In the West, Russia XVI century are the "barbarous state", filled with mass executions, the elimination of political opponents, the oppression of the people, and other ugly phenomena. Ivan the Terrible looks at some of the descriptions of the monster is actually equal to the mythical Dracula.
However, if you look closely to Western Europe from about the same period, we can see that the history of Russia in comparison with the pages of the history of Western European countries in the field of morals rulers, life nobility and the common people, it's almost a sample of humanity and Christian values.
The dark side of the era of "Renaissance"
When people talk about the Renaissance and the Renaissance (from Fr. Renaissance, Italian. Rinascimento; from «ri» — «again" or "born again"), it's usually remember the heyday of European culture, brilliant thinkers, scientists, artists, the era of the Great Discovery. But what is left on the sidelines, it was the epoch of bloody wars, conspiracies, intrigues, treacherous murders, mass terror against political and religious opponents. We should not forget that it was at this time in Europe, there was a moral breakdown, when the craving for sensual pleasures was higher chastity.
The epicenter of the "Renaissance" was Italy. At that time there was no single unified Italian state and the Italian nation. The peninsula was divided into a number of public entities. Italian cities to capitalize on the Crusades, the decline and death of the Byzantine Empire. While the French, German, British and other soldiers were killed in a foreign land, a large part of their production flowed into the hands of enterprising Venetian, Genoese, Florentine merchants and moneylenders. They also provide transportation of troops and their supplies by sea, get more profits. At the same time Italian (fictitious, since a single Italian people did not exist) tradespeople to seize a large part of trade in the Mediterranean. Monopolizing the supply of silks and spices from the East to Europe. These were not the only products of refinement, but the immediate need. Silk rich rescued from parasites — lice, and spices were needed to process the meat. The goods were expensive and Italian merchants receive excess profits.
The money went to the "good life." Know often with native banker clans, considered ancient Rome as a model for imitation. Wealth went to the construction of sumptuous palaces, decorated with exquisite statues, reliefs, paintings. This allowed us to prove talented artists, architects, sculptures, and artists. Venus began to force the Mother of God, nymphs and satyrs — the apostles and saints. Even the icons began to write the new fashion, bringing to the "antique" standards. Saints, often naked, wrote a pretty sitters and nudes, with customers, rich and noble ladies and gentlemen.
In fact, going "revival" is not ancient Rome, and the worst features of the late Roman Empire, the era of decline and decay. In certain circles in vogue "Greek love" — sodomy. Asceticism and chastity apparent Middle Ages were discarded. Italy swept hedonism, when the ultimate goal and highest good of human life is a sensual delight. "Decameron" Boccaccio became more important than the Bible. Adultery ridiculed. Sated rich looking novelty in perversions.
It would seem that the Catholic Church had to fight back as a serious attack on the souls of his parishioners. However, she was struck by the virus itself decomposition. The church was not only a spiritual but also a secular institution that possessed great wealth. This wealth was a major prerequisite to degradation. Pope and spiritual lords were sovereign masters in their own land. Designated delegates, canons, abbots were considered primarily as a source of income. Positions sold, given in grants. Abbots and abbess could become even young children are major secular feudal lords. While many feudal lords, so their children get a job, because it promised a lot of benefits. The spiritual lords, as well as secular, bumped into a luxury, extravagance, debauchery. Catholic top was seriously degraded.
Suffice it to say, the heads of the Catholic Church are people who even loosely hardly be called worthy representatives of the human race. Thus, in the 1410 — 1415 region. Dad was a pirate, a murderer and a sodomite John XXIII (Balthazar Cossa). Pope Sixtus IV (Francesco della Rovere) — ruled from 1471 to 1484 years., Was marked as a grafter, a murderer and a sodomite.
In a number of fairly large number of criminals and perverts, who held the office of the Pope, apparently, the first place on the right belongs to Alexander VI (Rodrigo Borgia), who was the head of the church in 1492 — 1503 years. This Spanish nobleman for his career came to Italy because his mother was the sister of Cardinal Alfonso Borgia, who became Pope Calixtus III. Cohabited with a lot of women. Raised himself to the Cardinals, and then in the pope did not stint on bribes (post pope could also buy, like any other rank in the church). Thus, the Venetian Cardinal Rodrigo had bribed five thousand gold and providing for the night in his 12-year-old daughter. After receiving the coveted post, Alexander VI was to glorify children. His son Giovanni Borgia received the title of Duke of Gandia, and Sessions, as well as the "Papal flag bearer and captain general of the Church." Cesare Borgia title of Cardinal and the Duke of Romagna and Valentinois. His daughter, Lucrezia became the personification of sexual promiscuity that prevailed in Rome. She was the mistress of his father — the Pope. (!) Except for sexual immorality, born Borgia became famous because it uses poison to eliminate political opponents and undesirable persons. It is clear that such a Catholic church could not resist the "revival."
