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Rival Middle Ages Essay

2167 words - 9 pages

ban revival AD 1000/1215
The early middle ages are generally recognized as a period of decline and stagnation, in the years following the fall of the Roman Empire in ad474, the west is generally viewed by historians as underdeveloped, in comparison to the Byzantine Empire, and the Islamic world. However between 1,000 and 1215 ad, Western Europe began a series of profound changes . The period of tribal migration, war, and colonisation diminishes; this period gives way to a more settled system of emerging nation states. Now it becomes possible for the bourgeoning states to raise taxation such as the Norman Poll tax from the developing money economy, as well as technical advances in farming, and social changes, when taken in conjunction with population expansion this leads to Western Europe evolving, a merchant base, manufacturing, and agricultural production to equal, and even surpass in terms of trade, the Eastern Empire of Constantinople and the Islamic caliphates. The expanding population founds new towns and cities. The new cities such as Venice, in Italy and Lubeck in Germany would have a significant impact on the future development of pan European trade.
The first and perhaps most important aspect of change in the period of AD 1000 to ad 1215, was climate change, the weather had begun to improve from the 8th century, the more temperate weather, warmer and drier, than in the previous three centuries had a direct effect on the predominantly agrarian societies of Medieval Europe. The temperate climate extended the growing season , and this corresponded with increased agricultural yields . The expansion in agricultural production was also a result of new farming techniques, the most significant of which was the three field system of crop rotation, replacing the two-field system.
The Romans had used a two-field system, the advantage of the three-field, three year rotational system is that only one third of available agricultural land is fallow at any given time of the year, moreover the extra winter crop would mealiate the possible failure of the spring crop. The benefits of the three field system and longer growing season would have played a major part in the population growth of this period; no longer would northern European peasants exist upon a subsistence diet. The surplus produced by the revolutionary development of new agricultural techniques, combined with the decreasing death rate from barbarian invasions and internecine wars would lead to population growth. The revolutionary changes in agriculture, was not just in the methods of farming but in the development of new sources of power and machinery, these would play a major role in the growth of the agricultural economy. The adoption of the heavy plough, the carruca over the Roman era light aratra plough, would allow the eleventh century farmer to cultivate the heavier soil of North Western Europe. Like the change in climate, when the weather improved in the 8th century, it is possible...

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