Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Simple Letters Lead to Big Impacts

 Martin Luther was a Catholic Monk who challenged the Roman Catholic Church based on a concept called indulgences.  Indulgences allowed people to "buy their way into Heaven". Given the right amount of money, the Church would forgive a person's sins.  Citizens would pay for these indulgences even if they were almost broke and couldn't afford food-forgiveness of their sins were more important.  Martin Luther did not believe that God would accept you into Heaven simply because you pay the church for His forgiveness of your sins.  Luther then challenged the Roman Catholic Church about his belief and wrote a  simple letter to the Archbishop of Mainz to explain his position.  As Luther gained more popularity, he began to write more.  This quote was written by him around 1535, about his believes towards the church, God and the Pope.  "The main reason I fell out with the pope was this: the pope boasted that he was the head of the Church, and condemned all that would not be under his power and authority.  He said, although Christ is the head of the Chrurch, there must be a physical head of the Church upon Earth...Further, he took power, rule, and authority over the Christian Church, and over the Holy Scriptures, the Word of God."  This quote expresses how Luther didn't believe in how the Pope ran his Church and his religion.  Martin Luther challenged the church because the people in power cared more about allowing indulgences than they cared about their own people. 
     Martin Luther's intention from the beginning was to express his beliefs towards the Church, and how he thought they weren't doing what's right-what the Bible says.  Luther's movement started with posting letters in the church, but his actions escalated quickly.  His inspirations sparked a change in the peasants' attitudes toward their economic sufferings, and soon the peasants revolted.  At first, Luther was sympathetic towards the peasants and issued a document, "An Admonition of Peace".  But once many riots broke out, he was shocked and made a point that his writings were misinterpreted, and that he meant everything in religious terms.  Luther then published a document,  "Against the Murderous, Thieving Hordes of Peasants", and he sided with the German Rulers, who took Luther's approval of them too far by slaughtering and driving out hundreds of thousands of peasant rebels.  Martin Luther had positive and negative impacts on the Roman Catholic Church and the citizens in Germany during the 1500's.

Video of the social impact of Martin Luther and the Peasants' Revolt:

Thursday, September 25, 2014

The Rise of The Medici

     The essential question we studied was "How did new wealth in Florence lead to new art and ideas during the Renaissance?".  We did several activities in class to get to the answer of this question.  Some activities were watching a video on the Medici family, reading about patrons of art and an activity in which we were the patrons and had to choose our artist and what we wanted them to paint.  A patronage was a person from a wealthy family who paid artists to produce magnificent work, and these art works helped gained respect and power.  The Medici family began to gain wealth and power by running a small bank in Florence.  They then later became the official church of the Roman Catholic Church, which controls most of Europe.  They sponsered Brunelleschi to build their reputation.  Brunelleschi was a classical architecture genius, but he had an unpredictable temper and personality and was sometimes disagreeable and unwilling to compromise.  He built a temple/chapel dedicated to the Medici and also built an orphanage.  Later, The Medici convinced the government in Flornece to let Brunelleschi try to build the dome on the cathedral.  Machiavelli's job for the Medici was to serve as Pieros' political advisor and protege before the popes militia invaded the Medici family.  But once Medici had taken over Florence, they threw Machiavelli in jail, tortured him and then exiled him.  Machiavelli wanted to work for the Medici in their new Florentine regime, so in order to convince the Medici of his desire, he wrote a book called "The Prince".  His story was about his ides of being a good leader, and he dedicated it to the Medici but this was not enough to convince the Medici.
     I read an excerpt from "The Prince", and it was about the differences between being feared and being loved.  It says how it is much safer to be feared than to be loved.  Men respond better to someone they fear than to someone they love. Men will feel they have to perform for the one they fear for fear of retribution, whereas they will be less motivated to perform for the one they love. There will be no fear of disappointing the one who loves them.  Being feared is not the same as being hated. Being hated is the opposite of being loved but if you aren't loved, it does't mean you are hated.  Being feared is when people are afraid of of you, and being hated is when people have a strong dislike towards you.  Being feared is not the same as being hated.
    I agree with Machiavelli's ideas about leadership.  He believes that some characteristics of a good leader are generosity, compassion and loyalty.  I agree that good characteristics of leadership are the ones Machiavelli listed in "The Prince".  I think most of today's leaders use Machiavelli's philosophy, but some do not.  I think many leaders today are generous and are compassionate and loyal.  But, there are always some leaders who don't care about those things and who become unfair and mean towards their citizens.  Machiavelli's "The Prince" lists many of great characteristics all good leaders should have if they want to run a smooth and fair city/state/country.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

The Black Death

In class, we looked at two different short articles discussing stories of the Black Death.  The Black Death was a deadly and contagios disease that swept over Europe, killing thousands of people.  In 1338, when the plague started, there was no vaccine to stop the fast spreading disease that was transferred through the someone coughing on someone else or through trade between countries.  The two passages, The Florentine Chronicle and The Decameron we read are about the Black Death.

