The High Middle Ages, or High Medieval Period, was the period of European history that commenced around 1000 and lasted until around 1250. The High Middle Ages were preceded by the Early Middle Ages and were followed by the Late Middle Ages, which ended around 1500 (by historiographical convention).
Key historical trends of the High Middle Ages include the rapidly increasing population of Europe, which brought about great social and political change from the preceding era, and the Renaissance of the 12th century, including the first developments of rural exodus and of urbanization. By 1250, the robust population increase had greatly benefited the European economy, which reached levels that would not be seen again in some areas until the 19th century. That trend faltered during the Late Middle Ages because of a series of calamities, most notably the Black Death, but also numerous wars as well as economic stagnation.
From around 780, Europe saw the last of the barbarian invasions and became more socially and politically organized. The Carolingian Renaissance led to scientific and philosophical activity in Northern Europe. The first universities started operating in Bologna, Paris, Oxford and Modena. The Vikings settled in the British Isles, France and elsewhere, and Norse Christian kingdoms started developing in their Scandinavian homelands. The Magyars ceased their expansion in the 10th century, and by the year 1000, a Christian Kingdom of Hungary had become a recognized state in Central Europe that was forming alliances with regional powers. With the brief exception of the Mongol invasions in the 13th century, major nomadic incursions ceased. The powerful Byzantine Empire of the Macedonian and the Komnenos dynasties gradually gave way to the resurrected Serbia and Bulgaria and to a successor crusader state (1204 to 1261), which countered the continuous threat of the Seljuk Turks in Asia Minor.
In the 11th century, populations north of the Alps began a more intensive settlement, targeting "new" lands, some of which areas had reverted to wilderness after the end of the Roman Empire. In what is known as the "great clearances", Europeans cleared and cultivated some of the vast forests and marshes that lay across of the continent. At the same time, some settlers moved beyond the traditional boundaries of the Frankish Empire to new frontiers beyond the Elbe River, which tripled the size of Germany in the process. The Catholic Church, which reached the peak of its political power around then, called armies from across Europe to a series of Crusades against the Seljuk Turks. The crusaders occupied the Holy Land and founded the Crusader States in the Levant. Other wars led to the Northern Crusades. The Christian kingdoms took much of the Iberian Peninsula from Muslim control, and the Normans conquered southern Italy, all part of the major population increases and the resettlement patterns of the era.
The High Middle Ages produced many different forms of intellectual, spiritual and artistic works. The age also saw the rise of ethnocentrism, which evolved later into modern civic nationalisms in most of Europe, the ascent of the great Italian city-states and the rise and fall of the Muslim civilization of Al-Andalus. The rediscovery of the works of Aristotle led Thomas Aquinas and other thinkers of the period to expand Scholasticism, a combination of Catholicism and ancient philosophy. For much of this period, Constantinople remained Europe's most populous city, and Byzantine art reached a peak in the 12th century. In architecture, many of the most notable Gothic cathedrals were built or completed around this period.
The Crisis of the Late Middle Ages began at the start of the 14th century and marked the end of the period.
In England, the Norman Conquest of 1066 resulted in a kingdom ruled by a Francophone nobility. The Normans invaded Ireland by force in 1169 and soon established themselves throughout most of the country, although their stronghold was the southeast. Likewise, Scotland and Wales were subdued to vassalage at about the same time, though Scotland later asserted its independence and Wales remained largely under the rule of independent native princes until the death of Llywelyn ap Gruffydd in 1282. The Exchequer was founded in the 12th century under King Henry I, and the first parliaments were convened. In 1215, after the loss of Normandy, King John signed the Magna Carta into law, which limited the power of English monarchs.
Much of the Iberian peninsula had been occupied by the Moors after 711, although the northernmost portion was divided between several Christian states. In the 11th century, and again in the thirteenth, the Christian kingdoms of the north gradually drove the Muslims from central and most of southern Iberia.
From the mid-tenth to the mid-11th centuries, the Scandinavian kingdoms were unified and Christianized, resulting in an end of Viking raids, and greater involvement in European politics. King Cnut of Denmark ruled over both England and Norway. After Cnut's death in 1035, England and Norway were lost, and with the defeat of Valdemar II in 1227, Danish predominance in the region came to an end. Meanwhile, Norway extended its Atlantic possessions, ranging from Greenland to the Isle of Man, while Sweden, under Birger Jarl, built up a power-base in the Baltic Sea. However, the Norwegian influence started to decline already in the same period, marked by the Treaty of Perth of 1266. Also, civil wars raged in Norway between 1130 and 1240.
By the time of the High Middle Ages, the Carolingian Empire had been divided and replaced by separate successor kingdoms called France and Germany, although not with their modern boundaries. Germany was under the banner of the Holy Roman Empire, which reached its high-water mark of unity and political power.
During the successful reign of King David IV of Georgia (1089–1125), Kingdom of Georgia grew in strength and expelled the Seljuk Empire from its lands. David's decisive victory in the Battle of Didgori (1121) against the Seljuk Turks, as a result of which Georgia recaptured its lost capital Tbilisi, marked the beginning of the Georgian Golden Age. David's granddaughter Queen Tamar continued the upward rise, successfully neutralizing internal opposition and embarking on an energetic foreign policy aided by further decline of the hostile Seljuk Turks. Relying on a powerful military élite, Tamar was able to build on the successes of her predecessors to consolidate an empire which dominated vast lands spanning from present-day southern Russia on the Black Sea to the Caspian Sea. Georgia remained a leading regional power until its collapse under the Mongol attacks within two decades after Tamar's death.
