A World Lit Only by Fire: The Medieval Mind and the Renaissance: Portrait of an Age - Chapter II, The Shattering (Sections 12-23) Summary & Analysis

William Manchester
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At the beginning of the Renaissance travel was slow and dangerous. Weather was harsh, roads were terrible, and highwaymen were everywhere and were seldom pursued. Greed ruled everyone and only the heavily armed could trade. Many legends and fairy tales were created, but none of them reflected the harsh realities of medieval life save in indirect and underemphasized ways.

Sexual morality had fallen to pieces. In the early 16th century, marriages were increasingly unarranged. It was hard for couples to maintain chastity until after their marriages. Women felt that they had to marry to be of any worth at all, so they often deliberately became pregnant so as to guarantee marriage. Once couples were engaged, they could sleep together. Being a prostitute could be prestigious. Bohemian artists scorned monogamy and elites supported them, often engaging...

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This section contains 656 words
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Buy the A World Lit Only by Fire: The Medieval Mind and the Renaissance: Portrait of an Age Study Guide
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