Τhe 15th century

Louvain uni statue

Για Ελληνικά κάνετε κλικ εδώ

A new world is being born

The 15th century may be considered as a “bridge” between the Middle ages  on the one hand, and  Renaissance and the early modern era on the other.

It is a period of many important discoveries and inventions too. It is also the time when Constantinople fell into the hands of the Ottoman Turks and the more than millenary Byzantine Empire was dissolved.

The Portuguese circumnavigate for the first time Africa, from the western coast to the eastern (1441) and, almost simultaneously, the American Continent is discovered (1492). In China the building of the “Forbidden City” is completed, i.e. the Imperial Palaces in Beijing (1420) and in Korea we have the invention of the phonetic alphabet Hangul in 1446, which is in use even today.

In Europe, Gutenberg invents the movable characters in printing, which brings about a real revolution in terms of the speed and scope in the dissemination of knowledge and information.

Spain is unified (1469) whereas England is torn by the “War of the Roses” (1455-1485).

The University of saint Andrews is founded in Scotland (1413) and, also, the Catholic University of Leuven in nowadays Belgium (1425). We also have the famous college of Eaton in England in 1440.

Scriptorium

During the 14th and 15th centuries a religious mystical movement developed, which initially spread alongside the river Rhine, from Switzerland to Strasbourg, Cologne and the Netherlands (Holland).  The emphasis is put on the encouragement of cultivating an intense personal relationship with God and on the deep interior life of the faithful. The best representative author this movement, and the best known, is Thomas a Kempis (1380-1471) who wrote the “Imitation of Christ” in 1418. Already by the end of the 15th century, aided by the improvement in printing, the influence of this movement increased and the aforementioned book was printed in various languages, reaching thus many people!

At the beginning of our 21st century the “Imitation” counts over 2,000 editions! It is said to be the second most read book in  the world, after the Holy Bible!

O Everlasting Light!

O Light everlasting, surpassing all created lights, dart down
Thy ray from on high which shall pierce the inmost depths of my
heart. Give purity, joy, clearness, life to my spirit that with
all its powers it may cleave unto Thee with rapture passing man’s
understanding. Oh when shall that blessed and longed-for time
come when Thou shalt satisfy me with Thy presence, and be unto me
All in all? So long as this is delayed, my joy shall not be
full. Still, ah me! the old man liveth in me: he is not yet all
crucified, not yet quite dead; still he lusteth fiercely against
the spirit, wageth inward wars, nor suffereth the soul’s kingdom
to be in peace.

But Thou who rulest the raging of the sea, and stillest the
waves thereof when they arise, rise up and help me. Scatter the
people that delight in war. Destroy them by Thy power. Show
forth, I beseech Thee, Thy might, and let Thy right hand be
glorified, for I have no hope, no refuge, save in Thee, O Lord my
God.

(From the Book of the Imitation of Christ, book 3, ch. 34, §3 and 4)

click here for Greek

 


One thought on “Τhe 15th century

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s