The Middle Ages The period of European history extending from about to — ce is traditionally known as the Middle Ages. The term was first used by 15th-century scholars to designate the period between their own time and the fall of the Western Roman Empire.
The Roman Empire had encouraged the building of towns, but the German barbarians refused to live in confinement.
When they swept through the empire they settled on the land and, later, built manors, castles, and villages. As each baronial stronghold was self-sufficient, there was little need for trade except for the few articles carried by traveling merchants. Without trade, most old Roman towns dwindled or even died.
They lost their right to self-government and became the property of the barons. The town dwellers did almost no manufacturing. They lived by tilling the land.
In the 11th century, however, the Crusades began to stimulate the revival of commerce. Traveling merchants established headquarters in places of safety, such as by the walls of a castle or monastery.
Places accessible to main roads or rivers grew rapidly. Wherever merchants settled, laborers and artisans came. Shipbuilders turned out trading vessels. Butchers, bakers, and brewers came to supply food for the workers, and tailors and shoemakers came to supply clothes.
Others came to make the wares of trade. By the 13th century Europe was dotted with towns. Few had as many as 10, people. The towns were introducing a new kind of life into medieval Europe, however, for the townspeople now lived by the exchange of goods and services.
They were no longer self-sufficient like the small groups of peasants on the manors were; they had to develop a lifestyle based on the idea of exchange. This organization laid the foundations for modern economic and social living.
As the cities grew rich they sought the right to govern themselves. The first to free themselves from the power of feudal lords were in Italy--Venice, Pisa, Genoa, Florence, and others.
Towns in France were next to gain power, then towns along the Rhine Valley and on the Baltic coast, where cities of the Hanseatic League grew to enormous wealth and strength.
Some of the towns bought their freedom from the nobles and the church; others fought bitter battles to win it. A few were given it. In the towns the houses were packed together because every town had to be a fortress, with stout, high walls and a moat or river to protect it from hostile nobles, pirates, and robber bands.
The smaller the walled enclosure, the easier it was to defend. The only open places were the market square in the town center, the cathedral, and the few gardens of the rich. Main streets led like spokes of a wheel from the market to the few gates in the walls. Building room was so cramped that the houses were built in several narrow stories, the upper floors jutting over the alleylike streets.
Few streets were paved. In wet weather people floundered almost knee-deep in mud. The street was the only sewer. It sloped to the center, and refuse and chamber waste were flung into it.
Pigs rooted in the odorous filth. Wells, springs, and rivers were the only water supply. They were unprotected and untreated, so that plagues were frequent.
Most of them had a mere framework of heavy timbers. The wall spaces were filled with woven reeds daubed with clay or plaster. Rushes or straw usually lined the floors. Fireplaces had chimneys, and the peril of sparks on the thatched roofs was one of the worst hazards of town living.
The house of the average citizen served multiple functions as his dwelling, factory, and shop. Goods were made and sold on the ground floor.
The owner and his family lived on the floor above. The upper stories of the house were storage rooms and sleeping lofts for the workmen.The Middle Ages is a term coined around to describe a thousand years of European History.
In this Very Short Introduction, Miri Rubin provides an exploration of the variety, change, dynamism, and sheer complexity that the period iridis-photo-restoration.com the provinces of the Roman Empire, which became Barbarian kingdoms after c, to the northern and eastern regions that became increasingly.
At the start of the Middle Ages, England was a part of Britannia, a former province of the Roman iridis-photo-restoration.com local economy had once been dominated by imperial Roman spending on a large military establishment, which in turn helped to support a complex network of towns, roads, and villas.
At the end of the 4th century, however, Roman forces had been largely withdrawn, and this economy collapsed. Enjoy a break taking European cruise on a luxury ship. Explore Northern Europe, the Arctic Circle, Norway, and Much More. Set sail on your vacation! Late Middle Ages, The period of European history during 14th to 16th century () is considered as the Late Middle Ages.
At the end of 13th century, Europe faced a series of famines and plagues including the Great Famine during . Download the report: Golden Aging: Prospects for Healthy, Active and Prosperous Aging in Europe and Central Asia.
Overview. The Europe and Central Asia region has among the oldest populations in the world. Europe, in particular, is approaching the end of a demographic transition toward population stabilization, and Central Asia, although still younger, is following quickly.
The Late Middle Ages or Late Medieval Period was the period of European history lasting from to iridis-photo-restoration.com Late Middle Ages followed the High Middle Ages and preceded the onset of the early modern era (and, in much of Europe, the Renaissance)..
Around , centuries of prosperity and growth in Europe came to a halt. A series of famines and plagues, including the Great Famine of .