The Info List - High Middle Ages

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The High Middle Ages
Middle Ages
or High Medieval Period was the period of European history lasting from AD 1000 to 1250. The High Middle Ages are preceded by the Early Middle Ages
Middle Ages
and followed by the Late Middle Ages, which by convention end around 1500.[1] Key historical trends of the High Middle Ages
Middle Ages
include the rapidly increasing population of Europe, which brought about great social and political change from the preceding era, and the Renaissance
of the 12th century, including the first developments of rural exodus and urbanization. By 1250 the robust population increase greatly benefited the European economy, reaching levels that would not be seen again in some areas until the 19th century. This trend faltered in the Late Middle Ages
Middle Ages
due to a series of calamities, notably the Black Death
Black Death
but also including numerous wars and economic stagnation. From about 780 onwards, Europe
saw the last of the barbarian invasions[2][not in citation given] and became more socially and politically organized.[3] The Carolingian Renaissance
Carolingian Renaissance
led to scientific and philosophical revivals in Europe. The first universities started operating – in Bologna, Paris, Oxford and Modena. The Vikings settled in the British Isles, France and elsewhere, whilst Norse Christian
kingdoms started developing in their Scandinavian homelands. The Magyars
ceased their expansion in the 10th century, and by the year 1000 a Christian
Kingdom of Hungary
Kingdom of Hungary
had become a recognized state in Central Europe, forming alliances with regional powers. With the brief exception of the Mongol invasions
Mongol invasions
in the 13th century, major nomadic incursions ceased. The powerful Byzantine Empire
Byzantine Empire
of the Macedonian and Komnenos dynasties gradually gave way to the resurrected Serbia and Bulgaria and to a successor Crusader state (1204 to 1261), while countering the continuous threat of the Seljuk Turks
Seljuk Turks
in Asia Minor. In the 11th century, populations north of the Alps
began a more intensive settlement, targeting "new" lands, some of which areas had reverted to wilderness after the end of the Roman Empire. In what is known as the "great clearances",[4] Europeans cleared and cultivated vast forests and marshes of their continent. At the same time some settlers moved beyond the traditional boundaries of the Frankish Empire to new frontiers in Europe, beyond the Elbe River, tripling the size of Germany in the process. The Catholic Church, reaching the peak of its political power at this time, called armies from across Europe to a series of Crusades
against the Seljuk Turks. The crusaders occupied the Holy Land
Holy Land
and founded the Crusader States
Crusader States
in the Levant. Other wars led to the Northern Crusades, while Christian
kingdoms took much of the Iberian Peninsula from Muslim
control, and the Normans colonized southern Italy, all part of the major population increases and resettlement patterns of the era. The High Middle Ages
Middle Ages
produced many different forms of intellectual, spiritual and artistic works. This age saw the rise of ethnocentrism, which evolved later into modern civic nationalisms in most of Europe, the ascent of the great Italian city-states, and the rise and fall of the Muslim
civilization of Al-Andalus. The rediscovery of the works of Aristotle
led Thomas Aquinas
Thomas Aquinas
and other thinkers of the period to expand Scholasticism, a combination of Catholicism and ancient philosophy. For much of the time period Constantinople
remained Europe's most populous city and Byzantine
art reached a peak in the 12th century. In architecture, many of the most notable Gothic cathedrals were built or completed during this period. The Crisis of the Late Middle Ages, beginning at the start of the 14th century, marked the end of this era.


1 Historical events and politics

1.1 Great Britain and Ireland 1.2 Spain and Italy 1.3 Scandinavia 1.4 France and Germany 1.5 Georgia 1.6 Hungary 1.7 Poland and Lithuania 1.8 Southeastern Europe 1.9 Climate and agriculture 1.10 The rise of chivalry

2 Religion

2.1 Christian
Church 2.2 Crusades

2.2.1 Military orders

2.3 Scholasticism 2.4 Golden age of monasticism 2.5 Mendicant orders 2.6 Heretical movements

2.6.1 Cathars 2.6.2 Waldensians

3 Trade and commerce 4 Science

4.1 Technology

5 Arts

5.1 Visual arts 5.2 Architecture 5.3 Literature 5.4 Music 5.5 Theatre

6 Timeline 7 See also 8 Notes 9 Further reading 10 External links 11 External links

Historical events and politics[edit]

