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By William Manchester

From stories of chivalrous knights to the barbarity of trial by means of ordeal, no period has been a better resource of awe, horror, and sweetness than the center a long time. In handsomely crafted prose, and with the grace and authority of his impressive present for narrative historical past, William Manchester leads us from a civilization tottering on the point of cave in to the grandeur of its rebirth--the dense explosion of power that spawned a few of history's maximum poets, philosophers, painters, adventurers, and reformers, in addition to a few of its so much outstanding villains--the Renaissance.

Using in simple terms secondary resources, Manchester plunges readers into the medieval way of thinking in a charming, marvelously shiny well known heritage that humanizes the tumultuous span from the darkish a long time to the sunrise of the Renaissance. He delineates an age while invisible spirits infested the air, whilst tolerance used to be visible as treachery and "a mafia of profane popes desecrated Christianity." in addition to re-creating the onerous lives of standard humans, the Wesleyan professor of background peoples his tapestry with such figures as Leonardo, Machiavelli, Lucrezia Borgia, Erasmus, Luther, Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn. Manchester ( The palms of Krupp ) devotes a lot realization to Magellan, whose globe-straddling voyage shattered Christendom's implicit trust in Europe because the middle of the universe. His portrayal of the center a while as a time while the powerful and the wise flourished, whereas the inventive, the cerebral and the unlucky suffered, earrings precise.

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Extra info for A World Lit Only by Fire: The Medieval Mind and the Renaissance - Portrait of an Age

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Alinari/Art Resource, NY. Page 101 Sir Thomas More. Painting by Hans Holbein the Younger. Copyright The Frick Collection, New York. Page 109 Cupola of St. Peter’s. Michelangelo. Alinari/Art Resource, NY. Page 116 Desiderius Erasmus. Painting by Hans Holbein the Younger. Alinari/Art Resource, NY. Page 122 The traffic in indulgences. Detail from woodcut by Hans Holbein the Younger. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Harris Brisbane Dick Fund, 1936. 77). Page 132 St. Peter’s Square in Rome at the time of the coronation of Pope Sixtus V, in 1585.

Alinari/Art Resource, NY. Page 72 Pope Julius II. Detail from fresco The Mass of Bolsena, by Raphael. Alinari/Art Resource, NY. Page 75 Alexander VI, the Borgia pope. Detail from mural The Resurrection, by Pinturicchio. Alinari/Art Resource, NY. Page 77 Giulia Farnese. Detail from painting The Transfiguration, by Raphael. Alinari/Art Resource, NY. Page 78 Lucrezia Borgia. Detail from mural La Disputa de Santa Caterina, by Pinturicchio. Alinari/Art Resource, NY. Page 81 Cesare Borgia. Painting by Marco Palmezzano.

In 400 the Visigoth Alaric, a relatively enlightened chieftain and a zealous religieux, led forty thousand Goths, Huns, and freed Roman slaves across the Julian Alps. Eight years of fighting followed. Rome’s cavalry was no match for the tribal horsemen; two-thirds of the imperial legions were slain. In 410 Alaric’s triumphant warriors swept down to Rome itself, and on August 24 they entered it. Thus, for the first time in eight centuries, the Eternal City fell to an enemy army. After three days of pillage it was battered almost beyond recognition.

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