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Conservapedia:World History Lecture Seven

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World History

Seventh Lecture – End of the Middle Ages (Renaissance and Reformation)

Instructor, Andy Schlafly

The History of the English Language[edit]

The development of the English language is divided into three periods: Old English (also called "Anglo-Saxon"), Middle English, and Modern English (which we speak today). Germanic tribes settled in England as long ago as about the time when the Roman empire fell, around A.D. 450. Old English developed and was used until shortly after the Norman conquest of 1066, when Latin began to cause improvements in Old English and it upgraded to medieval Middle English. Modern English is considered to have begun shortly after the end of the Middle Ages in 1500.

Update This section, again, appears to have been added to the Conservapedia Lecture Seven some time after the version analysed below.

This is an interesting tangent for Andy to wander off along. The man has a strange preoccupation with linguistics, and drops the subject into his Lectures all the time. That, on its own, is fine. Everybody has a hobby horse - you'll have noticed, for example, that in these analyses I occasionally get on my protein-and-benchpress hobbyhorse for no apparent reason - and we expect Andy, like any human, to dip into what interests him from time to time. But Andy, in a strange twist, constantly gets his pet project appallingly wrong. His discussion of linguistics back in Lectures One and Two was brain-breakingly bad, and would be like me casually stating that professional bodybuilding revolves around focused, disciplined training in Half-Life 2 and a diet of Skittles and Pepsi. It's really that random and unrelated to reality. Take this section, for example.

Lingusitic historians do indeed group our tongue into three vague and apoproximate periods of Old, Middle, and Modern, but these cannot be separated into neat categories as there were, and are, immense variations in time and space, class and purpose. The roots of Old English lie in Proto-Germanic merging with elements of Latin and the last survivors of the ancient Briton Celtic languages; this is a very vague period which does roughly coincide with the migration of northern Europeans to the embattled British Isles in the third to sixth centuries, causing the native Romano-British (whose pidgin Latin had all but displaced the pre-Roman Celtic tongues) language to blend with the various tongues of the newcomers. But pinning this down to anything more than broad generalisations is nigh-on impossible because, as any linguist will tell you, that period coincides with a rapid decline in written documents. Without evidence of what people were writing, we cannot be anything more than vague about what they were speaking. It is not until the sixth and seventh centuries that documents emerged which have survived through to the modern period, documenting regional languages which had already emerged and were continuing to evolve (yes, Andy). These various related but distinguishable tongues (if we must have a modern analogy, consider that Spanish, French, and Italian are all related but distinct; early English was the same) are what linguists corral together as "Old English", which bears little or no resemblance to modern English or German.

Andy then claims that the Norman Conquest of 1066 caused Latin to "improve" the language. We'll ignore the question of just how one "improves" a language (languages evolve according to their local contexts; there is no hierarchy - bear in mind that a thousand years in the future, people will look at the documents from our era and be bamboozled by a language so different to theirs) and instead simply point out two things. Firstly, the Normans did not speak Latin. They spoke French. There are still some types (almost exclusively here in Britian) who cling desperately to the assertion that the Normans were Vikings, but this is mostly because a few pig-headed types can't stomach the fact that the French conquered Britain. The Normans were French in every way, and when William the Conqueror and his men landed at Pevensey beach to march on Hastings, their orders were all shouted in Old French. Secondly, the Norman Conquest stratified the British Isles (at least England and parts of Wales and Ireland; Scotland was never invaded) into two distinct groups - the native Anglo-Saxons, who still spoke early Old English, and the new Norman upper classes, who spoke French. As is so frequently the case, the invaders conducted all business in their tongue and any locals who wanted to ingratiate themselves with their new overlords had to learn their language. The result was a form of pidgin Old English/Old French emerging in the southeast of England, from which Middle English evolved. However it must be stressed that this was a purely regional phenomenon. Outside of the southeast and the castle keeps of the Norman overlords, local dialects continued in their bewildering variations.

Andy then advises us that this Middle English "upgraded" to Modern English. Well, that's not true. Again, there is no hierarchy. Given his obsession with alphabets, we could have expected Noam Chumpsky here to mention that the alphabet of Old English contained letters which we no longer use, nor have an equivalent for, like "yogh" and "ezh". Losing letters doesn't sound like much of an upgrade, Andy. Of course in reality, the language simply evolved, largely as the increasing commercialisation of England led to the southeastern dialect becoming more spread across the country through merchants and Royal Decrees, and the Great Vowel Shift of the Late Middle Ages (c.1350-1500). It's not entirely clear why this Shift happened - it possibly had to do with social displacement and migration in the aftermath of the Black Death - but what is certain is that pronounciation changed significantly (we know this from examining rhyming poetry of the time). Around the same time, that same commercialisation and the role of the medieval universities led to English spelling becoming more standardised, and as the Late Middle Ages morphed into the Early Modern Period, the economic dominance of the southeast and London, the spread of printed writing, and the associated dialect with its spelling, vocabulary, and pronounciation - evolved into what we currently read in Shakespeare and Milton. Yet it must be stressed that the United Kingdom, unlike the United States (for the most part, there are some regional outliers), has bewildering local variations in dialect (with cities, regions, and parts of cities using words which are English but utterly foreign to people from the same country), and this is a legacy of the extremely localised evolution of English.

So, Andy ought to have mentioned some of these themes, but unsurprisingly failed to. Whether this is due to neglect, ignorance, laziness, or lying remains unclear. My money's on all four.

A good dictionary will provide a date of origin for a word, and old dates are "13c" or A.D. 1200. For example, the date of first use of the word "chase", meaning "the hunting of wild animals," is listed by Merriam-Webster dictionary as "13c". More modern words, such as "homeschool", have more recent dates of first use, such as 1980 in the case of "homeschool". Oh Jesus, here it comes again. The Merriam-Webster online dictionary. Say hello, folks. We'll be seeing a lot of this character in the coming Lectures. Andy could have, if he wanted, have picked far older words than the thirteenth century. A word from the local dialect where I currently live, for example, is "bairn", meaning "child"; a word which came over with the Vikings in the eighth century. It may not be in the beloved Merriam-Webster lexicon, but it's certainly in the Oxford English Dictionary (as it is English and not American, let's stick with a British dictionary, shall we?). Andy's choice of "homeschool" is predictably dull and rhetoric-laden, and ironic considering that - if Conservapedia's World History "Homework" is anything to go by - most of his students struggle with spelling, grammar, and verb forms in their five-word essays. And considering that Andy wrote this farce back in 2006, why didn't he use a more modern word? New words are being coined all the time! Is Andy afraid of change? Well, we diidn't see that coming...

One can spend hours enjoyably learning about the history of human thought simply by looking at when words were first created for important concepts. For example, by looking up the word "tyranny" in the dictionary we see that it was developed in the 14th century (1300s), which was about the time that feudalism was being replaced by nation-states in England and France. One can piece together much of English history simply by reading a dictionary!

Is Andy attempting to explain the Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis? If so, he's doing a piss-poor job. A controversial theory, the Hypothesis claims - in a nutshell - that language determines thought, and that if there is no word for a concept then that concept cannot be thought of by people. As said, it's a controversial theory with evidence for and against, to which Andy does not do justice. His one example is appallingly bad. He attempts to illustrate the theory by stating that under feudalism (which, as we saw earlier, is itself a controversial concept) everyone was happy and healthy and spent their days frolicking in flowery meadows; until the evils of Big Government came along. Thus, a change in society affected language, and the word "tyranny" emerged. This could, very, very roughly, count as an illustration, were it not simply wrong. "Tyranny" does seem to have emerged in English in the 1290s from Old French, but the root of the word - "tyrannus", meaning an illegitimate ruler - can be found in Roman writing, and the Romans themselves borrowed the word from Greek. Although words are created all the time, they very rarely pop into existence as random collections of sounds. Words such as "googol", which did indeed appear from nowhere as a nonsensical word, are very much the exception to the rule, as almost all new words are derivatives of earlier forms. Looking in the dictionary will not tell us when words popped into existence, but simply when the modern version of an older word first appears in historical documents.

But hey, let's get used to this. Andy is going to spend much of the next few lectures defining hugely-contested political and historical concepts not by actually reading books, but simply by providing definitions from a free internet dictionary. It's shabby, unprofessional, and very irritating; but like everything else in this parade of crap, we simply have to watch it emerge.


The date of origin of a word can even resolve historical debates. Some (including your instructor) feel that "genocide", which is the mass killing by government of a particularly ethnic group, arose only after the development of the evolutionary theory of "survival of the fittest," and gun control by centralized governments to remove the ability of citizens to defend themselves. Note that gun control would have been impossible under feudalism, because there was no centralized government workers on the manors had their own weapons. Because the "survival of the fittest" theory was not taught until the late 1800s, genocide did not occur prior to the 20th century. Others, particularly promoters of the evolutionary theory, claim that genocide occurred earlier also. But look in the dictionary at the date of origin of the word "genocide": 1944. If it had occurred in prior centuries, then a word would have developed to describe it.

Oh Christ, NO!!! Re-read that last sentence. Andy is now claiming that because a word didn't exist, the associated concept did not exist either. So because the word "genocide" was not coined until the mid-1940s, he claims, there were no massacres or people before that time. Jesus CHRIST. Is he serious? Really?

First of all, Andy himself, in these lectures, has discussed historical examples of the wholesale slaughter of whole peoples. So he's contradicting himself. Secondly, does this man genuinely believe that no-one in history has ever toyed with the idea of killing people? Thirdly, it comes dangerously close ot Holocaust Denial (maybe not the Nazi Holocaust, but consider the European colonisation of the Americas, the African maafa, etc). Fourthly, there were words to describe this ugly phenomenon before 1944. Words like "extermination", from the Latin "exterminatus". Fifthly, he manages to shoehorn in some shit about Darwin being responsible for the killings of the twentieth century (yeah, because Stalin, Hitler, and Pol Pot all had the time to sit round reading bloody biology books from 1859). Sixthly, he blames gun control, and seems to think that society would be perfect if only everyone walked around with itchy trigger fingers on smoothbore shotguns. Yeah, because that worked for black men in the Deep South, didn't it? Seventhly, he claims that gun control would have been impossible in the feudal era because of a lack of government, rather than the fact that hand-held firearms did not exist until the late fourteenth century, and even then were more likely to kill the user than the target. Eighth(ly?), as for his claim that "genocide did not occur prior to the twentieth century" (and blaming it on Darwin), we have only one thing to say. Fuck you, Andrew Schlafly. We mean it. Fuck you.

The number "six", for example, is listed as having an origin of "bef. 12c," which means before A.D. 1100. That places the date of first use of simple numbers as before Middle English. It is not surprising that numbers would originate earlier than most (but not all) other words, as numbers were essential in keeping track of people and things. Ah-ha, so according to the Schlafly Theory of Linguistics, nobody prior to the High Middle Ages could count using the fingers on both hands. That's what he said! If there was no word for "six", then obviously people could only count to five. No wonder the Roman Empire's finances were so shit. Oh, and Andy - English existed before 1100. What do you think the inhabitants of England spoke? Klingon?

More generally, the study of the origin of a word is known as "etymology". Some even specialize in the field of "linguistics", which includes all aspects of languages. Beware, however, distortions in the field by those who insist that all languages are equal. They also claim that all religions are equal in truth or value, and that is no more true for religion than it is for languages. Every language has advantages or disadvantages, and the path of world history is in some ways the triumph of superior languages over inferior ones. Regarding the issue of etymological revision, Andy hasn't got a leg to stand on. Particularly as he has pissed off God by rewriting the Bible to crowbar in his own pet words. He seems to grossly misunderstand linguistics as some sort of lib'rul communist plot to assert that languages are equal. In reality, linguists examine languages without considering that there is a hierarchy. The thousands of languages spoken iin the modern world cannot be grouped into tiers, and any attempt to do so comes unpleasantly close to the sort of pseudoscholarship you would find at neo-Nazi websites. On a fun note, it appears that Andrew Schlafly is unaware of any other language besides his own warped, middle-class version of Emurikun, so feel free to call him any regional slander you wish. "Twat" is a great one.