In the High Middle Ages, the Kingdom of Hungary (founded in 1000), became one of the most powerful medieval states in central Europe and Western Europe. King Saint Stephen I of Hungary introduced Christianity to the region; he was remembered by the contemporary chroniclers as a very religious monarch, with wide knowledge in Latin grammar, strict with his own people but kind to the foreigners. He eradicated the remnants of the tribal organisation in the Kingdom and forced the people to sedentarize and adopt the Christian religion, ethics, way of life and founded the Hungarian medieval state, organising it politically in counties using the Germanic system as a model.
The following monarchs usually kept a close relationship with Rome like Saint Ladislaus I of Hungary, and a tolerant attitude with the pagans that escaped to the Kingdom searching for sanctuary (for example Cumans in the 13th century), which eventually created certain discomfort for some Popes. With entering in Personal union with the Kingdom of Croatia and annexation of other small states, Hungary became a small empire that extended its control over the Balkans and all the Carpathian region. The Hungarian royal house was the one that gave the most saints to the Catholic Church during medieval times.
During the High Middle Ages Poland emerged as a kingdom. It decided to bond itself with the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, confirmed by the Union of Krewo and later treaties, leading to a personal union in 1569.
The High Middle Ages saw the height and decline of the Slavic state of Kievan Rus' and emergence of Cumania. Later, the Mongol invasion in the 13th century had great impact on the east of Europe, as many countries of the region were invaded, pillaged, conquered and/or vassalized.
During the first half of this period (c. 1025—1185) the Byzantine Empire dominated the Balkans, and under the Komnenian emperors there was a revival of prosperity and urbanization; however, their domination of Southeastern Europe came to an end with a successful Vlach-Bulgarian rebellion in 1185, and henceforth the region was divided between the Byzantines in Greece, some parts of Macedonia, and Thrace, the Bulgarians in Moesia and most of Thrace and Macedonia, and the Serbs to the northwest. Eastern and Western churches had formally split in the 11th century, and despite occasional periods of co-operation during the 12th century, in 1204 the Fourth Crusade treacherously captured Constantinople. This severely damaged the Byzantines, and their power was ultimately weakened by the Seljuks and the rising Ottoman Empire in the 14–15th century. The power of the Latin Empire, however, was short lived after the Crusader army was routed by Bulgarian Emperor Kaloyan in the Battle of Adrianople (1205).
The Medieval Warm Period, the period from 10th century to about the 14th century in Europe, was a relatively warm and gentle interval ended by the generally colder Little Ice Age. Farmers grew wheat well north into Scandinavia, and wine grapes in northern England, although the maximum expansion of vineyards appears to occur within the Little Ice Age period. During this time, a high demand for wine and steady volume of alcohol consumption inspired a viticulture revolution of progress. This protection from famine allowed Europe's population to increase, despite the famine in 1315 that killed 1.5 million people. This increased population contributed to the founding of new towns and an increase in industrial and economic activity during the period. They also established trade and a comprehensive production of alcohol. Food production also increased during this time as new ways of farming were introduced, including the use of a heavier plow, horses instead of oxen, and a three-field system that allowed the cultivation of a greater variety of crops than the earlier two-field system—notably legumes, the growth of which prevented the depletion of important nitrogen from the soil.
Household heavy cavalry (knights) became common in the 11th century across Europe, and tournaments were invented. Although the heavy capital investment in horse and armor was a barrier to entry, knighthood became known as a way for serfs to earn their freedom. In the 12th century, the Cluny monks promoted ethical warfare and inspired the formation of orders of chivalry, such as the Templar Knights. Inherited titles of nobility were established during this period. In 13th-century Germany, knighthood became another inheritable title, although one of the less prestigious, and the trend spread to other countries.
The East–West Schism of 1054 formally separated the Christian church into two parts: Roman Catholicism in Western Europe and Eastern Orthodoxy in the east. It occurred when Pope Leo IX and Patriarch Michael I excommunicated each other, mainly over disputes as to the existence of papal authority over the four Eastern patriarchs, as well as disagreement over the filioque.
The Crusades occurred between the 11th and 13th centuries. They were conducted under papal authority with the intent of reestablishing Christian rule in The Holy Land by taking the area from the Muslim Fatimid Caliphate. The Fatimids had captured Palestine in AD 970, lost it to the Seljuk Turks in 1073 and recaptured it in 1098, just before they lost it again in 1099 as a result of the First Crusade.
The Knights Templar were a Christian military order founded after the First Crusade to help protect Christian pilgrims from hostile locals and highway bandits. The order was deeply involved in banking, and in 1307 Philip the Fair (Philippine le Bel) had the entire order arrested in France and dismantled on charges of heresy.
The Knights Hospitaller were originally a Christian organization founded in Jerusalem in 1080 to provide care for poor, sick, or injured pilgrims to the Holy Land. After Jerusalem was taken in the First Crusade, it became a religious/military order that was charged with the care and defence of the Holy Lands. After the Holy Lands were eventually taken by Muslim forces, it moved its operations to Rhodes, and later Malta.
The Teutonic Knights were a German religious order formed in 1190, in the city of Acre, to both aid Christian pilgims on their way to the Holy Lands and to operate hospitals for the sick and injured in Extremer. After Muslim forces captured the Holy Lands, the order moved to Transylvania in 1211 and later, after being expelled, invaded pagan Prussic with the intention of Christianizing the Baltic region. Yet, before and after the Order's main pagan opponent, Lithuania, converted to Christianity, the Order had already attacked other Christian nations such as Novgorod and Poland. The Teutonic Knights' power hold, which became considerable, was broken in 1410, at the Battle of Grunwald, where the Order suffered a devastating defeat against a joint Polish-Lithuanian army. After Grunwald, the Order declined in power until 1809 when it was officially dissolved. There were ten crusades in total.
