Do you believe 1453 or 1492 is a "better" end-point for the Medieval Era?

sparky

Ad Honorem
Jan 2017
4,098
Sydney
#21
@ Tokugawa Ieyasu ,
I like your crib , I would put item 1 and 5 in the same bag ,
the period of land warfare of the early 15th century had demonstrated the superiority of royal gunnery
added to paid mercenary who were ( when paid) way more reliable than feudal levies
this created an insatiable need for more money , hence more taxes where the contention was not with the noble but with the commons

on religion the church went through the great schism with at time three popes claiming divine authority
church councils assumed an authority superior to the pope and the power to make and break them
religious abuse and blatant worldliness were both a subject of scorn while secular rulers were hungrily watching so much wealth to grab
 
Jul 2018
497
Hong Kong
#22
The story of Jacob Fugger (1455-1525), who was an awe-inspiring German banker and enterprise well-respected by various European monarchs and even the Pope (because he had money!), lively depicted how the fedual-based nobility politics was overshadowed by the businessmen-based mercantilism - the remarkable contrast with the “typical” Medieval politics in our image revealing how the Medieval Era came to the end. The rise of capitalism accelerated and catalyzed the downfall of warlord nobility which slowly perished as the inter-regional economical integration had been steadily flourishing and replacing the obsolete “manorial economy”. It was currency, money and commerical-based economy decided the change and transformation of dynastic politics in Europe rather than those isolated land-based barons and castles. The fedual bastions could not stand against the mighty onrushing impact of new social class - businessmen, who in turn offered the substantial financial aid to these European monarchs in eliminating the fedual lords for securing their power, greatly facilitated the centralization of crown authority leading to the much stronger sovereign dynastic states - the very symbol of the Early Modern Age in distinction with the “vastly-divided” Medieval Era characterized by endlessly internal strife and division between landlord nobility who disrespected the undisputed supremacy of kings in varying degrees.

Whether in 1453, or in 1492, the Medieval Era was coming to the end. It was pointless to debate which year was more suitable to be defined “the end of the Medieval Era”. If I must forcefully choose one of them, I could only tell you 1492 was more “un-Medievalized” than 1453 with greater scope on the change of tide I mentioned in the previous post (about that six points).
 

Bart Dale

Ad Honorem
Dec 2009
7,095
#23
Actually Columbus only attempted his trip because he made several theoretical mistakes. Firstly he bizzarely assumed the earth was pear shaped rather than round, and so a smaller distance could be used to traverse it. Secondly, he used Marco Polo's wrong estimate for the width of Asia, over estimating it by several thousand kilometers. Those two mistakes, which were not universally made by his peers, were what led him to believe he could reach Asia. If the Americas were not there, he would not have even made it 1/4 of the way across. This is less "theoretical knowledge being applied to practical use" than "ignorance and accidence having a happy marriage".
Where did Columbus assume the Earth was pear shape? He did assume the Earth size was smaller than it was, perhaps due to mistranslating the size stated in his sources. But the size of the Earth was still a guess in his day.

It does not take away from the fact that Columbus used the theoretically knowledge of the shape of the Earth for practical advantage.

I think that Colunbus knew there was land to the West, which he assumed was Asia. Columbus was a governor of an island that was the furthest west of Portugal at the time, and could observe items washing on shore from lands further west, and he could estimate how far away these lands were by the time the item had spent in the water.
 
Jun 2017
2,594
Connecticut
#24
I know that assigning any one year as the definitive "end-point" for an era is bound to be highly subjective and arbitrary, but nonetheless, as human beings we like to categorise and sort things into neat orders, and this is a history forum, so why not? Even if we reach no consensus, it's still a fun thought experiment and discussion on what makes something medieval or not.

As for the years in question, the two that I've seen argued the most as the conclusion of the Medieval Era is 1453 and 1492, and the reasons are fairly convincing overall: 1453 saw not just the fall of Constantinople to the Turks and the eradication of the last vestiges of the Roman Empire, severing a link that stretched back all the way to Augustus, but also the conclusion of the Hundred Years War, a conflict that started as a dynastic squabble over which French-descended House had superior claim to regions of France and ended with the establishment - or at least seeds of future establishment - of the nation-states of England and France.

And 1492 saw not just the monumentally important discovery of the Americas by Columbus, which forever changed Europe's perception of the world and introduced a completely new theatre of war, commerce and conquest, but also the conquest of Granada, the last Muslim stronghold in Iberia, finally bringing an end to seven centuries of the Reconquista begun all the way back with Charlemagne, and finally the death of Lorenzo the Magnificent, the most prominent patron and supporter of the Renaissance in Italy.

