Ravensburg is a town in Upper Swabia in Southern Germany, capital of the district of Ravensburg, Baden-Württemberg. Ravensburg was first mentioned in 1088. In the Middle Ages, it was an important trading centre; the "Great Ravensburg Trading Society" owned shops and trading companies all over Europe. The historic town centre is still much intact, including three town gates and over 10 towers of the medieval fortification. "The all-white Mehlsack is a tower marking the Altstadt’s southern edge. A steep staircase leads up to the Veitsburg, a quaint baroque castle."The town's most popular festival is the "Rutenfest" in mid year. Ravensburg was first mentioned in writing in 1088, it was founded by the Welfs, a Frankish dynasty in Swabia who became Dukes of Bavaria and Saxony and who made the castle of Ravensburg their ancestral seat. By a contract of inheritance, in 1191 the Hohenstaufen Frederick Barbarossa acquired the ownership of Ravensburg from Welf VI, Duke of Spoleto and uncle of both Frederick Barbarossa and Henry the Lion.
With the death of Conradin 1268 in Naples the Hohenstaufen line became extinct. Their former estates became imperial property of the Holy Roman Empire. Like many other cities in Swabia, at the end of the 13th century Ravensburg became an Imperial Free City in 1276; the "Great Ravensburg Trading Society" was founded at Ravensburg and Konstanz around 1380 by the merchant families of Humpis, Mötteli and Muntprat. At first, the society dealt in the production of linen and fustian. With the opening of one of the first paper mills north of the Alps in 1402 in Ravensburg, paper became another commodity; the Ravensburg stores sold oriental spices, Mediterranean wines and Bohemian ores. After the liquidation of the Great Ravensburg Trading Society in 1530, Ravensburg stagnated economically; the Thirty Years' War caused a grave decline of the population. Swedish troops destroyed the old castle, now named "Veitsburg" after the St. Veit chapel at the castle grounds. Following the Reformation a "paritetic" government emerged, meaning an equal distribution of public offices between the Catholic and Protestant confession.
The city council was one half each Catholic. For some time there was a Catholic and a Protestant mayor at the same time, the both confessions celebrated the village fair, the "Rutenfest", apart from each other; this system was approved at the end of the Thirty Years' War in the Peace of Westphalia which named four "Paritetic Imperial Cities": Augsburg, Dinkelsbühl and Ravensburg. In 1803 the Immerwährende Reichstag passed the Reichsdeputationshauptschluss, a bill which included the secularisation and mediatisation of many German states — the first meaning the confiscation of the estates belonging to the church, the second the incorporation of the imperial estates and Imperial Free Cities into larger regional states; as a result, Ravensburg first became a Bavarian exclave within Württemberg. After a swap of estates between Bavaria and Württemberg it was incorporated in the Kingdom of Württemberg in 1810. Since Ravensburg was impoverished and depopulated after the Thirty Years' War, only a few new buildings were raised during the 18th and the early 19th century.
The benefit of this economic stagnation was the conservation of a intact medieval city with nearly all towers and gates of the historic fortification. During World War II Ravensburg was strategically of no relevance. Ravensburg did not harbor any noteworthy arms industry, but was home to a major aid supplies center belonging to the Swiss Red Cross; the historic city center was not damaged by air raids. In the 1970s, Ravensburg increased in population and territory by the incorporation of smaller communities like Eschach and Taldorf. Ravensburg University of Cooperative Education was established in the town in 1978. In the 1980s, the Old Town was renovated and all transit traffic was banned from the city center. Ravensburg is a thriving shopping town in the wealthy region of Upper Swabia. Unemployment is low; the nearest large cities are Munich and Zurich a two-hour drive away each. Ulm and Bregenz are each less than a one-hour drive away. Ravensburg is part of an urban agglomeration that comprises Weingarten and several suburbs.