The new Christian method of learning was influenced by Anselm of Canterbury (1033–1109) from the rediscovery of the works of Aristotle, at first indirectly through Medieval Jewish and Muslim Philosophy (Maimonides, Avicenna, and Averroes) and then through Aristotle's own works brought back from Byzantine and Muslim libraries; and those whom he influenced, most notably Albertus Magnus, Bonaventure and Abélard. Many scholastics believed in empiricism and supporting Roman Catholic doctrines through secular study, reason, and logic. They opposed Christian mysticism, and the Platonist-Augustinian belief that the mind is an immaterial substance. The most famous of the scholastics was Thomas Aquinas (later declared a "Doctor of the Church"), who led the move away from the Platonic and Augustinian and towards Aristotelianism. Aquinas developed a philosophy of mind by writing that the mind was at birth a tabula rasa ("blank slate") that was given the ability to think and recognize forms or ideas through a divine spark. Other notable scholastics included Roscelin, Abélard, Peter Lombard, and Francisco Suárez. One of the main questions during this time was the problem of universals. Prominent opponents of various aspects of the scholastic mainstream included Duns Scotus, William of Ockham, Peter Damian, Bernard of Clairvaux, and the Victorines. 
Christian heresies existed in Europe before the 11th century but only in small numbers and of local character: in most cases, a rogue priest, or a village returning to pagan traditions. Beginning in the 11th century, however mass-movement heresies appeared. The roots of this can be partially sought in the rise of urban cities, free merchants, and a new money-based economy. The rural values of monasticism held little appeal to urban people who began to form sects more in tune with urban culture. The first large-scale heretical movements in Western Europe originated in the newly urbanized areas such as southern France and northern Italy and were probably influenced by the Bogomils and other dualist movements. These heresies were on a scale the Catholic Church had never seen before; the response was one of elimination for some (such as the Cathars), and acceptance and integration of others (such as the veneration of Francis of Assisi, the son of an urban merchant who renounced money).
Catharism was a movement with Gnostic elements that originated around the middle of the 10th century, branded by the contemporary Roman Catholic Church as heretical. It existed throughout much of Western Europe, but its origination was in Languedoc and surrounding areas in southern France.
The Cathars are also called Albigensians. This name originates from the end of the 12th century, and was used by the chronicler Geoffroy du Breuil of Vigeois in 1181. The name refers to the southern town of Albi (the ancient Albiga). The designation is hardly exact, for the centre was at Toulouse and in the neighbouring districts.
Peter Waldo of Lyon was a wealthy merchant who gave up his riches around 1175 after a religious experience and became a preacher. He founded the Waldensians which became a Christian sect believing that all religious practices should have scriptural basis. Waldo was denied the right to preach his sermons by the Third Lateran Council in 1179, which he did not obey and continued to speak freely until he was excommunicated in 1184. Waldo was critical of the Christian clergy saying they did not live according to the word. He rejected the practice of selling indulgences, as well as the common saint cult practices of the day.
Waldensians are considered a forerunner to the Protestant Reformation, and they melted into Protestantism with the outbreak of the Reformation and became a part of the wider Reformed tradition after the views of John Calvin and his theological successors in Geneva proved very similar to their own theological thought. Waldensian churches still exist, located on several continents.
In Northern Europe, the Hanseatic League, a federation of free cities to advance trade by sea, was founded in the 12th century, with the foundation of the city of Lübeck, which would later dominate the League, in 1158–1159. Many northern cities of the Holy Roman Empire became hanseatic cities, including Amsterdam, Cologne, Bremen, Hanover and Berlin. Hanseatic cities outside the Holy Roman Empire were, for instance, Bruges and the Polish city of Gdańsk (Danzig), as well as Königsberg, capital of the monastic state of the Teutonic Knights. In Bergen, Norway and Veliky Novgorod, Russia the league had factories and middlemen. In this period the Germans started colonising Europe beyond the Empire, into Prussia and Silesia.
In the late 13th century, a Venetian explorer named Marco Polo became one of the first Europeans to travel the Silk Road to China. Westerners became more aware of the Far East when Polo documented his travels in Il Milione. He was followed by numerous Christian missionaries to the East, such as William of Rubruck, Giovanni da Pian del Carpine, André de Longjumeau, Odoric of Pordenone, Giovanni de' Marignolli, Giovanni di Monte Corvino, and other travellers such as Niccolò de' Conti.
Philosophical and scientific teaching of the Early Middle Ages was based upon few copies and commentaries of ancient Greek texts that remained in Western Europe after the collapse of the Western Roman Empire. Most of them were studied only in Latin as knowledge of Greek was very limited.
This scenario changed during the Renaissance of the 12th century. The intellectual revitalization of Europe started with the birth of medieval universities. The increased contact with the Islamic world in Spain and Sicily during the Reconquista, and the Byzantine world and Muslim Levant during the Crusades, allowed Europeans access to scientific Arabic and Greek texts, including the works of Aristotle, Alhazen, and Averroes. The European universities aided materially in the translation and propagation of these texts and started a new infrastructure which was needed for scientific communities.
