The great philosopher, Boethius, wrote his famous Consolation of Philosophy, while awaiting execution. Practically 1000 years later, St. Thomas More wrote his Dialogue of Comfort against Tribulation while awaiting his execution.
St. Gregory the Great’s commentary on the Book of Job was the most popular book for a chunk of the Middle Ages. It is massive: 35 books long (compare this to St. Augustine’s huge City of God, which is 22 books long.)
In 1482, Christopher Columbus sailed the open seas.