Ravensburg and Friedrichshafen share the functionality of a Oberzentrum. Ravensburg is located at a crossing of the federal roads B30, B31 and B32. A by-pass highway around Ravensburg and Weingarten was completed recently; the regional airport is situated at Friedrichshafen, about 15 km south of Ravensburg. The nearest national motor-ways are the A7 and A8 and the A96. In 1847, the railway station of Ravensbug was put in operation, part of the so-called "Swabian Railroad" from Stuttgart to Friedrichshafen, the oldest railroad of Württemberg and well known in all of Germany by the folk-style song Auf de Schwäb’sche Eisenbahne. Mechanical engineering has traditionally been the main type of industry in the region. Based on the demand of the paper and textile industries and a long tradition of flour and other mills many engineering factories arose at the end of the 19th century. Today the primary engineering firms in Ravensburg are the left-overs of the former Escher-Wyss AG (a subsid
Saint George was a soldier of Cappadocian Greek origins, member of the Praetorian Guard for Roman emperor Diocletian, sentenced to death for refusing to recant his Christian faith. He became one of the most venerated saints and megalo-martyrs in Christianity, was venerated as a military saint since the Crusaders. In hagiography, as one of the Fourteen Holy Helpers and one of the most prominent military saints, he is immortalised in the legend of Saint George and the Dragon, his memorial, Saint George's Day, is traditionally celebrated on 23 April. England and several other nation states, universities and organisations all claim Saint George as their patron. Little is known about St George’s life, but it is thought he was a Roman officer of Greek descent from Cappadocia, martyred in one of the pre-Constantinian persecutions. Beyond this, early sources give conflicting information. There are two main versions of the legend, a Greek and a Latin version, which can both be traced to the 5th or 6th century.
The saint's veneration dates to the 5th century with some certainty, still to the 4th. The addition of the dragon legend dates to the 11th century; the earliest text preserving fragments of George's narrative is in a Greek hagiography identified by Hippolyte Delehaye of the scholarly Bollandists to be a palimpsest of the 5th century. An earlier work by Eusebius, Church history, written in the 4th century, contributed to the legend but did not name George or provide significant detail; the work of the Bollandists Daniel Papebroch, Jean Bolland, Godfrey Henschen in the 17th century was one of the first pieces of scholarly research to establish the saint's historicity via their publications in Bibliotheca Hagiographica Graeca. Pope Gelasius I stated that George was among those saints "whose names are justly reverenced among men, but whose actions are known only to God." A critical edition of a Syriac Acta of Saint George, accompanied by an annotated English translation, was published by E. W. Brooks in 1925.
The compiler of this Acta Sancti Georgii, according to Hippolyte Delehaye, "confused the martyr with his namesake, the celebrated George of Cappadocia, the Arian intruder into the see of Alexandria and enemy of St. Athanasius". In the Greek tradition, George was born in Cappadocia, his father died for the faith when George was fourteen, his mother returned with George to her homeland of Syria Palaestina. A few years George's mother died. George joins the Roman army. George is persecuted by one Dadianus. In versions of the Greek legend, this name is rationalized to Diocletian, George's martyrdom is placed in the Diocletian persecution of AD 303; the setting in Nicomedia is secondary, inconsistent with the earliest cultus of the saint being located in Diospolis. George was executed by decapitation before Nicomedia's city wall, on 23 April 303. A witness of his suffering convinced Empress Alexandra of Rome to become a Christian as well, so she joined George in martyrdom, his body was returned to Lydda for burial.
The Latin Acta Sancti Georgii follows the general course of the Greek legend, but Diocletian here becomes Dacian, Emperor of the Persians. George dies in Melitene in Cappadocia, his martyrdom is extended, to more than twenty separate tortures over the course of seven years. Over the course of his martyrdom, 40,900 pagans are converted to Christianity, including the empress Alexandra; when George dies, the wicked Dacian is carried away in a whirlwind of fire. In Latin versions, the persecutor is the Roman emperor Decius, or a Roman judge named Dacian serving under Diocletian. There is little information on the early life of Saint George. Herbert Thurston in The Catholic Encyclopedia states that based upon an ancient cultus, narratives of the early pilgrims, the early dedications of churches to Saint George, going back to the fourth century, "there seems, therefore, no ground for doubting the historical existence of St. George", although no faith can be placed in either the details of his history or his alleged exploits.
