Modern History Part I
Modern times, term for the epoch following the Middle Ages and extending to the present day.
Term content: The term was used as early as the 15th century, has become common as a periodization term and, like the terms Ancient and Middle History (antiquity, Middle Ages), is derived from European history (Europe, history). Insofar as the historical area of Europe expanded in the 15th century through the expeditions of the Portuguese and Spaniards, the term modern times can also be seen as the designation of a new phase in human history and then has a more general meaning.
Temporal delimitation and periodization: The discovery of America in 1492 and the beginning of the Reformation by M. Luther are long1517 has been regarded as the beginning of the modern era. However, important features of the new age had already become recognizable before this point in time: 1) the degree of writing in European culture had risen due to a strong increase in written traffic (files and letters) and the invention of printing with movable type around 1450 (only in this way could humanism as a secular movement penetrate into new circles); 2) the higher degree of literacy of culture itself was again only an expression of a cultural achievement of the bourgeoisie, whose prosperity, production and business techniques brought about an early form of modern capitalism, which has become of central importance for the modern age; 3) Europe represented a closed state system as early as the 2nd half of the 15th century,
According to Clothesbliss, the more recent historical research has therefore set the beginning of the modern age to be in the middle of the 15th century or at least on a “threshold time” between 1450 and 1500, characterized in particular by processes of consolidation of rule. It has thus returned to a periodization break that P. Melanchthon had already suggested when he set the beginning of the Renaissance as the beginning of modernity with the fall of Constantinople in 1453. When the Greek scholars who were expelled at the time fled to Italy, humanism flourished here as a great movement. A second point of view was for Melanchthon the union with the Greeks already initiated at the Council of Ferrara and Florence in 1439, which was reinforced by the influx of Greek theologians and humanists after 1453. The conquest of Constantinople by the Ottomans was important for the modern history of Europe from the following points of view: On the one hand, Russia now became the protective power of the Orthodox Christians of the East; also a growing importance of the Portuguese and Spanish seafarers who looked for the sea route to India on many routes and on this search under the direction of C. Columbus Discovered America in 1492. This variety of new approaches characterizes the transition phase from the Middle Ages to the modern age, in which most areas of life for European people were fundamentally changed over the course of a few decades.
The intellectual process of change that was set in motion by humanism and its return to antiquity was of great importance and which, in its long-term effect, led to a critical awareness and a secularized view of Christianity among certain intellectual aristocratic and bourgeois strata. This secularization was also expressed in the diminishing importance of the clergy, which had a strong influence on cultural life in the Middle Ages; Massive criticism of church practice was made around 1500, also from (German) humanist circles. The rules of philological-critical text analysis developed by the humanists led to the first text-critical editions of the New Testament, some of which gained great importance, especially for Luther. Nevertheless, humanism and the Reformation are not directly related (Erasmus of Rotterdam clung to the old church). But both have abolished the unity of the medieval church. The modern European state system took the place of the “Res publica christiana” of the Middle Ages.
This state system was a further basis of the modern age. Both in Europe and overseas, the year 1494 marked a turning point for the first time, in which a global system of power became recognizable, which has since determined many changes in modern times. An economic world system developed. For the overseas territories that were initially v. a. were ruled by the Portuguese and Spanish, put Pope Alexander VI. in a jurisprudence in 1493, then a treaty concluded between Spain and Portugal on June 7, 1494 stipulated that they were divided by a north-south dividing line 370 miles west of the Cape Verde Islands into an eastern hemisphere belonging to Portugal and a western Spanish half should. However, due to the early appearance of the Protestant sea powers Netherlands and England, this saying did not last. In Europe itself, the system of power that had meanwhile emerged first appeared clearly in 1494 on the occasion of the French King Charles VIII’s march to Italy: Charles VIII. announced the French claim to Naples as heir to the Anjou, which he had previously tried to secure diplomatically in treaties with England, Spain and the Habsburgs in 1492/93. But when his entry into Italy led to the collapse of the internal Italian state system, the other powers united against France in order to restore equilibrium in Italy.