But even decaying Catholic Church did not suit certain circles. Work has begun to create a more user-friendly version of Christianity. In principle, the various sects and heresies have existed in Europe for a long time — at the beginning of our era there was Gnosticism, which used motifs from the Old Testament, Eastern mythology and some early Christian teachings. There were Manichaean sect, Kabbalists, Paulicians, Bogumil, Waldensian, Qatar, etc. In Byzantium, for some time the authorities were iconoclasts. In the south of France in the 12 — 13 centuries spread the Albigensian heresy, which led to a bloody war. In the Order of the Knights Templar was suspected of heresy (an ambiguous question, because the main cause of the destruction of the order, it could be a successful financial activities).
The Renaissance has created favorable conditions for the germination of a larger heretical movement. It all began in England, where Oxford University professor John Wycliffe (Wycliffe) in the years 1376-1377. began to condemn the greed and wealth of the clergy, on the grounds that neither Jesus nor his disciples had neither property nor the secular power. In his lectures, professor declared that the church should not own property, and the king has the right to the secularization of church lands and opposed the claims of the papacy to the collection of levies from England. This idea interested in the royal power, and some of the great feudal lords. Liked the idea of the king and the king — is the vicar of God, and that the bishops should be subject to the king. Wycliffe rejected the episcopal degree, the doctrine of purgatory and indulgences; thought conscience and confession of violence offered to settle the inner repentance before God. He said that between man and God should not be mediators. Wycliffe and his followers were defeated, but his ideas were picked up by Jan Hus and his followers, the Hussites.
Gus has proposed a reform of the church in the Czech Republic, similar to the one proclaimed by Wycliffe. He was executed, but the discontent of the Church of the Czechs, increased national oppression (the dominance of the Germans), led to an uprising and a long war. Hussites went to war against Rome and the emperor slaughtered and expelled Catholics, looted monasteries and churches. The pope announced March 1, 1420 a crusade against heretics Hussites. In Silesia the Emperor Sigismund gathered an army of German, Polish and Hungarian knights, as well as infantry, which was militia Silesian towns and Italian mercenaries. However, the Hussites have created a very strong army, which was able to fight back chivalrous troops. The war lasted until 1434.
In the Czech Republic the most controversial reform of the Church understood. "Chashniki" demanded the elimination of the dominance of the German feudal lords in the Czech Republic and the German city patricians, like the secularization of church lands, preaching freedom and the creation of a national church. They believed that in the rite of Communion people should partake of bread and wine (like the Orthodox, Catholics receive communion wine only priests and laity — wafer). "Taborites" moved on. They wanted to destroy the royal authority and establish a republic, denied any hierarchy, both spiritual and secular. They preached the idea of socialization of property. There were extreme sects like the Adamites, who wanted to return "in Adam" walked naked and indulged in free love. Chashniki and Taborites adamites destroyed. Then, at loggerheads with each other. Finally, in 1433 Chashniki made a compromise with the Catholic Church (Prague compactate), and in 1434, together with the Catholics broke Taborites. During this long and bloody war, the Czech Republic and neighboring areas were severely devastated. Thus, the Czech Republic has lost 1.5 million people and has devastated "desert."
But it was only "flowers", "berries" — The Reformation and the Peasant War in Germany, the Reformation in the Netherlands and the Dutch Revolution, Huguenot wars in France, and so forth, are still to come.
Heresy struck the Catholic elite. After all, hedonism is not matched the basics of Christian morality. Rich, wallowing in luxury and sensual pleasures, required a different doctrine, which would justify their lifestyle. Therefore, Christianity remained a lot of "dark" common folk. And have gained popularity among the nobility different astrologers, soothsayers, alchemists, "psychics." It is becoming fashionable doctrine that God — this is only a "prime mover" and the life of man to control the elements, planets, stars. Astrology admitted the truth of the first instance. Know was horoscopes for marriage, early trades, the lord consulted astrologers when to go to war.
However, not all on a similar free-thinking look easy. The Iberian peninsula, where the flag of religion, was a long and hard war with the Muslims, the question of faith were more severe. Muslims expelled, converted to Christianity and slavery. Jews had a hard time and have taken root under the rule of the Moors. Many have tried to adapt and conventionally converted to Christianity, secretly retaining the old faith. In 1478 to combat heresy and infidels Inquisition was established, headed by Thomas Torquemada. The results of his work are: the expulsion of the Jews from Spain, Sardinia and Sicily, the expulsion of the Moors (happened after the death of "Grand Inquisitor"), confiscation of property condemned by the Inquisition, the burning of hundreds of heretics at the stake.