Old and Middle English

We cannot even understand Old English today, and it was somewhat primitive even when it was spoken. Here is an example that concerns an early attempt by Pope Gregory to convert the Norman-Saxons to Christianity:

Eft he axode, hu ðære ðeode nama wære þe hi of comon. Him wæs geandwyrd, þæt hi Angle genemnode wæron. Þa cwæð he, "Rihtlice hi sind Angle gehatene, for ðan ðe hi engla wlite habbað, and swilcum gedafenað þæt hi on heofonum engla geferan beon."
Just because Andy can't read it does not mean that nobody can. There are these people, Andy, called paleolinguists. They can read and speak the language, because they actually have proper training from proper education. And they're essential to historians, as they can translate documents. As for his claim that it was "primitive", Andy provides no evidence other than the gawking laugh of a slack-jawed yokel. "Hey Ma! Lookit this'um funny old-timey writin'!" Where's Cletus from The Simpsons?

Some simple pronouns like "he" are recognizable, as are the Old English equivalents of verbs like "were". Here is what that passage means, according to Merriam-Webster: Again he [St. Gregory] asked what might be the name of the people from which they came. It was answered to him that they were named Angles. Then he said, "Rightly are they called Angles because they have the beauty of angels, and it is fitting that such as they should be angels' companions in heaven." Again, this comes dangerously close to something from the pages of Stormfront, Metapedia, or Of course, Andy is simply misrepresenting words from over a thousand years ago, but for someone so preoccupied with language, he should know that making a clumsy or insensitive remark can rather piss people off. Including God, who doesn't look kindly on conservative censorship of His Word.

Middle English was an improvement due to the importation of Latin from Europe into England, at least among scholars. John Wycliffe used Middle English when he did the first new translation of the Bible in nearly 1000 years. Andy seems to think the Romans, who occupied Britain for some four centuries, spoke something other than Latin. Scholars and clergy in Britain had been speaking and writing in Latin since the first century AD, not the High Middle Ages. Come on, Andy.

John Wycliffe was nearly 200 years ahead of "his time," meaning he was that far ahead of the Reformation that came later. For that reason he is called the "Morning star of the Reformation."[5] A brilliant scholar, Wycliffe developed his own views of Christianity and attracted a following of itinerant preachers known as the "Lollards". Wycliffe simplified aspects of Christianity for peasants who otherwise had difficulties understanding it, such as developing a doctrine of the Lord's Supper in only twelve short sentences, and having his itinerant preachers teach that everywhere. The chancellor of the University of Oxford pronounced some of Wycliffe's theories as heretical. Wycliffe eventually criticized scholasticism, monasteries, and papacy, and became increasingly disliked by the English royal hierarchy. Isn't this segment entitled "History of the English Language"? What's theocracy doing in here? Andy might as well start talking about sub-orbital debris, Hello Kitty, or the recipe for paella. They'd be about as valid.

At the time the Church prohibited new translations of the Bible, in order to maintain control and combat heresies. Wycliffe died peacefully in 1384, without having been excommunicated by the Church or executed by the King. He was blamed in England, however, for supposedly causing revolt by the peasants (such as the Peasants' Revolt of 1381). After his death a Council of the Church reviewed Wycliffe's theories and declared most of them to be false or heretical, and as a result ordered that his buried bones be dug up and burned, and they eventually were. Again, Andy. What is this doing in here?

Here is the Parable of the Prodigal Son from Wycliffe's English translation of the Bible in 1389 (compare it to your own at Luke 15:11-21):

11 Forsothe he seith, Sum man hadde tweye sones; 12 And the 3ongere seide to the fadir, Fadir, 3yue to me the porcioun of substaunce, that byfallith to me. And the fadir departide to him the substaunce. 13 And not aftir manye dayes, alle thingis gederid to gidre, the 3ongere sone wente in pilgrymage in to a fer cuntree; and there he wastide his substaunce in lyuynge leccherously. 14 And aftir that he hadde endid alle thingis, a strong hungir was maad in that cuntree, and he bigan to haue nede. 15 And he wente, and cleuyde to oon of the citeseyns of that cuntree. And he sente him in to his toun, that he schulde feede hoggis. 16 And he coueitide to fille his wombe of the coddis whiche the hoggis eeten, and no man 3af to him. 17 Sothli he turned a3en in to him silf, seyde, Hou many hirid men in my fadir hous, han plente of looues; forsothe I perische here thur3 hungir. 18 I schal ryse, and I schal go to my fadir, and I schal seie to him, Fadir, I haue synned a3ens heuene, and bifore thee; 19 Now I am not worthi to be clepid thi sone, make me as oon of thi hyrid men.� 20 And he rysinge cam to his fadir. Sothli whanne he was 3it fer, his fadir sy3 him, and he was stirid by mercy. And he rennynge to, felde on his necke, and kiste him.

21 And the sone seyde to him, Fadir, I haue synned a3ens heuene, and bifore thee ; and now I am not worthi to be clepid thi sone.
Oh great, some more cutesy oldy-worldy cut-and-paste transliteratrion. Why is this relevant? And why is it so long? A single sentence would have sufficed. Note that Andy didn't even mention the most prominent work of Old English - Beowulf - but is now quoting at length from a heretical Bible. Aww. Feeling lonely, Andy? Well never mind. Maybe John Wycliffe will be next to you in Heretics' Corner down in the fiery depths of Hell. Although that's unlikely, as Wycliffe was trying to spread the Word to people rather than censoring the Bible to fit with political precepts. Guess you'll be on your own down there...

Shakespeare, the greatest playwright in world history, wrote in English around 1600. He used modern English, but the language has changed much in 400 years since then. His language was easily understood then, but some parts are difficult to understand today. The term "copyright" did not exist yet, and Shakespeare never published any of his plays in writing because he had no legal protection against someone copying his work; all his works were written and preserved after he died. Here is the beginning of Mark Antony's famous speech in Shakespeare's famous play, Julius Caesar:

Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears; I come to bury Caesar, not to praise him. The evil that men do lives after them; The good is oft interred with their bones; So let it be with Caesar. The noble Brutus Hath told you Caesar was ambitious: If it were so, it was a grievous fault, And grievously hath Caesar answer'd it. Here, under leave of Brutus and the rest-- For Brutus is an honourable man; So are they all, all honourable men-- Come I to speak in Caesar's funeral. He was my friend, faithful and just to me: But Brutus says he was ambitious; And Brutus is an honourable man. He hath brought many captives home to Rome Whose ransoms did the general coffers fill: Did this in Caesar seem ambitious? When that the poor have cried, Caesar hath wept: Ambition should be made of sterner stuff: Yet Brutus says he was ambitious; And Brutus is an honourable man. You all did see that on the Lupercal I thrice presented him a kingly crown, Which he did thrice refuse: was this ambition? Yet Brutus says he was ambitious; And, sure, he is an honourable man. I speak not to disprove what Brutus spoke, But here I am to speak what I do know. You all did love him once, not without cause: What cause withholds you then, to mourn for him? O judgment! thou art fled to brutish beasts, And men have lost their reason. Bear with me; My heart is in the coffin there with Caesar, And I must pause till it come back to me.

By the end of this famous speech Marc Antony had turned the crowd in favor of Caesar and against his murderer, Brutus.

Ooh, back in Lecture Two Andy couldn't sing the praises of Ancient Greek playwrights loudly enough. Now he's ditched them in favour of Shakespeare. Poor Sophocles, getting dumped like that. Note Andy's covert whine about copyright, and his gross misunderstanding of Shakespeare. He didn't publich any of his plays because that was not their purpose. His plays, like all others, were designed to be performed, not read. People weren't supposed to sit and read manuscripts, the whole point was that they were supposed to go to the theatre and pay to watch it being acted out on stage. Note also how Andy doesn't give us the Act, Scene, and Line numbers for this overly long quote, which adds nothing to the segment. And here it just ends. So according to Andy, the English Language has not changed since 1604 - if it had, we can be sure he would have written about it. He hasn't even mentioned his precious King James Bible of 1611!

Well, that segment was painful, confusing, and completely unnecessary. It seems to be a theme of the Schlafly School of History to just occassionally throw in random, unconnected, horribly misunderstood concepts, and this certainly isn't the last time that we will take a trip down the rabbit-hole of Andy's mind. Let's get back to the "World History"...


This class we recount how the Middle Ages ended: with the Renaissance and the Reformation. Ahh, the Renaissance. One of the most popularly-misconceived eras of human history. And of course, one restricted entirely to Europe. Remember that Andy is supposed to be writing World history, not Western history. But, granted, the Renaissance might just warrant its own discussion as the theological, economic, cultural, political, intellectual, technological, and ecological changes wrought by the emergence of capitalism, the Protestant Reformation, and the European Age of Discovery not only affected much of the world, but laid the foundations for the West's dominance of the planet from the 1500s to the present day. Of course, glancing at the contents of Andy's little diatribe, it appears doubtful that most of these themes will be explored. Let's read on.

“Renaissance” is a French word for “rebirth”, and the rebirth was in renewed respect for artistic and intellectual progress not seen since classical Greece and Rome. The Merriam-Webster online dictionary ( describes “Renaissance” as follows: “the transitional movement in Europe between medieval and modern times beginning in the 14th century in Italy, lasting into the 17th century,” which included “a flowering of the arts and literature” and “the beginnings of modern science.”

Ooh, we're off to a bad start with a schoolboy error. It is a popular misconception to view the Renaissance as the re-emergence of Classical thought. While Antiquity did crop up from time to time in the period c.1450-1550, the most significant changes were the emergence of entirely new thoughts, philosophies, social structures, etc which had no antecedent in the pre-Medieval world. The ancient world did not, for example, have such Renaissance hallmarks as commercial capitalism, mercantilism, the scientific method, technological acceleration, etc. Points off for using the dictionary - and an online one at that. Doesn't Andy own a paper dictionary? Anyway, scholars don't use dictionary definitions for such contested and vague concepts as historical epochs. "The Renaissance" is an extremely blurred and nebulous concept which means different things to different historians. Scholars set out their version of the concept in their book introductions, emphasising which aspects of the period they wish to examine as justification for their interpretation. They certainly do not use the dictionary. Oh, and final points off for getting the dates wrong. The Renaissance is blurred, but Andy himself acknowledged that intellectual rebirth began in twelfth-century Italy, not the fourteenth century. See? This is precisely why historians don't use the dictionary. Dictionaries aren't books of historical theory, Andy.

Ahh, "the beginnings of modern science". If you listen carefully, you can just hear Andy grinding his teeth in anger at having to write about such people as Copernicus, Galileo, Newton, et al, all of whom disproved the piss-poor pseudoscientific crap crammed into the Bible. This is going to be fun!

The Renaissance lasted from the 1300s to the 1600s, and it brought the Middle Ages to a close. Indeed, the “Middle Ages” represent the “middle” between the great achievements of the ancient world and the Renaissance. A poet named Petrach (1304-1374), discussed below, described the early Middle Ages as “Dark Ages” of social decay. The “rebirth” or “revival” in the Renaissance was the rediscovery of the Roman and Greek cultures, as enhanced by Christianity. The “new learning” was a new recognition of the ideas discovered and developed in the past in art, science and other fields of inquiry. Oh for pity's sake. In the previous lecture he said the Renaissance began in the 1200s. In the previous paragraph Andy claimed it was the 1400s. Now all of a sudden it's the 1300s. Make up your damned mind!! And what the hell is this claim that the Renaissance was defined by ancient cultures "as enhanced by Christianity"? Would this be the same Christianity which frowns upon all non-Christians as dirty heathens and pagan sorcerers? Would this be the same Christianity whose Bible insists that the world sits upon pillars, that the bat is a bird, that Joshua made the sun stand still in the sky (thus implying that the sun orbits Earth), and a dozen other glaring errors? Interesting claim, Andy.

The earliest beginning of the Renaissance was the poet Dante Alighieri (1265-1321), discussed below, who is famous for writing “Dante’s Inferno” about Hell. Another beginning date for the Renaissance is the fall of Constantinople to the Turks in 1453, when gunpowder and the cannon became essential parts of warfare. This military defeat caused Greek (Byzantine) scholars to flee to Rome, bringing their scholarship with them. They also brought their hostility to the Roman Catholic Church, causing changes to the religious order in Europe. By the 1400s there were numerous great artists, and also advances in the existing Gothic Art. By the year 1500 the High Renaissance was in full bloom.

Andy's historical mish-mash is just getting annoying now. Pick a starting century and stick with it. Please.

