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Which century saw the most change?

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message 1: by Kirsten (new)

Kirsten  (kmcripn) One of the nicest things about my Kindle is I can read different magazines without having to worry about throwing them away when I'm done.

Several months back I discovered a magazine called BBC History. It has some great articles. In the November issue, they posed this question: Which century saw the most change? and Ian Mortimer, author of The Time Traveller's Guide to Medieval England: A Handbook for Visitors to the Fourteenth Century wrote his own views.

Some highlights:

11TH CENTURY: FORTRESS EUROPE
The rise of the castle

12TH CENTURY: THE ECCLESIASTICAL SUPERHIGHWAY
The rise of the monastery. (In England and Wales, the number of religious houses more than quintupled, from less than 140 to over 700.)

13TH CENTURY: MONEY FLEXES ITS MUSCLES
Barter gave way to hard currency.

14TH CENTURY: DEATH STALKS THE LAND
The Black Death wiped out up to half the population. (Some theologians even began to question the purity of the pontiff of Rome at this point.) The value of the common man's labor increased and wages improved.

15TH CENTURY: COLUMBUS PEERS OVER THE HORIZON
The great explorers exploded the myth that the Greeks and Romans knew everything that was worth knowing.

16TH CENTURY: THE WORLD OF GOD IN PLAIN ENGLISH
Literacy soared and murder rates plummeted as William Tyndale's ground-breaking Bible rolled off the printing press. A book that people not only wanted to understand, but could also teach them to read, shifted European society toward the written word. (Male literacy increased from about 10% to 25%; female literacy from 1% to 10%.)

17TH CENTURY: SCIENCE IS THE NEW SAVIOR
The infirm sought salvation in doctors - rather than God alone - as the medical revolution swept Europe.

18TH CENTURY: A HUMAN RIGHTS REVOLUTION
Europe's leading thinkers clustered to the flame of the Enlightenment and challenged the state's right to repress its people. The execution rate dropped and the death penalty was abolished altogether in some countries. Flogging, burning and maiming also declined and religious intolerance weakened in the latter part of the century. Economic attitudes became more liberal too, as rigid mercantilist policies gave way to free trade.

19TH CENTURY: THE WORLD BECOMES A VILLAGE
Communication, travel and food distribution were all super-charged by the advent of trains, steamships and the telephone. Countries connected by rail ceased to suffer famines in peacetime.

20TH CENTURY: THE LOST UTOPIA
The assumption that life would continue to improve was replaced by fears of nuclear and environmental armageddon.

Further reading: Centuries of Change: Which Century Saw The Most Change? by Ian Mortimer

I hope you found these points as interesting as I did. Any corrections? Any additions?


message 2: by Emily (new)

Emily Murphy | 101 comments Huh - that's really interesting. I'm not a big medieval history person, but this is a great way to keep all the centuries straight!


message 3: by C. J. (last edited Nov 14, 2014 01:32PM) (new)

C. J. Scurria (goodreadscomcj_scurria) | 13 comments Ooh, I'd love to delve into early European centuries and histories concerning these subjects! Fascinating but I don't know where to begin and don't own a Kindle to easily receive that magazine.


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