Visual History of the World

(CONTENTS)
 

 


HISTORY OF CIVILIZATION & CULTURE

From Prehistoric to Romanesque  Art
Gothic Art
Renaissance  Art
Baroque and Rococo Art
The Art of Asia
Neoclassicism, Romanticism  Art
Art Styles in 19th century
Art of the 20th century
Artists that Changed the World
Design and Posters
Photography
Classical Music
Literature and Philosophy

Visual History of the World
Prehistory
First Empires
The Ancient World
The Middle Ages
The Early Modern Period
The Modern Era
The World Wars and Interwar Period
The Contemporary World

Dictionary of Art and Artists

 




The Middle Ages

5th - 15th century


 


The upheaval that accompanied the migration of European peoples of late antiquity shattered the power of the Roman Empire and consequently the entire political order of Europe. Although Germanic kingdoms replaced Rome, the culture of late antiquity, especially Christianity, continued to have an effect and defined the early Middle Ages. Concurrent to the developments in the Christian West, in Arabia the Prophet Muhammad in the seventh century founded Islam, a new religion with immense political and military effectiveness. Within a very short time, great Islamic empires developed from the Iberian Peninsula and the Maghreb to India and Central Asia, with centers such as Cordoba, Cairo, Baghdad, and Samarkand.
 



The Cathedral Notre Dame de Reims, built in the 1 3th—14th century in the Gothic style; the cathedral served for many centuries as the location for the ceremonial coronation of the French king.

The Cathedral of Reims, by Domenico Quaglio

 

 


England in the  Middle Ages
 


CA. 450-1485
 

 


The Struggle with the Nobility and the Development of Parliament
 

The kings were unable to subjugate the nobles and were forced to grant them a voice in political decision making.

 

In 1199, Richard's younger brother 2 John, who as a result of disputes with Philip II Augustus of France had forfeited almost all of England's possessions in France, took the throne.

King John was also known as John Lackland; as the fourth son he had inherited no land.

Following King John's defeat by Philip at Bouvines in 1214, the English nobles rose up and coerced the king into signing the 1 Magna Carta in 1215, by which the crown was compelled to recognize the rights and liberties of the nobility and Church.

The Magna Carta became the foundation of English law.


2 King John signing the Magna Carta,
steel engraving, 19th century


1 The Magna Carta, manuscript, 1215


John's son Henry III, who succeeded his father in 1216, had ambitious plans. He sought to secure the throne of the Holy Roman Empire for his brother, Richard of Cornwall, and win the crown of Sicily. Tax demands and the appointment of favorites from southern France to English state ministries led to a revolt of the English nobles, the Barons' War, led by Simon de Montfort in 1258. Although Simon de Montfort was initially one of the favorites promoted by Henry and thus an unlikely leader of the revolt, a feud between the two had developed when dc Montfort had married Henry's sister Eleanor without his consent.

Henry was taken captive at the Battle of Lewes in 1264 and forced to agree to summoning à 4 parliament, which was to include, along with the nobility, gentry from the shires and burgesses from the 5 towns.


4 English Parliament with clerical members (left of picture)
and secular members, alcove painting, ca. 1400


5 London in the Middle Ages, old London Bridge over the
River Thames, wood engraving, ca. 1600


Initially the representatives of the nobles, Church, and common people met together; only later did they separate into upper and lower houses. Although Henry's son, Edward I defeated Simon de Montfort in the Battle of Eve sham in 1265, he was forced to retain the parliament, as he was dependent upon the cooperation of the nobility and towns to finance his military campaigns. In 1297, he confirmed parliament's right to approve taxes. Despite this, Edward was able to restore the king's authority through a number of reforms. In addition, he succeeded in subjugating the last of the independent Celtic princes of Wales in 1284: the title "Prince of Wales" has been bestowed thereafter upon every English heir to the throne. On the other hand, Edward was only temporarily able to take possession of Scotland.
His son and successor in 130-Edward II, was forced to give up his father's conquest of Scotland.

He was confronted by a strong opposition of nobles, who opposed the influence of Edward's 6 favorites, and his excessive financial demands.

His own wife 3 Isabella, a daughter of Philip IV of France, had the king deposed in 1327 with the help of her lover, the exiled baron Roger Mortimer and, it is assumed, had Edward killed.


