Read more about the article How to Get Ahead – At Renaissance Court
How to Get Ahead - At Renaissance Court
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  • Reading time:5 mins read

How to Get Ahead – At Renaissance Court

How to Get Ahead - At Renaissance Court: Writer, broadcaster and Newsnight arts correspondent Stephen Smith explores Renaissance Florence under the reign of Grand Duke Cosimo Medici. Cosimo's fledgling court prized the finer things in life and some of the greatest painters, sculptors and craftsmen in world history came to serve the Grand Duke. But successful courtiers had to have brains as well as brawn. The canniest of them looked to theorists like Niccolo Machiavelli for underhand ways to get…

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Read more about the article How to Get Ahead – At Medieval Court
How to Get Ahead - At Medieval Court
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  • Reading time:6 mins read

How to Get Ahead – At Medieval Court

How to Get Ahead - At Medieval Court: Writer, broadcaster and Newsnight arts correspondent Stephen Smith looks back at the Medieval Age to find out what it took to get ahead at the court of Richard II. Richard presided over the first truly sophisticated and artistic court in England. Painters, sculptors, poets, tailors, weavers and builders flocked to court to make their fortunes. But these were dangerous times. Being close to Richard brought many a courtier to a sticky end.…

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Read more about the article Europe in the Middle Ages episode 4 – Cities and Cathedrals
Europe in the Middle Ages episode 4 - Cities and Cathedrals
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Europe in the Middle Ages episode 4 – Cities and Cathedrals

Europe in the Middle Ages episode 4 - Cities and Cathedrals: Historians considered for a long time the picturesque maze of alleyways in medieval towns to be construction planning gone haywire. New research reveals the surprising fact that many mediaeval towns were conceived on the drawing board by urban planners who were well versed in geometry, for the towns grew and offered a home to many people.     Even outsiders such as swindlers, beggars and charlatans found shelter, for…

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Read more about the article Europe in the Middle Ages episode 3 – Peasants and Nobles
Europe in the Middle Ages episode 3 - Peasants and Nobles
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  • Reading time:3 mins read

Europe in the Middle Ages episode 3 – Peasants and Nobles

Europe in the Middle Ages episode 3 - Peasants and Nobles: Most of the population in the Middle Ages lived on the land - a silent, suffering majority, who as serfs had to do soccage service and pay taxes to the ruling noblemen and were repeatedly exposed to famine and violent conflicts.     Fear of bears, wolves and demons or roaming bands of robbers were widespread and today, folktales and legends still give us an insight into the former…

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Read more about the article Europe in the Middle Ages episode 2 – Monks and Heretics
Europe in the Middle Ages episode 2 - Monks and Heretics
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  • Reading time:3 mins read

Europe in the Middle Ages episode 2 – Monks and Heretics

Europe in the Middle Ages episode 2 - Monks and Heretics: As centres of missionary activity and science, monasteries made an important contribution to progress. Here, not only theology was taught and studied, but medicine, mathematics, astronomy, law and philosophy as well.     With the translation of the ancient scripts into Latin, this knowledge was introduced to the western world. However, the monasteries were not only places of devout worship and chastity - intrigues, power struggles and love affairs…

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