A World Lit Only By Fire

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In the book A World Lit Only by Fire, the author, William Manchester, describes the period of time between the fall of the Western Roman Empire and the start of the Renaissance known as the medieval period, or Middle Ages. The church had the most power in Europe and people struggled with surviving events such as epidemics. Consequently people had very short lives that may have not served them well. Every person in Europe during this time would eventually hear, “Bring out your dead!” as the gravediggers’ carts rolled down the street each night after an outbreak of the Bubonic Plague. Life during the medieval period was brutal and harsh with everything from church domination and the constant warring over political power to diseases and…show more content…
Epidemics would break out in Europe and the origin of the disease would never be identified. To top that off, the Bubonic plague “returned to Europe at least once a generation since October 1347” (Manchester 34). The medieval period was a time of alarming disease for people to be living in. Like the Holocaust in the 1930s-1940s, Jews during this time were treated with brutality. Manchester describes it as, “Jewry was luckier - slightly luckier - than blacks. If the pogroms of the time are less infamous than the Holocaust, it is only because anti-Semites then lacked twentieth-century technology” (35). In the year 1492, the Spanish had regained control of Spain. The rule of Spain was now under King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella. They were not fond of Jews in their nation. The Jews in Spain were given three months to convert to christianity or to leave. After seeing what the Spanish were doing in Spain, the king of Portugal ordered the expulsion of all Portuguese Jews. Any Jews who wouldn’t leave or were slow to leave were massacred. Around four thousand Lisbon Jews were killed during a single night in 1506. Only three years later persecution of Jews in Germany began. Jews throughout history have been treated badly but during the medieval period it was especially hard if you were a Jew.

On page 37, Manchester states, “At any given moment the most dangerous enemy in Europe was the reigning pope.” The popes of the church were their Holy Fathers, but
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