1400’s a timeline of natural light, the hidden light, and the ever-present darkness in the Western World
1400 Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales
1404 Vergerio’s Concerning Liberal Studies, first humanist treatise on education.
1411: Oppressive legislation against Jews in Spain as an outcome of the preaching of the Dominican friar Vicente Ferrer.
1413: the Disputation of Tortosa in Spain, staged by the Antipope Benedict XIII. As a result, the Pope gave instructions by which all books of the Talmud would be handed over to his functionaries for censorship.
1420 Astorloger Marziano da Tortona designed a deck for Duke Flippo Maria Visconti of Milan. He includes a fifth suit of sixteen images of the Classical gods. All Jews are expelled from Lyons.
1421: Persecutions of Jews in Vienna, known as Wiener Gesera (Vienna Edict), confiscation of their possessions, and forced conversion of Jewish children. 270 Jews burned at stake. Expulsion of Jews from Austria.
1422: Pope Martin V issues a Bull reminding Christians that Christianity was derived from Judaism and warns the friars not to incite against the Jews. The Bull was withdrawn the following year on allegations that the Jews of Rome attained it by fraud.
1429 Joan of Arc leads French forces against invading English forces. Bruni’s History of Florence pioneers Renaissance historiography.
1430: The Renaissance begins. This rebirth favors the simplistic virtues of Greek and Roman Classic styles, moves from polyphony to one harmonized melody and sees the increased importance and popularity of secular music. Josquin Desprez, often called the Prince of Music, is a leading composer of the Renaissance. He worked for ducal courts in Italy and France, at the Sistine Chapel and for kings Louis XI and Louis XII.
1432 Lorenzo Valla’s On the True Good. Valla presents a discussion between an “Epicurean,” a “Stoic,” and a “Christian” on an age-old question: what is the highest ethical good? The result of this confrontation between pagan and Christian moral thought is a combination of Pauline fideism and Epicurean hedonism, in which the Christian concepts of charity and beatitude are identified with hedonist pleasure, and the “Stoic” concept of virtue is rejected (Valla, De vero falsoque bono). Valla thus treats Epicureanism as a stepping-stone to the development of a Christian morality based on the concept of pleasure, and repudiates the traditional synthesis of Stoicism and Christianity, popular among scholastics and humanists alike. [source: online Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy ]
1434: Council of Basel, Sessio XIX: Jews are forbidden to obtain academic degrees and to act as agents in the conclusion of contracts between Christians. Accession to power of Cosimo de’Medici in Florence.
1435: Massacre and forced conversion of Majorcan Jews. Alberti’s On Painting systematizes principles of perspective.
1438: Establishment of mellahs (ghettos) in Morocco.
1440 Nicholas of Cusa’s On Learned Ignorance.
1442 a deck of playing cards with a fifth suit called carte da trionfi appears in court records in Ferrara Italy.
1447: Casimir IV renews all the rights of Jews of Poland and makes his charter one of the most liberal in Europe. He revokes it in 1454 at the insistence of Bishop Zbigniew.
1449: The Statute of Toledo introduces the rule of purity of blood discriminating Conversos. Pope Nicholas V condemns it.
1450: A 271 card deck, with the fifth suit of trumps created for the Visconti-Sforza family, the rulers of Milan, Italy.
1455 Johannes Gutenberg’s Latin Vulgate Bible is printed with moveable type.
1458: The city council of Erfurt, Germany votes to expel the Jews.
1463: Pope Nicholas V authorizes the establishment of the Inquisition to investigate heresy among the Marranos. See also Crypto-Judaism.
1465: The Moroccan revolt against the Marinid dynasty, accusations against one Jewish Vizier lead to a massacre of the entire Jewish population of Fes.
1469 Ascension of Lorenzo de’ Medici, ‘the Magnificent’, in Florence.
1470 Ficino completes first Latin translation of Plato’s Dialogues.
1473–1474: Massacres of Marranos of Valladolid, Cordova, Segovia, Ciudad Real, Spain
1475 Abraham ben Garton in Reggio di Calabria, Italy publishes the first Hebrew edition of the Torah with commentary, using the commentary of Rashi. Every printed Hebrew edition of the Torah with commentary will, from this year onwards, be published with Rashi’s commentary prominently placed next to the Biblical text. A student of the preacher Giovanni da Capistrano, Franciscan Bernardine of Feltre, accuses the Jews in murdering an infant, Simon. The entire community is arrested, 15 leaders are burned at the stake, the rest are expelled. In 1588, Pope Sixtus V confirmed Simon's cultus. Saint Simon was considered a martyr and patron of kidnap and torture victims for almost 500 years. In 1965, Pope Paul VI declared the episode a fraud, and decanonized Simon's sainthood.
1481: The Spanish Inquisition is instituted.
1482 Marsilio Ficino’s Theologica Platonica
1483 Leonardo da Vinci’s Virgin of the Rocks
1485 Sandro Botticilli’s Birth of Venus
1486 Giovanni Pico della Mirandola’s Oration on the Dignity of Man
1487 Mainz Fortune-telling Book published in Ulm provides instructions for use of the four card suit playing cards deck for divination or fortune telling.
1487–1504: Bishop Gennady exposes the heresy of Zhidovstvuyushchiye (Judaizers) in Eastern Orthodoxy of Muscovy.
1490: Tomás de Torquemada head of the Inquisition in Spain, burns 6,000 volumes of Jewish manuscripts in Salamanca.
1491: The blood libel in La Guardia, Spain, where the alleged victim Holy Child of La Guardia became revered as a saint.
1492 : March 31, Ferdinand II and Isabella issue General Edict on the Expulsion of the Jews from Spain: approx. 200,000. As many localities and entire countries expel their Jewish citizens (after robbing them), and others deny them entrance, the legend of the Wandering Jew, a condemned harbinger of calamity, gains popularity. Columbus set sails and reaches the American continent. October 24: Jews of Mecklenburg, Germany are accused of stabbing a consecrated wafer. 27 Jews are burned, including two women. The spot is still called the Judenberg. All the Jews are expelled from the Duchy.
1493 January 12: Expulsion from Sicily: approx. 37,000.
1496: Forced conversion and expulsion of Jews from Portugal. This included many who fled Spain four years earlier.
1497: Copernicus studying in Italy, makes first astronomical observation. Vasco da Gama reaches India.
1498: Prince Alexander of Lithuania forces most of the Jews to forfeit their property or convert. The main motivation is to cancel the debts the nobles owe to the Jews. Within a short time trade grinds to a halt and the Prince invites the Jews back in. Leonardo da Vinci finishes the painting the Last Supper.
And so it goes…