July 28, 2014

The rise of the papacy in Medieval Europe and its Consequences

Christianity got political support under the Roman Emperors from the days of Constantine. By the 6thcentury A.D the Pope became the head of the church and kings were the rulers of the kingdoms. Sometimes, the Popes were stronger than the king. There in Europe developed a system of dual leadership under the Popes and the kings. Later, this dual leadership led to the rivalries between the church and the state. The Pope was considered as the representative (Vicar) of Jesus Christ. He was the highest authority of the church and was stronger than the kings. They could give directives to the kings and force them to obey their orders.
The papal authority became supreme due to missionary spirit of Christians. In the establishment of papal supremacy, monasteries played a very significant and important role. The character of monks, educational institutions of monasteries attracted the people towards papacy. It made certain valuable contributions.
The rise of the papacy in Medieval Europe and its Consequences
Effects of papacy
In the social life, people became God fearing, began to help the poor, the needy and the deserving. The sense of morality and character as well as dignity developed. Beautiful churches were developed. Religious dogmas and hymns became the themes of literature. In the eyes of the papacy, all the high and the low were equal. With the result it created a sense of equality among all. It was due to papal educational institutions that knowledge developed and also could be passed on to the present generation.

Holy Roman Empire

Holy Roman Empire was an attempt by the kings to attain political unification of Christian Europe with close co-operation of the church. In the old Roman empire there was no place for Christianity. In the new empire Christianity was the recognised religion. Rome was only nominal centre of authority. The old empire was Italian in its out look whereas the new one was Christian in nature and character. Thus the main idea of creation of an empire was to bring all Christian states together in a fraternity. In the empire, the emperor was required to be crowned by the Pope.
The king possessed vast powers. He wanted that the Pope should be under his control. The Pope belonged to the other world and had superior
position over the emperor. The greatest service of the Empire was that the whole of European continent, which was divided into small units, were united into one empire. It strengthened hereditary system and weakened the republican system. The Holy Roman Empire contributed a lot by way of crushing feudal lords and feudalistic tendencies. Mainly it was responsible in bringing national unity in Germany. It was as a result of Holy Roman Empire that nation states of England, France and Spain came into being.

Medieval Towns and Universities
New towns began to emerge as centres of craft and trade. The early towns were very small, as the number of artisans increased and the trade became extensive, the towns too became bigger. When western Europe traded with the East, Italy enjoyed an advantage over others because of their location. Genoa, Florence and Venice became trade centres. Genoa and Venice were coastal towns whereas Florence, Pisa and Milan were situated on inland trade routes. In Holland, Belgium, Germany, France and England a number of cities grew up that were either sea ports or centres of trade and commerce. These medieval towns became centres of the Medieval European civilization and culture.

In the early medieval period it was the church that gave education to the people. It taught the subjects like grammar, logic, arithmetic and theology. Some of the monasteries became centres of learning. Many universities were set up. The monks dominated the universities. Theology and philosophy were given prominence. History and science were ignored. The books were hand copied. The university of Bolonga became famous for law. Arabic and Hebrew were taught in the Spanish University.
The University of Oxford in England was modelled on the Paris university of France. The Cambridge university came into existence in the 12th century.

Rise of Islam
During the middle ages, Arabia, a vast desert land in south west Asia, became the birth place of Islam. Islam is one of the most important world religions. It united the various warring tribes.

The founder of the Islamic religion was Prophet Mohammad. Islam laid stress on the Unity of God and on following high moral standards and principles. Mecca and Medina became two important pilgrim centres in Arabia. The main and significant contributions of Islam were in the field of literature, science and medicine. Due to their superior organization, faith in their ultimate victory and unabating zeal in their mission, the Muslims were in a position to secure power in many countries. The Islamic culture served as a link between the Christian west and the rich fabulous Orient (east). It possed a serious threat to the Christian culture. The Arabs wanted to spread their religion in the conquered regions. This enthusiasm for the spread of their religion led to the fast expansion of their empire.

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