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A World Lit only by Fire

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A World Lit Only By Fire

by William Manchester

Study Guide Questions

  1. Whose country was “the back of a horse?” What does it mean?

  1. English records show that out of every hundred murderers, how many were brought to justice?
  1. How many knights were “hacked to death” in the 1240 Dusseldorf tourney?
  1. How many conquered rebels did Charlemagne have beheaded for refusing baptism?
  1. According to Augustine, what were the two divisions of mankind?
  1. Who was the first to teach that sex was evil and that salvation was possible only through the intercession of the Virgin Mary?
  1. What did Canossa symbolize? Is it a valid symbol?
  1. Who was “history’s most celebrated iconoclast” and why?
  1. “At any given moment the most dangerous enemy in Europe was _____.” Who was it?
  1. Why were papal proclamations called “bulls”?
  1. Where did the popes live from 1305 to 1377?
  1. What two things did medieval man lack awareness of?
  1. What factors led to the demise of knighthood?
  1. When did the West rediscover Aristotle?
  1. After Magellan, who was the next to navigate the “Straights of Magellan” successfully and survive to tell the tale?
  1. What was a “blackbirder”?
  1. What was the fate of the Iberian Jews near the end of the 15th century?
  1. Who invented the rifle and when?
  1. What was “perhaps the most celebrated crime of the Middle Ages”?
  1. What country were the Borgias from, and how did they become popes?
  1. Who said, “God has given us the papacy, let us enjoy it”?
  1. When did the Roman Catholic Church establish the rule of celibacy for the clergy?
  1. How many children did Leo X father?
  1. Who was “the ultimate pontifical disaster,” and why?
  1. Who declared that the pope “is no longer a Christian. He is an infidel, a heretic, and as such has ceased to be a pope”?
  1. Who attempted to have the leaders of the Medici family in Florence murdered during Mass in the Cathedral?
  2. According to Tacitus, Julius Caesar had interviewed men who had walked entirely across Europe without once catching sight of what?
  1. What was Europe’s most populous country in 1500, and what was its population?
  1. What were the three largest cities in Europe in 1500, and what were their populations?
  1. What was the banking family that became prominent in the Hansa and then all of Europe?
  1. Who was “der Gross Max”?
  1. Name three kings who borrowed from the Fuggers.
  1. In England during the reigns of Henry VII and Henry VIII, what was the daily per capita allowance of beer?
  1. How large was the average man?
  1. Half of all people died before reaching what age?
  1. What were lepers, prostitutes, and Jews required to wear?
  1. What was illegal to wear unless you were nobly born (aristocratic)?
  1. Who built the first standing clock in England, and when?
  1. What was the “Nuremberg Egg”?
  1. What was used as a substitute for long prison sentences?
  1. When and where was the use of a diamond as an engagement ring introduced?
  1. Who were the cleanest people in Europe?
  1. At what age could girls legally marry? Boys?
  1. Who describe life as being “nasty, brutish, and short”?
  1. Identify a few of the achievements of the “uneducated, illegitimate son of an Anchiano county girl.”
  1. In 1513, who became “first painter and engineer” to Frances I?
  1. At the time of the invention of printing, what percentage of men and women in Europe were illiterate?
  1. What professions were the most literate? The least?
  1. What subjects made up the trivium and the quadrivium?
  1. Who fought and died in “the Great Slaughter”?
  1. What did Sir Thomas More denounce as “as profitable as milking a he-goat into a sieve”?
  1. Who was England’s poet laureate, tutor to the young future king Henry VIII?
  1. What did Martin Luther identify as the greatest enemy of faith?
  1. What two challenges did Humanism present to the Church?
  1. What was Erasmus’ father’s profession?
  1. What special gift did Erasmus possess which gave him a great influence upon the upper and middle classes?
  1. Which represents Erasmus’ humor: the broadsword or the rapier?
  1. Who was the “warrior pope”?
  1. What consistent theme of Erasmus’ works enraged the clergy?
  1. What crisis led Pope Leo X to announce a “special sale” of indulgences in 1517?
  1. Who became “the most famous man to misjudge Professor Martin Luther”?
  1. What did Satan and Luther throw at each other (allegedly)?
  1. Where was Luther when he experienced his great insight into God’s justice and man’s salvation?
  1. To what aspect indulgences did Luther object most of all?
  1. How long would it take a traveler to reach Lisbon from Venice? To reach Damascus? Constantinople?  Alexandria?
  1. What was suggested by “Pitchfork John”?
  1. How did Luther escape arrest in Augsburg in October, 1518?
  1. Name 4 Germans who, before Luther, martyred for saying the same things he said.