At the beginning of the 13th century there were reasonably accurate Latin translations of the main works of almost all the intellectually crucial ancient authors, allowing a sound transfer of scientific ideas via both the universities and the monasteries. By then, the natural science contained in these texts began to be extended by notable scholastics such as Robert Grosseteste, Roger Bacon, Albertus Magnus and Duns Scotus. Precursors of the modern scientific method can be seen already in Grosseteste's emphasis on mathematics as a way to understand nature, and in the empirical approach admired by Bacon, particularly in his Opus Majus.
During the 12th and 13th century in Europe there was a radical change in the rate of new inventions, innovations in the ways of managing traditional means of production, and economic growth. In less than a century there were more inventions developed and applied usefully than in the previous thousand years of human history all over the globe. The period saw major technological advances, including the adoption or invention of windmills, watermills, printing (though not yet with movable type), gunpowder, the astrolabe, glasses, scissors of the modern shape, a better clock, and greatly improved ships. The latter two advances made possible the dawn of the Age of Discovery. These inventions were influenced by foreign culture and society.
Alfred W. Crosby described some of this technological revolution in The Measure of Reality: Quantification in Western Europe, 1250-1600 and other major historians of technology have also noted it.
Art in the High Middle Ages includes these important movements:
Gothic architecture superseded the Romanesque style by combining flying buttresses, gothic (or pointed) arches and ribbed vaults. It was influenced by the spiritual background of the time, being religious in essence: thin horizontal lines and grates made the building strive towards the sky. Architecture was made to appear light and weightless, as opposed to the dark and bulky forms of the previous Romanesque style. Saint Augustine of Hippo taught that light was an expression of God. Architectural techniques were adapted and developed to build churches that reflected this teaching. Colorful glass windows enhanced the spirit of lightness. As color was much rarer at medieval times than today, it can be assumed that these virtuoso works of art had an awe-inspiring impact on the common man from the street. High-rising intricate ribbed, and later fan vaultings demonstrated movement toward heaven. Veneration of God was also expressed by the relatively large size of these buildings. A gothic cathedral therefore not only invited the visitors to elevate themselves spiritually, it was also meant to demonstrate the greatness of God. The floor plan of a gothic cathedral corresponded to the rules of scholasticism: According to Erwin Panofsky's Gothic Architecture and Scholasticism, the plan was divided into sections and uniform subsections. These characteristics are exhibited by the most famous sacral building of the time: Notre Dame de Paris.
A variety of cultures influenced the literature of the High Middle Ages, one of the strongest among them being Christianity. The connection to Christianity was greatest in Latin literature, which influenced the vernacular languages in the literary cycle of the Matter of Rome. Other literary cycles, or interrelated groups of stories, included the Matter of France (stories about Charlemagne and his court), the Acritic songs dealing with the chivalry of Byzantium's frontiersmen, and perhaps the best known cycle, the Matter of Britain, which featured tales about King Arthur, his court, and related stories from Brittany, Cornwall, Wales and Ireland. An anonymous German poet tried to bring the Germanic myths from the Migration Period to the level of the French and British epics, producing the Nibelungenlied. There was also a quantity of poetry and historical writings which were written during this period, such as Historia Regum Britanniae by Geoffrey of Monmouth.
Despite political decline during the late 12th and much of the 13th centuries, the Byzantine scholarly tradition remained particularly fruitful over the time period. One of the most prominent philosophers of the 11th century, Michael Psellos, reinvigorated Neoplatonism on Christian foundations and bolstered the study of ancient philosophical texts, along with contributing to history, grammar, and rhetorics. His pupil and successor at the head of Philosophy at the University of Constantinople Ioannes Italos continued the Platonic line in Byzantine thought and was criticized by the Church for holding opinions it considered heretical, such as the doctrine of transmigration. Two Orthodox theologians important in the dialogue between the eastern and western churches were Nikephoros Blemmydes and Maximus Planudes. Byzantine historical tradition also flourished with the works of the brothers Niketas and Michael Choniates in the beginning of the 13th century and George Akropolites a generation later. Dating from 12th century Byzantine Empire is also Timarion, an Orthodox Christian anticipation of Divine Comedy. Around the same time the so-called Byzantine novel rose in popularity with its synthesis of ancient pagan and contemporaneous Christian themes.
At the same time southern France gave birth to Occitan literature, which is best known for troubadours who sang of courtly love. It included elements from Latin literature and Arab-influenced Spain and North Africa. Later its influence spread to several cultures in Western Europe, notably in Portugal and the Minnesänger in Germany. Provençal literature also reached Sicily and Northern Italy laying the foundation of the "sweet new style" of Dante and later Petrarca. Indeed, the most important poem of the Late Middle Ages, the allegorical Divine Comedy, is to a large degree a product of both the theology of Thomas Aquinas and the largely secular Occitan literature.
The surviving music of the High Middle Ages is primarily religious in nature, since music notation developed in religious institutions, and the application of notation to secular music was a later development. Early in the period, Gregorian chant was the dominant form of church music; other forms, beginning with organum, and later including clausulae, conductus, and the motet, developed using the chant as source material.
During the 11th century, Guido of Arezzo was one of the first to develop musical notation, which made it easier for singers to remember Gregorian chants.
It was during the 12th and 13th centuries that Gregorian plainchant gave birth to polyphony, which appeared in the works of French Notre Dame School (Léonin and Pérotin). Later it evolved into the ars nova (Philippe de Vitry, Guillaume de Machaut) and the musical genres of late Middle Ages. An important composer during the 12th century was the nun Hildegard of Bingen.
