The High Medieval Period of European History

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The end of the Early Middle Ages and the beginning of the High Middle Ages in Europe

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The High Medieval Period was the period of European history beginning rom the 11th century and finishing with the 13th century. The High Middle Ages appeared after Early Middle Ages that embraced the period from the 5th to the 10th centuries.

The great social, economic, political and commercial changes were provoked by the rapid increase of the European population in the High Middle Ages. The Early Renaissance caused a massive explosion of science and art development what influenced greatly the level of scientific progress in comparison with the preceding Early Middle Ages. By 1200 the population increase caused the increase of European economy. New commercial relationships were established between different counties and continents. The level of such dynamic development reached the mark that would not be seen again until 1800s.

Guy Halsall in his research devoted to Barbarian Invasions noted: The so-called barbarian invasions have a vital role in, and in many respects stand at the beginning of, European history . Barbarians brought a lot of cultural, territorial and political changes within the European history. However, after the year 780 Barbarians stopped their invasions. Therefore the European countries became more economically, politically, commercially and socially organised and developed. What is more, they stopped building and constructing cities using the notion of safety as their priority. They concentrated on the notion of comfort instead. As a consequence, such policy led to scientific, cultural and philosophical reborn of European territory. The question of education and scientific development became more and more relevant. The scientists, high and middle class of the population questioned the religion of Early Middle Ages. Therefore, the necessity of new knowledge appeared and the fist universities were founded in France, England, Italy and Spain. The Vikings had settled in the modern territory of the UK, while North kingdoms developed in the territory of modern Scandinavia peninsula.

As the expansion was ceased, a lot of countries appeared on the European map of the High Medieval Period. Christian Kingdom of Hungary formed their liaisons and alliances with neighbours, Byzantine Empire gave way to Serbia and Bulgaria.

In the 11th century, peoples north of the Alps began to occupy new territories, some of which had gone wild after the Roman Empire was destroyed. Thus, vast wild forest were cleared, cultivated and the agricultural development of Europe had begun. The period from the 10th century was very warm, gentle and mild for harvesting crops, fruits for wine and various vegetables. Farmers grew rye and wheat, wine grapes and exported them either oversees or to Scandinavian Isles.

At the same time Catholic Church had reached the top of the political, cultural and social influence and power. It called armies and military forces from all European territory to conquer the Seljuk Turks, who lived in the Holy Land. The series of Crusades aimed to occupy the whole territory and to create a new State. Therefore, these wars led to the occupation pf the Iberian Peninsula.

This historical period is famous, among all other events and territorial transformations, by the different forms of spiritual, artistic and scientific works and inventions. This age was the first step to ethnocentrism development, which was transformed into modern civic nationalisms in most of the European countries and the Golden Age and the deterioration of the Muslim civilization. The rediscovery of the works of antique philosophers and scientists led a lot of thinkers of this age to develop a mixture of Catholicism and antique philosophy called nowadays as Scholasticism. Long time after Constantinople was the religious, cultural, commercial and political capital of the Middle Ages. Many cathedrals back then reflected the development of art and architecture of the end of Early middle Age and the beginning of the High Middle Age.


Halsall, Guy. "The Barbarian Invasions."


Hummer, Hans J. Politics and Power in Early Medieval Europe: Alsace and the Frankish

Realm, 600-1000. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2005.

Mundy, John Hine. Europe in the High Middle Ages. Harlow: Longman, 1991.

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