Care to express an opinion on a current or past historical event?
Need to ask a question from our many visitors?
Just visit our Forum and leave your message.
The Middle Ages
The period from 1000 to 1300, called the High Middle Ages, witnessed
significant changes and high levels of advancement from a wide variety of
perspectives. In England, William the Conqueror secured a unified kingdom in
1066, and successive English kings managed to keep their competitors under
control and build up the machinery of royal administration. In France, the
movement toward the consolidation of royal power emanated from the minuscule
Ile de France. Each of the many counties and duchies that constituted feudal
France had to be subordinated and brought within the framework of royal
authority. It took the French kings three centuries to accomplish what William
the Conqueror had done in one generation. The German kings dissipated their
energies by seeking the prize of empire over the Alps in Italy and Sicily.
Nation-making in Spain was unique, since it acquired the religious fervor of a
crusade. In the mid-eleventh century the Christian Spanish states began the
Reconquista in earnest, but not until the end of the fifteenth century
would the task be completed.
Economically, Europe was transformed by new forces: increased food
production and population, revitalized trade, new towns, expansion of
industry, and a money economy. A new society began to take shape - the
bourgeoisie emerged, and serfdom declined.
During the High Middle Ages, the church developed the first unified
system of law and administration in medieval Europe and intimately affected
the life of every person. It gave people a sense of security against the
dangers on earth and those beyond. Within the church, thinkers wrestled with
philosophical issues, such as the realist-nominalist controversy. In the
thirteenth century, such famous scholars as St. Thomas Aquinas made impressive
attempts to reconcile faith and reason, church authority and classical
thought; and universities were established.