The most significant secular movement was that of the troubadours, who arose in Occitania (Southern France) in the late 11th century. The troubadours were often itinerant, came from all classes of society, and wrote songs on a variety of topics, though with a particular focus on courtly love. Their style went on to influence the trouvères of northern France, the minnesingers of Germany, and the composers of secular music of the Trecento in northern Italy.
Economic and political changes in the High Middle Ages led to the formation of guilds and the growth of towns, and this would lead to significant changes for theatre starting in this time and continuing into the Late Middle Ages. Trade guilds began to perform plays, usually religiously based, and often dealing with a biblical story that referenced their profession. For instance, a baker's guild would perform a reenactment of the Last Supper. In the British Isles, plays were produced in some 127 different towns during the Middle Ages. These vernacular Mystery plays were written in cycles of a large number of plays: York (48 plays), Chester (24), Wakefield (32) and Unknown (42). A larger number of plays survive from France and Germany in this period and some type of religious dramas were performed in nearly every European country in the Late Middle Ages. Many of these plays contained comedy, devils, villains and clowns.
There were also a number of secular performances staged in the Middle Ages, the earliest of which is The Play of the Greenwood by Adam de la Halle in 1276. It contains satirical scenes and folk material such as faeries and other supernatural occurrences. Farces also rose dramatically in popularity after the 13th century. The majority of these plays come from France and Germany and are similar in tone and form, emphasizing sex and bodily excretions.
The French historian of the early medieval forest, Charles Higounet, produced a map in the 1960s, which has been much reproduced since, that purports to show the distribution of the forest cover in Europe on the eve of the so-called 'great clearances' (les grands défrichements) between 1000 and 1300.
Media related to High Middle Ages at Wikimedia CommonsDuchy of Bohemia
The Duchy of Bohemia, also later referred to in english as the Czech Duchy, (Czech: České knížectví) was a monarchy and a principality of the Holy Roman Empire in Central Europe during the Early and High Middle Ages. It was formed around 870 by Czechs as part of the Great Moravian realm. The Bohemian lands separated from disintegrating Moravia after Duke Spytihněv swore fidelity to the East Frankish king Arnulf in 895.
While the Bohemian dukes of the Přemyslid dynasty, at first ruling at Prague Castle and Levý Hradec, brought further estates under their control, the Christianization initiated by Saints Cyril and Methodius was continued by the Frankish bishops of Regensburg and Passau. In 973 the Diocese of Prague was founded through the joint efforts of Duke Boleslaus II and Emperor Otto I. Late Duke Wenceslaus I of Bohemia, killed by his younger brother Boleslaus in 935, became the land's patron saint.
While the lands were occupied by the Polish king Bolesław I and internal struggles shook the Přemyslid dynasty, Duke Vladivoj received Bohemia as a fief from the hands of the East Frankish king Henry II in 1002 and the duchy became an Imperial State of the Holy Roman Empire. The Duchy of Bohemia was raised to a hereditary Kingdom of Bohemia, when Duke Ottokar I ensured his elevation by the German king Philip of Swabia in 1198. The Přemyslids remained in power throughout the High Middle Ages, until the extinction of the male line with the death of King Wenceslaus III in 1306.England in the High Middle Ages
England in the High Middle Ages includes the history of England between the Norman Conquest in 1066 and the death of King John, considered by some to be the last of the Angevin kings of England, in 1216. A disputed succession and victory at the Battle of Hastings led to the conquest of England by William of Normandy in 1066. This linked the crown of England with possessions in France and brought a new aristocracy to the country that dominated landholding, government and the church. They brought with them the French language and maintained their rule through a system of castles and the introduction of a feudal system of landholding. By the time of William's death in 1087, England formed the largest part of an Anglo-Norman empire, ruled by nobles with landholdings across England, Normandy and Wales. William's sons disputed succession to his lands, with William II emerging as ruler of England and much of Normandy. On his death in 1100 his younger brother claimed the throne as Henry I and defeated his brother Robert to reunite England and Normandy. Henry was a ruthless yet effective king, but after the death of his only male heir in the White Ship tragedy, he persuaded his barons to recognise his daughter Matilda as heir. When Henry died in 1135 her cousin Stephen of Blois had himself proclaimed king, leading to a civil war known as The Anarchy. Eventually Stephen recognised Matilda's son Henry as his heir and when Stephen died in 1154, he succeeded as Henry II.
Henry, considered the first Angevin king of England, had extensive holdings in France and asserted his authority over Wales, Scotland and Ireland. He clashed with his appointee to the Archbishopric of Canterbury Thomas Becket, resulting in Becket's murder and Henry making a dramatic exhibition of penance. The later part of his reign was dominated by rebellions involving his sons and Philip II of France that forced him to accept his son Richard as sole heir. Richard acceded to the Angevin inheritance on Henry's death in 1189 and almost immediately departed on a Crusade. On his return journey he was taken hostage in Germany and a huge ransom was paid in order to secure his release in 1194. He spent the remainder of his reign restoring his lands in France, dying in 1199. His younger brother John succeeded in England, and fought a successful war against Richard's nephew Arthur for control of the French possession. John's behaviour led to rebellions by the Norman and Angevin barons that broke his control of the continental possessions. His attempt to retake Normandy and Anjou was defeated at the Battle of Bouvines. This weakened his position in England, eventually resulting in the treaty called Magna Carta, which limited royal power, and the First Barons' War. His death in 1216 is considered by some historians to mark the end of the Angevin period and the beginning of the Plantagenet dynasty.
