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A World Lit Only by Fire

            In the novel, A World Lit Only By Fire, by William Manchester, Manchester's primary thesis was his interpretation of sixteenth century Europe. It depicts the struggles and hardships that the people of that century went through and prevailed. Manchester explains the significance of how Ferdinand Magellan influenced this time period. Also he clarifies the reformation of the Catholic Church through Martin Luther's teachings. Throughout the novel Manchester displays an age that was looking for a transformation to get them out of their idle status and Magellan and Luther were big parts of the transfer.
             Living in Europe during the sixteenth century was a very unpleasant experience because of its overall society. Many things of today were very different then back then. One example is that the average man stood a couple inches over 5 foot with an average weight of 135 pounds and their wives were even shorter and lighter. Travel was a big distinction between today and the 16th century. In the 16th century, travel was slow, expensive, and uncomfortable. The fastest way to move around would be to horse ride yet not many people owned horses, another way was to take a coach yet it was a very slow ride and expensive. Most people got around by walking. Today most all people have manners, but in the 16th century silverware had yet to be invented for eating and people used hands for eating. "Men behaved like boors at meals", they would be very messy eating and sometimes beat their wives while they were at it. Families were also different in this age. Women were urged to marry and have children after they passed the age of twelve. This was advised to women because if they weren't married by the age of 21 they would be a nun. Husbands and wives committed adultery all the time and they accepted each other doing it. Although they would sleep together at night it was ok for them to have sex with other mates because divorces weren't prohibited.

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