The “Middle Ages” is what we call the time from the fall of the Roman Empire to the Renaissance in Europe also know as the “Dark Ages.” After reading the book “The Middle Ages” by Morris Bishop, I was intrigued and captivated by the everything that occurred in is period. These events, decisions, and accomplishments have totally impacted our world today.
Not much changed in the Romans daily lives after it fell. They had the same race, language, institutions, law, literature and art, however, they eventually switched to the English language. The Middle Ages began in 476 AD with both Rome and France being Christianized. The Dark Ages lasted about 500 years starting from the year 500 AD. Domes, chariots, and written manuals were all lost during this period, however, metal tools, the crank, and harnesses for animals arose. The High Middle Ages began in 1000 AD with advancements in education and a higher amount of cities. The Battle of Hastings was fought in October of 1066 between the Norman-French army of William, the Duke of Normandy, and an English army under the Anglo-Saxon King Harold Godwinson, beginning the Norman conquest of England.
The High Middle Ages were a time of progress as castles guarded the fields, towns and villages emerged under exalted Gothic spires, commerce was controlled by bankers and regulated by guilds, and universities flourished. Knights were less prominent and those who found monastic orders were trying to return to pure monasticism. The Crusades were a series of religious wars between Christians and Muslims started primarily to secure control of holy sites considered sacred by both groups. Occurring between 1096 and 1291, the Crusades were bloody, violent, and ruthless conflicts that were a massive fight for land in the Middle East. The Crusades stimulated the economy, and led to advancements such as the Arabic numerals.
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The Christian world was neatly divided into three castes: the priests, nobles, and the common people. The church took on many more functions during the middle ages than it does today in America and Europe including maintaining hospitals, ransoming prisoners, and promoting economic welfare. Monks functioned in the Middle Ages doing outdoor work and vow of chastity, meanwhile mendicant friars lived by begging and dramatic preaching.
The manorial system of the early Middle Ages was self sufficient rather than friendly toward trade. Wine and olive oil were high luxury trading goods, the great international commerce was in textiles, and the development of commercial cities brought the demise of annual affairs. The bourgeoise played an increasing role in the economy leaving a third of their property for uses to benefit the public.
Serfdom is the status of many peasants under feudalism, specifically relating to manorialism. A serf gained freedom by purchase, marrying a free woman, or fleeing home to live for a year and a day and millers were accused of every peculation. Peasants feared innovation, preferring to do everything the old fashioned way. Craft guilds exploited customers, forbade innovation, and demanded extra pay.
The church controlled education in Western Europe’s during the Middle Ages, however it began started to change in the late Middle Ages as children learned from elders, and eventually schools became popular. Students in grammar schools were expected to learn to read and write Latin grammar, and university students studied astronomy, geometry, arithmetic, and music. Lastly, those who were seeking to join a learning profession studied astronomy, geometry, arithmetic, music, and natural sciences.
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