European Culture Change Between 1450 And 1700

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The rising and falling of regions of the world is a commonly observed pattern in history, and the changes which ran their course over Europe between 1450 and 1700 formed an important shift in the continent. “In the fifteenth century, European society was still centered on the Mediterranean region, but by the end of the seventeenth century, the focus of Europe had shifted north.” After the fall of the Middle Ages, the Renaissance had sprung up in Florence, Italy and brought forth the cultured art and ideas which characterized the High Renaissance. However, drastic developments began to take place as the Renaissance migrated north, northern countries unified, and a new Atlantic trade began. Between the fifteenth and seventeenth centuries, the …show more content…

Part of the shift in focus involved the wars which plagued Italy in the late 1400s. As conflict broke out, key artists of the Renaissance fled the Mediterranean region for the north, taking the cultured ideas of the High Renaissance with them. Another inevitable effect of these wars was the implementation of war taxes to support the government. These taxes, coupled with increasing censorship of literature and art, encouraged people to move away from Italy. Additionally, the creation of the printing press by Johannes Gutenberg around 1440 introduced an excellent opportunity for ideas to spread outwards faster and with fewer consequences. Later, as Martin Luther’s Ninety Five Theses marked the beginning of the Protestant Reformation in Europe, attention was brought north towards Germany. As the Thirty Years War took place, new, albeit limited opportunities for religious freedom were introduced. Due to these events, the Mediterranean region lost its position as the cultural center of Europe. In 1543, with Copernicus’ publishing of On the Revolutions of the Heavenly Spheres, the Scientific Revolution began. Far removed from Italy, the scientific developments of the time were positioned firmly in northern Europe. Finally, the Enlightenment emerged in France in the 1600s, which cemented the importance of northern Europe and …show more content…

Italy had been and remained organized into city states ruled by oligarchies. Conversely, northern Europe consisted of unified states which were ruled under monarchs. Italy’s divided nature prevented it from remaining comparable to the growing northern powers of England and France. Along with this, the Pope in Italy lost almost of his power as time progressed. Due to several factors such as the Babylonian Captivity, the Great Schism, and the Conciliar Movement, the people of Europe lost their faith in the Pope. The resulting crisis of leadership, division of faiths, and questioning of power removed the focus from the Pope in the Mediterranean region to other matters elsewhere. Tying in with the cultural aspect of the northward shift, politics helped to halt the Italian Renaissance with the French, German, and Spanish invasions of Italy and resulting Habsburg-Valois war. The governments of England and France became patrons of the arts and supplied money to artists. Later, with absolutists such Louis XIV, the unified nations of northern Europe were able to become much richer than any one Italian city state. This money could be used to glorify their respective countries. The strength of the unified countries in the north overpowered the capabilities of the divided Mediterranean region and helped greatly to facilitate the shift

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