Middle Ages: characteristics of the epoch
The Middle Ages are considered a dark and culturally dark period. In the 17th century, when the name of this epoch was coined, this is how it was perceived, believing that during its lifetime nothing significant happened, and the works that were created do not deserve recognition. Read how unfair this opinion is.
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1. Middle Ages: epoch frame dates
The Middle Ages in Europe lasted eleven centuries. Its beginning dates back to the turn of the 4th and 5th centuries, and the ending falls on the 15th century. The following events are related to the end of the era:
- the invention of printing in 1450,
- the conquest of the Eastern Empire of Constantinople by the Turks in 1453,
- discovery of America in 1492 by Christopher Columbus.
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In the Middle Ages, religious themes dominated in almost every field of art: painting, sculpture, and literature. The main concept was theocentrism, putting God at the center. All areas of human life were subordinated to God, including politics and language (Latin was obligatory).
In the Middle Ages, the world was seen as the eternal struggle between good (whose giver was God) and evil (Satan). All that is corporeal (worldly) was despised, and mortification, renunciation, and self-sacrificing life were glorified.
The symbols of the Middle Ages were the cross (indicating the clergy) and the sword (referring to the knighthood).
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2. Medieval literature
In the Middle Ages, texts were published anonymously. It was believed that the work should not record the name of the creator in the memory of posterity, but multiply God's glory and propagate the principles of faith. Due to this view, we do not know the authors of a large part of medieval literary works to this day.
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It should also be clearly stated that most of the medieval works were the works of clergy. Only they could read and write, and they also spoke Latin. They rewrote liturgical books and drew up legal acts.
The first utility texts were written in Latin, incl. historiographic works (chronicles by Gall Anonim and Wincenty Kadłubek). However, the first works in Polish were also written in the Middle Ages. The oldest monument of Polish literature is the "Sermons of the Świętokrzyskie region" from the 14th century. The "Florian Psalter" is from a similar period, most probably intended for Queen Jadwiga. The "Puławy Psalter" and "Queen Sophia's Bible" are slightly later.
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Religious literature was highly valued in the Middle Ages, including works such as:
- "Listen, my dear brothers",
- "The Legend of St. Alexym. "
In the Middle Ages, there were also pieces of a secular nature, such as: "On behavior at the table", "Conversation of the master Polycarp with Death" and "Satire on lazy peasants".
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3. Medieval personal patterns
Due to the nature of the epoch, two types of heroes can be distinguished in the Middle Ages. The first is an ascetic, the second - a Christian knight. We deal with an ascetic in the Legend about St. Alexym "and the most famous knight is Roland from" Song of Roland ".