A World Lit Only By Fire Analysis

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A World Lit Only by Fire: The Medieval Mind and the Renaissance Portrait of An Age, was written in 1993 by William Manchester (1922-2004) who was an American author, historian, and biographer. He wrote over a dozen books and was given the National Humanities Medal, and the Abraham Lincoln Literary Award. Manchester’s work, A World Lit by Fire discusses the era known as the Dark Ages with its Medieval mindset throughout Europe, the development of the Renaissance, and the rise of humanism. Manchester argues that the mindset of Medieval Europe was a simple one where the notion of “Self-identity” did not exist, and where life was centrally controlled by the Roman Catholic Church. People gravitated to the Church’s congregations to become a part …show more content…
Manchester argues that the notion of individualism and thoughts of self-identity for the common population did not exist. The Church controlled and dominated most of intellectual thought, government, and ideas, Manchester emphatically argues that it was the dominant central power. “Sovereigns courting popularity led crusades to The Holy Land. To eat meat during Lent became a capital offence, sacrilege meant imprisonment, the Church became the wealthiest landowner on the Continent, and the life of every European, from baptism through matrimony to burial, was governed by …show more content…
Manchester’s A World Lit only by Fire is successful in describing Europe’s transition from the Middle Age’s intellectually primitive society with its simplicity of life, to its rebirth in the Renaissance. The author has presented a strong argument to support his belief that Medieval Europe was a shadow of what it had been before the fall of the Roman Empire. He successfully shows the culture of the Middle Ages and the development of the countries and territories throughout Europe, while also describing the structure of religion and government that affected the citizen’s daily lives and their beliefs. He presents vast information to successfully present his case that Western Europe was being held down by the Catholic Church’s authority and power in both religious and political matters. His claims have proven validity as shown in his vast use of secondary sources and accounts. His book has listed over seven pages of acknowledgments and sources and a comprehensive index consisting of fifteen pages. Manchester’s work also convincingly describes in detail the events which led to the coming of the Renaissance. He shows how history was shaped with the schisms in the Church caused by figures such as Calvin and Luther and the development of Protestantism in many areas of Europe. The conclusions presented by him are convincing and offer different a perspective of ideas towards the various subjects within the period. Manchester defines Magellan, even though he was not the first

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