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Home > History home > Prospective students > Undergraduate > The Sacred and Profane: Cultural Life in Renaissance Europe
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The Sacred and Profane: Cultural Life in Renaissance Europe


Value: half unit


Dr Clive Burgess


Taught through weekly lectures and weekly follow-up seminars


2-hours exam (100%)

Late medieval Christian Europe was a world of contrasts. Plague was endemic, but those lucky enough to survive enjoyed improving standards of living that rested in many parts of Europe on a flourishing economic life. This naturally affected life in cities, opening up opportunities for many – and this course particularly considers the impact that this had on women living and working in urban environments. While the Church played a central role in people’s lives, kings in Europe continued to exploit this institution for their own benefit – and this caused lasting problems for the papacy such as the Schism. In the localities, however, church life flourished. Many scholars, however, avidly sought to discover and explore ideas from pagan antiquity. This not only energised intellectual life but also catalysed the art produced in the cities of both southern and northern Europe for which the Renaissance is justly famous.


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