Bayeux Tapestry
Bayeux Tapestry
depicting the Battle of Hastings
Battle of Hastings
during the Norman invasion of England

Great Britain and Ireland[edit] Main articles: England in the Middle Ages, Scotland
in the High Middle Ages, and History of Gwynedd during the High Middle Ages

The painted effigies of Eleanor of Aquitaine
Eleanor of Aquitaine
and Henry II of England from the Fontevraud Abbey
Fontevraud Abbey
in Anjou, France, which no longer houses their remains

In England, the Norman Conquest
Norman Conquest
of 1066 resulted in a kingdom ruled by a Francophone nobility. The Normans
invaded Ireland by force in 1169 and soon established themselves throughout most of the country, although their stronghold was the southeast. Likewise, Scotland
and Wales
were subdued to vassalage at about the same time, though Scotland
later asserted its independence. The Exchequer
was founded in the 12th century under King Henry I, and the first parliaments were convened. In 1215, after the loss of Normandy, King John signed the Magna Carta
Magna Carta
into law, which limited the power of English monarchs. Spain and Italy[edit] Main articles: Spain in the Middle Ages
Middle Ages
and Italy in the Middle Ages Much of the Iberian peninsula
Iberian peninsula
had been occupied by the Moors
after 711, although the northernmost portion was divided between several Christian
states. In the 11th century, and again in the thirteenth, the Christian
kingdoms of the north gradually drove the Muslims from central and most of southern Iberia. In Italy, independent city states grew affluent on eastern maritime trade. These were in particular the thalassocracies of Pisa, Amalfi, Genoa
and Venice.

The Pontic steppes, c. 1015

Scandinavia[edit] Main articles: History of Denmark § Christianity, expansion and the establishment of the Kingdom of Denmark; History of Norway § The Viking
kings; and Early Swedish history From the mid-tenth to the mid-11th centuries, the Scandinavian kingdoms were unified and Christianized, resulting in an end of Viking raids, and greater involvement in European politics. King Cnut of Denmark ruled over both England and Norway. After Cnut's death in 1035, England and Norway were lost, and with the defeat of Valdemar II in 1227, Danish predominance in the region came to an end. Meanwhile, Norway extended its Atlantic possessions, ranging from Greenland
to the Isle of Man, while Sweden, under Birger Jarl, built up a power-base in the Baltic Sea. However, the Norwegian influence started to decline already in the same period, marked by the Treaty of Perth of 1266. Also, civil wars raged in Norway between 1130 and 1240. France and Germany[edit] Main articles: France in the Middle Ages
Middle Ages
and Germany in the Middle Ages By the time of the High Middle Ages, the Carolingian Empire
Carolingian Empire
had been divided and replaced by separate successor kingdoms called France and Germany, although not with their modern boundaries. Germany was under the banner of the Holy Roman Empire, which reached its high-water mark of unity and political power. Georgia[edit] Main article: Georgian Golden Age During the successful reign of King David IV of Georgia
David IV of Georgia
(1089–1125), Kingdom of Georgia
Kingdom of Georgia
grew in strength and expelled the Seljuk Empire from its lands. David's decisive victory in the Battle of Didgori (1121) against the Seljuk Turks, as a result of which Georgia recaptured its lost capital Tbilisi, marked the beginning of the Georgian Golden Age. David's granddaughter Queen Tamar continued the upward rise, successfully neutralizing internal opposition and embarking on an energetic foreign policy aided by further decline of the hostile Seljuk Turks. Relying on a powerful military élite, Tamar was able to build on the successes of her predecessors to consolidate an empire which dominated vast lands spanning from present-day southern Russia on the Black Sea
Black Sea
to the Caspian Sea. Georgia remained a leading regional power until its collapse under the Mongol attacks within two decades after Tamar's death. Hungary[edit] Main article: Kingdom of Hungary
Kingdom of Hungary
in the Middle Ages

King Saint Stephen I of Hungary.