Gunpowder and artillery did not suddenly appear in Europe in 1453. They were in use as early as the 1250s. Andy could at least have mentioned why gunpowder was so important. Artillery changed warfare drastically - while medieval combat had largely revolved around sieges of tall-walled castles and a few open-field infantry brawls dominated by armoured cavalry, gunpowder allowed armies to blast down the tall, thin walls of medieval castles and forced more open-field combat, where the armoured noble cavalry became increasingly vulnerable to ranks of infantry armed with artillery and primitive firearms. This changed not only the style of warfare, but also the social order as nobles became less important, and armies changed from small bands of warriors to large forces of professional, full-time footsoldiers. Gunpowder weapons require training, hence soldiers trained in firearm usage became permanent troops. And paying for a full-time army of firearm-equipped infantry was beyond the budget of all but the king, hence military power became concentrated in the hands of the monarchs alone. Historians call it "Absolutism". In the space of merely a century, European society went from decentralised states dominated by nobles, to increasingly centralised absolute monarchies in which bureaucracies, trade, and taxation spread and centralised in order to facilitate the recruitment, training, and upkeep of large, full-time, professional, firearm-equipped armies organised not as local warbands but national militaries. Absolutism and the Military Revolution. Very important. Points off for such a chronic oversight, Andy.

Dante did not write "Dante's Inferno". He wrote The Divine Comedy, which is divided into Inferno, Purgatorio, and Paradiso. Why is this even in here? Jumping from artillery to medieval poetry is a strange maneouvre. But one which, alas, we are becoming increasingly used to on Andy's pogo-stick of history.

But a schism in Christianity in Europe was just around the corner. In 1505, a law student named Martin Luther was caught outside in the middle of a thunderstorm. A bolt of lightning struck the ground near him. Terrified, he cried out for protection and promised to become a monk if he survived the storm. He did survive, and then left law school to join an Augustinian monastery. Ahh, apocryphal anecdotes. The cornerstone of quality scholarship. Note Andy's implicit urge for academics to abandon their intellectual pursuits in favour of Jeezuz.

Martin Luther founded Protestantism in Europe on October 31, 1517, when he nailed 95 “Theses” or issues to the door of his Wittenberg Church in what is now Germany. A decade later, in 1529, King Henry VIII founded a different Protestant religion for an entirely different reason: he wanted the pope to approve his divorce from Catherine of Aragon, and when the pope refused, the king founded the Church of England and seized all property of the Catholic Church in England. Other protestant faiths also began in the 1500s, and the Catholic Church responded with an internal reformation of its own. He did not found Protestantism. It's not as though Luther was the first man to criticise the Catholic Church. Luther's criticisms were picked up by others because of widespread disgruntlement at the Church across Europe. It's also very doubtful whether Luther actually nailed a document to the door - this story only appears decades after it was claimed to have happened, and it would be rather pointless in a society where the vast majority of people were illiterate. But hey, who needs truth when you are talking about religion? Advancing your own hyperChristian agenda is far more important than truth.

We end this Lecture with a discussion of Asia in the Middle Ages, which was unaffected by both the Renaissance and the Reformation. Asia had issues of its own. "Asia had issues of its own". It's fun to imagine Asia sitting on a psychiatrist's couch, bitching about her friends Europa and Africa. Note Andy's pithy sop to World history. He blathers on about Europe, tacks a little bit of Asia onto the end, and completely ignores the rest of the world. Charming.



The Renaissance was a cultural “rebirth” that began in Florence, Italy, but spread to all of Europe from about 1300 to 1600 (1700 in northern Europe). Sigh. We've already established that the Renaissance is a vague approximation we impose upon the blurred past, yet Andy is still sticking to cuttingly precise dates and places. It's surprising that he didn't go the whole hog, and tell us that the Renaissance started on a Tuesday morning in Don Pietro San Marco's kitchen. Points off for confusing the Renaissance (c.1200-1550) with the Early Modern period (c.1550-1650) and the Enlightenment (c.1650-1750). These are all vague and overlapping epochs with little to distinguish one from the other, but Andy could at least try not to fail quite so badly.

During this time period, Europeans experienced a renewed interest in classical Greek and Roman civilization and, subsequently, in learning science, mathematics, literature, the arts and philosophy. The term “Renaissance man” has come to mean a man who is remarkably well-rounded and learned in every subject, as this is what was expected of men during the Renaissance. Women during the Renaissance were celebrated for their beauty, but were not expected to be educated. Ooh, we've started early with the misogyny! That's right, boys and girls. Sir Andrew of Schlafly's vision of medieval chivalry has now morphed into the Renaissance musings of Cardinal Angelo di Schlaflia. Males today are apparently expected to know everything - like dear old Andy - so stop whatever it is you are doing and spend the remainder of your life reading up on opthamology, Chinese poetry, theoretical astrophysics, Classical-Liberal Economic Theory, origami, Brazilian cooking, escalator maintenance, rhodedendron horticulture, Adlerian psychoanalysis, ballistics, marine biology, commercial sales techniques, and the trillion other fields of knowledge currently pursued by contemporary humanity. We males have to know it ALL. You females, meanwhile, just shut up and look dainty. His Most Conservative Majesty has spoken.

The Renaissance sparked tremendous achievements in science by Copernicus, Kepler and, to a lesser extent, Galileo, all of whom we will discuss more in the next lecture. Exploration of the world also began in the Renaissance, including the voyages of Columbus, Magellan and Da Gama, whom we will also address in the next class. Oh, so Galileo wasn't as important as Kepler and Copernicus? Well, Galileo did - under pressure from the Inquisition - refute his theories in public. This did somewhat tarnish his reputation. Is Andy coming out and saying that Galileo should have defended his observations against the dogma of the Church? Ooh. Quick, someone phone for an emergency Inquisitor!

The northern city-states of Italy were a perfect location for the Renaissance to occur, as Italian culture was built off of classical Greek and Roman civilization. They had become important and wealthy locations by selling and trading during the Crusades, and Muslim and Byzantine learning had also been brought to Italy during the Crusades. Florence was home to wealthy families, such as the prominent Medici family, who were willing to finance artists. Lastly, the fierce competition that existed between the different city-states brought out the best in people and created an environment in which initiative and creativity flourished. "Built off of". "Built upon" sounds better. But anyway, it's wrong. Or at least only half-right, in that all Western European culture was, and is, somewhat based upon the legacies of the Roman Empire. A lot of points are lost for Andy's crass and downright wrong explanation of why the Italian city-states were wealthy. It did not come from the Crusades, but from forming an early form of trading bloc, and from peaceful commerce around the Mediterranean basin. This latter factor was largely thanks to the large naval and commercial merchant fleets constructed by Milan, Venice, Florence, Padua, etc. Notice how Andy forces himself to acknowledge Islamic scholarly achievements, but can't quite bring himself to discuss them any further. Andy is predictably wrong in his praise of capitalist competition. As noted, the city-states formed basic trading blocs and were successful due to commercial monopolies, political patronage, and access to banking - all of which were hallmarks of the early Renaissance, but crowbarring in this crappy reference to industrial capitalism is both anachronistic and misinterpreted. No surprises there.

The Medici family was the most prominent family in Italy, and all of Europe, in the 1400s. They acquired great wealth and prominence through banking, and used their wealth both to become powerful politicians and serve as patrons of great artists like Michelangelo, making him the first wealthy artist in history. Cosimo de Medici (1389-1464) became ruler of Florence, and Lorenzo de Medici (“Lorenzo the Magnificent”) (1449-92) and his brother later ruled Florence. Lorenzo’s second son became Pope Leo X, who was pope when the Reformation began. So Michalangelo was the first rich artist in history? Hmm. What about all those monarch-sponsored artists in the ancient and medieval worlds? What is Andy wittering on about here? He pogo-sticks from the Medici banking clan to art, then to Florentian politics, back to the Medicis, then to the College of Cardinals and the Sistine Chapel, and finally ends up in the Protestant Reformation. I don't know where I am now. Unfortunately, I know that Andy is still lurking nearby. And that ain't pretty.

Renaissance man Leon Battista Alberti declared, “Men can do all things if they will.” That can-do spirit typified the Renaissance. Alberti, himself a poet, scientist, painter, architect and mathematician, first coined the idea of “rebirth” or Renaissance. Ahh, Andy's patented use of a single randomly-chosen, unsourced, uncited quote-mine. Just the sort of thing you'd expect in a peer-reviewed historical journal. Perhaps if Andy spent more time interacting with real people and specialising like normal humans do, and less time patting himself on the back for pulling historical crap out of his arse, he might be able to cobble together a vague approximation of a history lecture. But that'll never happen.


One of the most lasting legacies of the Renaissance was probably the outstanding artwork it produced. Especially in Florence and Rome, master artists emerged who produced astonishing works of art in sculpture, painting and architecture. The devout Christian atmosphere in Italy combined with the competitive spirit of the Italian city-states created a perfect environment for the flourishing of art. Christ on His Cross, enough with the shitty references to competitive commercial capitalism!! The overwhelming majority of Renaissance artists worked to commission - that is, they were told what to paint by wealthy patrons (nobles, churches) and did it. They did NOT produce random paintings for sale on the open market, which is the only place where competition exists. If you receive an exclusive commission to paint, you're not competing against anyone! Sigh. And on a side note: in Lecture Five or Six (the medieval one), Andy wouldn't shut up about the "competitive spirit" produced by feudalism (utter bullshit). So why didn't medieval competition produce notable art? Andy and his minions seem to be fans of slapping Rubenesque Renaissance art all over Conservapedia's front page, yet they never have a single work of art from the thirteenth century. How anti-capitalist, n'est-ce pas?

One of the first artists to incorporate new ideas into his artwork was Giotto di Bondone (1267-1337), who brought unprecedented elements of realism in his paintings. Giotto, a typical Renaissance jack-of-all-trades, also designed the innovative campanile (bell tower) for the Santa Maria del Fiore cathedral in Florence. Flemish artists introduced oil paints, and the technique of perspective was introduced by artists like Tommaso Masaccio and Filippo Brunelleschi. Brunelleschi also designed the Duomo (dome) for the Santa Maria del Fiore cathedral in Florence, a breakthrough in engineering and architecture that revealed Brunelleschi’s deep understanding of mathematics. Perhaps Andy isn't aware of the full phrase. "Jack of all trades, Master of none". Jack-of-all-trades (sic) is an oblique insult, not a compliment, as it implies you are something of an amateur. He could have used the proper term for a person who shows skill in several areas - a polymath. He's got his beloved Mirriam-Webster online dictionary bookmarked in his favourites, so why not look at it? Moron. He's at least accurate that some really fine paintings were produced in this period. While new items such as oil paints were of course useful, the biggest change came in techniques. Ancient and Medieval paintings had been flat, awkward, and unrealistic. Renaissance painters, taking advantage of the new public dissections to gain knowledge of anatomy, and new techniques such as perspective and depth, transformed paintings from awkward 2D renderings to stunning 3D pieces. This is certainly not to decry pre-Renaissance art - the Egyptians had beautiful 2D art and the people of the Middle Ages, as is so often the case, were doing the best they could with the knowledge they possessed - but the Renaissance did mark a new era in art.

Donatello (1386-1466) was an influential painter and sculpture of the early Renaissance from Florence. He sculpted a bronze “David,” the first free-standing nude statue since the days of the Greeks and Romans, and another famous statue of St. George. Titian (Tiziano Vicelli) (1477-1576) was a painter with an unprecedented use of color and loose brushwork, evident in his stunning masterpiece The Assumption of the Virgin. Raphael (1482-1520) also mastered the use of color and painted beautiful frescoes in churches and for private patrons, the most famous of which may be The School of Athens, an interesting painting depicting Plato and Aristotle surrounded by their pupils. He inspired the two greatest artists in the history of the world: Michelangelo and Leonardo da Vinci. Andy doesn't bother to mention how the resurgence in statuary was largely caused by people digging up ancient Roman and Greek statues, and wanting to copy them. Medieval statues were very high quality (visit your local cathedral, or if you don't live in Europe, just go online and look. Be careful to look at actual medieval statues, not Victorian emulations) but always based on Christian themes of Heaven and Hell, redemption and remission, salvation and sin, etc (yes, Conservapedians, there is more to Christianity than voting for lobotomised Republican twats and hatin' the gays). Hence the people depicted by medieval statues are always dressed and in pious poses. The discovery of ancient statues in the fifteenth century exposed people to nudity (pardon the pun), and it became increasingly common for artists to depict their wealthy patrons as tall, muscular, nude warriors, or buxom, shapely, nude nymphs. This was to deliberately associate the present with an imagined heroic past. See, if Andy had actually mentioned all of this instead of just giving us a grocery-list of random statues, he could have told his students something useful.

