The post-classical period in Western Europe evolved after the decline and fall of the Roman Empire. This period became known as the Middle Ages. It was a time of chaos. Often it is connected to a backward time in history because it was between the great classical civilizations of Greece and Rome. However, changes began to take place that helped to revive Western Europe. There were many distinctive characteristics that surfaced in Western Europe in trade, politics, social structure, religion, and intellectual life that did not place it at a disadvantage in relationship with other post-classical civilizations of the world.
First, in Western Europe one of the distinctive characteristics of medieval life that helped to bring about growth in the economy was a revival of trade. Trade was considered so important for growth that the protection of merchants became a vital concern. Regulations were made to protect the merchants at sea. Each city was to do their best to rid the sea of pirates so that the merchants could freely carry on their business (Document 17). If a person was caught for robbery in one city they were banned from all cities (Document 17). This regulation took place between 1260 and 1264. During this time the total population in Western Europe increased from 12 million to 35.5 million (Document 8). Trade growth also led to interaction with other societies. In short, trade provided Western Europe with the means to grow and revive.
Next, in order to continue to grow they realized that they had to work together. This statement is supported in Document 7 as it shows the links of the feudalism or political system to manorialism the economic system and the cooperation and mutual obligations of each level of social status. The political system was a monarchy. The king was the highest level followed by the lords, knights and lastly the serfs. Document 7 also lists how each level of social status relied on the other for the basic needs of food, shelter, and protection. For example, the serfs (peasants) farmed the land and in exchange for their work they would receive shelter, food, and protection from the knights. In order to maintain this agreement between the social classes there was an oath of fidelity (Document 6). Therefore, tying the feudal system with politics and establishing regulations to protect the merchant trade began the recovery cycle in Western Europe.
Another distinctive characteristic of Western Europe was seen in the strength of Christian faith and the Catholic Church that helped to regain order and unity after the chaos from the fall of Roman Empire. Social justice was linked to the ordeal that God made the judgment of...