According to Donald Attwater, "No historical particulars of his life have survived... The widespread veneration for St George as a soldier saint from early times had its centre in Palestine at Diospolis, now Lydda. St George was martyred there, at the end of the third or the beginning of the fourth century, and that Saint George in all likelihood was martyred before the year 290. Although the Diocletianic Persecution of 303, associated with military saints because the persecution was aimed at Christians among the professional soldiers of the Roman army, is of undisputed historicity, the identity of Saint George as a historical individual had not been ascertained as of Edmund Spenser's day, Edward Gibbon argued that George, or at least the legend from which the above is distilled, is based on George of Cappadocia, a notorious Arian bishop
Henry V, Holy Roman Emperor
Henry V was King of Germany and Holy Roman Emperor, the fourth and last ruler of the Salian dynasty. Henry's reign coincided with the final phase of the great Investiture Controversy, which had pitted pope against emperor. By the settlement of the Concordat of Worms, he surrendered to the demands of the second generation of Gregorian reformers. Henry's parents were Henry IV, Holy Roman Emperor, Bertha of Savoy. On 6 January 1099, his father had him crowned King of Germany at Aachen in place of his older brother, the rebel Conrad. Henry took an oath to take no part in the business of the Empire during his father's lifetime, but he was induced by his father's enemies to revolt in 1104, securing a dispensation from the oath by Pope Paschal II, some of the princes did homage to him at Mainz in January 1105. Despite the initial setbacks of the rebels, Henry IV died soon after. Order was soon restored in Germany, the citizens of Cologne were punished with a fine, an expedition against Robert II, Count of Flanders, brought this rebel to his knees.
In 1107, Henry undertook a campaign to restore Borivoi II in Bohemia, only successful. Henry summoned Svatopluk the Lion. Borivoi was made godfather to Svatopluk's new son. On Svatopluk's return to Bohemia, he assumed the throne. In 1108, Henry went to war with Coloman of Hungary on behalf of Prince Álmos. An attack by Boleslaus III of Poland and Borivoi on Svatopluk forced Henry to give up his campaign. Instead, he invaded Poland to compel them to renew their accustomed tribute but was defeated at the Battle of Hundsfeld, although the existence of this battle is doubted by historians because it was first recorded about a century later. In 1110, he succeeded in securing the dukedom of Bohemia for Ladislaus I. Henry's primary concern during his reign was settling the Investiture Controversy, which had caused a serious dispute during the previous reign; the papal party who had supported Henry in his resistance to his father hoped he would assent to the papal decrees, renewed by Paschal II at the synod of Guastalla in 1106.
The king, continued to invest the bishops, but wished the pope to hold a council in Germany to settle the question. After some hesitation, Paschal preferred France to Germany, after holding a council at Troyes, renewed his prohibition of lay investiture; the matter slumbered until 1110, negotiations between king and pope having failed, Paschal renewed his decrees and Henry invaded Italy with a large army. The strength of his forces helped him to secure general recognition in Lombardy, where archbishop Grossolano intended to crown him with the Iron Crown of Lombardy. At Sutri he concluded an arrangement with Paschal by which he renounced the rite of investiture in return for a promise of coronation and the restoration to the Empire of all Christendom, in the hands of the German state and church since the time of Charlemagne, it was a treaty impossible to execute, Henry, whose consent to it is said to have been conditional on its acceptance by the princes and bishops of Germany foresaw that it would occasion a breach between the German clergy and the pope.