Michelangelo (1475-1564) is best known for his sculpture of a full-sized statue of David and for painting the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, an astounding fresco that included over 300 Biblical figures and that took over four years to complete. He also sculpted amazing renditions of Moses and “the pieta,” a sculpture of Jesus in Mary’s arms after the crucifixion. The pieta has an overpowering sense of love and tragedy to it unmatched by any other work of art in history (see attached). Following Brunelleschi’s model Duomo in Florence, Michelangelo designed the dome for St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome.

Donatello? Michalangelo? Is Andy wandering off into a discussion of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles? If so, I hope Shredder gets a mention. He was the best character. Note how there is no mention of Michelangelo being a fraud - he carved Greek-looking statues, buried them in mud for a few weeks, then brushed them off and sold them as genuine finds to gullible noblemen at hugely inflated prices. Rather clever of him. We'll ignore the Schlafly Statistics crudely hammered in here (at least this time, time is not expressed as a percentage), and instead piss on Andy's parade.

Christian iconography - specifically relating to the relationship between Jesus and his mother, Mary - shares a lot of uncanny resemblances with Ancient Egyptian iconography of Horus and his mother, Isis. This is most notable in the Madonna and Child style, wherein Mary is depicted nursing, suckling, or just holding the baby Jesus. Art historians squabble over the details, but it appears that the Madonna is very strongly influenced by the Egyptian motif of Isis suckling her baby son Horus. Similarly, the Pieta wherein Mary is depicted grieving over Jesus on the cross, bears strong resemblances to the Egyptian motif of Isis mourning her dead husband Osiris. There is logic behind this. By the time Christianity began to gain popularity in the Eastern Roman Empire, the Ancient Egyptian religion was long, long dead. Except for Isis, who had been appropriated as a Roman goddess (along with her attached mythologies) and was very popular throughout the Empire. We know that Isis and Horus had some influence on early Christianity, as they are specifically mentioned in the records of the Council of Niceae.

So there, Andy. Do your damned research and you might do better. Admittedly, you'll have to face up to the horrors of "cultural evolution" (gasp!). But it can be very rewarding to see where our imagery, iconography, and artistic memes come from.

Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519) embodied the “Renaissance man.” He was an architect, anatomist, sculptor, scientist, mathematician, musician, and painter. He created masterpieces such as the Mona Lisa, the famous portrait of a plain-looking woman with an enigmatic smile (see attached), and The Last Supper, a fabulous wall painting of Christ and the Twelve Apostles which has not been well preserved. He kept notebooks full of anatomical drawings such as Vitruvian Man. It is said that Leonardo could draw with one hand while at the same time painting with the other, and he wrote backwards in his notebooks, so they would have to be held up to a mirror to be read. He was way ahead of his time and created conceptual designs for many devices such as a flying machine and an armored tank. He was the first to come up with the ideas of the calculator and the use of solar power for energy.

Ooh, Leonardo. Now was he the turtle in the green mask, or the orange one?

Leonardo da Vinci was indeed a remarkable character who demonstrated expertise in many fields. In the field of invention, he was far ahead of his time, designing machines which could not be built with the technology available at the time. They probably wouldn't have worked anyway - especially his helicopter - but they did demonstrate fundamental understandings of basic physics, which deserves applause. Vitruvian Man is not an anatomy drawing, it is an artist's aide-memoire to help a painter keep the human body in proportion when in different poses. It's curious why Andy mentions the state of preservation of The Last Supper, but at least he doesn't wander off into a discussion of Dan Browne. Da Vinci did indeed write backwards, as a security precaution lest his notebooks be discovered by spies or rival artists. Note Andy's final, and surprisingly flattering, condonement of solar power. According to dear ol' Conservapedia, solar power is only advocated by lank-haired, sandal-wearing, gay-enablin' lib'ruls. Shouldn't Andy be demonising Da Vinci as such? After all, Leonardo was a notorious homosexual, Biblical critic, and (shudder) believer in rational thought and scientific experiment. Surely that is more than enough to send him to the Inferno? Ah well, Andy can spend eternity chatting with him in the fiery City of Dis, as His Most Conservative Majesty is headed there as well.

Characteristics of the Renaissance paintings include use of realism, perspectives, individual persons (portraits) and frescoes. Nature was not the subject of many Renaissance paintings; painting themes from nature came later. Aww, no mention of Shredder? Dammit! And what happened to Raphael? There were four turtles, Andy. Not three. This crappy little two-liner is the most valuable section, as it discusses why Renaissance art was significant and a departure from earlier styles. But predictably, Signor Schlaflia di Illinois, Comte di Conservapedia, has just tacked it on as an afterthought. Missed a few golden opportunities to wax lyrical about the "Best of the Public", too. Michelangelo worked as a labourer in a marble quarry to pay the rent in-between art commissions. Donatello was self-educated, and most (if not all) of these men could, at a real stretch, be described as "homeschooled". Of course that would be a terrible misinterpretation, but considering the Andy has made much worse mistakes so far, it's surprising not to find it here. Maybe he just couldn't be bothered. Typical.


Dante (1265-1321) was an early Renaissance poet, born to a prominent family in Florence. The Italian town of Florence was considered the cradle of the Renaissance by 1425, but Venice and Rome became just as successful by the early 1500s. Dante wrote in the Italian language of the time (the vernacular) rather than ancient Latin. Dante described the path of a soul to salvation in “The Divine Comedy,” in which Dante travels through Hell (Inferno), Purgatory (Purgatorio), and Paradise (Paradiso). In this journey, Dante is first guided by the Roman epic poet Virgil, and then he is later guided by girl he loved as a youth, named Beatrice, who had tragically died. The account of Hell is known as “Dante’s Inferno,” and it is frightful. Ahh, the pogo-stick of history. We start off with Dante in the late thirteenth century, then jump to the mid-fifteenth century, then Venice and Rome of the sixteenth century, than all the way back to thirteenth-century Florence. This is dizzyingly confusing. Andy's thumbnail-sketch of The Divine Comedy is abysmal. He clearly hasn't read it. In the (very, very long) poem, Dante finds himself walking in the woods and happens upon the entrance to Hell. He is indeed guided through it by the spirit of Virgil, who as one of the "Virtuous Pagans" is sent to Hell for not being a Christian (rather unfair, seeing as nearly all the people there died before Jesus was born), and spends eternity in a painless but very boring Limbo. During their journey through the immensity of Hell - an inverted cone in the centre of the Earth which gets gradually narrower the further down they go), Virgil and Dante pass all kinds of gloomy scenes, occassional comedic moments, and horrible tortures inflicted on sinners, with each punishment suited for the sin. Satan appears at the very end, but the poem depicts him as a rather pathetic and tragic figure. It's easy to sympathise with the Devil in the poem - he rebelled against a tyrannical and petty god, and is eternally punished for it. Andy could have had a field day talking about the punishments meted out to homosexuals, murderers (in COnservapedian language, read "abortion doctors"), the unchivalrous, traitors, etc etc. Instead of listing them here for you to read, go and do some research or better yet, read The Divine Comedy. It's been updated into readable modern English, and if you can get a copy with Gustave Dore's engraved illustrations, you're in for a treat!

Niccolo Machiavelli (1469-1527) wrote “The Prince,” which is account of government in which the “end justifies the means” (a ruler can use any means to gain power and rule his state). Even today the term “Machiavellian” is used to criticize a politician who spends all his time and effort on getting ahead and manipulating other people for his own gain. A “Machiavellian” politician is a cunning person who will say or do anything if he thinks it brings him political benefit. Machiavelli, like many of the great Renaissance artists and thinkers, lived in Florence.

We should at least be grateful that Andy didn't start whining about Obama here. Similarly, we shall avoid the temptation to call all those Republicans in the US Congress, who were prepared to bankrupt their own country simply in order to tweak Obama's nose, "Machiavellian". After all, "Machiavellian" implies at least a modicum of intelligence - something which appears to be in short supply in right-wing movements.

Like The Divine Comedy, it's obvious that Andy hasn't actually read The Prince, as he gets it badly wrong. It is not an account of government in which the end justifies the means; it is part philosophy on how the ideal state should be run (like Plato's Republic or Thomas More's Utopia), and part satire on the violent international relations of contemporary Europe. It's a short book, Andy. You can read it in a single afternoon. Go on, give it a go. Please.

Francesco Petrarch (1304-1374) was another poet of Florence, who is described by historians as a humanist. In fact, he was a devout Christian who saw no conflict between religious faith and fully developing man’s potential. He wrote in Latin rather than the Italian vernacular and, being a bit of character, wrote a few letters to Virgil and Cicero of Ancient Rome (who of course did not respond!). Petrarch also wrote romantic poems about a woman named “Laura” based on merely seeing her once in church. Later, humanists cited Petrarch works to try to find early support for humanism. Ohh, and we were doing so well! Now we're onto the humanists (cue evil music). By "being a bit of a character", we assume that Petrarch was somewhere between mildly eccentric, and batshit crazy. At least in Andy's mind. In reality, of course, he was writing letters to the dead as a literary device. It's curious that while Andy is going to such extremes to defend Petrarch as an upstanding Republican Fundamentalist Teabagger, he seems to imply that it's fine to perve on women in church. Well, that would help pass the time.

The Philosophy of the Renaissance[edit]

The Renaissance was led by devout Christians who looked to Jesus for inspiration. None of the leading Renaissance artists or writers were atheists or anti-Christians. Michelangelo and Leonardo da Vinci were as Christian as anyone. Their Christian faith was the wellspring for their creativity and intellectual achievements. We are by now unhappily familiar with Andy's patented pogo-stick of history. Well, it appears that he is now bringing out his latest device - the sledgehammer of historical polemics. How many times can he cram Jeezuz into a three-sentence paragraph?? Bear in mind, of course, that Andy's version of Christianity bears little or no resemblance to what Jesus actually taught in the Gospels - y'know, compassion, loving one's neighbour, turning the other cheek, blessing your enemies, selling all your goods and giving to the poor, that sort of thing. It also raises the question of: if Christianity was such an inspiration for cultural achievements, why were the artworks and philosophical products of the Middle Ages, or the late Roman Empire, less impressive than those of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries? At least try for logic, Andy.

But many historians are hostile to Christianity, and they do not want to credit Christianity for the stunning achievements of the Renaissance. Accordingly, they claim that the Renaissance embraced “humanism”, which favored the capacity of man to reason and think for himself without reliance on Christianity. There is no single definition for “humanism”, and the philosophical term was not used during the Renaissance. But any view that looks to “humans” as the sole source of value can be called “humanist”.

Oh, he's right. Professional historians - being academics, they are of course agents of the insidious elitist Obamaist baby-killin' kitten-eatin' lib'rul conspiracy - spend all day sitting in their libraries, foaming at the mouth and gnashing their teeth, or standing at the front of lecture halls screaming "JEEZUZ SMASH!! JEEZUZ SMASH!!". In fact, university campuses are dangerous places these days. You can't even walk to the cafeteria without encountering a raging, screeching historian hurling concrete blocks at the nearest church. That's why history books are so big and heavy - they're used to bludgeon to death anyone who has anything to do with Christianity.

Grow up, Andy.

Under an anti-Christian view of history, emphasis moved away in the Renaissance from the focus on spiritual things that was characteristic of the Middle Ages, to a focus on material, earthly things. It is true that the Renaissance men wrote about and painted everyday things, such as the woman depicted in the Mona Lisa. It is also true that the study of nature and science began to become fields of endeavor of their own, and art and literature focused more on the present life than the afterlife. But the great artists and thinkers of the Renaissance were inspired by Christianity in performing their works, and the objects of their work were creations of God. There was nothing at all anti-religious or humanist about the Renaissance. Perhaps 90% of more of its achievements were inspired by Christian beliefs and faith. If Andy didn't have his head so far up his own arse that he can lick his own sinuses clean, we could applaud him here for almost acknowledging the concept of historiography; that our interpretation of the past is largely influenced by our interpretation of the present. He's been falling victim to it for a good few paragraphs now, and with a little prod might realise that he is constructing his own historiographical thesis. But, sadly, no. He seems happier concocting crap and pulling Schlafly Statistics out of his derriere. How disappointing, young Master Schlafly.