I've seen some people claim that 1517 is another valid end-point for the Medieval Era, with Martin Luther beginning the Protestant Reformation, and while I see the argument behind it, I'm personally more inclined to support either 1453 or 1492 as a more valid year. What are your thoughts on this topic?
Like with the start of the Middle Ages I favor a later date(early Islamic conquests versus say 476). 1453 I feel is more convenient as a result of it being a year when two major events happened that ended two long standing Middle Age themes(The Norman, France inheritance battle and the Muslim conquest of Constantinople) rather than a real change. In 1492 Columbus discovering the new world didn't actually change anything right away either. I would go with the start of the reformation in 1510's and 1520s or so, as this was when Charles V's empire ended the decentralization of the Middle Ages, Luther ended the dominance of the Church, when the Spanish conquered the Aztec and Incan Empires, when the Ottomans started their invasion of Europe, when the Swedes broke free of the Kalmar Union, all story lines that would come to dominate the early modern age(or whatever people want to call the aftermath of the Middle Ages). This was clearly a different period from the Middle Ages with a weak church, a large pan European Empire and Islamic threat from the East all being foreign concepts not to mention the new world. In 1453 on the other hand you still had several Middle Age conflicts to be resolved, the Mongols were still hanging on in Russia, the English, France, Burgundy drama had yet to end at Nancy and the series of marriages that created the huge Hapsburg empire and broke the decentralization that defined the Middle Ages had yet to happen. The War of the Roses had yet to end as well in England. To sum that all up, feel 1453 was an important year but lots of Middle Ages issues weren't resolved until the end of the century, 1453 I'd see as more of a beginning of the end. Also the Middle Ages were defined by the absence of the Romans, them ceasing to exist when their existence had been so nominal for centuries really had no bearings on the Middle Age era. My exact answer is 1516-1533. After the Henry VIII divorce thing think the post Middle Age world's transformation was largely set. If I had to pick a year it would be 1516 or 1517.
 

sparky

Ad Honorem
Jan 2017
4,098
Sydney
#25
Ieyasu , guns cost money , lots of money ..
that's what knocked out the feudal lords out of the power game
they could raise fortification from their peasantry , levies from ther tenants
but an artillery train was a big investment ,
it would knock down walls which had taken months to build to rubble in days and change the levies into fertilizer in minutes
 
Jul 2018
497
Hong Kong
#26
Ieyasu , guns cost money , lots of money ..
That's why the kings loved the Jewish and the Italian bankers when they need a war....but when they're drowned in peace, they would hate those bankers / merchants again....

As early as the age of Richard the Lionheart in the 12th century, the bankers were already active behind the political stage. Money was very essential for making war anyway. Basically you could do nothing to prune those rebellious vassals or troublesome foreign monarchs without adequate financial resource grasped in your own hands.
 
Mar 2018
662
UK
#27
Ieyasu , guns cost money , lots of money ..
that's what knocked out the feudal lords out of the power game
they could raise fortification from their peasantry , levies from ther tenants
but an artillery train was a big investment ,
it would knock down walls which had taken months to build to rubble in days and change the levies into fertilizer in minutes
Doesn't explain everything though. For example, lots of eastern Europe (Poland comes specially to mind) became less centralised and more feudal in the centuries after the introduction of the cannon to European warfare.
 

sparky

Ad Honorem
Jan 2017
4,098
Sydney
#28
Poland was politically fracturing but was militarily united , they relied on their cavalry and their artillery was mostly in fortresses
the aristocratic great families were naturally horse minded while the Polish crown was kept weak and poor unable to develop guns as a power base
this ultimately proven to make Poland feeble in the long term

Ivan IV "the fearsome" crushed the Tatars at Kazan with 150 guns
Eastern Balkans had the Turks to deal with ,they used artillery both siege and field
 
Nov 2010
7,514
Cornwall
#29
1492 and the War of Granada is a definite point for Spain, for transiting militarily and politically from medievall to modern by way of the War of Granada and the reigns of Los Reyes Catolicos. 1453 is valid in other places.

But then it's a bit like the WRE end - no sudden point really, just sort of gradually occurred
 

Theodoric

Ad Honorem
Mar 2012
2,663
#30
I'd say it ended in different times in different places.

If you want a generally, BIG date, it is 1453 is bigger than 1492 by a long shot. Columbus didn't have a huge impact on European history, it was Charles V in the next century that really made the Americas impact Europe. Also, in the 16th century you got England really coming out of the Middle Ages as well either in the time of Henry VIII or Elizabeth I. I'd say parts of Italy and Germany and were already becoming modern as early as the 13th and 14th centuries. The Iberian Peninsula, it's really difficult to say whether they really had a medieval era, since they were the last area of antiquity, and the Arab conquest brought it into Rennaissance era like Golden Age immediately following, during the 8th century.

But generally 1500 (as the forum says) is a good date, since it's really the early 16th century where the majority of Europe changes - and not just the pockets I described above.
 

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