The Normans adopted many Anglo-Saxon governmental institutions, but the feudal system concentrated more power in the hands of the king and a small elite. The rights and roles of women became more sharply defined. Noblewomen remained significant cultural and religious patrons and played an important part in political and military events. During the twelfth century divisions between conquerors and the English began to dissolve and they began to consider themselves superior to their Celtic neighbours. The conquest brought Norman and French churchmen to power. New reformed religious and military orders were introduced into England. By the early thirteenth century the church had largely won its argument for independence from the state, answering almost entirely to Rome. Pilgrimages were a popular religious practice and accumulating relics became important for ambitious institutions. England played a prominent part in the Second, Third and Fifth Crusades.
Between the ninth and thirteenth centuries England went through the Medieval Warm Period, a prolonged period of warmer temperatures that allowed poorer land to be brought into cultivation. Agricultural land became typically organised around manors. By the eleventh century, a market economy was flourishing across much of England, while the eastern and southern towns were heavily involved in international trade. Many hundreds of new towns, some of them planned communities, were built, supporting the creation of guilds and charter fairs. Anglo-Norman warfare was characterised by attritional military campaigns of raids and seizure of castles. Naval forces enabled the transportation of troops and supplies, raids into hostile territory and attacks on enemy fleets. After the conquest the Normans built timber motte and bailey and ringwork castles in large numbers, which were replaced by stone buildings from the twelfth century. The period has been used in a wide range of popular culture, including William Shakespeare's plays. Walter Scott's location of Robin Hood in the reign of Richard I and his emphasis on the conflict between Saxons and Normans set the template for later fiction and film adaptations.European science in the Middle Ages
European science in the Middle Ages comprised the study of nature, mathematics and natural philosophy in medieval Europe. Following the fall of the Western Roman Empire and the decline in knowledge of Greek, Christian Western Europe was cut off from an important source of ancient learning. Although a range of Christian clerics and scholars from Isidore and Bede to Buridan and Oresme maintained the spirit of rational inquiry, Western Europe would see a period of scientific decline during the Early Middle Ages. However, by the time of the High Middle Ages, the region had rallied and was on its way to once more taking the lead in scientific discovery. Scholarship and scientific discoveries of the Late Middle Ages laid the groundwork for the Scientific Revolution of the Early Modern Period.
According to Pierre Duhem, who founded the academic study of medieval science as a critique of the Enlightenment-positivist theory of a 17th-century anti-Aristotelian and anticlerical scientific revolution, the various conceptual origins of that alleged revolution lay in the 12th to 14th centuries, in the works of churchmen such as Aquinas and Buridan.In the context of this article, "Western Europe" refers to the European cultures bound together by the Roman Catholic Church and the Latin language.Fay-aux-Loges
Fay-aux-Loges is a commune the Loiret department in Centre-Val de Loire region in north-central France and about 120 kilometres (75 mi) southwest of Paris.Ireland in the Middle Ages
Ireland in the Middle Ages may refer to:
History of Ireland (400–800), Ireland in the early Middle Ages
History of Ireland (800–1169), Ireland in the high Middle Ages
History of Ireland (1169–1536), Ireland in the late Middle AgesKingdom of Alba
The Kingdom of Alba refers to the Kingdom of Scotland between the deaths of Donald II (Domnall mac Causantin) in 900 and of Alexander III in 1286, which then led indirectly to the Scottish Wars of Independence. The name is one of convenience, as throughout this period the elite and populace of the Kingdom were predominantly Pictish-Gaels or later Pictish-Gaels and Scoto-Norman, and differs markedly from the period of the Stuarts, in which the elite of the kingdom were (for the most part) speakers of Middle English, which later evolved and came to be called Lowland Scots. There is no precise Gaelic equivalent for the English terminology "Kingdom of Alba", as the Gaelic term Rìoghachd na h-Alba means 'Kingdom of Scotland'. English-speaking scholars adapted the Gaelic name for Scotland to apply to a particular political period in Scottish history during the High Middle Ages.Kingdom of Germany
The Kingdom of Germany or German Kingdom (Latin: Regnum Teutonicorum "Kingdom of the Teutonics/Germans", Regnum Teutonicum "Teutonic Kingdom") developed out of Eastern Francia, the eastern division of the former Carolingian Empire, over the 9th to 11th centuries. East Francia was formed by the Treaty of Verdun in 843, and was ruled by the Carolingian dynasty until 911, after which the kingship was elective. The initial electors were the rulers of the stem duchies, who generally chose one of their own. After 962, when Otto I was crowned emperor, East Francia formed the bulk of the Holy Roman Empire along with Italy; it later included Bohemia (after 1004) and Burgundy (after 1032).
Like medieval England and medieval France, medieval Germany consolidated from a conglomerate of smaller tribes, nations or polities by the High Middle Ages. The term rex teutonicorum ("king of the Germans") first came into use in Italy around the year 1000. It was popularized by the chancery of Pope Gregory VII during the Investiture Controversy (late 11th century), perhaps as a political tool against Emperor Henry IV. In the twelfth century, in order to stress the imperial and transnational character of their office, the emperors began to employ the title rex Romanorum (king of the Romans) on their election (by the prince-electors, seven German bishops and noblemen). Distinct titulature for Germany, Italy and Burgundy, which traditionally had their own courts, laws, and chanceries, gradually dropped from use. After the Imperial Reform and Reformation settlement, the German part of the Holy Roman Empire was divided into Reichskreise (Imperial Circles), which effectively defined Germany against imperial territories outside the Imperial Circles: imperial Italy, the Bohemian Kingdom, and the Old Swiss Confederacy. Nevertheless, there are relatively few references to a German realm distinct from the Holy Roman Empire.List of monastic houses in South Yorkshire
The following is a list of monastic houses in South Yorkshire, England.