Centuries after the Renaissance, secularism did creep in. Secularism is defined as preoccupation with the material world at the expense of disregarding the heavenly one. This caused people to become increasingly materialistic, a trend in which the church often participated, rather than trying to resist. The teachings of the Bible lost importance to some. Some people rejected religion altogether, becoming secular humanists. But even later, the greatest works were by devout Christians like Isaac Newton and Louis Pasteur.

"secularism did creep in". Pfft. Look at what happens, Andy, when people look beyond the Bible for answers. They invent or discover such nightmarish horrors as vaccines, anaesthetics, antiseptics, rehabilitative justice, democracy, education, and the welfare state (yes, we British are living in a dystopian socialist nightmare now that we have free healthcare, paid maternity/paternity leave, free schools, government job-creation schemes, and old-age pensions. We work hard, but when life kicks us down, the state is there to help us get back on our feet and carry on, from the moment we emerge from the womb to the moment we shuffle off the mortal coil. That's a society worth fighting for, Conservapedians. Coincidentally, these are far closer to the teachings of Christ - protecting the weak, giving to the poor, loving your neighbour, sharing the bounty of work - than the policies advocated by those selfish rich ****heads in Andy's sacred Tea Party). But alas, for these right-wing tosspots, it's pure horror! Truly, the world is a dreadful place when we do not blindly obey the misogynistic, racist, homophobic, intolerant rants collected in a confusing, inaccurate, and self-contradictory collection of two-thousand-year-old scribblings which promote slavery, torture, genocide, and the immediate and gruesome death of anyone who questions anything within it. Sigh...

Anyway, what happened to Andy's beloved Mirriam-Webster dictionary? Doesn't it have a definition of secularism? Either Andy didn't bother to look, or he decided that he didn't like the definition therein, in which case his previous reliance on a dictionary was a total waste of time. Anyway, Andy is supposed to be talking about the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, NOT the eighteenth and nineteenth. Does this man have Attention-Deficit Disorder?

It is true that materialism crept into the church when the extravagant Medici Pope Leo X spent more money than several previous popes combined. The selling of indulgences to fund church building projects, explained further below, spawned the Protestant Reformation. But materialism in building magnificent churches or funding artists like Michelangelo is not the same as the philosophy of humanism, and the claim that humanism was part of the Renaissance is anti-Christian historical revisionism (an alteration of history for improper purposes).

Oh bloody hell. Andy is confusing materialism with materials. That's a really, really stupid mistake. Even for him. And as for his little whinge about anti-Christian historical revisionism, Andy hasn't got a ****ing leg to stand on. How apt, that this has cropped up roughly halfway through his fourteen-"lecture" series. By now, Andy has committed so many crass oversights, gross errors, and sheer lying, that his version of World History bears only a slight, coincidental resemblance to the actual events of the past. He has ignored the vast amount of scholarship, twisted events, and made up the rest to paint a picture which might as well be the history of an alien society. So before you start whining about historical revisionism, Andy, here's some gentle advice from a real historian:

Go read a fucking book.

The Northern Renaissance[edit]

The heart of the Renaissance was in Italy, but there were also great artists and thinkers in northern Europe who built on the achievements of those in Italy. Their achievements are known as the “Northern Renaissance.” The leading thinker of the Northern Renaissance was Desiderius Erasmus (1466-1536) in the Netherlands. He wanted more spirituality in the Catholic Church and urged a greater emphasis on the teachings of Jesus. He published a Greek edition of the New Testament, and was the first scholar to become famous through use of the printing press, developed in the Northern Renaissance. But while he wrote satires about the Church that led others to criticize it, Erasmus condemned Luther and strenuously opposed the Reformation.

Ah, the Northern Renaissance as recounted by Duke Andreas von Schlafly, Imperial Elector of Conservapedia. For the record, the "Northern Renaissance" did not come after the Italian Renaissance. Changes happened more or less simultaneously, and while the Italian Renaissance was mostly artistic and cultural, the Northern Renaissance was more technological, commercial, and theological. Let's see whether Andy gets any of this right.

This is largely accurate, but points off for referencing Martin Luther before he's been discussed. Note the irony of Andy advocating a closer examination of the teachings of Jesus, rather than the paraphernalia of church dogma. Here's two verses from Jesus' own lips which Andy really should remember. The first is "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you". The second is "Render unto Caesar what is Caesar's, and render unto the Lord what is the Lord's." So, Andy, shut up and pay your taxes. Anything else is a heresy.

Albrecht Durer (1471-1528) was the leading artist in Germany, copying the style of the High Renaissance that combined grace and extreme elegance, a style known as “Mannerism”. Durer created famous woodcuts and copper engravings. The greatest painter in all of Northern Europe was the Dutch artist Rembrandt (1606-1669), who drew many great portraits known for their depiction of light and shadow. The increased number of portraits by Rembrandt and others demonstrated the new emphasis on individualism in the Renaissance. Other great painters included Jan Van Eyck (1400s) and Pieter Bruegel (mid-1500s), both of Flanders. Why the short, choppy biographies? Andy would have scored far better points had he discussed themes, rather than individual cases.

In England, William Shakespeare (1564-1616) became the greatest playwright in the history of the world, and Sir Francis Bacon (1561-1626) was a leading English statesman, writer and philosopher, who rose to become Lord Chancellor (1618) until he was impeached in 1621 for accepting bribes. Hmm. While it is tempting to label Shakespeare as the greatest playwright of history, that is 1) a Eurocentric opinion which completely ignores the non-European world, and 2) ignorant of the circumstances of history. The ancient Greek playwright Sophocles, for example, wrote far more plays than Shakespeare and, from what we can glean from his existing works, were masterpieces of subtlety and literary skill - even in translation. Unfortunately, most of his plays were destroyed when the Library of Alexandria was burned down by Christians. Great work there. Note the tacked-on, snarky reference to impeachment. **cough**NixonWasARepublican**cough**

Francois Rabelais (early 1500s) was a leading French thinker and writer. Poor Rabelais. Andy couldn't even be bothered to find the dates of his birth or death. Really, how hard is it to type "Rabelais" into Wikipedia, Andy?


Schisms in Christianity had occurred in the Middle Ages, most notably between the Roman Catholic Church and the Eastern Orthodox Church. But throughout the Middle Ages the Holy Roman Empire maintained one Christian church in western and northern Europe, based in Rome, under the leadership and authority of one pope. Ugh. The Holy Roman Empire did not maintain a single church. Granted, some Emperors entertained delusions of "Universal Monarchy" wherein the whole world would be subsumed into the Heiliges Romisches Reich, and the Emperor was legally the foremost monarch of Europe, outranking mere Kings. But the HRE did not cover all of Europe, and its influence was largely negligible in international affairs until the Reichstag of 1495. Also, the HRE did not control Rome. Rome was the capital of the Papal States, and - as Andy acknowledged in his previous lecture - relations between the Pope and the HRE were rarely better than frosty.

It seems doubtful that the King of England and powerful German princes would accept the authority of any religious leader in Rome forever. Kings and princes do not usually like being told what to do, and a big disagreement is usually resolved in favor of the person with the biggest army. Even what appears to be a little disagreement, such as a dispute over the use of icons, can provide the spark for a separation that was already festering for decades or centuries. In addition, accusations of corruption within the Catholic Church and charges that high-ranking clergy participated in serious crimes and immoral conduct provided reasons to leave.

Why? Why did it seem doubtful? And why only the monarchs of England and the Electors of the Holy Roman Empire? (Electors, by the way, were seven kings, princes, and bishops in the HRE who had the right to vote for one of their number to become the Emperor). They had accepted the authority of the Pope since the end of the (classical) Roman Empire in the fifth century, and by the time of the Renaissance had accepted Papal authority for a millennium. Why would it change? Andy seems to think that there is a time limit on these things. Well, there isn't. At least he acknowledges that single events can spark long-festering grudges. Bravo, Andy. You actually got something right.

For the THIRD TIME in this series, Andy misrepresents the Great Schism of 1069. Get it RIGHT.

The First Western European Schism: in Germany[edit]

The disagreement that ignited the Reformation did not seem large at the time. Pope Leo X was an ambitious and extravagant man from the prominent Italian Medici family, and he became pope at the vigorous young age of 37. He wanted to rebuild St. Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican in a lavish style that he thought was appropriate for such a special church. To do so, he needed to raise a great deal of money. He invited donations in the names of the deceased, usually a relative of the donor. Why do we care about the Pope's age? And 37, in the late fifteenth century, was not "vigorous". It was old age.

Under Catholic doctrine the souls of the deceased enter “purgatory” for a process of purification before reaching heaven. Prayers are typically offered for the benefit of the souls of the deceased, typically relatives. “Indulgences” are the lessening of the punishment (purification) of someone after they die. A person typically seeks an indulgence for a dear relative or friend who has passed away. For a fundamentalist right-wing twat masquerading as a Christian, it is remarkable that Andy didn't wander off onto a discussion of how Catholic dogma emphasises things which are not in the Bible. Like Purgatory. Much of the Church's dogma is the result of medieval scholars and this really pisses off Protestant fundies. Just watch Kent Hovind harping on about the Catholics.

In fundraising to rebuild St. Peter’s Basilica, church officials offered indulgences in exchange for donations. No one in Rome seemed to mind, but Martin Luther objected. He nailed 95 objections or “Theses” to a church door in the German part of Europe in 1517, inviting debate on how the pope was offering indulgences:

Thesis 82: “Why does not the pope empty purgatory, for the sake of holy love and of the dire need of the souls that are there, if he redeems an infinite number of souls for the sake of miserable money with which to build a Church? The former reasons would be most just; the latter is most trivial.”

Thesis 86: “Why does not the pope, whose wealth is to-day greater than the riches of the richest, build just this one church of St. Peter with his own money, rather than with the money of poor believers?”
Evidently Andy is only familiar with two of the ninety-five theses. It'd be interesting to know why he chose these two. Probably because they're short, and don't require him to overheat his little brain by wrestling with the subtleties of Late Medieval theology. Also, as already stated, it is extremely doubtful that Luther actually nailed a document to the door of Wittenberg Cathedral (not "the German part of Europe", Andy. Specific places usually have names).

Pope Leo X spent his time on the beauty flourishing during the Renaissance, and was a patron (a supporter) of the great artist Raphael. Pope Leo X probably never recognized the significance of Martin Luther and his followers. Some historians feel that if the pope had responded more seriously, then the subsequent schism in Germany would not have occurred. Hooray, Raphael! That's all the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles now! Watch out, criminals. Heroes in a half-shell are about...

But German nobles did not like the flow of money to Rome, and they backed Martin Luther in order to cut off the donations by Germans to support Rome. As Andy has already recognised, relations between Rome and the Holy Roman Empire oscillated between frosty and downright hostile, never getting better than "lukewarm". He could have reminded his students of this.

In 1520, Pope Leo X announced the papal bull Exsurge Domine, which required Luther to withdraw 41 of his 95 Theses or be excommunicated. Luther refused and was then excommunicated (kicked out) by the Catholic Church. Andy's beloved dictionary seems to have been thrown out. Being excommunicated is more than being kicked out of the Church. It also means you don't get to go to Heaven. And Catholic Heaven is probably more fun than Protestant Heaven...

It was then up to German authorities to take any legal action against Luther. The 21-year-old Holy Roman Emperor Charles V ordered him to stand trial before an assembly (a “Diet”) of estates of the Holy Roman Empire that met in Worms, a small town in what is now Germany. This famous assembly is therefore known as the “Diet of Worms.” The verdict (the “Edict of Worms”) was “guilty”. Luther was declared an outlaw who should be arrested. Another random age. These people aren't teenagers, so why does Andy feel the need to mention their ages?

