Baroque Myriam

The War of the Spanish Succession

The War of the Spanish Succession (1701 – 1714) began because the Spanish emperor, Charles II, had no heir to the throne. When Charles died, Louis XIV of France suggested that his own grandson, Philip of Anjou (later Philip V), should be the next Spanish king. He reinforced his argument by stating that Charles had accepted this proposal in his will. On the other hand, Leopold I of the Holy Roman Empire brought forth his own candidate for the Spanish throne. The two sides (Holy Roman Empire and France) then became rivals, both wanting an alliance with Spain.

Another factor leading to this war was a general concern that if France joined with Spain, it would become too powerful—both economically and militarily. Lastly, in order to avoid this war, there was a proposal to break up the Spanish lands: the Netherlands, Italian lands, and Spain. England and Louis XIV agreed to this, but  Read more…


The Levellers

The Levellers were a group of political thinkers in the seventeenth century, during the English Civil War. They are often considered the first influential Western libertarian movement.

The root of the Levellers’ philosophy came, for the most part, from the idea of self-ownership. In other words: you own yourself. They also believed in the right to do what you want with your own property. “You can do what you want, as long as it doesn’t violate another’s individual rights.” Read more…

Three High Renaissance Artists

Leonardo da Vinci (1452 – 1519) was the epitome of a Renaissance man, being skilled in at least ten occupations. Among these were architecture, sculpture, painting, science, engineering, botany and inventing. Ten works have survived that we can surely attribute to Leonardo. Three of these are the ‘Last Supper’, the ‘Virgin of the Rocks’ and the  ‘Mona Lisa.’ Read more…

Three Early Renaissance Artists

Three of the most prominent early Renaissance artists were Ghiberti, Donatello and Botticelli.

Lorenzo Ghiberti (1378 – 1455) is most famous for his work of the twenty-eight bronze door panels on a baptistery in Florence. There was an annual competition in which seven artists competed to complete the work of art required. Ghiberti had fashioned the best, out of all seven bronze depictions of the ‘Sacrifice of Isaac.’ Ghiberti was then engaged to make twenty-eight bronze panels depicting scenes from the New and Old Testament. This took twenty years to complete.

Bronze Panel Depicting the Sacrifice of Isaac
Bronze Panel Depicting the Sacrifice of Isaac

Donatello (1386 – 1466) had been Ghiberti’s assistant in fashioning the twenty-eight bronze panels. However, he is best-known for his statue of David (1440’s), which has strangely feminine qualities. Read more…

Petrarch — Father of Humanism

Petrarch, born Francesco Pertrarca, was a Renaissance humanist who lived from 1304 to 1374. He once said,

God has given us our vast intellectual and creative potential to be used to their fullest.

Petrarch is most popularly known as the Father of Humanism and he is sometimes mentioned as the Father of the Renaissance.

Petrarch loved the ancient classics and from an early age he studied and read Cicero, instead of his law books. He wanted to bring back the ancient manuscripts, some of which had fallen into obscurity. Petrarch found several unknown documents from writers such as Cicero, Homer, Virgil and Seneca in monasteries. Read more…

The Great Western Schism

The Great Western Schism (1378 – 1415) should not be confused with the Great Schism of 1054, which was the separation of the Roman Catholic Church and the Eastern Orthodox Church (see this article). This schism was a temporary one where there were two popes.

The Italian Pope Urban VI was appointed in 1378. He was well known for his even temperament. However, when he was elected he became slightly erratic and would strike clergy and papal officers for no apparent reason. This strange behavior led the Cardinals to elect a second pope, Clement VII.

Pope Clement VII was French. But, when he came to take up the office of pope, Urban would not resign. So, Clement moved to Avignon, France and Urban stayed in Rome, Italy. Thus the Great Western Schism began—a temporary separation of France and allies from Italy and their allies.

The end of this absurd Western Schism came with the Council of Constance (1414 – 1418). In order to solve the issue a third pope was elected in 1415, Pope Martin V. However, it was not until 1418 that Urban and Clement resigned from office and the Great Western Schism came to an end.


The Great Schism

The Great Schism in 1054 was the separation of the Eastern Orthodox Church from the Roman Catholic Church in the West. This division occurred due to differences between the two churches.

One irreconcilable difference was that they both had separate liturgies. The rituals were different and the Eastern Church used icons to represent saints and holy figures such as Jesus. There was also a language barrier. While in the East they used Greek, in the Western Catholic Church Latin was spoken.

However, probably the greatest animosity resulted from the fact that the Byzantine Church had a lesser status than then Western Church. Constantinople, the capital of the Byzantine Empire, declared that they were the new Rome, as they had been the remnant of the Old Roman Empire. But the West disagreed saying that Rome was fit to be the center of the Church because the city was founded by the Apostles.

The last straw to this intellectual battle came when the Patriarch of Constantinople, Michael Cerularius, ordered all Western churches in the East to be closed. Finally, in 1054 the two churches separated and have remained so ever since.