Having entered Rome and sworn the usual oaths, the king presented himself at St. Peter's Basilica on 12 February 1111 for his coronation and the ratification of the treaty; the words commanding the clergy to restore the fiefs of the crown to Henry were read amid a tumult of indignation, whereupon the pope refused to crown the king, who in return declined to hand over his renunciation of the right of investiture. Paschal and sixteen cardinals were seized by Henry's soldiers. In the general disorder that followed, an attempt to liberate the pontiff was thwarted in a struggle during which the king was wounded. A Norman army sent by Prince Robert I of Capua to rescue the papists was turned back by the imperialist count of Tusculum, Ptolemy I of Tusculum. Henry left Rome carrying the pope with him. Paschal's failure to obtain assistance drew from him a confirmation of the king's right of investiture and a promise to crown him emperor; the coronation ceremony accordingly took place on 13 April, after which the emperor returned to Germany, where he sought to strengthen his power by granting privileges to the inhabitants of the region of the upper Rhine.
In 1112, Lothair of Supplinburg, Duke of Saxony, rose in arms against Henry but was quelled. In 1113, however, a quarrel over the succession to the counties of Weimar and Orlamünde gave occasion for a fresh outbreak on the part of Lothair, whose troops were defeated at the Battle of Warnstadt, though the duke was pardoned. On 7 January 1114 at Mainz, Henry married the daughter of Henry I of England; the emperor was confronted with a further uprising in 1114, initiated by the citizens of Cologne, who were soon joined by the Saxons and others. Henry took the fortified town of Deutz, which lay across the Rhine from Cologne, his control of Deutz allowed him to cut Cologne off from transportation. At this point, the citizens of Cologne assembled a large force, including bowmen, crossed the river, formed their ranks, prepared to meet Henry's army; the Cologne bowmen were able to break the armor of Henry's soldiers. Henry subsequently withdrew, turned south, sacked Bonn and Jülich. On his return to Deutz, he was met by Archbishop Frederick, Duke Gottfried of Lorraine, Henry of Zutphen, Count Theodoric of Aar, Count Gerhard of Julich, Lambert of Mulenarke, Eberhard
Protestantism is the second largest form of Christianity with collectively between 800 million and more than 900 million adherents worldwide or nearly 40% of all Christians. It originated with the 16th century Reformation, a movement against what its followers perceived to be errors in the Roman Catholic Church. Protestants reject the Roman Catholic doctrine of papal supremacy and sacraments, but disagree among themselves regarding the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist, they emphasize the priesthood of all believers, justification by faith alone rather than by good works, the highest authority of the Bible alone in faith and morals. The "five solae" summarise basic theological differences in opposition to the Roman Catholic Church. Protestantism is popularly considered to have begun in Germany in 1517 when Martin Luther published his Ninety-five Theses as a reaction against abuses in the sale of indulgences by the Roman Catholic Church, which purported to offer remission of sin to their purchasers.
However, the term derives from the letter of protestation from German Lutheran princes in 1529 against an edict of the Diet of Speyer condemning the teachings of Martin Luther as heretical. Although there were earlier breaks and attempts to reform the Roman Catholic Church—notably by Peter Waldo, John Wycliffe, Jan Hus—only Luther succeeded in sparking a wider and modern movement. In the 16th century, Lutheranism spread from Germany into Denmark, Sweden, Latvia and Iceland. Reformed denominations spread in Germany, the Netherlands, Scotland and France by reformers such as John Calvin, Huldrych Zwingli, John Knox; the political separation of the Church of England from the pope under King Henry VIII began Anglicanism, bringing England and Wales into this broad Reformation movement. Protestants have developed their own culture, with major contributions in education, the humanities and sciences, the political and social order, the economy and the arts, many other fields. Protestantism is diverse, being more divided theologically and ecclesiastically than either the Roman Catholic Church, the Eastern Orthodox Church, or Oriental Orthodoxy.
