify a cultural heyday.
The new paradigm appeared due to changes in social relationships in Europe. The most important role in Renaissance development was played by the overthrow of the Byzantine Empire. Byzantines had to escape to Europe. They took their books and arts with them. Therefore, many antique sources unknown to Europeans appeared in Europe. In fact, Byzantines never forgot the Antique culture. It is necessary to note that Cosimo Medici was so impressed by a speech that was made by a Byzantine lecturer that he founded Plato Academy in Florence.
The growth of cities-states entrained the influence of classes that did not participate in feudal relations: artisans, craftmen, traders, and bankers. The hierarchal system of values created by the medieval church culture was alien to them. This resulted in the appearance of humanism. Humanism is a social-philosophic movement which considered a person, his personality, his freedom and his constructive activities as the highest value and the criteria for social institutions evaluation.
In cities, there were created secular centers of science and arts which operated without the church surveillance. The world view addressed to Antiquity, which was accepted to serve as an example of humanistic relations. The first typography in the mid-15th century contributed to the spread of antique legacy and new view in Europe.
Renaissance appeared in Italy, where its first features were evident in the 13th and 14th centuries in the activities of Toni Paramoni, Giotto, Orcagnia and others. However, it was strictly established only in the 1420s. In France, Germany and other counties, it developed later. By the end of the 15th century it reached its heyday. The period of early Renaissance is from 1420 to 1500. During these 80 years the art was still affected by the Medieval Ages. However, some elements from classical antiquity appear. Afterward, step by step, by changing life conditions, artists dared to tear the shackles of the medieval traditions and apply the examples of antique art in the overall concept and in the details of their works. That was the period when Italian art followed the way of imitation of the classical antiquity. At the same time, in other counties, gothic traditions persisted. In the north of Alps and in Spain, Renaissance began only at the end of the 15th century, and its early period lasted for about 50 years.
After the early period High Renaissance started. This is admitted to be a heyday of the époque. In Italy, it lasted from about 1500 to 1527. At this time, the center of the Italian art was moved from Florence to Rome, due to the accession to the throne of Pope Julius II. He was ambitious, brave, and businesslike. He attracted the best artists to his court. At Julius’s times, Rome became new Athens of Pericles’s age. There were built many monumental buildings, created beautiful sculptures, painted pictures and frescos. These pieces of art are still considered as pearls. Antiquity was studied more thoroughly and imitated more strictly and in more details. The art of the three greatest Italian artists marked the heyday of Renaissance. They are Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo Buonarroti, and Rafael Santi.
In conclusion, it is necessary to state that this paper has considered some events in the world history which took place in the XV-XVI centuries. It has concentrated on the factors which prevented Europe from its global expansion at that time. They are the feudal order, powerful counties in the east, and the overthrow of the Byzantine Empire. Besides, the development of humanism can also be named as a reason for Europe not to expand its influence since humanism accepts the value of life, whereas expanding implies wars, deaths and blood (“Chapter 14” 701).
“Chapter 13.” Considering the Evidence: Documents. Phi Delta Kappa Educational Foundation. 2000.
“Chapter 14.” Considering the Evidence: Documents. Phi Delta Kappa Educational Foundation. 2000.
“Chapter 15.” Considering the Evidence: Documents. Phi Delta Kappa Educational Foundation. 2000.