6 Edward II and his favorite,
Piers Gaveston, painting, 19th century


3 Isabella of France presents her
son Edward II of England to her brother
Charles IV of France, book illustration,
15th century

 

 

Edward II

king of England
byname Edward Of Caernarvon
born April 25, 1284, Caernarvon, Caernarvonshire, Wales
died September 1327, Berkeley, Gloucestershire, Eng.

Main
king of England from 1307 to 1327. Although he was a man of limited capability, he waged a long, hopeless campaign to assert his authority over powerful barons.

The fourth son of King Edward I, he ascended the throne upon his father’s death (July 7, 1307) and immediately gave the highest offices to Edward I’s most prominent opponents. He earned the hatred of the barons by granting the earldom of Cornwall to his frivolous favourite (and possible lover), Piers Gaveston. In 1311 a 21-member baronial committee drafted a document—known as the Ordinances—demanding the banishment of Gaveston and the restriction of the King’s powers over finances and appointments. Edward pretended to give in to these demands; he sent Gaveston out of the country but soon allowed him to return. In retaliation the barons seized Gaveston and executed him (June 1312).

Edward had to wait 11 years to annul the Ordinances and avenge Gaveston. Meanwhile, the Scottish king Robert I the Bruce was threatening to throw off English overlordship. Edward led an army into Scotland in 1314 but was decisively defeated by Bruce at Bannockburn on June 24. With one stroke, Scotland’s independence was virtually secured, and Edward was put at the mercy of a group of barons headed by his cousin Thomas of Lancaster, who by 1315 had made himself the real master of England. Nevertheless, Lancaster proved to be incompetent; by 1318 a group of moderate barons led by Aymer de Valence, earl of Pembroke, had assumed the role of arbitrators between Lancaster and Edward. At this juncture Edward found two new favourites—Hugh le Despenser and his son and namesake. When the King supported the younger Despenser’s territorial ambitions in Wales, Lancaster banished both Despensers. Edward then took up arms in their behalf. His opponents fell out among themselves, and he defeated and captured Lancaster at Boroughbridge, Yorkshire, in March 1322. Soon afterward, he had Lancaster executed.

At last free of baronial control, Edward revoked the Ordinances. His reliance on the Despensers, however, soon aroused the resentment of his queen, Isabella. While on a diplomatic mission to Paris in 1325, she became the mistress of Roger Mortimer, an exiled baronial opponent of Edward. In September 1326 the couple invaded England, executed the Despensers, and deposed Edward in favour of his son, who was crowned (January 1327) King Edward III. Edward II was imprisoned and in September 1327 died, probably by violence. His career is recounted in Hilda Johnstone’s Edward of Carnarvon (1946).

Encyclopaedia Britannica

 

Isabella of France

queen of England

born 1292
died Aug. 23, 1358

Main
queen consort of Edward II of England, who played a principal part in the deposition of the King in 1327.

The daughter of Philip IV the Fair of France, Isabella was married to Edward on Jan. 25, 1308, at Boulogne. Isabella’s first interventions in politics were conciliatory. During the height of the influence of the King’s favourite Piers Gaveston and after Gaveston’s murder in 1312, she attempted to promote peace between Edward and the barons. In the 1320s, however, Edward’s new favourites, the Despensers, aroused her antagonism. Isabella sailed for France in 1325 to settle a long-standing dispute over Gascony. Joined there by her son, the future Edward III, she announced her refusal to return to England until the Despensers were removed from court. She became the mistress of Roger Mortimer of Wigmore and with Mortimer and other baronial exiles crossed to Essex in 1326 and routed the forces of Edward and the Despensers.

After the accession of Edward III (1327) Isabella and Mortimer enjoyed a brief period of influence until 1330 when the young king asserted his independence by the arrest and execution of Mortimer. Isabella was sent into retirement. In her old age she joined an order of nuns, the Poor Clares.

 

Encyclopaedia Britannica
 

 

 


The Hundred Years' War and the War of the Roses

 

England spent its strength in the Hundred Years' War. The Houses of Lancaster and York, rival claimants, fought over the English crown and the inheritance of the Plantagenets.

 

When Edward III turned 18 in 1330, he exiled his mother and had her lover executed.