The first passage we read was The Florentine Chronicle by di Coppo Di Stefano Buonaiuti.  It was written in the late 1370's, about 20 years after The Black Death started in Florence.  The author of this piece was born in 1336 in Florence and experienced the plague when he was two years old.  He survived and wrote this passage about The Black Death 20 years after he experienced it.  This short passage is about how the plague took everyone away from their families and once it entered a house, none remained.  It also mentions how that there was nothing you could do about it but help care for the sick and bury your dead family members.  The author says "it was said" in the beginning of the passage, meaning that he does not remember details on the Plague but that's what others told him.  One reason why this is believable is because di Coppo Di Stefano Buonaiuti was in Florence at the time when the Black Death hit Florence in 1338.  One reason why this passage isn't believable is because he was only two when it happened so might not remember it all.

The second passage we read was The Decameron by Boccaccio and doesn't have the published date on it.  Boccaccio was alive during the Black Death, when it struck in 1348.  Boccaccio was not in Florence at the time of the plague.  In this short passage, Boccaccio discusses the death of a man being dragged through the streets by two hogs.  Boccaccio's passage, Decameron, is a piece of fiction.  He writes it based on what he's heard happened to people affected by the Plague and how towns and citizens reacted to it. One reason why this passage is believable is because Boccaccio knew what it was like to live during that time period, even though he didn't necessarily experience.  Others might think it's not believable for some other reasons.  One reason is because this piece is fictional and he made up the plot line.  Another reason why people might not think it's believable is because Boccaccio didn't witness the Black Death in Florence like di Coppo Di Stefano Buonaiuti did.

My opinion is that The Florentine Chronicle is most believable.  One reason why I think this passage is more believable over Decameron is because di Coppo Di Stefano Buonaiti was in Florence during the Black Death, where as in Decameron, Boccaccio was not in Florence to experience it.  Another reason why The Florentine Chronicle is more believable than Decameron isn because di Coppo Di Stefano Buonaiuti got the information from others who remembered the Plague (because he was only two) and Boccaccio made up the plot line.  Both passages discuss the horrific Black Death, but I think that The Florentine Chronicle by di Coppo Di Stefano Buonaiuti is more believable than Decameron by Boccaccio.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

First Day Of School

Hi!  My name is Olivia Sahagian and I'm a freshman in high school.  This is my first blog post.  I will be posting frequently about different topics we learn in history class.  

In the first few days of school, most students are asked about what kind of teachers they like and some goals they would like to set.  Students are asked so the teacher has an understanding of what kind of student they're like and because they want to help them reach their goals.  I'm in 9th grade, so I've had many teachers before and few stand out in my mind not just because they were nice but  because of the other great qualities in them.  I believe one of the most important qualities in a teacher is being able to relate to their students.  If teachers can relate to their students then they can figure out the best way of learning for each of their students and can come up with fun ways to learn.  Another great quality all teachers should have is be able to engage their students in the lesson, to make it fun and interesting to learn about.  They could make the lessons into a fun, creative, group activity instead of having the students take notes all class.  If my teacher had these qualities then I would enjoy class more and learn better.  Having qualities like this makes students like their teachers and the subject they're learning more.

The very talented author, John Green, has a video up on youtube for kids returning to school.  In it, he talks about how school is not for us personally but for the world because they believe in students in school to grow up and use what they learned to discover and invent great things.  I agree with John Green in this scenario because I also believe that using everything we learn in twelve plus years of school, every single one of us could make the world a better place by using our knowledge to invent and discover new things.  To be able to accomplish great things, it is always helpful to set some goals.  One of my goals is to improve on comprehending readings.  Another one of my goals is to work on my shooting in basketball and to make ten out of ten foul shots by the end of the school year.  I can work towards my academic goal by taking notes, re-reading and asking questions about the piece of writing for a better understanding.  To achieve my basketball goal I can try to practice shooting outside everyday I can to get my shot consistent.  Goals are a very important part of our educational, personal, and physical world.