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Changes In The Middle Ages Essay

979 words - 4 pages

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Changes in the Middle Ages

Following the decline of the Roman Empire, began one of the most turbulent times in European history: the Middle Ages. The Middle Ages, commonly known as the Medieval Times, were transformational periods of time for social, political, and economical change in Europe. Throughout the Late Middle Ages, many historical medieval events would lead to massive changes.

In the Middle Ages, men were socially stratified into the Three Orders of medieval society: prayer, labour, and war. A monotheistic religion, Roman Catholicism, played a dominant role in society, and heresy was out of the question. The Roman Catholic Church demanded absolute loyalty; and the people acquiesced. But following the crises of the Black Death and the Great Schism in the Late Middle Ages, people began to lose their faith and loyalty to an outwardly incompetent church. Between 1348 and 1350, one third of Europe (approximately twenty million people) was wiped out because of the bubonic plague. In response, the Church developed a sect called the Flagellants to purge mankind of sin by whipping themselves. As this evidently did not stop the plague, people lost confidence in the Church, especially in their greatest time of need. In the early 1400s, the Great Schism further convinced people that the Church was incompetent because of the lack of organization and leadership; three Popes claimed Christian obedience as the Vicar of Christ. It would be reasonably difficult for any medieval religious follower to retain the same reverence and loyalty to the Church after such confusion, and lack of demonstrated ability. As a result of these events, the public image of the Church was marred and people no longer acquiesced to the absolute demands of the Church. Medieval societies and beliefs towards the church were changed forever.

The Late Middle Ages were also periods of immense political change; this was mainly because of the Hundred Years' War and the Great Schism. Before the Late Middle Ages, throughout the Early and High Medieval era, the French-English relations were not as relatively tense. Before, there was little reason for war and hence little political change. However, this balance was disrupted as nationalism and imperialism burgeoned into the Late Middle Ages. Conflicts arose as disputes over who was the rightful king of France emerged between the monarchs of the English House of Plantagenet and the French House of Valois. As a result, the Hundred Years' War emerged in 1337 and lasted until 1453, where the international politics and...

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