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									Nov. 26: 17th century
Lerner Ch. 20 (all) and Ch. 21; Kishlansky # 83 Grimmelshausen's Simplicissimus, #65
Matteo Ricci on China

       STUDY GUIDE for the final to be handed out Friday
       LECTURES ON WEB put up Friday (give Web address)
       David and Chela – email prepaper comments; time for makeup quiz (office hours

As you may have noticed, title is this course: "western ideas and institutions up to the
17th century".
What happened in the 17th century, to make it the logical dividing line between "modern"
western civilization and premodern?
One the one hand, the 17th century witnessed the peak of "medieval" culture - worst wars
of religion, witchcraft trials, belief in magic and astrology, intolerance to minorities.

On "modern" side,
      1. Beginning of modern warfare - both in techniques and motives
      2. formation of middle class culture:

A. Religious Wars in France in the 16th century
Now in France, as in Poland, Protestantism was popular to begin with.
France was also a region where intellectual innovation was initially encouraged - esp. in
But in France, strong kings will eventually impose religious unity.

French Wars of Religion 1562-1598
Calvinists convert 1/3 nobility
As in Poland, a large portion of France's nobility converted to Calvinism - 1/3 by mid 16th
(These were the Huguenots)
But Protestantism was viewed as treason against the king of France, who considered
himself the special protector of the Catholic faith.

French monarchy tries to suppress Huguenots
In 1562, the French monarch begins to suppress the Huguenots.
 A woman ruled France at the time, in the name of her ten-year son.
This was the Italian Catherine de Medicis, who as a foreigner and woman was not very
popular among French nobility.
For more than 30 years, French Catholics and Huguenots fought.
Priests were murdered; peasants tortured; both sides committed atrocities.

St. Bartholomew’s Day Massacre : 1572
The worst atrocity was the St. Bartholomew’s Day Massacre, in 1572.
Catherine ordered killing of major Protestant leaders.
Afterwards, Catholic mobs began to kill Protestants everywhere –
         3000 in Paris; 10,000 in the countryside.
These simple numbers don’t really give you an idea of what this sort of civil war in the
late 16th and early 17th centuries was really like.
You'll read next week in Kishlansky some accounts of this religious violence which bears
a troubling resemblance to what is going on in Yugoslavia.
        Armed soldiers would invade villages and farms.
        They raped people's mothers, sisters.
        They cut off thumbs of the peasants and put them in their pistols.
        They tie ropes around men’s heads, and twist them until blood spurts out of their
nose and ears.
(these examples are from Germany, but similar violence occurs in France.

After 30 years of fighting, the religious war in France is settled for a while by a strange
accident of inheritance.

Henry IV and limited religious tolerance
The French kings, who were a sickly bunch, kept dying.
One king is assassinated by a radical Catholic who thought he wasn’t persecuting the
Protestants enough (cf. Israel)
Finally, no direct heirs are left, so in late 16th century,
Henry IV inherits the French throne – and he is a Protestant.
Henry is forced to convert to Catholicism in order to become king, but he remains
sympathetic to the Protestants.
He issues the Edict of Nantes, 1598.
This gave toleration to Huguenots in certain part of France – esp. northern towns
But Catholicism remains official religion.

Louis XIV imposes Catholicism in 17th century
Now this religious toleration – such as it was – won’t last very long in France.
In the 17th century, King Louis XIV will impose Catholicism in France successfully - as
part of his policy of royal absolutism

Reasons for difference between Poland and France:
So Protestants were persecuted and eventually eliminated from France by force.
In Poland they were tolerated - but eventually largely disappeared through education.
Why the difference in treatment?
       In France, the kings were strong.
       In Poland, the kings were weak - elected - in fact by the aristocracy.

B. THIRTY YEARS’ WAR (1618 - 1648)
30 Years' War was war between most of states of western Europe.
Both the last war of religion, and first modern war

Cause of War:
Cause of war was religion:
Around 1600 AD, roughly half of western Europe was Protestant, the other half Catholic..
The Habsburg king Ferdinand initially sparked the 30 Years' War, by trying to force
Protestants to convert to Catholicism.
The Peace of Augsburg (1555) had allowed each prince within the Holy Roman Empire
to decide the religion of his subjects – whether they would be Catholic or Lutheran.
Well, Ferdinand wasn't willing to respect this Peace - he was the supreme "ruler" and so
his subjects should be Catholic like him.
The Czechs (Bohemians) were first to rebel - "Defenestration of Prague" in 1618 was
when Czech Protestants threw Ferdinand's officials out windows.
The Protestant German princes soon afterwards rebelled (after F. had been elected
So you have war between the Protestants of the Holy Roman Empire and Ferdinand.
Then the Protestant states of Europe – Sweden and the Dutch Netherlands (United
Provinces) joined the war on side of Protestants.
So you had the Catholic emperor of the Holy Roman empire, the Catholic king of Spain
fighting the Protestant Germans, Sweden, and Netherlands.
So far, this would seem to be a war of religion – Catholics versus Protestants.