Alien houses are included, as are smaller establishments such as cells and notable monastic granges (particularly those with resident monks), and also camerae of the military orders of monks (Knights Templars and Knights Hospitaller). The numerous monastic hospitals per se are not included here unless at some time the foundation had, or was purported to have the status or function of an abbey, priory, friary or preceptor/commandery.
The name of the county is given where there is reference to an establishment in another county. Where the county has changed since the foundation's dissolution the modern county is given in parentheses, and in instances where the referenced foundation ceased to exist before the unification of England, the kingdom is given, followed by the modern county in parentheses.List of years in Norway
This is a list of years in Norway.Medieval Greece
Medieval Greece refers to geographic components of the area historically and modernly known as Greece, during the Middle Ages.
Byzantine Greece (Early to High Middle Ages)
Northern Greece under the First Bulgarian Empire
various High Medieval Crusader states ("Frankish Greece") and Byzantine splinter states:
Kingdom of Thessalonica
Principality of Achaea
Duchy of Athens
Despotate of Epirus
Despotate of the Morea
Northern Greece under the Second Bulgarian Empire (Ivan Asen II of Bulgaria)
Ottoman Greece (Late Middle Ages)Medieval demography
Medieval demography is the study of human demography in Europe and the Mediterranean during the Middle Ages. It estimates and seeks to explain the number of people who were alive during the Medieval period, population trends, life expectancy, family structure, and related issues. Demography is considered a crucial element of historical change throughout the Middle Ages.
The population of Europe remained at a low level in the Early Middle Ages, boomed during the High Middle Ages and reached a peak around 1300, then a number of calamities caused a steep decline, the nature of which historians have debated. Population levels began to recover around the late 15th century, gaining momentum in the early 16th century.
The science of medieval demography relies on various lines of evidence, such as administrative records, wills and other types of records, archaeological field data, economic data, and written histories. Because the data are often incomplete and/or ambiguous, there can be significant disagreement among medieval demographers.Medieval literature
Medieval literature is a broad subject, encompassing essentially all written works available in Europe and beyond during the Middle Ages (that is, the one thousand years from the fall of the Western Roman Empire ca. AD 500 to the beginning of the Florentine Renaissance in the late 15th century). The literature of this time was composed of religious writings as well as secular works. Just as in modern literature, it is a complex and rich field of study, from the utterly sacred to the exuberantly profane, touching all points in-between. Works of literature are often grouped by place of origin, language, and genre.Mendicant
A mendicant (from Latin: mendicans, "begging") is one who practices mendicancy (begging) and relies chiefly or exclusively on charitable donations to survive. In principle, mendicant religious orders do not own property, either individually or collectively, and members have taken a vow of poverty, in order that all their time and energy could be expended on practicing or preaching and serving the poor. It is a form of asceticism.
Many religious orders adhere to a mendicant way of life, including the Catholic mendicant orders, Hindu ascetics, some Sufi dervishes of Islam, and the monastic orders of Jainism and Buddhism. In the Catholic Church, followers of Saint Francis of Assisi and Saint Dominic became known as mendicants, as they would beg for food while they preached to the villages.
While mendicants are the original type of monks in Buddhism and have a long history in Indian Hinduism and the countries which adapted Indian religious traditions, they did not become widespread in Christianity until the High Middle Ages. The Way of a Pilgrim depicts the life of an Eastern Christian mendicant.Middle Ages
In the history of Europe, the Middle Ages (or medieval period) 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, and the modern period. The medieval period is itself subdivided into the Early, High, and Late Middle Ages.
Population decline, counterurbanisation, collapse of centralized authority, invasions, 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 widely admired later in the Middle Ages. In the West, most kingdoms incorporated the few extant Roman institutions. Monasteries were founded as campaigns to Christianise pagan Europe continued. The Franks, under the Carolingian dynasty, briefly established the Carolingian Empire during the later 8th and early 9th century. It covered much of Western Europe but later succumbed to the pressures of internal civil wars combined with external invasions: Vikings from the north, Magyars from the east, and Saracens from the south.
During the High Middle Ages, which began after 1000, the population of Europe increased greatly 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, and 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, and 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, and 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, plague, and war, which significantly diminished the population of Europe; between 1347 and 1350, the Black Death killed about a third of Europeans. Controversy, heresy, and the Western Schism within the Catholic Church paralleled the interstate conflict, civil strife, and 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.Pincer gate
A pincer gate (German: Zangentor) is a gate in a fortification that is deeply embedded between two inward angled exterior walls. Those wishing to enter the fort have to approach what is in effect a sunken road and, if hostile, can be attacked from both side walls in a pincer fashion.
Pincer gates were already being used in Urnfield and Celtic fortification in Central Europe and may also be seen in Early Medieval circular ramparts. They were common well into the High Middle Ages.Pomerania during the High Middle Ages
Pomerania during the High Middle Ages covers the history of Pomerania in the 12th and 13th centuries.