But Luther had already left the trial before the verdict was rendered. He hid at Wartburg Castle at Eisenach, where Frederick the Wise, Elector of Saxony, protected him. Luther took the pseudonym Junker Jorg (Nobleman George), grew a wide beard and dressed like a knight. While in hiding he translated the New Testament from Greek into German in 1522. (By 1534, Luther had translated all of the Old Testament from Hebrew to German also.) This childishly-written narrative is getting boring. Andy really could cut to the point here. He's devoted more space to telling the story of a couple of months in Martin Luther's life, than he devoted to the entire history of pre-colonial Oceania.

Luther translated Romans 3:28 by adding an extra German word for “alone” (alleine or alleyn) after the phrase: “justified by faith”: “So halten wir nun dafür, daß der Mensch gerecht werde ohne des Gesetzes Werke, alleyn durch den Glauben.” Luther believed that man is justified (saved) by faith alone, and that salvation comes only from faith. The Catholic Church (and Eastern Orthodox Church) taught that man is justified (saved) by faith and good works. Ooh, Andy has used non-English orthography! He gets a tick for that. However, Andy will burn in Hell for admiring a man who added words to the Bible. At least he'll have company in the Flaming Pit of Heretics.

A remarkable invention awaited Luther’s German translation of the Bible: in 1447 the German Johannes Gutenberg had already invented the printing press (with movable type). This enabled Luther’s translation to be printed for the public in September 1522. The Christian world would never be the same again. (The Gutenberg Bible (in Latin, not German), had been printed in 1455 and it is the oldest existing (extant) book in the West.) The history of printing is fascinating, and while the process was invented in Iron Age Korea, it was Late Medieval Europe that saw the appearance of movable type. Although there is evidence that printing without movable type - at least in principle - was known in the High Middle Ages, some hundred years before Gutenberg. A final note - let's scratch out that tick we gave Andy earlier. The oldest extant book in Europe is not a Gutenberg Bible. That honour is disputed, based on how we define a "book". If we just mean a collection of writings, then it'll be one of the surviving Egyptian Old Kingdom papyrus scrolls. If we mean a rectangular object with pages that we turn, it will be the Augustinian Gospels or something similar, from the Early Middle Ages. If we mean a printed book, Johannes Gutenberg printed much shorter works before setting out on the whole Bible - and some of them still survive. So on all counts, Andy is wrong. Unsurprisingly. If only he did his research...

Charles V did all he could to stop this knew Christian religion we now call Lutheranism. In 1544, Charles V even sent armies against the German princes. But the Peace of Augsburg in 1555 gave each German ruler the right to choose the religion for his state. The princes in southern Germany selected Roman Catholicism, but the princes in northern Germany chose Lutheranism. After World War II, when Germany split into West and East Germany, the West German part contained the predominantly Roman Catholic regions and the East German part consisted of the mostly Lutheran regions. Bloody hell. Andy is trying to discuss religious tensions in the already-fragmented Holy Roman Empire of the mid-sixteenth century, and has started blathering on about communism. Why, Andy? Why? For his information, the traditional religious split in Germany is not East-West, but South (Catholic) and North (Protestant). Of course, this is crude as there is a lot of overlap. Suffice it to say that Andy shouldn't be twittering away about the late twentieth century when he is meant to be discussing the sixteenth.

Martin Luther continued to write, and taught at a German university for his financial support. He wrote extremely harsh things about the pope and about Jewish people, even urging the destruction of their homes and the burning of synagogues and schools. Historians debate today whether Luther’s anti-Semitic (anti-Jewish) writings were responsible, directly or indirectly, for the Holocaust by the Germans in World War II. Luther harshly criticized many peoples in addition to Jews; a pamphlet of his in 1545 was entitled “Against the Roman Papacy an Institution of the Devil,” and he urged burning witches to death. Some of Luther’s writings seem quite vulgar by today’s standards. Luther was in poor health for several years before he died, in 1546.

Christ Almighty, Andy!! Shut up about the bloody war! What the HELL is the twentieth century doing in a segment on the Renaissance? At least it's in-keeping with his style. The pogo-stick of history, by its very nature, cannot remain for long in one epoch.

While Luther's writings are symptomatic of the anti-Semitism prevalent in Central Europe in the Early Modern Era, it's a hell of a stretch to say that they caused the Holocaust. It's not as though every German in 1939 was avidly reading sixteenth-century theology. But, let's not take the bait. The Holocaust can wait for its appropriate place, in a lecture on the twentieth century. This is meant to be about the Renaissance.

Oh and as for Luther's teachings being "vulgar", yes, they were. By twenty-first century standards. Similarly, most of Conservapedia is vulgar by the standards of normal people. Andy's acolytes can hardly go five minutes without mentioning "Gay Bowel Disease" or parading the apparent sordid moralities of filthy lib'ruls. But it just so happens that there's a handy little Bible verse for this very moment! Matthew 7:4-5 AND Luke 6:42. "Why do you notice the speck of dust in your brother's eye? How dare you say to your brother "Remove the dust from your eye" when you have a log in your own eye? You hypocrite! First remove the log from your own eye, then you can see clearly to remove the speck from your brother's." Straight from Jesus' own lips, Andy. You hypocrite!

Lutheranism has only 70 million adherents today, which is only about 7% of the Catholic population. But nearly all Christians, including Catholics, have sung a famous hymn written by Luther: “A Mighty Fortress is Our God.” Moreover, hundreds of millions of Christians worldwide agree with Luther that justification or salvation is by faith alone. Ahh, Schlafly Statistics. So unnecessary. We'll avoid the temptation to nitpick fundies' claim that salvation is through faith alone (a warped interpretation which fits their desire to not actually do anything useful for society, but to simply bitch about how immoral we filthy non-fundies are. And an interpretation which is entirely contradicted by Jesus' own teachings). Just think, if Fundamentalists ruled the world... Christ. Most of us would be executed for breaking the myriad of pissy little laws in the Old Testament (all of which go unheeded by the Fundies, except the one about gays), and the rest would starve to death because the rich evangelical bastards would say that handing out charity is socialism. Mmm, what a world that would be! Thank Christ there are rational people to keep these non-Christian fundamentalist hate-mongering bigots in their place.

The Second Western European Schism: in England[edit]

As early as 1361 there were criticisms of the Roman Catholic Church from England. John Wyclif (or Wycliffe) (1330-1384) was a lecturer at Oxford University, a leading world university founded in the late 1100s. Wyclif was very critical of the perceived wealth and power of the Catholic Church and questioned the scriptural basis for the pope. Wyclif declared the Bible as the sole guide for Christians, and Wyclif translated the Bible into English. But Wyclif was forced out of Oxford when he rejected the doctrine of transubstantiation and when the Peasant’s Revolt in 1381 was blamed on Wyclif’s teachings. For someone who refuses to learn any language other than English, Andy has a remarkable track record of getting English history wrong. Oxford University predates the twelfth century. There are records of teaching being performed at Oxford in 1096, with references to teaching there from the early 900s. A Chancellor was first appointed in the thirteenth century. Get it right, Andy!

The King of England split from the Roman Catholic Church in 1529 for reasons completely independent of Martin Luther and the German schism. In fact, the King of England defended the pope against Martin Luther’s complaints. But a different issue arose in England that had nothing to do with theology. The King of England did not think that he should be told whom he could or could not marry by a pope in Rome. This schism was purely over power. All schisms are over power, Andy. "Power" comes in many forms, and is at the heart of every social interaction betwen humans. But, that's being picky, and assumes that Andy has actually read some Michel Foucault. Which of course, he hasn't.

King Henry VIII sought a (male) heir, but did not have any sons from his marriage to Queen Catherine of Aragon. King Henry VIII demanded a divorce from her so that he could take a younger wife (Anne Boleyn) who might give birth to a baby boy. King Henry VIII sought approval by the pope to divorce Queen Catherine and marry Anne Boleyn. The pope refused. The king next did what he wanted and founded the Church of England (the Anglican Church) in 1529. The pope excommunicated the king in about 1535. The king then beheaded any member of the Catholic clergy (including Thomas More) who refused to bow down to this new Church of England, and seized lands belonging to the Catholic Church for the benefit of the new Church of England. Religious conflict in England followed for several hundred years. Andy starts by getting this mostly right, albeit in a clumsy manner, but then gets it wrong by claiming that Henry VIII executed all Catholics. He didn't, because that would have necessitated executing around half of the British population. Not even fat Henry was that stupid. The writing style here is really childish. How old is Andy?

King Henry VIII quickly tired of his new wife Anne Boleyn, and arranged for a divorce from her in order to marry Jane Seymour. He forced Anne Boleyn to be beheaded, along with others falsely accused of wrongdoing. Jane Seymour did give birth to a son (Edward) who became Henry VIII’s heir to the thrown. But Henry VIII divorced and married, and divorced and married, and divorced and married, over and over. He had a total of six wives in his life. The fate of each wife can be remembered by this mnemonic: “divorced, beheaded, died, divorced, beheaded, survived.” Careful Andy. "Mnemonic" is a big word. Where's your Mirriam-Webster dictionary when you need it? Points off for the claim that "Henry VIII divorced and married, and divorced and married, and divorced and married, over and over". Why the "over and over"? He had six wives, not an infinite number. Andy got it right by mentioning six, then spoiled it by tacking on "over and over". Petty, but it had to be pointed out. Still, at least he didn't call Henry an obese atheist lib'rul for propagating divorce.

There were subsequently “protestant” separations from the Church of England. For example, the Pilgrims who left England on the Mayflower and landed in Plymouth, Massachusetts, sought to break away from the Church of England. The larger and more successful Puritans who settled in Boston sought to “purify” the Church of England while remaining in it. Oh for GOD'S SAKE. The Mayflower was a hundred years after Henry VIII, and had to do with discord in the Puritan community - which didn't exist at the time of Henry VIII. Stick to the god-damned topic, Andy!! Why is there no mention of the political chaos following Henry's death? You know, Mary Queen of Scots who killed the Protestants, Elizabeth I who killed the Catholics, Lady Jane Grey who was monarch for nine days, all of that? Come ON ANdy. This stuff isn't hard to find out.

Other Protestant Movements[edit]

There was a Reformation in Switzerland started by Ulrich Zwingli (1484-1531) and continued by John Calvin (1509-1564), who emphasized justification by faith alone and also predestination, whereby the decision about who goes to heaven and who to hell was made before the creation of the world. Calvin established a theocracy in Geneva, Switzerland. Calvinism is something of a black sheep among Protestant ecumenical movements, as the whole "Predestination" thesis negates the purpose of our lives and is contradictory to some Scripture (although in fairness, all branches of Christianity contradict some parts of the Bible, which contradicts itself). If our eternal fate is decided before we are even born, then what is the point of our existence? All this theory does is give us an excuse to live cruel, selfish, hedonistic lives - if we're heavenbound, then nothing we do on Earth can bugger it up, and if we're hellbound, we might as well have some fun here on Earth so we have some happy memories while locked in Satan's cellar. On a related note, those ****ing ****** at the Westboro Baptist Church are "hyperCalvinists" who do exactly this. They believe that we are all predestined for hell (only they, of course, get the dubious pleasure of kissing God's arse for eternity), so can do whatever they want on Earth. Charming, isn't it?

New Protestant churches arose everywhere. French Protestants or French Calvinists were called Huguenots, and many settled later in New Jersey where they assisted Americans during the Revolution. In 1572, French Catholics massacred many Huguenots, leaving much bitterness. The Edict of Nantes granted the French Huguenots religious freedom. The American Revolution? I wasn't aware the American had a revolution in the sixteenth century? Oh right, Andy is pogo-sticking again, because he hasn't bothered to do any research and has run out of things to write about. He doesn't even know the name of the St Bartholemew's Day Massacre in Paris. Points off for claiming that a massacre left "bitterness". It was a little stronger than that, Andy.

Another denomination called “Anabaptists” developed based on adult baptism and a strict separation of church and state. The Quakers, Baptists, Amish and Mennonites, including many in this country, are from the Anabaptists. The Quakers are essentially “protestant” of any Christian denomination that has a paid clergy, because the Quakers reject the concept of a paid clergy. A Presbyterian Church arose in Scotland, founded by John Knox. Again, Andy, STICK TO THE SIXTEENTH CENTURY. Not the eighteenth.

