Manners, Custom & Dress During The Middle Ages & During The Renaissance Period [NOOK Book]



The several successive editions of "The Arts of the Middle Ages and Period
of the Renaissance" sufficiently testify to ...
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Manners, Custom & Dress During The Middle Ages & During The Renaissance Period

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The several successive editions of "The Arts of the Middle Ages and Period
of the Renaissance" sufficiently testify to its appreciation by the
public. The object of that work was to introduce the reader to a branch of
learning to which access had hitherto appeared only permitted to the
scientific. That attempt, which was a bold one, succeeded too well not to
induce us to push our researches further. In fact, art alone cannot
acquaint us entirely with an epoch. "The arts, considered in their
generality, are the true expressions of society. They tell us its tastes,
its ideas, and its character." We thus spoke in the preface to our first
work, and we find nothing to modify in this opinion. Art must be the
faithful expression of a society, since it represents it by its works as
it has created them--undeniable witnesses of its spirit and manners for
future generations. But it must be acknowledged that art is only the
consequence of the ideas which it expresses; it is the fruit of
civilisation, not its origin. To understand the Middle Ages and the
Renaissance, it is necessary to go back to the source of its art, and to
know the life of our fathers; these are two inseparable things, which
entwine one another, and become complete one by the other.

The Manners and Customs of the Middle Ages:--this subject is of the
greatest interest, not only to the man of science, but to the man of the
world also. In it, too, "we retrace not only one single period, but two
periods quite distinct one from the other." In the first, the public and
private customs offer a curious mixture of barbarism and civilisation. We
find barbarian, Roman, and Christian customs and character in presence of
each other, mixed up in the same society, and very often in the same
individuals. Everywhere the most adverse and opposite tendencies display
themselves. What an ardent struggle during that long period! and how full,
too, of emotion is its picture! Society tends to reconstitute itself in
every aspect. She wants to create, so to say, from every side, property,
authority, justice, &c., &c., in a word, everything which can establish
the basis of public life; and this new order of things must be established
by means of the elements supplied at once by the barbarian, Roman, and
Christian world--a prodigious creation, the working of which occupied the
whole of the Middle Ages. Hardly does modern society, civilised by
Christianity, reach the fullness of its power, than it divides itself to
follow different paths. Ancient art and literature resuscitates because
custom _insensibly_ takes that direction. Under that influence, everything
is modified both in private and public life. The history of the human race
does not present a subject more vast or more interesting. It is a subject
we have chosen to succeed our first book, and which will be followed by a
similar study on the various aspects of Religious and Military Life.

This work, devoted to the vivid and faithful description of the Manners
and Customs of the Middle Ages and Renaissance, answers fully to the
requirements of contemporary times. We are, in fact, no longer content
with the chronological narration and simple nomenclatures which formerly
were considered sufficient for education. We no longer imagine that the
history of our institutions has less interest than that of our wars, nor
that the annals of the humbler classes are irrelevant to those of the
privileged orders. We go further still. What is above all sought for in
historical works nowadays is the physiognomy, the inmost character of past
generations. "How did our fathers live?" is a daily question. "What
institutions had they? What were their political rights? Can you not
place before us their pastimes, their hunting parties, their meals, and
all sorts of scenes, sad or gay, which composed their home life? We should
like to follow them in public and private occupations, and to know their
manner of living hourly, as we know our own."

In a high order of ideas, what great facts serve as a foundation to our
history and that of the modern world! We have first royalty, which, weak
and debased under the Merovingians, rises and establishes itself
energetically under Pépin and Charlemagne, to degenerate under Louis le
Débonnaire and Charles le Chauve. After having dared a second time to
found the Empire of the Caesars, it quickly sees its sovereignty replaced
by feudal rights, and all its rights usurped by the nobles, and has to
struggle for many centuries to recover its rights one by one.
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Product Details

  • BN ID: 2940014565301
  • Publisher: SAP
  • Publication date: 4/22/2012
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • File size: 416 KB

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