As the grandson of Philip IV of France, he had laid 7 claim to the French throne when the male line of the Capetians died out in 1328, triggering what became the 9 Hundred Years' War.

The king's eldest son, Edward— known as the Black Prince because of the color of his armor— was especially prominent as an army commander during the initial phase of the war.

He died a year before his father in 1376, however, so in 1377 his young son became King 8 Richard II at the age often.

Although he successfully put down the Peasant's Revolt in 1381, Richard's reign became increasingly authoritarian and was directed at the claims of the nobility and Parliament, who openly supported a rebellion by Richard's cousin, the duke of Lancaster. Richard was deposed in 1599 and probably murdered. The duke of Lancaster then took the throne as Henry IV.

The war in France flared up again in 1415 during the reign of his son, Henry V. But the tide of the war turned against the English after the early death of the king in 1422. By 1453, under Henry VI, England had lost all of its continental possessions, with the exception of the harbor city of Calais. Worse still, the king became mentally ill. Various noble parties contested over the regency. One was led by a cousin of the king, Richard, duke of York, who himself had well-founded claims to the throne as both of his parents were direct descendents of King Edward III. Civil war broke out in 1455. As the House of Lancaster carried a red rose in its coat of arms and the House of York a white rose, the conflict became known as the War of the Roses.
 


7 Edward III dressed in the colors of England
and France, leopards on a red background,
and lilies on a blue background,
book illustration, 15th century


9 English and French knights in battle
during the Hundred Years' War,
 book illustration, 14th century


8 King Richard II worshiping the Madonna,
painting, ca. 1395



Richard of York's son, 10 Edward IV, usurped the throne in 1461 with the help of Richard Neville, earl of Warwick, known as "the Kingmaker."


10 Edward IV unites the crowns of England, Ireland,
and France after his victory over the House of Lancaster,
book illustration, 15th century



But Neville changed sides and Edward was forced to flee England in 1470.
He returned with new troops and defeated Neville and Henry VI's son Edward, both of whom fell in battle.

Henry VI was executed in the 12 Tower of London in 1471. Edward IV reigned undisputed as king until his death in 1483.


12 The Tower of London, built by William the Conqueror, begun in 1078


Edward was succeeded by his brother 11 Richard III, who had 13 Edward's underage sons excluded from the succession.

Henry Tudor, a nephew of Henry VI, landed in England as the heir to the House of Lancaster and a descendent of an ancient Welsh royal house. Richard III fell in 1485 in the Battle of Bosworth. The new king, Henry VII, then united the claims of the houses of Lancaster and York by marrying Elisabeth of York, daughter and heiress of Edward IV, and became the first Tudor monarch.


11 Richard III, painting, 16th century


13 Murder of Edward's sons, painting, 19th century

 

 

Wars of the Roses

Main
(1455–85), in English history, the series of dynastic civil wars whose violence and civil strife preceded the strong government of the Tudors. Fought between the Houses of Lancaster and York for the English throne, the wars were named many years afterward from the supposed badges of the contending parties: the white rose of York and the red of Lancaster.

Both houses claimed the throne through descent from the sons of Edward III. Since the Lancastrians had occupied the throne from 1399, the Yorkists might never have pressed a claim but for the near anarchy prevailing in the mid-15th century. After the death of Henry V in 1422 the country was subject to the long and factious minority of Henry VI. Great magnates with private armies dominated the countryside. Lawlessness was rife and taxation burdensome. Henry later proved to be feckless and simpleminded, subject to spells of madness, and dominated by his ambitious queen, Margaret of Anjou, whose party had allowed the English position in France to deteriorate.

Henry lapsed into insanity in 1453, causing a powerful baronial clique, backed by Richard Neville, the earl of Warwick (the “kingmaker”), to install Richard, duke of York, as protector of the realm. When Henry recovered in 1455 he reestablished the authority of Margaret’s party, forcing York to take up arms for self-protection. The first battle of the wars, at St. Albans (May 22, 1455), resulted in a Yorkist victory and four years of uneasy truce. Civil war was resumed in 1459. The Yorkists were successful at Blore Heath (September 23) but were scattered after a skirmish at Ludford Bridge (October 12). In France Warwick regrouped the Yorkist forces and returned to England in June 1460, decisively defeating the Lancastrian forces at Northampton (July 10). York tried to claim the throne but settled for the right to succeed upon the death of Henry. This effectively disinherited Henry’s son, Prince Edward, and caused Queen Margaret to continue her opposition.