John Huss (or Jan Hus) (1372-1415) was a preacher in Prague who picked up on Wyclif’s views and spread them in northern and eastern Europe. Born in southern Bohemia, Huss harshly criticized immorality in the clergy and preached a doctrine concerning the Eucharist that was considered to be heretical. He was excommunicated in 1411. A Council of Constance was convened under an “antipope” (not the official pope), and this Council tried Huss in 1414 and burned him at the stake, making him a martyr. His followers, known as Hussites, fought battles against the Holy Roman Empire with surprising success. Yes, the Hussites in Bohemia did hold out against the Holy Roman Empire for quite some time. Alas, they were vanquished. Andy makes it sound as though they won. Great work there, Schlafly.

Though the following was not a true Protestant movement, there was a Dominican friar in Florence named Girolamo Savonarola (1452-1498) who challenged the authority of the pope with fiery sermons and, after his excommunication, saying Mass without authority to do so. His outspokenness against immorality in the Catholic Church and in the powerful Medici family won Savonarola many supporters at first, but eventually the people of Florence turned against him, stormed his monastery, took him prisoner, and then tried, convicted and hanged him. How is this not a "true Protestant movement"? And if so, why does Andy bother mentioning it? If he is just looking for ways to covertly bitch about Christians being mistreated, he could have done better than this.

Today, there are over 33,000 Protestant denominations in 238 countries, increasing at a rate of about 270 to 300 denominations each year, according to the World Christian Encyclopedia (2001) by David B. Barrett, et al. Protestants total 590 million today, about 27% of the worldwide Christian population, though it is not always clear whether a Christian denomination should be labeled as “Protestant”. Is the Anglican Church, which has 73 million adherents, properly called “Protestant”? We DO NOT CARE about the modern world, Andy. You're meant to be talking about Renaissance Europe, not Digital Age America. Kudos for mentioning a citation (although getting it wrong and not giving page numbers). We haven't seen a citation since Lecture One. Why does he wander off onto questioning whether the Church of England is Protestant or Catholic? He just said, nary three paragraphs ago, that it's Protestant. Why has he suddenly changed his mind? More to the point, who cares?

A majority of the United States has always been Protestant, as has every single president except John F. Kennedy (who was Catholic). Nearly every Founder of the United States was Protestant. Remember back in Lecture Five, when Andy was meant to be discussing seventh-century Islam and started talking about airport taxi drivers in Minneapolis? It's happening again here. He's meant to be discussing sixteenth-century Christianity, and is talking about President Kennedy. For God's sake Andy, go buy some Ritalin or something, and stick to the ****ing point...

Catholic Church’s Internal Reformation[edit]

In 1545, the Catholic Church convened the Council of Trent to address Protestantism, and the Council deliberated until 1563. It banned the sale of any indulgences in the future. The Council also affirmed the Church’s view that the Bible and Church were of equal authority, and the Church’s interpretation of the Bible was the final authority. Both faith and good works were necessary for salvation under Church doctrine. The Council also created an Index of Forbidden Books, which listed books that Catholics were not to read. This Index remained in effect until 1966, when the Second Vatican Council abolished it. In sum, the Catholic Church reaffirmed its basic doctrines in its response to the Reformation. It's only a matter of time before Conservapedia produces an Index of Forbidden Books. Darwin, Obama, Freud, and anything by a woman. They've already got a list of "Worst College Majors" which is effectively a ban on studying the humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences (anything that isn't taught at a dusty shack masquerading as a rural institute of Bibul-learnin').

Meanwhile, Ignatius of Loyola had founded the Society of Jesus (the Jesuits) in 1534. This group ambitiously embarked on the Counter-Reformation to invigorate the Catholic Church against the threat of the Reformation. The Jesuits founded numerous schools and colleges throughout Europe (and later in the United States), established many missions to faraway lands, and worked to stop the spread of Protestantism. The Jesuits only accepted the smartest and hardest working priests into their order, and to this day it is considered a special honor in the Catholic Church to become a Jesuit. The Jesuit schools brought many families to the Catholic Church for hundreds of years, though in recent times many of these schools (like Georgetown in Washington, D.C.) have been criticized for losing much of their religious flavor. Christ on His Cross. This is getting as bad as the Lecture Five diarrhoea on medieval Islam. We're not interested in Washington, DC. At least Andy is able to mention the Jesuits without tossing in a conspiracy theory. So far...

Recall that Christianity had reconverted Spain after a period of Muslim rule, and in 1478 Pope Sixtus IV authorized a council in Spain under the Catholic monarchs Ferdinand II and Isabella I to fight heresy. Contrary to popular belief today, the initial focus was on what converted Muslims and Jews were saying about Christianity. Torquemada was the first Grand Inquisitor. Critics today make a big deal about how torture was used by the Grand Inquisitor, but torture was used by virtually all civil authorities in that time, particularly as a threat to discourage lying by witnesses (perjury). Torture could be applied only once and could not endanger life or limb. Pope Sixtus IV complained that torture was being used too often, but the Spanish King and Queen ignored his complaints.

Aww, those poor Inquisitors. All they were trying to do was defend conservative values, and those filthy lib'ruls start whining about "Enhanced Interrogation Techniques". Don't these heathen traitors realise that torture is necessary? After all, the people being tortured are only Jews, darkies, and godless barbarians - they deserve it!

My God, how much of a **** is Andrew Schlafly? We already know that his brand of Republican rhetoric would make Stan Smith from American Dad! seem like a liberal, but here Andy goes one step further and defends torture. And this isn't the sanitised, clinical, quasi-medical torture of waterboards and electroshocks and trained doctors ready to inject you with anaesthetics when you finally do confess. This is medieval torture, using all sorts of very sharp things onto which you are strapped, or which are applied hard or hot against your naked flesh, or which slide deep into bodily orifices you really don't want to think about. There's a lot of blood, a lot of other fluids, and a lot of pain. If you were unfortunate enough to survive Late Medieval torture, you would be horribly disfigured and mutilated for the remainder of your short life - to say nothing of the psychological effects. And Inquisitor Schlafly is defending this. What a ****. It's also quite delightful that Andy is defending the Inquisition, considering that he'd be one of their juiciest targets. A man who rewrites the Bible to fit his own political imagination? Ooh, Torquemada would have loved to get Andrew Layton Schlafly in his playroom...

The Muslim empire continued to threaten Spain and repeatedly attempted to reconquer it from Muslim strongholds in northern Africa. It was not until 1492 that the armies of Ferdinand and Isabella were able to defeat the last Muslim fighters in Spain. But they feared the continuing threat and told the Muslim Moors to convert to Christianity or leave. There was a small but influential Jewish community that thrived within the Moslem society at the time, and the order to convert or leave applied to them also. By "Muslim empire" Andy presumably means the Moorish sultanate (southern Spain), or the broader Caliphate (the Muslim equivalent of Christendom). These things have names, Andy. Note how Andy neglects to inform us what happened to Muslims and Jews who refused to convert - and even to a lot who did convert. They met their deaths at the hands of the Christians. Not clean, quick, painless deaths, either, but very slow and very, very painful deaths. That's Christianity for you. As Brian Griffin parodies it - "believe what I say or I'll hurt you". And in their history, the Christians have come up with some very inventive and highly effective ways to really, really hurt people. Andy, of course, won't mention them. How unsurprising.

After the Reformation, the Spanish Inquisition was used with less violence to combat Protestantism. It was disbanded in the 1800s. Today Spain is virtually 100% Catholic in name only, and is one of the few countries that has legalized gay marriage. Its economy is socialistic, a mere shell of the mighty empire that it was in the 1500s. Jesus-F***ing-CHRIST. Why is this here? More to the point, what is Andy saying? Reading between the lines, it sounds as though Andy is warning us that without the tortures of the Inquisition, socialism and gay marriage are just around the corner. Oh no! The horror!! Won't somebody think of the children?? Well, Andy, pull your head out of your arse and deal with reality. Change is inevitable in all things, and there's not a damned thing you can do about it. Also note the implicit claim that the reason for the fall of the Spanish Empire (which, strangely, he hasn't mentioned until now, so his students won't know what he is wittering on about), was gay marriage. How kind of Andy to end with such a comedy claim!

Effects of the Reformation[edit]

The immediate effect of the Reformation was to strengthen the nation-state. Rome was no longer the center of power, as England and Germany had their own churches now. Education improved, as Catholics and Protestants tried to increase their numbers by building better schools. Also, the translation of the Bible into local languages increased the used of vernacular and decreased reliance on old Latin. Oh please, not the nation-state again. As said a dozen times already, the nation-state is a concept pertaining to the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, not the sixteenth. Andy would have scored points here by talking about the emergence of Absolutism (whereby political power became increasingly centralised and concentrated in the hands of the monarch), but instead he's just recycled an erroneous claim. Sigh...

But for more than a hundred years, and even longer in England, religious wars occurred between Catholics and Protestants. Tragically, Christians killed other Christians in furtherance or defense of the new religious denominations. To this day the division between Catholics and Protestants weakens Christianity in several respects and makes it easier for enemies of Christianity to prevail. Apparently it's only tragic when Christians kill other Christians. When Christians kill non-Christians (which, by the way, includes others claiming to be Christian but aren't their particular sect), it's fine. Anyway, Christians were killing Christians in Europe from the late Roman Empire up to the foundation of the European Union, which has given our continent its longest period of peace in recorded history. Long may it endure. But evern then, there are still Christians who kill other Christians here - as that dickhead in Norway so recently demonstrated (yes, Andy. Despite what you claim on Conservapedia, the man was a conservative fundamentalist Christian). Christianity is a religion built upon violence. Deal with it, Andy.

The competition between Catholics and Protestants may have some benefits. In modern times the Catholic Church was the original leader against abortion, with the Protestants eventually agreeing. Protestant evangelicals have been the leaders against teaching evolution (e.g, the American William Jennings Bryan in the 1920s). In the papal encyclical “Humani Generis” (1950), the Catholic Church prohibited teaching evolution contrary to the biblical Adam, but Catholic schools routinely teach evolution anyway. However, recent signs suggest a Catholic shift against evolution. Most Christians oppose same-sex marriage and agree on most social issues. Protestants are on average wealthier than Catholics and tend to support free enterprise more, and evangelical Protestants are often more vocal on social issues. Catholics generally prohibit divorce, while Protestants allow it. American Protestants tend to oppose immigration more than Catholics do, while Catholics tend to oppose the death penalty more than Protestants do. Perhaps the competition makes everyone try harder.

Andy has a preoccupation with competition, that borders on the obsessive. A psychologist would have a field day with this. Is it because Andrew Schlafly loses every competition in which he participates? He certainly can't win an argument through rational means, he has no physical abilities, and considering the amount of time he spends editing his beloved Conservapedia, he can't have a lot of free time to brush up on his cooking or origami skills. Perhaps this obsession with competition is a form of emotional compensation for his own innate crapness. But hey, I'm not a psychiatrist...

Was this paragraph really necessary? Do we care about the Scopes Monkey Trial and public thoughts on same-sex marriage, in a lecture on Early Modern Europe? It's very badly written - note how the topic jumps randomly with no explanation why, nor relevance. Oh, and to get on a soapbox briefly - right-wingers in the Western world are perpetually bitching about government interfering in private life. Yet they want government to legislate what personal relationships people can and cannot form? **cough**HYPOCRITES**cough**

And we all know what happens to hypocrites. If not, read Matthew 23:15. Default setting. BURN!!

Asia in the Middle Ages[edit]

The massive continent of Asia is divided into “South Asia,” which is India, “East Asia,” which is China, Japan and Korea, and “Southeast Asia,” which is Vietnam and Cambodia, and “Southwest Asia” which is the Middle East. In this section we deal with East and Southeast Asia, discussing in particular what happened in China in the Middle Ages (other than the Mongols, who we discussed in the prior lecture). And now in true Schlafly Style, a random continent is tacked on at the end. How very fair and unbiased towards the West that is...