Without structural unity or central human authority, Protestants developed the concept of an invisible church, in contrast to the Roman Catholic view of the Catholic Church as the visible one true Church founded by Jesus Christ. Some denominations do have a worldwide scope and distribution of membership, while others are confined to a single country. A majority of Protestants are members of a handful of Protestant denominational families: Adventists, Anglicans, Reformed, Lutherans and Pentecostals. Nondenominational, charismatic and other churches are on the rise, constitute a significant part of Protestant Christianity. Proponents of the branch theory consider Protestantism one of the three major divisions of Christendom, together with the Roman Catholic Church and Orthodoxy. Six princes of the Holy Roman Empire and rulers of fourteen Imperial Free Cities, who issued a protest against the edict of the Diet of Speyer, were the first individuals to be called Protestants; the edict reversed concessions made to the Lutherans with the approval of Holy Roman Emperor Charles V three years earlier.
The term protestant, though purely political in nature acquired a broader sense, referring to a member of any Western church which subscribed to the main Protestant principles. However, it is misused to mean any church outside the Roman and Eastern Orthodox communions. Protestantism as a general term is now used in contradistinction to the other major Christian traditions, i.e. Roman Catholicism and Orthodoxy. During the Reformation, the term protestant was hardly used outside of German politics. People who were involved in the religious movement used the word evangelical. For further details, see the section below. Protestant became a general term, meaning any adherent of the Reformation in the German-speaking area, it was somewhat taken up by Lutherans though Martin Luther himself insisted on Christian or evangelical as the only acceptable names for individuals who professed Christ. French and Swiss Protestants instead preferred the word reformed, which became a popular and alternative name for Calvinists.
The word evangelical, which refers to the gospel, was used for those involved in the religious movement in the German-speaking area beginning in 1517. Nowadays, evangelical is still preferred among some of the historical Protestant denominations in the Lutheran and United Protestant traditions in Europe, those with strong ties to them. Above all the term is used by Protestant bodies in the German-speaking area, such as the Evangelical Church in Germany. In continental Europe, an Evangelical is either a Calvinist, or a United Protestant; the German word evangelisch means Protestant, is different from the German evangelikal, which refers to churches shaped by Evangelicalism. The English word evangelical refers to evangelical Protestant churches, therefore to a certain part of Protestantism rather than to Protestantism as a whole; the English word traces its roots back to the Puritans in England, where Evangelicalism originated, was brought to the United States. Martin Luther always disliked the term Lutheran, preferring the term evangelical, derived from euangelion, a Greek word meaning "good news", i.e. "gospel".
The followers of
Nördlingen is a town in the Donau-Ries district, in Swabia, Germany, with a population of 19,190. It was built in an impact crater, was first mentioned in recorded history in 898, in 1998 the town celebrated its 1100th anniversary; the town was the location of two battles during the Thirty Years' War, which took place between 1618–1648. Today it is one of only three towns in Germany that still has a intact city wall, the other two being Rothenburg ob der Tauber and Dinkelsbühl. Another attraction in the town is Saint George's Church's 90 m steeple, called "Daniel", made of a suevite impact breccia that contains shocked quartz. Other notable buildings are the town hall, St. Salvator church and the Spital, a former medieval hospital; the Ries crater museum is located in the well-preserved medieval tanner's quarter. The city is home to several other museums, such as the Bavarian Railway Museum, the Nördlingen city museum, the city wall museum and Augenblick museum with panoramas, magic lanterns, silent films, barrel organs, music boxes and gramophones.
Nördlingen is known for the Scharlachrennen, a horse riding tournament, first mentioned in 1463. Finds in the Ofnet Caves near the city show that the site of present-day Nördlingen was inhabited in the late Palaeolithic. In the Large Ofnet, in 1908 archaeologist R. R. Schmidt found two dish-shaped pits in which human skulls were lying "like eggs in flat baskets". In the larger pit were 27 skulls and in the other there were 6 skulls; the skulls were arranged concentrically with their faces turned towards the setting sun. They were all covered with a thick layer of red ochre; the skulls have been dated to the 7th millennium BC. In the area around Nördlingen, additional sites dating to all of the subsequent prehistoric epochs have been discovered. Important was an area on the eastern edge of the district Baldingen, where settlements have been found belonging to the Neolithic Linear Pottery culture, the Bronze Age Urnfield culture, the Celtic Iron Age Hallstatt and La Tène cultures; the area which includes present-day Nördlingen was part of the Roman province of Raetia, but little research has been conducted on the city's Roman period.
