Professor Anthony Grafton is a renowned historian at the Princeton University. He is noted for his studies about the history of culture and science of Renaissance Europe. In his paper, Dating history: the Renaissance & the reformation of chronology, he first talked about the science of geography that was revolutionized by European explorers in the fifteenth and sixteenth century. As Grafton argued that “While the western understanding of geography expanded during the Renaissance, then, the traditional dating of the past and future remained curiously narrow-minded.”, he then started to talk about his profound study of the scholarship and chronology of one of the most significant classical scholar of the late Renaissance, Joseph Justus Scaliger: “……won renown for his reformation of the traditional approach to chronology. Working in decades around 1600, Scaliger relaid the technical foundations of the field.” According to Grafton, in order to “appreciate the explosive impact of this reformation of historical chronology, we need to look backward”. He looked back to examine the chronology in fourth and fifth century C.E., in the fifth century B.C. Greek, and in the Romans of the late Republic and early Empire.
However, Grafton did not look back to the Middle Ages which was the period between the collapse of the Western Roman Empire and the beginning of Italian Renaissance. People generally considered the Middle Ages as very dark era, where nothing happened except for plague, famine, and the well-known black death. People considered this period as stagnation that they believe there was no growth in the socioeconomic prospective. For example, they believe there were no development of new technology and no expansion of towns and city. On the country, I believe that there were many things going on in the Middle Ages, but people just tend to ignore this period of time in history. Middle Ages are divided into three periods by historians – Early Middle Ages, High Middle Ages, and Late Middle Ages. I will focus on the High Middle Ages in this paper. I am going to explain this issue by summarizing the socioeconomic development of the High Middle age and by talking about the study of chronology of Richard of Wallingford who developed an astronomical clock while serving as an abbot.
Unlike many people’s impression of stagnation, the High Middle Ages was a dynamic period that brought striking changes to the socioeconomic environment of the Western World. For example, population expanded, regional and interregional commerce thrived, new technologies were developed, and the classic institution of both manorialism and feudalism changed. Many of the basic social and political patterns and institutions later associated with European history were formed during this era.
Territorial expansion, development in agricultural techniques, and the expansion of towns and trade brought rapid economic change to medieval Europe. Changes in the consumption of goods and...