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Thursday, December 24, 2015
The Historian Channel: Medieval Apocalypse, The Black Death, The Middle Ages or Medieval period, the Plague outburst, Full Documentary
In European history, the Middle Ages or Medieval period
lasted from the 5th to the 15th century. It began with the collapse 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: Antiquity, Medieval period, and Modern period. The Medieval
period is itself subdivided into the Early, the High, and the Late Middle Ages.
Depopulation, deurbanisation, invasion, and movement of
peoples, which had begun in Late Antiquity, continued in the Early Middle Ages.
The barbarian invaders, 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 Eastern Roman Empire—came under the rule
of the Caliphate, an Islamic empire, after conquest by Muhammad's successors.
Although there were substantial changes in society and political structures,
the break with Antiquity was not complete. The still-sizeable Byzantine Empire
survived in the east and remained a major power. The empire's law code, the
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 the 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 architecture of Gothic cathedrals such as Chartres are among the
outstanding achievements toward the end of this period, and into the Late
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 schism within the 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.
Map of the approximate political boundaries in Europe around 450