Intervention of Catholic France on side of Protestants
But then Catholic France intervened on the side of the Protestants. (REPEAT)
With the help of France, the Protestant rulers eventually defeated the Holy Roman
Emperor – leading to a peace in 1648 which allowed diversity of religion, and
empowered the German princes above the emperor.

The question for us: why did Catholic France help out the Protestants?
Cardinal Richelieu and "reason of state"
 Controlled the French monarchy at the time (under Louis XIII and Louis XIV)
Richelieu was no friend of Catholics:
He was a Catholic Cardinal himself.
 Richelieu was the one who restarted persecution of Protestants in France (Huguenots)
But as he argued (rather like Machiavelli) that “The public interest ought to be the sole
objective of the prince.”
France had a boundary quarrel with the Habsburg emperors: part of northern France was
under Habsburg control, and Richelieu wanted to bring it back to France (Burgundy).
Richelieu also wanted to prevent the Habsburgs from becoming too powerful – the
Habsburgs, who controlled both Spain and the Holy Roman Empire were in fact the
dominant European power until they lost the Thirty Years’ War.
This French desire to weaken the Habsburgs was enough to justify an alliance with
Protestant heretics during the Thirty Years’ War.

The intervention of France made the Thirty Years’ War – the first modern war, as well
as the last war of religion.
The war may have started for religious reasons, but it ended because European states
were fighting fore "reason of state" - competing for territory, balance of power, their own
national interest – i.e. those rational goals we still fight for today.
During 30 Years' War - Catholic France had allied with the Protestants.
         (Shortly afterwards, France will ally with the Ottoman Turks - Moslems - against
its fellow Europeans)

After 17th century, Europeans kings no longer fought for God.
Instead they fight for the “public interest”, reasons of state - for their independence, for
territory or trading rights, to keep some other state (like Russia or in our time, Iraq) from
becoming too powerful, to gain or maintain spheres of influence.
When you take your next history Core, you will study wars of this sort.
  Yet these wars are just as “culturally” determined going on Crusade during the Middle
        Wars justified by reason of state make sense to us – because that is how we fight,
but they have no more absolute justification than killing Moslems to get to heaven.
        And these modern wars have the potential to do a lot more damage.

So one big change in European warfare after mid 17th century - is that religion no longer
determined who the enemy would be.
(on more positive side - states are admitting that they can coexist with states with
different religions, though not yet tolerating difference of religion within a state)

D. Musketeers
Second big change is warfare was new style of armies - gun-toting infantry or
Remember, that gunpowder had been used since the Hundred Years' War (in 15th c) - but
in cannons, not guns.
Guns - muskets - only come into use in late 16th century, during the religious wars.

During 30 Years' War, the standard military formation became long narrow lines of foot
soldiers firing muskets - musketeers.
Muskets are guns – using gunpowder, and capable of penetrating right through armor.
        (though unlike modern guns, they took a long time to reload)
Still possible for cavalry to trample the musketeers before they had time to reload.
So musketeers combined with pike-men:
        Pikes are long poles with sharp point – intended to skewer horses if a cavalry

Advantages of new style warfare:
- Musketeers much better at killing the enemy than any previous type of soldier
- anybody could learn to shoot a gun: you didn’t need long training as a knight or as an
archer to become an effective soldier.
- Larger armies possible
Because anyone could fight now, armies could be made larger.
European armies grew enormously in size during the Thirty Years War.
The Swedish king had led 100,000 soldiers during the war (even in 16th century, armies
had almost never numbered more than 50,000).
And as the Romans had found out long ago, armies this large were very expensive.
       Taxes were raised again and again in the 17th century.
       Soldiers had to plunder villages to support themselves - as you'll in your readings
in Kishlanksy this week.

To sum up military change in 17th century:
      Goals change: War for "reason" of state instead of religion
      Technique changes: New use of guns - both deadlier and able to used by larger
segment of population.


In a second area, the 17th century was a positive era - in the formation of national middle-
class culture.

A. Growth in popular literature
Growing literacy
In part because of cheaper books thanks to the printing press,
In part because of the Protestant focus on reading the Bible
And in part because of the new emphasis on education by Counterreformation Catholics
like the Jesuits,
European literacy was growing.
By the end of the 17th century, about a third of French men could sign their names; about
the same as in Protestant England.
        This is an astonishingly high rate of literacy when compared to Middle Ages, or
indeed to classical antiquity.

