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What is purgatory? History of Christianity

By |2018-04-24T09:23:14+00:00August 23rd, 2017|Medieval, Religion|

A demon torturing a sinful bishop and a king (Notre Dame Cathedral, Paris, 1200s AD) In the early days of Christianity, people pretty much thought that at the Last Judgment you went to Heaven if you had been good or you went to Hell if you had been bad and that was that. This [...]

Thomas Aquinas – Dominican monk

By |2018-04-24T09:23:15+00:00August 4th, 2017|Medieval, Philosophy|

Naples, with Mount Vesuvius in the background Like Ibn Rushd and Maimonides, Thomas Aquinas was a great thinke who tried to figure out the relationship between science and religion. But unlike Ibn Rushd and Maimonides, Aquinas was a Christian. Thomas Aquinas was born in southern Italy, at his father's castle, in 1224 or 1225 AD. It was just after the death of Francis [...]

Dante Alighieri – Inferno – Middle Ages

By |2018-10-02T07:17:25+00:00August 3rd, 2017|Literature, Medieval|

Dante Alighieri, painted by Giotto about 1320 AD Dante wrote in Italian, not Latin Since the time of the Romans, writers who lived in Italy had always written in Latin. Virgil wrote in Latin, Ovid wrote in Latin, and Gregory the Great and St. Benedict wrote in Latin. Thomas Aquinas wrote in Latin. Who was St. Benedict? Who was Thomas Aquinas? More Middle Ages articles [...]

Boccaccio – Decameron – Medieval literature

By |2018-04-24T09:23:18+00:00August 3rd, 2017|Literature, Medieval|

Florence, Italy Most of the people who knew how to write in the early Middle Ages were monks. So most of them wrote about serious things like God and Heaven and Hell. Even writers who weren't monks, like Dante, usually wrote about Christian ideas. But Boccaccio was different. Boccaccio wrote about real people and their real lives. Some [...]

Late medieval Italy – Guelfs and Ghibellines

By |2018-09-27T12:27:25+00:00August 3rd, 2017|History, Medieval|

Constance of Sicily (late 1100s AD) North Italy's republics All through the later middle ages, Northern Italy was still divided into lots of small independent city-states. The most important city-states were Milan, Florence, Genoa, Pisa, Siena, and Venice. Florence and the Medici The port of Genoa Venice and the Ottomans But the Holy Roman Emperors often attacked these city-states and tried [...]

Republic of Florence – Medieval Italy

By |2018-04-24T09:23:14+00:00August 2nd, 2017|History, Medieval|

Romanesque baptistery in Florence, Italy When the last of the Carolingian Holy Roman Emperors died in 924 AD, northern Italy - including Florence and nearby Genoa - fell under the power of the Counts of Canossa: first Boniface III, then his daughter Matilda. Florence did very well under their rule: in 1059, Florence was able to rebuild its Christian baptistery in a beautiful Romanesque style. [...]