Mysteries of the Middle Ages

Mysteries of the Middle Ages

The Rise of Feminism, Science, and Art From the Cults of Catholic Europe

Book - 2006
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After the long period of cultural decline known as the Dark Ages,Europe experienced a rebirth of scholarship, art, literature, philosophy, and science and began to develop a vision of Western society that remains at the heart of Western civilization today. By placing the image of the Virgin Mary at the center of their churches and their lives, medieval people exalted womanhood to a level unknown in any previous society. For the first time, men began to treat women with dignity and women took up professions that had always been closed to them. The communion bread, believed to be the body of Jesus, encouraged the formulation of new questions in philosophy: Could reality be so fluid that one substance could be transformed into another? Could ordinary bread become a holy article? Could mud become gold, as the alchemists believed? These new questions pushed the minds of medieval thinkers toward what would become modern science. Artists began to ask themselves similar questions. How can we depict human anatomy so that it looks real to the viewer? How can we depict motion in a composition that never moves? How can two dimensions appear to be three? Medieval artists (and writers, too) invented the Western tradition of realism. On visits to the great cities of Europe--monumental Rome; the intellectually explosive Paris of Peter Abelard and Thomas Aquinas; the hotbed of scientific study that was Oxford; and the incomparable Florence of Dante and Giotto--Cahill brilliantly captures the spirit of experimentation, the colorful pageantry, and the passionate pursuit of knowledge that built the foundations for the modern world. Bursting with stunning four-color art, MYSTERIES OF THE MIDDLE AGES is the ultimate Christmas gift book.
Publisher: New York ; Toronto : Nan A. Talese, c2006
Edition: 1st ed. --
ISBN: 9780385495554
0385495552
Branch Call Number: 909.07 Cah 3558ad 1
Characteristics: 343 p. :,ill. (chiefly col.), col. maps. --

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ClaireM_W
Jul 24, 2011

That Thomas Cahill is one fine writer!! I could barely put this book down to eat or sleep! He gives such a clear picture of wonderfully interesting people who seem to represent their era so well.

r
reviewer
Nov 11, 2007

An interesting, erudite but readable historical account; balanced with an appropriate amount of the author's own subjective commentary. Liked it well enough that I took out the audio version to review the material twice.

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