A Roman villa has been excavated in the district of Holheim, can be visited today. Another villa with an adjoining burial ground has been identified in the Baldingen district. A settlement, built in 85 C. E. occupied the southern part of the city until 259-260 C. E. when it was destroyed during the conquest of what is now southern Germany by the Germanic-speaking Alemanni tribes. The Roman settlement may have been the one known as Septemiacum, supposed to have been built between 80-300 C. E. although it is possible that this particular settlement was located at a different site such as Oberdorf, leaving the name of the settlement at Nördlingen uncertain. The Alemannic people occupied the Nördlingen area during the 6th and 7th centuries C. E. during which time the region was Christianized under the Merovingian dynasty, several burial grounds from this period have been discovered. The name "Nordilinga" is first found in documents of the Carolingian royal court dating from 898 C. E. and the city today celebrates this as the date of its "foundation".
Under the rule of the Bishops of Regensburg, Nördlingen grew into an important market town. In 1215, Nördlingen was granted city rights by Emperor Frederick II and became imperial city of the Holy Roman Empire. In that year, the first city wall was built. In a document dating to 1219, the Nördlinger Pfingstmesse was first mentioned, an event which continues as a folk festival in the city to the present day. Thanks to Nördlingen's location at the crossroads of two major trade routes, became an important trading center for grain, textiles and metal goods. Besides Frankfurt, Nördlingen was one of the most important long-distance trade fairs in the region. In 1238, a fire destroyed much of Nördlingen, but the city recovered. Three generations a large number of craftsmen from the Gerber and Weber families, settled outside the city walls. In 1327 the present-day circular wall was built, which increased the size of the walled portion of the city fourfold. 1427 saw the start of construction on St. George's Church.
In the year 1472 the lawsuit against the brothel owners Linhardt Freiermuth and his wife Barbara Taschenfeind are recorded in the court records of the city. The starting point of the trial was the charge of forced abortion on the prostitute Els von Eystett; the court banished the husband from the city. His wife was pilloried; the 40 parchment pages in the city archive of Nördlingen for this trial give a unique insight into the conditions of a brothel in this time period. In 1529, the city was part of the Protestation at Speyer, which sought to allow the unimpeded spread of the Protestant Reformation. In 1555, the Reformation in Nördlingen was completed. In 1579, Mayor Peter Seng signed the Lutheran Formula of Concord; the witch trials in the early modern period in Nördlingen have been well documented. Between 1589 and 1598, 34 women and one man were burned at the stake for the crime of witchcraft, one co-defendant midwife, Barbara Lierheimer, died while in custody; the trials of Maria Holl and Rebecca Lemp became well-known.
In 1589, Pastor Wilhelm Friedrich Lutz delivered sermons against the radical witch persecution of Nördlingen City Council, prior to the Council's execution of the first alleged witches in May 1590
In the history of Europe, the Middle Ages lasted from the 5th to the 15th century. It began with the fall of the Western Roman Empire and merged into the Renaissance and the Age of Discovery; the Middle Ages is the middle period of the three traditional divisions of Western history: classical antiquity, the medieval period, the modern period. The medieval period is itself subdivided into the Early and Late Middle Ages. Population decline, counterurbanisation, collapse of centralized authority and mass migrations of tribes, which had begun in Late Antiquity, continued in the Early Middle Ages; the large-scale movements of the Migration Period, including various Germanic peoples, formed new kingdoms in what remained of the Western Roman Empire. In the 7th century, North Africa and the Middle East—once part of the Byzantine Empire—came under the rule of the Umayyad Caliphate, an Islamic empire, after conquest by Muhammad's successors. Although there were substantial changes in society and political structures, the break with classical antiquity was not complete.