In the High Middle Ages, the Kingdom of Hungary
Kingdom of Hungary
(founded in 1000), became one of the most powerful medieval states in central Europe
and Western Europe. King Saint Stephen I of Hungary
Stephen I of Hungary
introduced Christianity to the region; he was remembered by the contemporary chroniclers as a very religious monarch, with wide knowledge in Latin grammar, strict with his own people but kind to the foreigners. He eradicated the remnants of the tribal organisation in the Kingdom and forced the people to sedentarize and adopt the Christian
religion, ethics, way of life and founded the Hungarian medieval state, organising it politically in counties using the Germanic system as a model. The following monarchs usually kept a close relationship with Rome like Saint Ladislaus I of Hungary, and a tolerant attitude with the pagans that escaped to the Kingdom searching for sanctuary (for example Cumans
in the 13th century), which eventually created certain discomfort for some Popes. With entering in Personal union
Personal union
with the Kingdom of Croatia and annexation of other small states, Hungary became a small empire that extended its control over the Balkans
and all the Carpathian
region. The Hungarian royal house was the one that gave the most saints to the Catholic Church
Catholic Church
during medieval times. Poland and Lithuania[edit] Main articles: History of Poland in the Middle Ages
Middle Ages
and Grand Duchy of Lithuania During the High Middle Ages
Middle Ages
Poland emerged as a kingdom. It decided to bond itself with the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, confirmed by the Union of Krewo and later treaties, leading to a personal union in 1569. Southeastern Europe[edit]

Main articles: Byzantine
Empire, Second Bulgarian Empire, Serbian Grand Principality, Principality of Arbanon, Banate of Bosnia, and Kingdom of Croatia

The High Middle Ages
Middle Ages
saw the height and decline of the Slavic state of Kievan Rus'
Kievan Rus'
and emergence of Cumania. Later, the Mongol invasion in the 13th century had great impact on the east of Europe, as many countries of the region were invaded, pillaged, conquered and/or vassalized. During the first half of this period (c. 1025—1185) the Byzantine Empire dominated the Balkans, and under the Komnenian emperors there was a revival of prosperity and urbanization; however, their domination of Southeastern Europe
came to an end with a successful Vlach-Bulgarian rebellion in 1185, and henceforth the region was divided between the Byzantines in Greece, some parts of Macedonia, and Thrace, the Bulgarians in Moesia
and most of Thrace
and Macedonia, and the Serbs to the northwest. Eastern and Western churches had formally split in the 11th century, and despite occasional periods of co-operation during the 12th century, in 1204 the Fourth Crusade treacherously captured Constantinople. This severely damaged the Byzantines, and their power was ultimately weakened by the Seljuks and the rising Ottoman Empire
Ottoman Empire
in the 14-15th century. The power of the Latin Empire, however, was short lived after the Crusader army was routed by Bulgarian Emperor Kaloyan in the Battle of Adrianople (1205). Climate and agriculture[edit] The Medieval Warm Period, the period from 10th century to about the 14th century in Europe, was a relatively warm and gentle interval ended by the generally colder Little Ice Age. Farmers grew wheat well north into Scandinavia, and wine grapes in northern England, although the maximum expansion of vineyards appears to occur within the Little Ice Age period. During this time, a high demand for wine and steady volume of alcohol consumption inspired a viticulture revolution of progress.[5] This protection from famine allowed Europe's population to increase, despite the famine in 1315 that killed 1.5 million people. This increased population contributed to the founding of new towns and an increase in industrial and economic activity during the period. They also established trade and a comprehensive production of alcohol. Food production also increased during this time as new ways of farming were introduced, including the use of a heavier plow, horses instead of oxen, and a three-field system that allowed the cultivation of a greater variety of crops than the earlier two-field system—notably legumes, the growth of which prevented the depletion of important nitrogen from the soil. The rise of chivalry[edit] Household heavy cavalry (knights) became common in the 11th century across Europe, and tournaments were invented. Although the heavy capital investment in horse and armor was a barrier to entry, knighthood became known as a way for serfs to earn their freedom.[citation needed] In the 12th century, the Cluny
monks promoted ethical warfare and inspired the formation of orders of chivalry, such as the Templar Knights. Inherited titles of nobility were established during this period. In 13th-century Germany, knighthood became another inheritable title, although one of the less prestigious, and the trend spread to other countries. Religion[edit]