Recall that in the ancient world China first had the Zhou dynasty (1122-221 B.C.) north of the Yangtze River. Next China had its first imperial or national Chinese dynasty: the Qin or Ch’in dynasty (221-206 B.C.), which was founded by the ruler of the Zhou vassal state Qin, Prince Zheng. The Qin dynasty began to construct the Great Wall to defend against foreign invaders, which stretches today for 1,400 miles. The Han empire or dynasty (206 B.C. to A.D 220, with only a brief interruption from A.D. 6-23) built on the foundation of the Qin dynasty, extending the walls and roads. The Han dynasty expanded the territory of China into Southeastern Asia regions of Vietnam and Korea, and administered the country from a centralized and organized civil service. This Han dynasty was comparable to the Roman empire, and lasted the longest of any dynasty in China. Its state philosophy was Confucianism. But the Han dynasty fell just like as the Roman empire did. Afterwards, China was ruled by regional governments known as the Three Kingdoms (A.D. 220-280). In A.D. 589, the Sui dynasty arose to reestablish centralized government. Subsequently the longer Tang and Song Dynasties ruled China. Andy already covered this in a previous Lecture. Why is he rehashing it here? He either has forgotten what he wrote a little while back, or he's just padding out this segment. Either way, it's a pretty piss-poor job.

Sui Dynasty[edit]

The Sui dynasty established central rule in China in A.D. 589 for the first time since the Han dynasty in A.D. 220. But the Sui dynasty ruled for only a very brief period of 29 years, until A.D. 618. However, it accomplished something magnificent: it built the Grand Canal to connect northern and southern China. This tremendous engineering achievement consisted of a canal nearly 1240 miles long, with a road running alongside it on each side. It enabled the transportation of agricultural products such as rice from the fertile Yangtze River valley to northern China. Other construction also occurred, such as repairing walls that defend China. (The current “Great Wall of China” was based on walls built as early as 210 B.C., but its present form was not completed until the Ming dynasty (A.D. 1368-1544)). The Sui dynasty ended in a revolution against high taxes in northern China and the assassination in 618 of the emperor Sui Yangdi. Great. The Sui Dynasty - which according to Andy's own dates lasted for over six hundred years - is reduced to a discussion about a single waterway, and an erroneous shoehorned-in reference to lib'rul tax-raisers. Evidently Andy couldn't find anything worthwhile to put in here (because he didn't do the research), so instead is just recycling material from Lecture Three and tossing in irrelevant factoids. SOmething we're all used to now.

Tang Dynasty[edit]

The Tang dynasty ruled for nearly 300 years, from A.D. 618 to 907. This is known as the golden age of art and poetry in China. New territories were acquired, including Manchuria, Tibet, Korea and northern Vietnam. This territory became known as the “Middle Kingdom,” whereby it drew wealth from surrounding states through a ritualistic “kowtow”, such that diplomats from surrounding states were expected to pay homage to the emperor by touching their forehead repeatedly to the ground beneath the emperor. The Tang dynasty accumulated vast wealth for China during this period. Ugh. The kowtow refers to a variety of personal rituals performed at the old Chinese court - which Andy acknowledges, but bizarrely confuses with a system of political economy. Strange.

Many roads were built at that time, along with inns, post offices and stables for the horses of travelers. The roads were used for trade and communication in a manner similar to the Persian Royal Road and the roads of the Roman empire. More recycled material from Lecture Three. Really, Andy. You could have done better than this. A lot better.

The most powerful ruler during the Tang dynasty was Tang Taizong (A.D. 627-649). He gained power by killing his opponents, but then ruled in a benevolent or fair manner, keeping taxes low. More crowbarred-in references to tax policy. Really, Andy, there are better lenses through which to interpret history than Republican dogma.

Government offices were filled with the Confucian civil service system that valued education. The three requirements were to learn the writings of Confucius, study the Chinese classics, and pass the civil service exam. Land was distributed based on fertility of the soil and the needs of the farmers, but eventually powerful families and Buddhist monasteries gained control of much of the land. Ultimately the peasants rebelled over the misuse of funds by the government. In A.D. 907 the last Tang emperor gave up. Regional rule by warlords then prevailed over China. Oh for Christ's sake, he's already said all this in Lecture Three. Why is it here again? This is tantamount to self-plagiarism - and we can tell, because he has repeated the same crass oversights and shitty Republican drivel. Very disappointing, young Master Schlafly. Six strokes of the cane and write out on the blackboard a thousand times, "I will do my homework". Chop chop!!

Song Dynasty[edit]

About 50 years after the fall of the Tang dynasty, the Song dynasty united China again under centralized rule. This dynasty governed for about 300 years, from A.D. 960 to 1279. It emphasized education even more than the Tang dynasty did. Art and literature thrived. Paper money was invented during the Song dynasty. The Song dynasty ultimately collapsed from too much bureaucracy and its weak military. It was unable to fight off invading tribes like the Khitan and the Jurchen, which invaded north China and forced the Song dynasty to the south. The Mongols then took over southern China in 1279, causing the complete end of the Song dynasty. ENOUGH with the Tea-Bagger propaganda about bureaucracy and militarism!! Note how three hundred years are condensed into a few crappy little sentences which offer practically no worthwhile content whatsoever. A hallmark of Andy's style, particularly when discussing the non-white world.

Culture, Trade and Religion under the Tang and Song Dynasties[edit]

Buddhism spread in China in initial form of Mahayana Buddhism, which treated Buddha like a god. The Chinese version of Buddhism was different from the Indian form and was called “Chan Buddhism”; the Japanese version was named “Zen Buddhism.” Chan and Zen Buddhism focused more on enlightenment and meditation than Indian Buddhism. The Chinese dynasties then introduced Buddhism to Vietnam. Meanwhile, Confucianism changed to “neo-Confucianism” to adapt to these Buddhist changes. Ooh, those wretched Asians. Worshipping someone other than Jesus. Still, at least Andy hasn't aped Kent Hovind in claiming that Asian religions facilitated the rise of communism.

Historians criticize a practice of the wealthy Chinese in “foot-binding” young girls’ feet with strips of cloth in order to make it more difficult for her to walk and work when she became an adult. Historians view this as a way that men made women dependent on them, but the practice was also considered to make women more attractive and to be a sign that she was wealthy enough not to work. Is Andy opposed to, or in favour of, foot-binding? It's hard to tell here. But we can make an educated guess. Foot-binding makes it hard for women to walk, hence they have to stay in the home and not go out into the big scary world to get careers and become trouser-wearing feminazis, thus Andy must be all in favour of footbinding and probably has plans to introduce it to his homeschooler cultists. Someone ring the United Nations Childrens' Commission and warn them.

Population grew during the Tan and Song Dynasties, and there was one tremendous invention (by accident) that would change the world: gunpowder. Other inventions included good porcelain (“chinaware”), moveable type for printing (which distributed Buddhist texts) and the magnetic compass for facilitating to Africa and the Persian Gulf. Iron production aided farmers and soldiers. "for facilitating to Africa". For facilitating what? Package holidays? Teleportation? And how did iron production aid farmers and soldiers? Did they build tanks and tractors? Come on, Andy. You need to say a bit more than that. Especially as fundamentalist Christians Tea-Bagger homeschoolers aren't the brightest pennies in the fountain.

The civil servants (government workers) were the upper class, while merchants and shopkeepers formed the middle class. Trade by the Malay sailors brought goods from faraway. Tea and a fast-growing rice came from Vietnam, and the Chinese learned to plant and harvest two crops each year rather than just one on the same soil. The Chinese then exported a food surplus. Andy flies the flag of Marxism once more! His insistence that all societies have had an upper, middle, and lower class would make Karl Marx clap his hands and dance a merry jig. How truly delicious, that Andrew Layton Schlafly is a Marxist...

The adjacent countries of Japan, Korea and Vietnam all adopted modifications of the Chinese writing system, religion and type of government. Each of these regions, as well as present-day Cambodia, had empires of its own. They had empires, but evidently they didn't achieve anything or even have names. Because if Andy doesn't know, then nobody does...


Vietnam, which has a large population of 84 million today, won its independence in A.D. 939, soon after the fall of the Tang dynasty. Historians describe the treatment of women in Vietnam as having been better than in China. The Lu dynasty of Vietnam ruled from 1009 to 1225 and established a capital at Hanoi, which remains the capital to this day. The Vietnamese have always been fierce fighters. They defeated three attempts by the mighty Mongols to conquer Hanoi in the late 1200s. Ah yes, all narratives of medieval Vietnam must begin with a statistic relating to modern Vietnam. Kudos for a subtle, bitchy reference to America's defeat in Vietnam. That'll go down well at the local veterans' club, Andy!


The Silla dynasty in Korea formed an alliance with the Chinese Tang dynasty and then unified the three kingdoms of the Korean peninsula for the first time in A.D. 668. The Silla dynasty expelled the Tang a decade later, establishing self-rule for the Koreans that continues today. Korea was thus one of the first nation-states to emerge in the entire world, and it assumed many of the linguistic and cultural features that it has to this day. Ouch, so wrong. Korea has not been independent since 668. The entire peninsula was under the control of the Chinese until the late nineteenth centuy, when it was invaded by the Japanese and later seized its chance to break away from the Empire of Japan. Lots of points off there, Master Schlafly.

While Korea adopted the Chinese bureaucratic model, the old aristocracy remained in control in Korea. Its art consisted of lotus blossoms, flowing lines, complex floral patterns and soft edges. Under the Silla dynasty poetry also became popular, and artists developed a famous green celadon pottery. The pogo-stick of history is leaping around in a truly nauseating zigzag. Pottery, Korea, footbinding, lotus flowers... where's the connection? This reads as though Andy was sitting in his local Chinese takeaway, and while waiting for his lonely, solitary portion of chicken fried rice, decided to mentally catalogue all the things he could see and cram them together as a lecture on medieval Asia. But of course, Andy would never frequent a takeaway. Those wretched ferriners, y'know...

In 935 a Koryo dynasty emerged after it overthrew the Silla dynasty. “Korea” today takes its name from the “Koryo dynasty.” Scholars and soldiers took control of Korea in 1392, after the Mongols invaded Korea from 1231 to 1350, and the scholars established the Choson or Yi dynasty. "a Koryo dynasty". Is Koryo a noun or an adjective? The concept of a military-intellectual coup d'etat is quite entertaining - we can just imagine generals and professors covertly conspiring in a dark room somewhere. But when the shooting starts, what use will the scholars be? Predictably, it didn't happen. Andy is referring to a coup from within the civil service, but predictably, gets it wrong.

Khmer Empire[edit]

This empire peaked in A.D. 1200 in modern Cambodia, thriving on rice production and trade with China and India. The Khmer empire built the Angkor Wat, a temple dedicated to the Hindu god Vishnu with mixed Southeast Asian and Indian art. "The" Angkor Wat. Apparently there are cheap imitations, thus we require a definite article to distinguish the temple.

The Siamese, the residents of the modern Thailand (called “Siam” until 1939), destroyed the Khmer empire with conquests up until the 14th century. But “Khmer Republic” came back as the official name for Cambodia in 1970-75, and the “Khmer Rouge” was a Cambodian communist movement that savagely killed about 2 million Cambodians in the 1970s and destroyed much of the nation after the United States left nearby Vietnam. Later Vietnam communists invaded and overthrew the Cambodian communists.

W-what? We've just leapt from 1200 to 1939, then to 1975, with a load of pithy anti-communist propaganda thrown in? What the hell has this got to do with Asia in the Early Modern Period? Note the implication that without US military presence, societies descend into savagery. Notwithstanding that the US didn't exactly leave Vietnam. They fled after losing a bloody war, Andy. Just admit it.

Wait, what? That's it? Really? What the HELL was all that? The last segment on Asia is truly abysmal, being a mere hotchpotch of recycled errors, irrelevant factoids, and right-wing propaganda. There's no discussion of the Americas, Africa, or Oceania. No discussion of the expansion of Russia and the Ottoman Empire. Even the section on Europe is equally piss-poor. Where's the discussion of the Thirty Years' War? That was a huge conflict, one of the most savage and brutal wars in human history, and its effects reshaped the course of European history. Where's the European Age of Discovery? Where's the discussion of Absolutism in France, the growth of the Spanish Empire, the rise of commercial capitalism and the Turkish incursions into Europe? Where are the Aztecs, the Incas, Great Zimbabwe, Ferdinand Magellan and Christopher Columbus? They'd better appear in the next lecture. This is Andy's worst so far. And considering that's been said about all the lectures, we are forced to conclude that his pet project is just getting worse and worse over time. God help us when we reach the last couple.

Well let's plod on to the next lecture. Christ alone knows what it's about. Hopefully some of the aforementioned themes, but it really wouldn't be surprising to turn the digital page and find that Andy has abandoned his half-arsed effort and devotes the remainder of his course to fawning over Ronald Reagan. Sigh. Let's give it a go...