Gathering forces in northern England, the Lancastrians surprised and killed York at Wakefield in December and then marched south toward London, defeating Warwick on the way at the Second Battle of St. Albans (Feb. 17, 1461). Meanwhile, York’s eldest son and heir, Edward, had defeated a Lancastrian force at Mortimer’s Cross (February 2) and marched to relieve London, arriving before Margaret on February 26. The young Duke of York was proclaimed King Edward IV at Westminster on March 4. Then Edward, with the remainder of Warwick’s forces, pursued Margaret north to Towton. There, in the bloodiest battle of the war, the Yorkists won a complete victory. Henry, Margaret, and their son fled to Scotland. The first phase of the fighting was over, except for the reduction of a few pockets of Lancastrian resistance.

The next round of the wars arose out of disputes within the Yorkist ranks. Warwick and his circle were increasingly passed over at Edward’s court; more seriously, Warwick differed with the King on foreign policy. In 1469 civil war was renewed. Warwick and Edward’s rebellious brother George, duke of Clarence, fomented risings in the north; and in July, at Edgecote (near Banbury), defeated Edward’s supporters, afterward holding the King prisoner. By March 1470, however, Edward regained his control, forcing Warwick and Clarence to flee to France, where they allied themselves with the French king Louis XI and their former enemy, Margaret of Anjou. Returning to England (September 1470), they deposed Edward and restored the crown to Henry VI. Edward fled to the Netherlands with his followers and, securing Burgundian aid, returned to England in March 1471. Edward outmanoeuvred Warwick, regained the loyalty of Clarence, and decisively defeated Warwick at Barnet on April 14. That very day, Margaret had landed at Weymouth. Hearing the news of Barnet, she marched west, trying to reach the safety of Wales; but Edward won the race to the Severn. At Tewkesbury (May 4) Margaret was captured, her forces destroyed, and her son killed. Shortly afterward, Henry VI was murdered in the Tower of London. Edward’s throne was secure for the rest of his life (he died in 1483).

In 1483 Edward’s brother Richard III, overriding the claims of his nephew, the young Edward V, alienated many Yorkists, who then turned to the last hope of the Lancastrians, Henry Tudor (later Henry VII). With the help of the French and of Yorkist defectors, Henry defeated and killed Richard at Bosworth Field on Aug. 22, 1485, bringing the wars to a close. By his marriage to Edward IV’s daughter Elizabeth of York in 1486, Henry united the Yorkist and Lancastrian claims. Henry defeated a Yorkist rising supporting the pretender Lambert Simnel on June 16, 1487, a date which some historians prefer over the traditional 1485 for the termination of the wars.

Encyclopaedia Britannica

 

Edward III
king of England
byname Edward Of Windsor
born Nov. 13, 1312, Windsor, Berkshire, Eng.
died June 21, 1377, Sheen, Surrey

Main
king of England from 1327 to 1377, who led England into the Hundred Years’ War with France. The descendants of his seven sons and five daughters contested the throne for generations, climaxing in the Wars of the Roses (1455–85).

Early years
The eldest son of Edward II and Isabella of France, Edward III was summoned to Parliament as earl of Chester (1320) and was made duke of Aquitaine (1325), but, contrary to tradition, he never received the title of prince of Wales.

Edward III grew up amid struggles between his father and a number of barons who were attempting to limit the king’s power and to strengthen their own role in governing England. His mother, repelled by her husband’s treatment of the nobles and disaffected by the confiscation of her English estates by his supporters, played an important role in this conflict. In 1325 she left England to return to France to intervene in the dispute between her brother, Charles IV of France, and her husband over the latter’s French possessions, Guyenne, Gascony, and Ponthieu. She was successful; the land was secured for England on condition that the English king pay homage to Charles. This was performed on the King’s behalf by his young son.

The heir apparent was secure at his mother’s side. With Roger Mortimer, an influential baron who had escaped to France in 1323 and had become her lover, Isabella now began preparations to invade England to depose her husband. To raise funds for this enterprise, Edward III was betrothed to Philippa, daughter of William, count of Hainaut and Holland.