To meet new demand, new types of popular literature were created:
       Novels: fictitious narratives about ordinary people, with realistic setting: you
read some early examples of novels in Kishlansky (Lazarillo de Tormes; this week: Hans
von Grimmelshausen)
       Newspapers invented in 17th century

Origins of the newspaper lie in the "News-sheets" of sixteenth century Germany.
News-sheets were being sold in cities and towns but were very local in nature.
But the establishment of a postal communications system in the early 17th century made
possible more wide-spread publication.
By mid 17th century - newspapers had reached England.
As I'll talk about next class, newspapers and pamphlets made communication of political
ideas and events more easier to a wider portion of population.

2. National cuisines introduction of products from new world help create the modern
European cuisines
        Sugar, potatoes, peppers, tomatoes and so on are adopted in Europe by 17th
        Italy gets its pasta and tomato sauce;
         Spain its chorizo (from American paprika)
         England its meat, potatoes, and tea
And in each European country, there is a common national diet – middle class and upper
class eat same sort of food.
In addition to the food, come the drugs - caffeine, tobacoo, and hard alcohol
Caffeine: chocolate, coffee, and tea all introduced in 17th century
Chocolate was a product of the Americas:
         By the mid-1600s, the chocolate drink had gained widespread popularity in
         One enterprising Frenchman opened the first hot chocolate shop in London
But Coffee will soon take over as main caffeinated beverage.
Coffee was first cultivated in Africa - Ethiopia.
By 1000 AD, Arab traders had brought it to parts of the Middle East (qahwa).
The Ottomans invent the first coffee shops.
It's from the Ottomans that the Europeans get the habit:
         They capture the first coffee beans from a defeated Ottoman army in 1529.
By 1600, merchants are bringing the stuff into Europe - now through the Indian Ocean
By the middle of the 17th century - the first coffee shops open in Italy and England.
Why is coffee important?
         Coffeehouses become political meeting houses - "penny universities" where
people who can't afford to go to a real university come to talk and learn.

A product of the Americans (native Americans' revenge?).
Introduced into Europe, Africa, and Asia by the Spanish and smoked initially with pipes
(or snorted as snuff).
Also begins to become popular only in 17th century.
And last of all,

Hard Alcohol:
Europeans invented hard alcohol for themselves.
Now people had been drinking wine and beer since the agricultural revolution - but the
technology for making hard alcohol was more difficult.
In late medieval period, some alchemists learned distillation - the method of evaporating
and concentrating alcohol.
But they kept the process a secret and used it for medicines. IMAGE

In late 16th century, brewers found out the new technology:
Then there is an explosion of hard alcohol throughout Europe - various countries
specialize in their own type.
        Vodka in Poland/Lithuania by end of 16th century.
        University professor of Holland - invents gin 1650.
        Whisky from barley malt is being made in Scotland by 1640.
        Rum - produced from sugar of Bahamas
So in the 17th century, many of the foods and drugs we still consume today became part
of western civilization.

3. Popular sports – games like golf, hockey, football (soccer) begin to take their modern
form in the 17th century.
Don't have time to go into detail, but as with the national cuisines, these sports not just
enjoyed by the upper classes (as medieval tournaments had been) but by a broad segment
of the population.

Common theme – beginnings of a middle class culture.
In the Middle Ages, writing and high culture had been dominated by the church
The knightly aristocracy had determined the sort of sport (tournaments), secular music,
and romance which is known is medieval.
By the 17th century, ordinary middle class people began to play a role in their societies.
On the military front, they are the ones fighting for their kings as musketeers
On a cultural front, they read (and write) the literature, create the recipes, and play the
sports which we consider “modern" European, and by derivation, modern American.
And on a political front, they begin to rebel from their kings, or demand some sort of
representation in return for their taxes - more about this on Thursday.

The second symbolic aspect of 17th century I want to end with is the beginning of the
decline of the Ottoman empire, with the failed Ottoman siege of Vienne (1683)
This Ottoman defeat was a real turning point in the history of Europe's relationship with
the Middle East.
       For most of this course, the civilizations of the Middle East have been more
powerful and more dynamic than the European.
       Even in 1600 AD – an unbiased observer would have admitted that the Moslem
Ottoman empire was more impressive than anything in western Europe.
       As late as 1664, the Ottomans were still conquering new pieces of Europe –
Hungary fell to them then.
       But by 1683 – it was clear the Europeans had the upper hand.

The Ottomans had long desired to conquer Vienna – the capital of the Austrian Habsburg
In 1683, this city held out against an enormous Ottoman army for 2 months, until it was
relieved by army of Habsburg, German, and Polish troops.
The Europeans beat the Ottomans back with their artillery.

So why did the Europeans beat the Ottomans in 1683?