It should be noted that some Jews moved to Italy, and so many of them were related to trade and usury activities, they had a long association with the local trade and community banker. With bankers, in turn, have been linked Italian princes and aristocrats. And from the bankers and aristocrats depended churchmen. Therefore, in Italy, in the center of the Catholic world, Jews were not persecuted. For example, in Italy, from the "black" (detached from Christianity) aristocracy and Jewish moneylenders has developed the first "International Finance". He later relocated to Holland and England.
Even the fight against "witches" in Europe was selective. In the courts of the aristocracy, including the spiritual, flourished various astrologers, magicians, soothsayers, fortune-tellers, soothsayers. In Florence, the Medici palace in the opening act, "Plato's Academy", where he studied Kabbalah and other secret teachings. In 1484, Pope Innocent VIII issued the famous bull «Summis desiderantes affectibus», which was the basis for a new wave of "witch hunt." In 1487 was published a treatise on demonology "Hammer of Witches", which was written by two German monks, Dominican inquisitors Heinrich Kramer and Jacob Sprenger. This was a fundamental legal and practical guidance on the detection and destruction of "witches". Across Europe, the fires burned. They got the midwives and wise woman, a beautiful woman, and so on Destroyed knowledge holders who do not fit into the concept of official Catholic world view. Were subjected to savage torture and killing thousands of innocent people.
The life of the European population
Europe in the 15-16 centuries was still agricultural, land was the main wealth. Actually, "wealth", ie, necessary for life products produced peasants. Since they fought in three skins and monarchs and secular and spiritual lords, the local administration. Direct levies supplemented by various state monopolies duties. Often the direct owners of the peasants, in need of cash and got into debt, gave them to the mercy. Tax farmers also do not stand on ceremony with the peasants. The peasants were considered only as a source of income, were disenfranchised and downtrodden (except for small, remote places, which has a relatively loose peasant communities), lived in miserable huts with dirt floors, no windows and heated by the fire, because the windows and pipes were subject to a separate tax .
However, classical serfdom in Western Europe in most of the die off. But the nobles were still living at the expense of the peasants. Now, gentlemen prefer to give the land on lease. But at the same time preserving the legal authority over the peasants, the right of their trial, the land in its ownership. Most of the nobility struggled to make ends meet. Expensive weapons and clothing have inherited. In many ways, the ruin of the nobility was due to exorbitant spending and a inability to farm.
Therefore tried to correct the condition by participating in numerous wars, when the robbery was legalized phenomenon. The basis of the feudal armies were militia. By order of his liege vassals led troops. But the aristocrats were often unreliable, betrayed, took the time to follow orders. Therefore, the feudal militia were supplemented by troops of mercenaries. On this craft even specialize whole regions — Scotland, Switzerland and the German principalities. In war, the troops are distinguished by extreme cruelty and looting, trying to reward themselves with violence and prey. The content of the army was expensive, so monarchs and feudal lords tried to gather troops only during combat operations. In peacetime treated guarding small parts.
The cult of luxury, which has increased sharply since the beginning of the Renaissance, was ruinous for the nobility. Not only small and medium-sized feudal lords, but graphs, dukes, kings borrowed heavily to merchants and moneylenders, mortgage land, castles and other assets, like family jewels. As a result of increased taxes on producers — farmers and city dwellers. The impoverished nobles, trying to improve the situation, trying to get to the retinue of the rich nobles. During that received various handouts. There were other ways to improve the situation. It was considered good luck to arrange a son of the church line. The spiritual lords prosper (the church was the largest land owners in Europe) and could podsobit relatives. In addition, you can try to Cute daughter became the mistress of a high official. It is not considered shameful. On the contrary, such an event was considered a great success and luck. In particular, the French nobles who have beautiful daughters, actually selling them. Offered princes, dukes, princes, kings. The issue was in the price, not the moral aspect of the case.
In the present major cities in Western Europe was a little — Rome, Naples, Paris and London. The population of most cities numbered only a few thousand people. Tried to build a house in a ring of fortifications, so they built a 3-4 floors, and houses severely hampered the streets, turning them into the streets of a width of about 2 m crews could pass only the main streets. On other goods carried in carts, people traveled on foot or horseback, distinguished persons were in a sedan chair. Sewage systems were not. Various types of garbage and waste products thrown out into the streets into canals, ponds, rivers, ditches. Traveler learned about approaching the city from afar — the smell of sewage. Unsanitary and overcrowded urban residents made the first victims of frequent epidemics that have carried out a very significant percentage of the population.
It is interesting that often goes hand in hand with a wealth of lack of basic hygiene. Many believed that bathing is harmful. Not for nothing in England lice called "gentleman's companion." WC was not even in the palaces. Used the potty or facilitated curtains.