Within five months of their invasion of England, the Queen and the nobles, who had much popular support, overpowered the King’s forces. Edward II, charged with incompetence and breaking his coronation oath, was forced to resign, and on Jan. 29, 1327, Edward III, aged 15, was crowned king of England.

During the next four years Isabella and Mortimer governed in his name, though nominally his guardian was Henry, earl of Lancaster. In the summer of 1327 he took part in an abortive campaign against the Scots, which resulted in the Treaty of Northampton (1328), making Scotland an independent realm. Edward was deeply troubled by the settlement and signed it only after much persuasion by Isabella and Mortimer. He married Philippa at York on Jan. 24, 1328. Soon afterward, Edward made a successful effort to throw off his degrading dependence on his mother and Mortimer. While a council was being held at Nottingham, he entered the castle by night, through a subterranean passage, took Mortimer prisoner, and had him executed (November 1330). Edward had discreetly ignored his mother’s liaison with Mortimer and treated her with every respect, but her political influence was at an end.

Edward III now began to rule as well as to reign. Young, ardent, and active, he sought to remake England into the powerful nation it had been under Edward I. He still resented the concession of independence made to Scotland by the Treaty of Northampton; and the death of Robert I, the Bruce, king of Scotland, in 1329 gave him a chance of retrieving his position. The new king of Scots, his brother-in-law, David II, was a mere boy, and Edward took advantage of his weakness to aid the Scottish barons who had been exiled by Bruce to place their leader, Edward Balliol, on the Scottish throne. David II fled to France, but Balliol was despised as a puppet of the English king, and David returned in 1341.


Hundred Years’ War
During the 1330s England gradually drifted into a state of hostility with France, for which the most obvious reason was the dispute over English rule in Gascony. Contributory causes were France’s new king Philip VI’s support of the Scots, Edward’s alliance with the Flemish cities—then on bad terms with their French overlord—and the revival, in 1337, of Edward’s claim, first made in 1328, to the French crown. Edward twice attempted to invade France from the north (1339, 1340), but the only result of his campaigns was to reduce him to bankruptcy. In January 1340 he assumed the title of king of France. At first he may have done this to gratify the Flemings, whose scruples in fighting the French king disappeared when they persuaded themselves that Edward was the rightful king of France. But his pretensions to the French crown gradually became more important, and the persistence with which he and his successors urged them made stable peace impossible for more than a century. This was the struggle famous in history as the Hundred Years’ War. Until 1801 every English king also called himself king of France.

Edward was present in person at the great naval battle off the Flemish city of Sluis in June 1340, in which he all but destroyed the French navy. Despite this victory his resources were exhausted by his land campaign, and he was forced to make a truce (which was broken two years later) and return to England. During the years after 1342 he spent much time and money in rebuilding Windsor Castle and instituting the Order of the Garter, which became Britain’s highest order of knighthood. A new phase of the French war began when Edward landed in Normandy in July 1346, accompanied by his eldest son, Prince Edward, later known as the Black Prince (born 1330). At first the King showed some lack of strategic purpose, engaging in little more than a large-scale plundering raid to the gates of Paris. The campaign was made memorable by his decisive victory over the French at Crécy in Ponthieu (August 26), where he scattered the army with which Philip VI sought to cut off his retreat to the northeast. Edward laid siege to the French port of Calais in September 1346 and received its surrender in August 1347. Other victories in Gascony and Brittany, and the defeat and capture of David II at Neville’s Cross near Durham (October 1346), gave further proof of Edward’s power, but Calais was to be his only lasting conquest. He ejected most of its French inhabitants, colonizing the town with Englishmen and establishing there a base from which to conduct further invasions of France. Nevertheless, in the midst of his successes, want of money forced him to make a new truce in September 1347.

