The 15th Century

One of the new ways that the White Oak Society is adding to our repertoire of educational programs and options, is by incorporating other historical periods. The first one that we are proud to introduce is the Late Middle ages/Early Renaissance. This period roughly covers the years from 1450 to 1505 A.D. We are proud to have a representation of late 15th century crafters, scholars, and military characters to enrich and enliven your School Days and Rendezvous and History Festival experience.

elizabeth of york, henry vii, wars of the roses, war of the roses
Elizabeth of York and Henry VII

The late 15th century is a time of great change in Europe. Our representation is of a small gathering not too far from the city of Calais, France. Calais though on French soil, is actually in the possession of the English. It is their foothold on the continent and has been a staging point for trade and military maneuvers. The English crown is held by Henry VII, the first of the Tudor monarchs.

Henry VII is the last English monarch to achieve the position through military exercise. After soundly defeating Richard III and his forces at the Battle of Bosworth Field on August 22nd, 1485, Henry united his own house of Lancaster (red rose) with the Yorkist house (white rose) by marrying Elizabeth of York, resulting in the Tudor representation of the white rose within the red rose. Thus ended the Wars of the Roses.
medieval music, 15th century music
The French crown is held by Charles VIII, a member of the Valois dynasty. Charles was held by his contemporaries to be of “pleasant disposition but unsuited for the business of the state”.

France and England maintain an uneasy alliance while the city-states of Italy and eastern Europe provide ample opportunities for the quintessential soldier of fortune, the mercenary, to ply his trade.

He achieved prominence by commencing the long series of Franco-Italian wars which so characterized Italian affairs in the first half of the 16th century.

Maximillian I is the King of Germany and the Holy Roman Emperor. Ferdinand is King of Aragon and Isabella is Queen of Castille. Together they rule Spain. They funded Christopher Columbus’s journey across the ocean to discover the “New World”. The Spanish Inquisition is also in full swing.  Alexander VI is Pope, father of the notorious Cesare and Lucrezia Borgia. Leonardo da Vinci, Raphael, and Michaelangelo Buonarroti are alive and thriving, creating breathtaking works of art. The Guttenberg press was invented in 1450 and for 45 years books and education have been growing steadily.

France and England maintain an uneasy alliance while the city-states of Italy and eastern Europe provide ample opportunities for the quintessential soldier of fortune, the mercenary, to ply his trade. The cultural  and intellectual movement of the 15th century had profound effects in the areas of literature, philosophy, art, politics, science, and religion. Women and children gained far more rights and protection. The influence of scholars from the previous centuries started to come to fruition. Roger Bacon, Thomas Aquinas, Bartholomew Anglicus, Christine de Pisan, and many others. The humanist movement became prominent by way of looking at life from the human experience rather than just the play between sin and salvation. The emerging middle class, burghers, gained in prominence and power. It is an exciting time to be alive! Experience it with us!