Blonde Ashley

Sometimes it's good to be a little weird

Western Civilization: Machiavelli’s Views and Early Renaissance Art.

1. A man named Machiavelli wrote a book called The Prince the book is a guide fro proper political behavior. This book shows how different he thought then the traditional religious views. he believed that the state and state law were higher than anything else. They had complete power. He says the pope has absolutely no power to make any political decisions. He states ” a prince must always be willing to act immorally when it becomes necessary.” Machiavelli mentioned that a prince has the right to be ruthless, inhumane, and unjust whenever he sees fit. But don’t worry, he says it should only be done when necessary. Who says when it’s necessary? the prince. He also stated a prince should be feared, not loved by the people, but not hated, we don’t want a rebellion.

2. Renaissance art is quite different than the Medieval art. During the Renaissance art had more emphasis on individualism, realism and perspective. Also more color was used in art during the Renaissance.

Mosaccio didn’t live very long but during his short life he created some beautiful paintings. The Holy Trinity  Fresco is a painting of Christ on the cross.

Botticelli is an other well known Renaissance painter. Probably his best known painting is The Birth of Venus.

Brunelleschi was a sculptor and architect. He came up with a way to build domes. You can see his work if you go to Duomo Cathedral in Florence.



Western Literature: Boccaccio

In Boccaccio book The Decameron he famously documents the arrival of The Black Death in Florence. He described how it affected people and how long they had until they would die.

After telling how the plague affected the entire city he zoomed in on seven fictional young noble women, after a while three you men joined them. They collectively decided to go to an abandoned estate outside the city to escape the plague. They took servants and belongings and spent their days being merry.

After being there a bit, they decided they would take turns telling stories. The first story delivered quite the story. The story was about a man who spent his life doing bad things. He foraged documents, lied, and quite possibly killed someone. On his death bed he asked to speak to a friar to confess his sins. However he only confessed his minor sins. This left the friar with the impression that he was basically a saint.  Thinking those few petty sins were so bad he needed to confess them. The towns people even expected him to start performing miracles. Before long they were even praying to him!

I think Boccaccio had the storyteller invoke God to kind of set a feel for the book.

Western Civilization: The Renaissance and Petrarch

1. Renaissance is often associated with “rebirth”, but the rebirth of what? One of the most important things that got re-birthed was ancient classical work. Throughout time Greek drama, poetry, art, and Latin works were almost forgotten. Many works were just sitting on monastery bookshelves collecting dust. But then in the 14th century Humanism was introduced. This brought renewed interest in ancient works. Humanist passionately believed university students should be exposed to and study liberal arts such as poetry, art, drama ect….. This made the students have the ability to feel more individualized.

2. Petrarch is often known as “The Father of Humanism.” Growing up, his father wanted him to study law, so he did. But he couldn’t shake his love for classics such as Cicero and Horace. After his father died he abandoned law studied what he loved. He also wrote literature. His vision of Laura, a woman he saw, was used as an example for true love was. However, while speaking of true love he mentioned his own name more he mentioned hers. This again lets on to how much individualism was praised during this time.

Western Literature: Two Literary Works.

The Song of Roland and The Little Flowers of St. Francis of Assisi are ancient literary pieces are targeted towards Christians. They are very different though. The Song of Roland is about war and fighting, in the name of the Christian God: but it still has some examples of how Christians should act. Little Flowers on the other hand, is targeted directly at friars; to be specific Franciscan friars.

Despite being different in these ways Christian law holds strong positions in both stories; mainly heaven and hell. The righteous will go to heaven and the unrighteous will go to hell.

In The Song of Roland crusading plays a big part. Popes said it could be a way of paying penance for your sins. They also crusaded to try to convert the Muslims to Christianity. They would pray during the war, they had faith, confidence, and bravery, they were confident God was on their side.

In The Little Flowers of St. Francis of Assisi  they had nothing to do with war. But they still had penance, the friars would inflict it on themselves. In here they didn’t try to force people to be converted, they tried to persuade them to become Christians. St. Francis was given the ability perform miracles. Also the Franciscan communicate with angels.

But one of the main differences between the two is this: In The Song of Roland they made a deal with the Muslim king in which Charlemagne would receive gold, so they had money on their mind. In The Little Flowers of St. Francis of Assisi the were focused on poverty and owning nothing.

Despite their differences, both stories say that loving and obeying God is important, and that is true.

