Europe was in a state of extreme development in 500-1500 B.C.E. Western Europe was especially affected by this change politically, militarily, and intellectually. Although many things were continuous between the Early and High Middle Ages, the changes were more integral to the evolution of Western Europe.
In the Early Middle Ages, cities in Western Europe were very unstable due to threats of invasion and a large gap between the rich and the poor. Cities were under constant fear of Germanic invasions, which caused them to be unable to expand. This fear also did not allow Europeans to focus on educating themselves due to all of their focus being put on self-preservation. Cities still operated under the feudal system, which gave the lords lots of power. Serfs and peasants that worked on these lands had no rights. These instabilities had profound effect on the development of Western European civilization.
In the High Middle Ages, the increase in power of the lower classes and a reduction of outside threats caused cities in Western Europe to flourish. Since more people moved to cities, cities became large urban centers. This increased the need for specialized labor due to large demands for goods and services. This increased the income of working class peasants, which in turn increased their power. These workers then formed guilds, which increased their power even more by protecting their rights. The decrease in invasions allowed two very important things to happen. First, cities could focus on expanding their realm since their military was not focused on self-protection. Second,...