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Thread: Differences and similiarties between the early modern and medieval period

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    MSM-04 Acguy's Avatar
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    Differences and similiarties between the early modern and medieval period

    OK, I made a thread earlier about the differences between the Julian and Gregorian calendars as part of an assignment in history class. I got a lot of help and I appreciate it, but now I need help with the last part of my assignment! The question is roughly translated this:

    "The early modern period differed a lot compared to the earlier medieval period. In what way? I want you to look for and describe similarities and difference between these two important epochs in western history writing. Write and motivate where you think it's needed."

    Needless to say, this is a pretty big question and we don't have that much space on the paper to answer it. I'd like as much suggestions and ideas as possible! Any help is appreciated!

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    If you don't have that much space you obviously don't need a long winded answer and a lot of hints, do you? Besides, what exactly does your teacher mean with "early modern" and "medieval"? Everyone has his own definition of when then one ends and the other starts.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Leviathan07 View Post
    If you don't have that much space you obviously don't need a long winded answer and a lot of hints, do you? Besides, what exactly does your teacher mean with "early modern" and "medieval"? Everyone has his own definition of when then one ends and the other starts.
    If they do, they are using the term incorrectly - around the turn of the 16th century is the standard.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sarmatia1871 View Post
    If they do, they are using the term incorrectly - around the turn of the 16th century is the standard.
    You mean 1492 more or less?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Leviathan07 View Post
    If you don't have that much space you obviously don't need a long winded answer and a lot of hints, do you? Besides, what exactly does your teacher mean with "early modern" and "medieval"? Everyone has his own definition of when then one ends and the other starts.
    Long winded answers =/= suggestions. All I wanted was some pointers. But it's not really necessary now, I'm basically done with the assignment.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Acguy View Post
    Long winded answers =/= suggestions. All I wanted was some pointers. But it's not really necessary now, I'm basically done with the assignment.
    Ah well...

    For what its worth the following broad points should be included:

    Contrast the (theoretical) land for service basis of Medieval Feudalism with the absolute ownership of land that was recognised by the Tudor period.
    This carries over to issues of taxation and the raising of armies which in turn influences the forces of centralisation vs decentralisation (Holy Roman Empire vs France for the different directions this can take)
    The technological change of gunpowder to the way wars are conducted completely altered the balance of power between state and individual - no longer could a castle and a small garrison defy the local powers.

    Hope that brief checklist helps...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sarmatia1871 View Post
    If they do, they are using the term incorrectly - around the turn of the 16th century is the standard.
    Most historians seem to put the end somewhere between 1453 and the protestant reformation, but there are some that push the medieval time a lot longer. Some medieval historians, Philip Daileader for example, push the end to 18/19th century and basicly put the whole early modern period into the middle ages . Not many are willing to push the end that far, but they actually have some decent arguments and this group seem to be growing in strength. A lot of things that are considered to be medieval can still be found in Europe up to 18/19th century, and some of the things that disappear, like knights, never existed through the whole medieval period. Other will put the end to the 16th and 17th century with the arrival of the Scientific Revolution as God at this point become a more remote force for people, or at least the educated people. The same is true for the early middle ages, there is a lot of argument about when the middle ages actually start. Some push it as late as the 10th century.

    Quote Originally Posted by Henry IX View Post
    Contrast the (theoretical) land for service basis of Medieval Feudalism with the absolute ownership of land that was recognised by the Tudor period.
    I would be a little careful with the use of the word feudalism. There has been a rather fierce debate since the 1970's about that word, what it means and if it can be used at all. If I am not mistaken the medieval historians are more or less divided into two equal camps on this matter (that is if the word should be used at all). Personally I lean toward Ganshof's definition of feudalism, limiting it to a strictly legal term of the relationship between a lord and his vassal(s) which both have to belong to the aristocracy. Bloch on the other hand argued for a feudal society, while Brown and Reynolds reject the term completely. Marxist will ofcourse define the term as a class struggle.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jorsalfar View Post
    I would be a little careful with the use of the word feudalism. There has been a rather fierce debate since the 1970's about that word, what it means and if it can be used at all. If I am not mistaken the medieval historians are more or less divided into two equal camps on this matter (that is if the word should be used at all). Personally I lean toward Ganshof's definition of feudalism, limiting it to a strictly legal term of the relationship between a lord and his vassal(s) which both have to belong to the aristocracy. Bloch on the other hand argued for a feudal society, while Brown and Reynolds reject the term completely. Marxist will ofcourse define the term as a class struggle.
    Absolutely - I was using the term in the sense of the feudem that is the land held in return for military service. Feudal remains a reasonable term for the conditional ownership of land common throughout Europe prior to the upheavals of the 14th Century. Most historians dispute whether or not the term Fuedalism can be used to describe a society or social order. As is so common with terms to describe an entire society, feudalism never existed in its pure form and the extent to which it existed and its nature becomes less clear the more closely one examines the source documents. However, the concept that land was held conditionally was widely excepted during the 10th - 14th centuries but to a far lesser extent in later periods. Contrast 12th century court records to the assumptions shown in the enclosure acts of the 16th and 17th century.

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