  1. What position taken by Luther in debate with Eck at Leipzig in 1519 revealed him as “an unshriven, un repentant apostate”?
  1. What were the 3 weaknesses pf Pope Leo X?
  1. List those who votes elected the Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire.
  1. Who did Pope Leo X want to become the new Holy Roman Emperor in 1518 instead of Charles V?  Why was this ironic?
  1. What did Luther burn in a bonfire on December 10, 1520?
  1. Who called the Vatican a “gigantic bloodsucking worm”?
  1. How did Luther exploit the rising spirit of German nationalism (Herrenolki)?
  1. How much money did Luther estimate was sent to Rome annually from Germany?
  1. To what was Luther referring when he wrote in 1520 , “We here come to the heart of the matter.”?
  1. What did Luther find more acceptable than divorce?
  1. What did Erasmus say were Luther’s 2 major blunders?
  1. At the Diet of Worms, what did Luther offer to recant?
  1. In what languages did Luther and the Emperor Charles speak?
  1. What was the German symbol of revolution?
  1. What alias did Luther adopt while in hiding?  
  1. To what was historian Thomas Carlyle referring when he spoke of “the greatest moment in the modern history of man”?
  1. What was the most popular Protestant dogma, and how did Erasmus view it?
  1. What oath was taken by the knights who escorted Luther to his trial at worms in 1521?
  1. Who said, “I do not admit that my doctrine can be judged by anyone, even by angels.”?
  1. Who laid the egg that Luther hatched?
  1. Which side did the Fuggers support in the Reformation?
  1. When was Erasmus excommunicated and branded a heretic?
  1. Whose body was quartered and then burned on a pile of excrement?
  1. How did Luther view Copernicus?
  1. How long did Calvin view Copernicus?
  1. What city represented the ultimate in repression?
  1. How did Calvin deal with the issues of abortion and illegitimacy?
  1. Who was the only Dutch pope in history?
  1. “In truth everyone is convinced that all this has happened as a judgment of God on the great tyranny and disorders of the papal court.” To what was the speaker referring (in 1526)?
  1. What is the meaning of the title of the book, “a world lit only by fire”?
  1. For what profession had Henry VIII been trained, before his elder brother’s death put him on the throne?
  1. Who said (to a Catholic Priest), “If God spare me, ere many years I will cause the boy that driveth the plow to know more of the Scripture than you do.”?
  1. Which European monarch was designated by the pope in the 1520’s as a “Defender of the Faith”?  Why was this ironic?
  1. What was the consensus of opinion among Catholic scholars across Europe regarding Henry VIII’s request for an annulment of his marriage to Catherine of Aragon?
  1. How much of the land in England was owned by the Catholic Church when Henry broke away?
  1. Who died “the King’s good servant, but God’s first”?
  1. Name 3 famous Protestant martyrs of Mary’s reign?
  1. Who was Michelangelo’s lifelong idol?
  1. According to William Manchester, what destroyed the Renaissance?
  1. Why did the medieval church believe the earth was flat?
  1. How was it that Henry of Portugal became interested in the study of navigation?
  1. What were rutters and why were they important?
  1. How did Magellan have access to Portuguese rutters?
  1. Why was Magellan unable to recruit quality seamen for his expedition?
  1. Why didn’t Magellan take the most direct route from Spain to Brazil?
  1. What 2 things did Magellan do in Rio de Janeiro in 1519?
  1. What event occurred on April 2, 1520 of Magellan’s voyage?
  1. Who was the only mutineer to be executed, and who else died?
  1. Why did Magellan call the islands across the Strait of Magellan “Tierra del Fuego”-the “Land of Fire”?
  1. What sight caused Magellan to burst into tears in November, 1520?
  1. Where did Magellan finally reach land (March 6, 1521) and replenish his supplies after crossing the Pacific?
  1. What name did Magellan give the Philippines? For whom were they latter renamed?
  1. Who was the first person to complete a circumnavigation of the globe?
  1. What obsession overcame Magellan while anchored in the Philippines?
  1. What part of Magellan’s body was returned to Spain?
  1. Why did the friendly Filipinos eventually turn against them?
  1. What was ironic about the fact that the one surviving ship of Magellan’s fleet was piloted home by Cano?
  1. How many men completed the voyage? How many started it?
  1. Who was honored by the Spanish people for achieving the circumnavigation of the globe?
  1. Of all the tributes to Magellan, which, according to William Manchester, is most appropriate?
  1. What problem was discovered with the ship’s log/diary upon its return to Spain on September 7, 1522?
  1. What was “the crowning triumph of the age, the final, decisive blow to the past”?
  1. When were the works of Copernicus and Galileo removed from the Catholic Index of Forbidden Books?



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