A limestone statue depicting Aaron, brother of Moses in the Old Testament, from the Cathedral of Noyon, c. 1170

Church[edit] The East–West Schism
East–West Schism
of 1054 formally separated the Christian
church into two parts: Western Catholicism in Western Europe
and Eastern Orthodoxy in the east. It occurred when Pope
Leo IX and Patriarch Michael I excommunicated each other, mainly over disputes as to the existence of papal authority over the four Eastern patriarchs, as well as disagreement over the filioque. Crusades[edit] Main article: Crusades The Crusades
occurred between the 11th and 13th centuries. They were conducted under papal authority with the intent of reestablishing Christian
rule in The Holy Land
Holy Land
by taking the area from the Muslim Fatimid Caliphate. The Fatimids had captured Palestine in AD 970, lost it to the Seljuk Turks
Seljuk Turks
in 1073 and recaptured it in 1098, just before they lost it again in 1099 as a result of the First Crusade. Military orders[edit] In the context of the crusades, monastic military orders were founded that would become the template for the late medieval chivalric orders. The Knights Templar
Knights Templar
were a Christian
military order founded after the First Crusade
First Crusade
to help protect Christian
pilgrims from hostile locals and highway bandits. The order was deeply involved in banking, and in 1307 Philip the Fair (Philippine le Bel) had the entire order arrested in France and dismantled on charges of heresy. The Knights Hospitaller
Knights Hospitaller
were originally a Christian
organization founded in Jerusalem
in 1080 to provide care for poor, sick, or injured pilgrims to the Holy Land. After Jerusalem
was taken in the First Crusade, it became a religious/military order that was charged with the care and defence of the Holy Lands. After the Holy Lands were eventually taken by Muslim
forces, it moved its operations to Rhodes, and later Malta. The Teutonic Knights
Teutonic Knights
were a German religious order formed in 1190, in the city of Acre, to both aid Christian
pilgims on their way to the Holy Lands and to operate hospitals for the sick and injured in Extremer. After Muslim
forces captured the Holy Lands, the order moved to Transylvania
in 1211 and later, after being expelled, invaded pagan Prussic
with the intention of Christianizing the Baltic region. Yet, before and after the Order's main pagan opponent, Lithuania, converted to Christianity, the Order had already attacked other Christian nations such as Novgorod and Poland. The Teutonic Knights' power hold, which became considerable, was broken in 1410, at the Battle of Grunwald, where the Order suffered a devastating defeat against a joint Polish-Lithuanian army. After Grunwald, the Order declined in power until 1809 when it was officially dissolved. There were ten crusades in total. Scholasticism[edit] Main article: Scholasticism The new Christian
method of learning was influenced by Anselm of Canterbury (1033–1109) from the rediscovery of the works of Aristotle, at first indirectly through Medieval Jewish and Muslim Philosophy (Maimonides, Avicenna, and Averroes) and then through Aristotle's own works brought back from Byzantine
and Muslim libraries; and those whom he influenced, most notably Albertus Magnus, Bonaventure
and Abélard. Many scholastics believed in empiricism and supporting Roman Catholic doctrines through secular study, reason, and logic. They opposed Christian
mysticism, and the Platonist-Augustinian belief that the mind is an immaterial substance. The most famous of the scholastics was Thomas Aquinas
Thomas Aquinas
(later declared a "Doctor of the Church"), who led the move away from the Platonic and Augustinian and towards Aristotelianism. Aquinas developed a philosophy of mind by writing that the mind was at birth a tabula rasa ("blank slate") that was given the ability to think and recognize forms or ideas through a divine spark. Other notable scholastics included Roscelin, Abélard, Peter Lombard, and Francisco Suárez. One of the main questions during this time was the problem of universals. Prominent opponents of various aspects of the scholastic mainstream included Duns Scotus, William of Ockham, Peter Damian, Bernard of Clairvaux, and the Victorines. [1] Golden age of monasticism[edit]

The late 11th century/early-mid 12th century was the height of the golden age of Christian
monasticism (8th-12th centuries).

