Below in an introduction sample for a research paper on the 13th Century.
The 13th Century was ushered in by one of the saddest moments in Catholic and world history. A shift in the ideology and focus of the church dealt a final blow to the Christian relationship between the East and the West. Within this Century, conflict between Rome and the Western World had become heated ever since the time of Charlemagne, the self-proclaimed ruler of the West. Nearly a century and a half before, the Great Schism divided the two Christian ideals into Eastern Orthodox and Western Orthodox ideologies. In the 13th Century, the Crusades were the culmination of frustration and rage on the part of the West for the East’s split from Rome and the focus of the more powerful Western Church became bringing the unbelievers to faith by force. For the West, the Crusades marked an era of optimism and hope for the restoration of the Roman Empire and the gathering together of the Christian world during this medieval time. In truth, the era ended in disaster and even greater disunity for the church.
Highlights of the 13th Century included:
Height of the Christian Church
The understanding of the church’s role in society had become one based on power and might that was known as the “setter of values” and all of Western Culture hinged on their international administrative, diplomatic, and intellectual ability. This confidence is still visible today in the grand cathedrals and churches built during the Dark Ages. While the cathedrals stood as towering images of the success of Christianity and the Christian Church, not all within the church espoused the notion riches glorifying God. St. Francis of Assisi believed that poverty freed the spirit and riches or wealth corrupted.
13th Century and the Medieval Thinkers
Philosophy of the period stressed unity with God as the meaning of life, and discouraged endeavors not leading to this end. St. Thomas Aquinas developed theories reconciling Church doctrines and intellectual exploration, allowing increased freedom in the expression of ideas. Even with this increased freedom, artistic expression from the Middle Ages shows a continued focus on the realm of God. The medieval man represents a bridge between expression of the Ancient Greek and the Modernist periods. Medieval thinkers and artists would not return to the reverence of the human form and pleasure found in the Greek period. However, slowly increasing freedoms and discoveries during the Middle Ages prepared the western world for the Renaissance and Modern periods.