Middle Ages Part II

Middle Ages

In European history, the Middle Ages denotes the period between antiquity and modern times.

The term »Middle Ages« was coined by the humanists of the 15th and 16th centuries. Century for the period between the end of antiquity, which they believe was followed by an epoch of general decline in the Latin language and education, and the Renaissance, the “rebirth” of ancient learning. While the Enlightenment disregarded the »dark Middle Ages«, transfigured it Romanticism this epoch as the ideal time of the religious, knightly community of the Christian West.

The transition from antiquity to the Middle Ages is considered to be the time of the Great Migration (4th – 6th centuries), during which essential foundations of early medieval society emerged through the encounter between antiquity, Germanism and Christianity.

The end of the Middle Ages is mainly associated with the beginning of the age of great discoveries (1492 landing of Christopher Columbus in America) and with the onset of the Reformation (1517) and the development of humanism.

According to Baglib, the early medieval social structure was shaped by an agricultural society that was still poorly differentiated in terms of division of labor and which lived largely on natural economy. The medieval empires that emerged on this basis were based on associations of people, despite all institutional influences. There was no conceptual distinction between public authority and private legal authority; Both flowed together in the medieval “dominion” (Dominium), which – emerged from the power of disposition and rule of the landlord over the land and the people living on it (Latin familia) – in the forms of land, followers and later Feudal rule appears regularly as elitist aristocratic rule. At the head of these associations of persons stood the king, the position of which was given a significant stately and charismatic appreciation through the close involvement of the Christian church in its rulership and the ritual of the Christian ordination to kings (anointing). The society was organized hierarchically in stalls.

Even with the distinction between the Early and High Middle Ages, research in the individual European countries came to very different results under the impression of the respective “national” history. It was customary in Germany for a long time to begin the High Middle Ages with the emergence of the “Empire of the Germans” (“Regnum Teutonic [or] um”; since the 12th century called the Holy Roman Empire) from the East Franconian Empire in the 10th century and with to end the collapse of the Hohenstaufen rule (around 1250). In contrast, a newer research direction is less based on the dynastic history of the imperial era, but rather tries to understand the High Middle Ages as a pan-European epoch. If you follow this point of view, you will find the epoch boundary much later, around the middle of the 11th century. Century, because around this time a profound process of change began almost in the entire West, which encompassed almost all areas of life and triggered a general “awakening” of medieval society to new forms of life and consciousness. This process was initiated by steady population growth, which accelerated dramatically in the 12th and 13th centuries and continued into the 14th century. In order to meet the increased need for food, improved cultivation and working methods (three-field farming, new plowing techniques) were developed and new cultivation areas were opened up through resettlement and clearing. In addition to the agricultural sector, the resulting economic dynamism also encompassed craft, trade and commerce, which in turn led to the boom in the money economy and the emergence of a dense network of markets and cities. The engine of this process of change was an impressive “horizontal” and “vertical” mobility of the previously unfree rural population, who succeeded in moving within the framework of the resettlement movement (including clearing, German eastern settlements), through emigration to the emerging cities or through social advancement in the service of the gentleman (ministeriality in Germany) to break up the archaic forms of soil-based dependence on direct master violence. The knighthood, formed from vassals, and in Germany also from ministerials, became the bearer of a special ethos of the class and its own supranational court culture (court literature, ministry). As part of this general reorientation, the church was also caught up in a religious renewal movement (church reform; center: Cluny), which sought to liberate the church from secular rule and entanglement in secular affairs (Libertas Ecclesiae; prohibition of priesthood, simony, lay investment). In the resulting investiture dispute between the Empire and the Papacy (1075–1122), the early medieval notions of order of equal coexistence of spiritual and secular power (doctrine of two powers) broke up and were replaced by the papacy’s claim to hierarchy. With the church renewal process, a great heyday of European intellectual life (renaissance of the 12th century) was finally triggered,

Middle Ages 2

Middle Ages Part II
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