Benedictine Order
Benedictine Order
- black-robed monks Cistercian Order
Cistercian Order
- white-robed monks

Bernard of Clairvaux

Mendicant orders[edit]

The 13th century saw the rise of the Mendicant orders such as the:

Franciscans (Friars Minor, commonly known as the Grey Friars), founded 1209 Carmelites (Hermits of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Carmel, commonly known as the White Friars), founded 1206–1214 Dominicans (Order of Preachers, commonly called the Black Friars), founded 1215 Augustinians
(Hermits of St. Augustine, commonly called the Austin Friars), founded 1256

Heretical movements[edit] Christian
heresies existed in Europe
before the 11th century but only in small numbers and of local character: in most cases, a rogue priest, or a village returning to pagan traditions. Beginning in the 11th century, however mass-movement heresies appeared. The roots of this can be partially sought in the rise of urban cities, free merchants, and a new money-based economy. The rural values of monasticism held little appeal to urban people who began to form sects more in tune with urban culture. The first large-scale heretical movements in Western Europe
originated in the newly urbanized areas such as southern France and northern Italy and were probably influenced by the Bogomils and other dualist movements. These heresies were on a scale the Catholic Church
Catholic Church
had never seen before; the response was one of elimination for some (such as the Cathars), and acceptance and integration of others (such as the veneration of Francis of Assisi, the son of an urban merchant who renounced money). Cathars[edit]

being expelled from Carcassonne
in 1209

Main article: Catharism Catharism
was a movement with Gnostic elements that originated around the middle of the 10th century, branded by the contemporary Roman Catholic Church
Catholic Church
as heretical. It existed throughout much of Western Europe, but its origination was in Languedoc
and surrounding areas in southern France. The name Cathar stems from Greek katharos, "pure". One of the first recorded uses is Eckbert von Schönau who wrote on heretics from Cologne
in 1181: "Hos nostra Germania catharos appellat." The Cathars
are also called Albigensians. This name originates from the end of the 12th century, and was used by the chronicler Geoffroy du Breuil of Vigeois in 1181. The name refers to the southern town of Albi
(the ancient Albiga). The designation is hardly exact, for the centre was at Toulouse
and in the neighbouring districts. The Albigensians were strong in southern France, northern Italy, and the southwestern Holy Roman Empire. The Bogomils were strong in Balkans, and became the official religion supported by the Bosnian kings.

Dualists believed that historical events were the result of struggle between a good force and an evil force and that evil ruled the world, though it could be controlled or defeated through asceticism and good works. Albigensian Crusade, Simon de Montfort, Montségur, Château de Quéribus