Biology: Fish

Counter-current is a form of gas exchange that fish use to breathe. This means that water passes over the gills is the opposite direction that the blood flows through the fish. This causes the water to reach the blood with a lower Po2 level. This helps the fish draw up to 80% of the oxygen out of the water they use. This compared to the 25% of oxygen that humans get out of the air we breath.

Western Civilization: Wycliffe and The 100 Years’ War.

1. John Wycliffe lived from 1320-1384, he was an English priest and a professor at Oxford University. However he turned from several traditional Catholic teachings and proposed his own beliefs. For one, he believed that the state had supremacy over the church. Most Catholics either believed that they were equal or the church was over the state. Another non-Catholic belief Wycliffe had was he believed that God chose everybody’s fate before they were even born. Wycliffe proposed that if a person did good things it might indicate that he is predestined for heaven.

2. The Hundred Years’ War started because the French and English fought over the French crown. Edward III decided he should rule England and France, he thought this because he was the grandson of Philip IV of France. But the French didn’t like that idea. Eventually, was broke out. This lead to a hundred years of war. It consisted of multiple intermediate battles and truces. It was mostly English victories but one of the time France won was a battle under the rule of Charles VII in 1453. The consequences of the war are this: The French conquered England and established their independence. And England lost any ruling they had over France except for Calias and the English Canal

Western Literature: Hope in the After Life.

” The Little Flowers if St. Francis of Assissi” is about St. Francis and his fellow friars. In this book we read about many of the actions they did to earn eternal life. a person would most likely be kind of daunted by all the religious things the friars did in order to be holy. They would probably think that they need to become a friar in order to receive eternal life. Francis believed poverty helped to make you holy. Therefore anybody who had money but wanted to be holy would have to give up his/her money.

But then again, even these friars who gave everything in order to be holy, still had to serve time in purgatory. This didn’t mean they were sinners, this means they needed more spiritual cleansing before they could go to heaven.

I can imagine why someone would look at this and wonder, 1. Why they still had to spend time in purgatory when they had dedicated their entire lives to God. And 2. If it was even worth trying to get into the Kingdom, if you lived your entire life giving everything, and still weren’t quite good enough.

Western Civilization: Philip IV and Boniface VIII and The Black Death

1. Philip IV of France and Pope Boniface VIII show that there has been conflict between church and state for a long time.

The cause for conflict is this: the monarchy believed the king/emperor had the right to subjugate the church to his power. the church had another opinion. The church wanted independence from the state. Sometimes the church would go as far as saying that the church was above the state; meaning the pope had power over the king, but that didn’t get said very often.

What started the fighting was this: Philip started taxing the clergy as any other citizen, and normally you would ask the papacy before doing this. Boniface didn’t like this and threatened to banish Philip and placing the kingdom under interdict. Philip threatened to cut funding for the church and Boniface backed down. But the fighting continued until Boniface’s death in 1303.


2. The Black Death accrued in Europe in the 14th century. It was caused by the Bubonic plague which traveled via flea infested rats, and the pneunomic plague which traveled via sneezing and coughing. Once someone got it they would be dead within days. The disease whipped out approximately one-third of the European population. Because people were dying left and right, serfs would leave their lords. Soon the government made them stay, but wages stayed the same and taxes increased. This lead to the Peasant Revolt. But the peasants weren’t the only one’s suffering. Clergy were also dying which lead to their positions being filled with unfit people. People went crazy and some resulted to walking down the street, beating themselves to try to pay their penance. Other would, “eat drink and be merry.”


Western Literature: How Do I Get Eternal Life?

Religion was very prominent in the Medieval ages. Much of this religion was Catholic, and that includes The Little Flowers of St. Francis of Assisi. And because of the Catholic influence much of the literature from the Medieval times focuses on salvation and righteousness.

In The Little Flowers of St. Francis of Assisi the main thing we learn that leads to righteousness is to live humbly: St. Francis was fixated on living in poverty. This is to bring a person humility and holiness. But as unpleasant as living like this may seem, it taught him and his followers to trust God 100% present because if God didn’t come though they would die.

Though he lived as he did St. Francis thought of himself as a sinner worthy of hell. People listening to The Little Flowers of St. Francis of Assisi would be under the impression they were “paying” for their sins.

The Franciscans believed that praying would draw you closer to God.Through prayer they would receive guidance, protection, and ability to perform miracles.


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