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Beginning in the mid-fifteenth century, Europe recovered from a series of calamities.

Hundred Years War

conflict between England and France from 1337 to 1453; fought over lands England possessed in France and feudal rights versus the emerging claims of national states

Black Death

plague that struck Europe in 14th century; significantly reduced Europe's population; affected social structure

Conciliar Movement

The belief that the Catholic Church should be led by councils of cardinals rather than popes. The conciliarists believed that church authority rested in the council's representing the people, not the authority of the pope. They believed that reform of the church could best be achieved through council's or assemblies representing the Christian people.

War of the Roses

A struggle for the English throne (1455-1485) between the house of York (white rose) and the house of Lancaster (red rose) ending with the accession of the Tudor monarch Henry VII when he defeated Richard III.

Court of the Star Chamber

Created by Henry VII with the sanction of Parliament in 1487, this court was intended to end the perversion of English justice by powerful nobles who used intimidation and bribery to win favorable verdicts in court cases. This court had the king's councilors as judges, and they judged cases brought against nobles.

Holy Roman Empire

Loose federation of mostly German states and principalities, headed by an emperor elected by the princes. It lasted from 962 to 1806. It was the empire Charlemagne was made emperor of by the pope because he defended him. This started a long trend of good relationships between kings and popes, and gave the pope a lot more power.


a former tribunal of the Roman Catholic Church (1232-1820) created to discover and suppress heresy.


The Holy Roman Empire's equivalent to the English Parliament. The Holy Roman Empire's imperial diet, lords and German princes dominated it.

John Wycliffe

He created English Lollards. The Lollards preached in the vernacular, not in Latin. He attacked the corruption of the clergy, and questioned the power of the pope. A forerunner to the Reformation, lollards challenged papal infallibility, the sale of indulgences, and the dogma of transubstantiation.

John Huss

Czechoslovakian religious reformer who declared that "The Pope didn't have worldly powers" and "The Bible had more authority than Church Leaders." He taught sermons in Czech and was excommunicated. He was tricked by the church council, tried and burned at the stake in 1415.

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