Waldensians[edit] Peter Waldo
Peter Waldo
of Lyon
was a wealthy merchant who gave up his riches around 1175 after a religious experience and became a preacher. He founded the Waldensians
which became a Christian
sect believing that all religious practices should have scriptural basis. Waldo was denied the right to preach his sermons by the Third Lateran Council in 1179, which he did not obey and continued to speak freely until he was excommunicated in 1184. Waldo was critical of the Christian
clergy saying they did not live according to the word. He rejected the practice of selling indulgences, as well as the common saint cult practices of the day. Waldensians
are considered a forerunner to the Protestant Reformation, and they melted into Protestantism
with the outbreak of the Reformation
and became a part of the wider Reformed tradition
Reformed tradition
after the views of John Calvin
John Calvin
and his theological successors in Geneva proved very similar to their own theological thought. Waldensian churches still exist, located on several continents. Trade and commerce[edit] In Northern Europe, the Hanseatic League, a federation of free cities to advance trade by sea, was founded in the 12th century, with the foundation of the city of Lübeck, which would later dominate the League, in 1158—1159. Many northern cities of the Holy Roman Empire became hanseatic cities, including Amsterdam, Cologne, Bremen, Hanover and Berlin. Hanseatic cities outside the Holy Roman Empire
Holy Roman Empire
were, for instance, Bruges
and the Polish city of Gdańsk
(Danzig), as well as Königsberg, capital of the monastic state of the Teutonic Knights. In Bergen, Norway and Veliky Novgorod, Russia the league had factories and middlemen. In this period the Germans started colonising Europe beyond the Empire, into Prussia
and Silesia. In the late 13th century, a Venetian explorer named Marco Polo
Marco Polo
became one of the first Europeans to travel the Silk Road
Silk Road
to China. Westerners became more aware of the Far East when Polo documented his travels in Il Milione. He was followed by numerous Christian missionaries to the East, such as William of Rubruck, Giovanni da Pian del Carpine, André de Longjumeau, Odoric of Pordenone, Giovanni de' Marignolli, Giovanni di Monte Corvino, and other travellers such as Niccolò de' Conti. Science[edit] Main articles: Science
in the Middle Ages
Middle Ages
and Medieval medicine Further information: List of medieval European scientists Philosophical and scientific teaching of the Early Middle Ages
Middle Ages
was based upon few copies and commentaries of ancient Greek texts that remained in Western Europe
after the collapse of the Western Roman Empire. Most of them were studied only in Latin as knowledge of Greek was very limited. This scenario changed during the Renaissance
of the 12th century. The intellectual revitalization of Europe
started with the birth of medieval universities. The increased contact with the Islamic world in Spain and Sicily during the Reconquista, and the Byzantine
world and Muslim
during the Crusades, allowed Europeans access to scientific Arabic and Greek texts, including the works of Aristotle, Alhazen, and Averroes. The European universities aided materially in the translation and propagation of these texts and started a new infrastructure which was needed for scientific communities.

Detail of a portrait of Hugh de Provence (wearing spectacles), painted by Tomasso da Modena
Tomasso da Modena
in 1352

At the beginning of the 13th century there were reasonably accurate Latin translations of the main works of almost all the intellectually crucial ancient authors,[6] allowing a sound transfer of scientific ideas via both the universities and the monasteries. By then, the natural science contained in these texts began to be extended by notable scholastics such as Robert Grosseteste, Roger Bacon, Albertus Magnus and Duns Scotus. Precursors of the modern scientific method can be seen already in Grosseteste's emphasis on mathematics as a way to understand nature, and in the empirical approach admired by Bacon, particularly in his Opus Majus. Technology[edit] Main articles: Medieval technology
Medieval technology
and Artes Mechanicae During the 12th and 13th century in Europe
there was a radical change in the rate of new inventions, innovations in the ways of managing traditional means of production, and economic growth. In less than a century there were more inventions developed and applied usefully than in the previous thousand years of human history all over the globe. The period saw major technological advances, including the adoption or invention of windmills, watermills, printing (though not yet with movable type), gunpowder, the astrolabe, glasses, scissors of the modern shape, a better clock, and greatly improved ships. The latter two advances made possible the dawn of the Age of Discovery. These inventions were influenced by foreign culture and society. Alfred W. Crosby described some of this technological revolution in The Measure of Reality: Quantification in Western Europe, 1250-1600 and other major historians of technology have also noted it.

Ships of the world in 1460, according to the Fra Mauro map.

The earliest written record of a windmill is from Yorkshire, England, dated 1185. Paper
manufacture began in Italy around 1270. The spinning wheel was brought to Europe
(probably from India) in the 13th century. The magnetic compass aided navigation, first reaching Europe
some time in the late 12th century. Eye glasses were invented in Italy in the late 1280s. The astrolabe returned to Europe
via Islamic Spain. Fibonacci
introduces Arabic numerals
Arabic numerals
to Europe
with his book Liber Abaci in 1202. The West's oldest known depiction of a stern-mounted rudder can be found on church carvings dating to around 1180.