The early 12th century Obodrite, Polish, Saxon, and Danish conquests resulted in vassalage and Christianization of the formerly pagan and independent Pomeranian tribes. Local dynasties ruled the Principality of Rügen (House of Wizlaw), the Duchy of Pomerania (House of Pomerania, "Griffins"), the Lands of Schlawe and Stolp (Ratiboride branch of the Griffins), and the duchies in Pomerelia (Samborides).The dukes of Pomerania expanded their realm into Circipania and Uckermark to the southwest, and competed with the Kingdom of Poland and the Margraviate of Brandenburg for territory and formal overlordship over their duchies. Pomerania-Demmin lost most of its territory and was integrated into Pomerania-Stettin in the mid-13th century. When the Ratiborides died out in 1223, competition arose for the Lands of Schlawe and Stolp, which changed hands numerous times.
Starting in the High Middle Ages, a large influx of German settlers and the introduction of German law, custom, and Low German language began the process of Germanisation (Ostsiedlung). Many of the people groups that had dominated the area during the Early Middle Ages, such as the Slavic Rani, Lutician and Pomeranian tribes, were assimilated into the new German Pomeranian culture. The Germanisation was not complete, as the Kashubians, descendants of Slavic Pomeranians, dominated many rural areas in Pomerelia. The arrival of German colonists and Germanization mostly affected both the central and local administration.The conversion of Pomerania to Christianity was achieved primarily by the missionary efforts of Absalon and Otto von Bamberg, by the foundation of numerous monasteries, and through the Christian clergy and settlers. A Pomeranian diocese was set up in Wolin, the see was later moved to Cammin (Kammin, Kamień Pomorski).Scotland in the High Middle Ages
The High Middle Ages of Scotland encompass Scotland in the era between the death of Domnall II in 900 AD and the death of King Alexander III in 1286, which was an indirect cause of the Scottish Wars of Independence.
At the close of the ninth century, various competing kingdoms occupied the territory of modern Scotland. Scandinavian influence was dominant in the northern and western islands, Brythonic culture in the southwest, the Anglo-Saxon or English Kingdom of Northumbria in the southeast and the Pictish and Gaelic Kingdom of Alba in the east, north of the River Forth. By the tenth and eleventh centuries, northern Great Britain was increasingly dominated by Gaelic culture, and by the Gaelic regal lordship of Alba, known in Latin as either Albania or Scotia, and in English as "Scotland". From its base in the east, this kingdom acquired control of the lands lying to the south and ultimately the west and much of the north. It had a flourishing culture, comprising part of the larger Gaelic-speaking world and an economy dominated by agriculture and trade.
After the twelfth-century reign of King David I, the Scottish monarchs are better described as Scoto-Norman than Gaelic, preferring French culture to native Scottish culture. A consequence was the spread of French institutions and social values including Canon law. The first towns, called burghs, appeared in the same era, and as they spread, so did the Middle English language. These developments were offset by the acquisition of the Norse-Gaelic west and the Gaelicisation of many of the noble families of French and Anglo-French origin. National cohesion was fostered with the creation of various unique religious and cultural practices. By the end of the period, Scotland experienced a "Gaelic revival", which created an integrated Scottish national identity. By 1286, these economic, institutional, cultural, religious and legal developments had brought Scotland closer to its neighbours in England and the Continent, although outsiders continued to view Scotland as a provincial, even savage place. By this date, the Kingdom of Scotland had political boundaries that closely resembled those of the modern nation.Wales in the High Middle Ages
Wales in the High Middle Ages covers the 11th to 13th centuries in Welsh history. Beginning shortly before the Norman invasion of the 1060s and ending with the Conquest of Wales by Edward I between 1278 and 1283, it was a period of significant political, cultural and social change for the country.Warfare in Medieval Scotland
Warfare in Medieval Scotland includes all military activity in the modern borders of Scotland, or by forces originating in the region, between the departure of the Romans in the fifth century and the adoption of the innovations of the Renaissance in the early sixteenth century. In this period conflict developed from minor raids to major conflicts, incorporating many of the innovations of continental warfare.
In the Early Middle Ages war on land was characterised by the use of small war-bands of household troops often engaging in raids and low level warfare. The arrival of the Vikings brought a new scale of naval warfare, with rapid movement based around the Viking longship. The birlinn, which developed from the longship, became a major factor in warfare in the Highlands and Islands. By the High Middle Ages, the kings of Scotland could command forces of tens of thousands of men for short periods as part of the "common army", mainly of poorly armoured spearmen and bowmen. After the "Davidian Revolution" of the twelfth century, which introduced elements of feudalism to Scotland, these forces were augmented by small numbers of mounted and heavily armoured knights. Feudalism also introduced castles into the country, originally simple wooden motte-and-bailey constructions, but these were replaced in the thirteenth century with more formidable stone "enceinte" castles, with high encircling walls. In the thirteenth century the threat of Scandinavian naval power subsided and the kings of Scotland were able to use naval forces to help subdue the Highlands and Islands.
Scottish field armies rarely managed to stand up to the usually larger and more professional armies produced by England, but they were used to good effect by Robert I of Scotland at the Battle of Bannockburn in 1314 to secure Scottish independence. He adopted a policy of slighting castles and made use of naval power to support his forces, beginning to develop a royal Scottish naval force. In the Late Middle Ages under the Stewart kings these forces were further augmented by specialist troops, particularly men-at-arms and archers, hired by bonds of manrent, similar to English indentures of the same period. New "livery and maintenance" castles were built to house these troops and castles began to be adapted to accommodate gunpowder weapons. The Stewarts also adopted major innovations in continental warfare, such as longer pikes, the extensive use of artillery, and they built up a formidable navy. However, one of the best armed and largest Scottish armies ever assembled still met with defeat at the hands of an English army at the Battle of Flodden in 1513, which saw the destruction of a large number of ordinary troops, a large section of the nobility and King James IV.
Periods of the history of Europe