Ottoman army - Janissaries - was unwilling to adopt the new military technology.
They did not consider it honorable to fight with guns – after all, it didn’t take any special
skill to fire a musket.
The Ottomans knew about gunpowder – they had conquered Constantinople with it in
1453 .
It was more that they were not willing to use gunpowder to its full extent – they were not
willing to turn their armies into lines of musketeers.

(our own assumption is that if people know about new technology they will adopt it – but
this is wrong)


2nd advantage Europeans had over Ottomans was that their states were more culturally
The Ottomans had tolerated their religious minorities.
        This is reason people of the Balkans - Serbs, Albanians, Croats managed to keep
their separate identities, even after 500 years of Ottoman rule.
        And why when Spain expelled Jews in 1492, many found refuge in Ottoman
In contrast, the Europeans had been busy persecuting the marginal elements of their
societies – the Jews, the heretics, any people who seemed a little odd or rebellious
(burning of witches reached its peak in early 17th century).
Persecutions helped create religious and ethnic unity in the European states.
The Ottomans never won the loyalty of the people they had conquered.

Results: Last check removed from European expansion

After siege of Vienna in 1683, the last civilization which could really stand up to
Europeans - the Moslem Ottoman empire – was on the defensive.
In the decades afterwards, Europeans kings like the Habsubrgs began to conquer
Ottoman possession in eastern Europe (Hungary and Transylvania by 1699).
The Ottoman Empire went into a long slow decline – although it lasted until World War I
And Europeans begin to infiltrate the Middle East -first as traders - eventually as
conquerors (which is the reason the Arab world still considers "western" the equivalent of

And European civilization or “western civilization” would go on from there to do
something which had never been done by one civilization before – take over the entire


What we have done:
We’ve talked about hundreds of thousand years of human history - from the beginnings
of homo sapiens in Africa to the 17th century AD.
We’ve traced the beginnings of western civilization to the Fertile Crescent where
Sumerians and Egyptians began to live in literate complex societies while Europeans
were still cave-men.
We’ve talked about the classical Greeks and Romans which would long serve as a model
for both Europe and the Middle East - in politics, science, literature, art, etc.
And, in the second half of the course, we studied the long slow process by which western
Europeans, from humble beginnings, became capable of first exploring, and eventually
dominating the rest of the world.

Lessons of this course?
I'm afraid that the historical lessons aren't of the pleasant sort:
        That humans are a species with a lot of blood on our hands
        That the powerful tend to take advantage of the weak
        That if we want to enjoy rights, we need to be willing to fight for them
        That humans are capable of inventing things of extraordinary beauty and power -
but too often use them for destructive purposes.

Such are the lessons of this course
But these lessons are not the main reason people study history.
A year from now I don't really care if you remember the events we've talked about.
But rather when you read a text, or listen to someone talking - I hope you can treat their
words as a historian:
        To ask what assumptions are they making that influence the meaning of their
        To put their words in a cultural context
        Not so that you can discount them, but so that you can understand them.

II. Scientific Revolution

So far we have talked about the dark side to the 17th century.
The 17th century as “an orgy of hatred, bigotry, massacre, torture and brutality which has
no parallel until the twentieth” century." (Roberts)
But this was also a period of great cultural and scientific dynamism in Europe.:
Scientific method formalized
This was when the scientific method first formalized
        -Inductive reasoning through empirical observation and experiment (Bacon 1561-
        -Deductive reasoning from self-evident principles (esp. mathematical principles):
Descartes 1596-1650)
Using these methods, early modern scientists made great strides in understanding and
manipulating the world around them.

The first discoveries were in astronomy - the understanding of the solar system.
As I talked about last week, the Polish cleric Copernicus in 16th century - proposed that
the earth revolved around the sun rather than the other way around.
His ideas were picked up by subsequent scientists - in particular the Italian Galileo (1564
- 1642)
        Galileo provided the empirical evidence for the solar system.
        He invented a new type of telescope - and with it observed Jupiter's satelllites,
sunspots, phases of Venus.
        He argued that all the planets - earth included - were in state of motion.
The Catholic church financed Galileo's research for most of his life - but then in 1633,
imprisoned him for refusing to state that his notion of the solar system was just "a
Nevetheless, within the next 50 years, most educated Europeans will accept the solar
system as a fact.

Discovery of the microscopic world          IMAGE
So you have these 17th century advances in astronomy - looking at things far away.
Late in 17th century, scientists also begin to look close up - the microscope is invented.
        In 1673 - in England - the first book is published describing protozoa, bacteria,
and blood cells.
        It will take some time before people understand what these microscopic
organisms really are - but the stage is set for revolution in biology and medicine over the
next centuries.

So in the sciences, the 17th century was a period when people are learning that ancient
wisdom wasn't always correct: that people had to explore the world for themselves.

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