The still-sizeable Byzantine Empire, Rome's direct continuation, survived in the Eastern Mediterranean and remained a major power. The empire's law code, the Corpus Juris Civilis or "Code of Justinian", was rediscovered in Northern Italy in 1070 and became admired in the Middle Ages. In the West, most kingdoms incorporated the few extant Roman institutions. Monasteries were founded; the Franks, under the Carolingian dynasty established the Carolingian Empire during the 8th and early 9th century. It covered much of Western Europe but succumbed to the pressures of internal civil wars combined with external invasions: Vikings from the north, Magyars from the east, Saracens from the south. During the High Middle Ages, which began after 1000, the population of Europe increased as technological and agricultural innovations allowed trade to flourish and the Medieval Warm Period climate change allowed crop yields to increase. Manorialism, the organisation of peasants into villages that owed rent and labour services to the nobles, feudalism, the political structure whereby knights and lower-status nobles owed military service to their overlords in return for the right to rent from lands and manors, were two of the ways society was organised in the High Middle Ages.
The Crusades, first preached in 1095, were military attempts by Western European Christians to regain control of the Holy Land from Muslims. Kings became the heads of centralised nation-states, reducing crime and violence but making the ideal of a unified Christendom more distant. Intellectual life was marked by scholasticism, a philosophy that emphasised joining faith to reason, by the founding of universities; the theology of Thomas Aquinas, the paintings of Giotto, the poetry of Dante and Chaucer, the travels of Marco Polo, the Gothic architecture of cathedrals such as Chartres are among the outstanding achievements toward the end of this period and into the Late Middle Ages. The Late Middle Ages was marked by difficulties and calamities including famine and war, which diminished the population of Europe. Controversy and the Western Schism within the Catholic Church paralleled the interstate conflict, civil strife, peasant revolts that occurred in the kingdoms. Cultural and technological developments transformed European society, concluding the Late Middle Ages and beginning the early modern period.
The Middle Ages is one of the three major periods in the most enduring scheme for analysing European history: classical civilisation, or Antiquity. The "Middle Ages" first appears in Latin in 1469 as media tempestas or "middle season". In early usage, there were many variants, including medium aevum, or "middle age", first recorded in 1604, media saecula, or "middle ages", first recorded in 1625; the alternative term "medieval" derives from medium aevum. Medieval writers divided history into periods such as the "Six Ages" or the "Four Empires", considered their time to be the last before the end of the world; when referring to their own times, they spoke of them as being "modern". In the 1330s, the humanist and poet Petrarch referred to pre-Christian times as antiqua and to the Christian period as nova. Leonardo Bruni was the first historian to use tripartite periodisation in his History of the Florentine People, with a middle period "between the fall of the Roman Empire and the revival of city life sometime in late eleventh and twelfth centuries".
Tripartite periodisation became standard after the 17th-century German historian Christoph Cellarius divided history into three periods: ancient and modern. The most given starting point for the Middle Ages is around 500, with the date of 476 first used by Bruni. Starting dates are sometimes used in the outer parts of Europe. For Europe as a whole, 1500 is considered to be the end of the Middle Ages, but there is no universally agreed upon end date. Depending on the context, events such as the conquest of Constantinople by the Turks in 1453, Christopher Columbus's first voyage to the Americas in 1492, or the Protestant Reformation in 1517 are sometimes used. English historians use the Battle of Bosworth Field in 1485 to mark the end of the period. For Spain, dates used are the death of King Ferdinand II in 1516, the death of Queen Isabella I of Castile in 1504, or the conquest of Granada in 1492. Historians from Romance-speaking countries tend to divide the Middle Ages into two parts: an earlier "High" and late
Vehicle registration plate
A vehicle registration plate known as a number plate or a license plate, is a metal or plastic plate attached to a motor vehicle or trailer for official identification purposes. All countries require registration plates for road vehicles such as cars and motorcycles. Whether they are required for other vehicles, such as bicycles, boats, or tractors, may vary by jurisdiction; the registration identifier is a numeric or alphanumeric ID that uniquely identifies the vehicle owner within the issuing region's vehicle register. In some countries, the identifier is unique within the entire country, while in others it is unique within a state or province. Whether the identifier is associated with a vehicle or a person varies by issuing agency. There are electronic license plates. Most governments require a registration plate to be attached to both the front and rear of a vehicle, although certain jurisdictions or vehicle types, such as motorboats, require only one plate, attached to the rear of the vehicle.