Edward returned to England in October 1347. He celebrated his triumph by a series of splendid tournaments. In 1348 he rejected an offer to become Holy Roman emperor. In the same year the bubonic plague known as the Black Death first appeared in England and raged until the end of 1349. Its horrors hardly checked the magnificent revels of Edward’s court, and neither the plague nor the truce stayed the slow course of the French war, though the fighting was indecisive and on a small scale. Edward’s martial exploits during the next years were those of a gallant knight rather than of a responsible general. Although the English House of Commons was now weary of the war, efforts to make peace came to nothing, and large-scale operations began again in 1355, when Edward led an unsuccessful raid out of Calais. He harried the Lothians, part of southeastern Scotland, in the expedition famous as the Burned Candlemas (January and February 1356), and in the same year he received a formal surrender of the Kingdom of Scotland from Balliol. His exploits were, however, eclipsed by those of his son Edward, whose victory at Poitiers (Sept. 19, 1356), resulting in the capture of the French king, John II (who had succeeded Philip VI in 1350), forced the French to accept a new truce. Edward entertained his captive magnificently but forced him by the Treaty of London (1359) to surrender so much territory that the agreement was repudiated in France. In an effort to compel acceptance, Edward landed at Calais (October 28) and besieged Reims, where he planned to be crowned king of France. The strenuous resistance of the citizens frustrated this scheme, and Edward marched into Burgundy, eventually returning toward Paris. After this unsuccessful campaign he was glad to conclude preliminaries of peace at Brittany (May 8, 1360). This treaty, less onerous to France than that of London, took its final form in the Treaty of Calais, ratified by both kings (October 1360). By it, Edward renounced his claim to the French crown in return for the whole of Aquitaine, a rich area in southwestern France.


The years of decline: 1360–77
The Treaty of Calais did not bring rest or prosperity to either England or France. Fresh visitations of the Black Death in England in 1361 and 1369 intensified social and economic disturbances, and desperate but not very successful efforts were made to enforce the Statute of Labourers (1351), which was intended to maintain prices and wages as they had been before the pestilence. Other famous laws enacted during the 1350s had been the Statutes of Provisors (1351) and Praemunire (1353), which reflected popular hostility against foreign clergy. These measures were frequently reenacted, and Edward formally repudiated (1366) the feudal supremacy over England still claimed by the papacy.

When the French king Charles V, son of John II, repudiated the Treaty of Calais, Edward resumed the title of king of France, but he showed little of his former vigour in meeting this new trouble, leaving most of the fighting and the administration of his foreign territories to his sons Edward and John of Gaunt, duke of Lancaster. While they were struggling with little success against the rising tide of French national feeling, Edward’s want of money made him a willing participant in the attack on the wealth and privileges of the church. Meanwhile, Aquitaine was gradually lost, Prince Edward returned to England in broken health (1371), and John of Gaunt’s march through France from Calais to Bordeaux (1373) achieved nothing. Edward’s final attempt to lead an army abroad himself (1372) was frustrated when contrary winds prevented his landing his troops in France. In 1375 he was glad to make a truce, which lasted until his death. By it, the only important possessions remaining in English hands were Calais, Bordeaux, Bayonne, and Brest.

Edward was now sinking into his dotage. After the death of Queen Philippa in 1369 he fell entirely under the influence of his greedy mistress, Alice Perrers, while Prince Edward and John of Gaunt became the leaders of sharply divided parties in the royal court and council. John of Gaunt returned to England in April 1374 and with the help of Alice Perrers obtained the chief influence with his father, but his administration was neither honourable nor successful. At the famous so-called Good Parliament of 1376 popular indignation against John of Gaunt’s ruling party came at last to a head. Alice Perrers was removed and some of Gaunt’s followers were impeached. Before the Parliament had concluded its business, however, the death of Prince Edward (June 8, 1376) robbed the Commons of its strongest support. John of Gaunt regained power, and the acts of the Good Parliament had been reversed when Edward III died.


Edward’s character
Edward III possessed extraordinary vigour and energy of temperament; he was an admirable tactician and a consummate knight. His court was the most brilliant in contemporary Europe, and he was himself well fitted to be the head of the gallant knights who obtained fame in the French wars. Though his main ambition was military glory, he was not a bad ruler of England, being liberal, kindly, good-tempered, and easy of access. His need to obtain supplies for carrying on the French wars made him favourable to his subjects’ petitions and contributed to the growing strength of Parliament. His weak points were his wanton breaches of good faith, his extravagance, his frivolity, and his self-indulgence. His ambition ultimately transcended his resources, and before he died even his subjects had sensed his failure.

Thomas Frederick Tout
J.R.L. Highfield

Encyclopaedia Britannica

 

 

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