National databases relate this number to other information describing the vehicle, such as the make, colour, year of manufacture, engine size, type of fuel used, mileage recorded, vehicle identification number, the name and address of the vehicle's registered owner or keeper. In the vast majority of jurisdictions, the government holds a monopoly on the manufacturing of vehicle registration plates for that jurisdiction. Either a government agency or a private company with express contractual authorization from the government makes plates as needed, which are mailed to, delivered to, or picked up by the vehicle owners. Thus, it is illegal for private citizens to make and affix their own plates, because such unauthorized private manufacturing is equivalent to forging an official document. Alternatively, the government will assign plate numbers, it is the vehicle owner's responsibility to find an approved private supplier to make a plate with that number. In some jurisdictions, plates will be permanently assigned to that particular vehicle for its lifetime.
If the vehicle is either destroyed or exported to a different country, the plate number is retired or reissued. China requires the re-registration of any vehicle that crosses its borders from another country, such as for overland tourist visits, regardless of the length of time it is due to remain there. Other jurisdictions follow a "plate-to-owner" policy, meaning that when a vehicle is sold the seller removes the current plate from the vehicle. Buyers must either obtain new plates or attach plates they hold, as well as register their vehicles under the buyer's name and plate number. A person who sells a car and purchases a new one can apply to have the old plates put onto the new car. One who sells a car and does not buy a new one may, depending on the local laws involved, have to turn the old plates in or destroy them, or may be permitted to keep them; some jurisdictions permit the registration of the vehicle with "personal" plates. In some jurisdictions, plates require periodic replacement associated with a design change of the plate itself.
Vehicle owners may or may not have the option to keep their original plate number, may have to pay a fee to exercise this option. Alternately, or additionally, vehicle owners have to replace a small decal on the plate or use a decal on the windshield to indicate the expiration date of the vehicle registration, periodic safety and/or emissions inspections or vehicle taxation. Other jurisdictions have replaced the decal requirement through the use of computerization: a central database maintains records of which plate numbers are associated with expired registrations, communicating with automated number plate readers to enable law-enforcement to identify expired registrations in the field. Plates are fixed directly to a vehicle or to a plate frame, fixed to the vehicle. Sometimes, the plate frames contain advertisements inserted by the vehicle service centre or the dealership from which the vehicle was purchased. Vehicle owners can purchase customized frames to replace the original frames. In some jurisdictions registration plate frames have design restrictions.
For example, many states, like Texas, allow plate frames but prohibit plate frames from covering the name of the state, district, Native American tribe or country that issued of license plate. Plates are designed to conform to standards with regard to being read by eye in day or at night, or by electronic equipment; some drivers purchase clear, smoke-colored or tinted covers that go over the registration plate to prevent electronic equipment from scanning the registration plate. Legality of these covers varies; some cameras incorporate filter systems that make such avoidance attempts unworkable with infra-red filters. Vehicles pulling trailers, such as caravans and semi-trailer trucks, are required to display a third registration plate on the rear of the trailer. An engineering study by the University of Illinois published in 1960 recommended that the state of Illinois adopt a numbering system and plate design "composed of combinations of characters which can be perceived and are legible at a distance of 125 feet under daylight conditions, are adapted to filing and administrative procedures".
It recommended that a standard plate size of 6 inches by 14 inches be adopte