Arts[edit] Visual arts[edit]

A fresco from the Boyana Church
Boyana Church
depicting Emperor Constantine Tikh Asen. The murals are among the finest achievements of the Bulgarian culture in the 13th century.

Main article: Medieval art Art in the High Middle Ages
Middle Ages
includes these important movements:

Anglo-Saxon art
Anglo-Saxon art
was influential on the British Isles
British Isles
until the Norman Invasion of 1066 Romanesque art
Romanesque art
continued traditions from the Classical world (not to be confused with Romanesque architecture) Gothic art
Gothic art
developed a distinct Germanic flavor (not to be confused with Gothic architecture). Byzantine
art continued earlier Byzantine
traditions, influencing much of Eastern Europe. Illuminated manuscripts
Illuminated manuscripts
gained prominence both in the Catholic and Orthodox churches


Interior of Nôtre Dame de Paris

Main article: Gothic architecture Gothic architecture
Gothic architecture
superseded the Romanesque style by combining flying buttresses, gothic (or pointed) arches and ribbed vaults. It was influenced by the spiritual background of the time, being religious in essence: thin horizontal lines and grates made the building strive towards the sky. Architecture was made to appear light and weightless, as opposed to the dark and bulky forms of the previous Romanesque style. Saint Augustine of Hippo
Augustine of Hippo
taught that light was an expression of God. Architectural techniques were adapted and developed to build churches that reflected this teaching. Colorful glass windows enhanced the spirit of lightness. As color was much rarer at medieval times than today, it can be assumed that these virtuoso works of art had an awe-inspiring impact on the common man from the street. High-rising intricate ribbed, and later fan vaultings demonstrated movement toward heaven. Veneration of God was also expressed by the relatively large size of these buildings. A gothic cathedral therefore not only invited the visitors to elevate themselves spiritually, it was also meant to demonstrate the greatness of God. The floor plan of a gothic cathedral corresponded to the rules of scholasticism: According to Erwin Panofsky's Gothic Architecture and Scholasticism, the plan was divided into sections and uniform subsections. These characteristics are exhibited by the most famous sacral building of the time: Notre Dame de Paris. Literature[edit] Main article: Medieval literature

John the Apostle
John the Apostle
and Marcion of Sinope
Marcion of Sinope
in an Italian illuminated manuscript, painting on vellum, 11th century

A variety of cultures influenced the literature of the High Middle Ages, one of the strongest among them being Christianity. The connection to Christianity was greatest in Latin literature, which influenced the vernacular languages in the literary cycle of the Matter of Rome. Other literary cycles, or interrelated groups of stories, included the Matter of France (stories about Charlemagne
and his court), the Acritic songs
Acritic songs
dealing with the chivalry of Byzantium's frontiersmen, and perhaps the best known cycle, the Matter of Britain, which featured tales about King Arthur, his court, and related stories from Brittany, Cornwall, Wales
and Ireland. An anonymous German poet tried to bring the Germanic myths from the Migration Period
Migration Period
to the level of the French and British epics, producing the Nibelungenlied. There was also a quantity of poetry and historical writings which were written during this period, such as Historia Regum Britanniae
Historia Regum Britanniae
by Geoffrey of Monmouth. Despite political decline during the late 12th and much of the 13th centuries, the Byzantine
scholarly tradition remained particularly fruitful over the time period. One of the most prominent philosophers of the 11th century, Michael Psellos, reinvigorated Neoplatonism
on Christian
foundations and bolstered the study of ancient philosophical texts, along with contributing to history, grammar, and rhetorics. His pupil and successor at the head of Philosophy at the University of Constantinople
Ioannes Italos continued the Platonic line in Byzantine thought and was criticized by the Church for holding opinions it considered heretical, such as the doctrine of transmigration. Two Orthodox theologians important in the dialogue between the eastern and western churches were Nikephoros Blemmydes and Maximus Planudes. Byzantine
historical tradition also flourished with the works of the brothers Niketas and Michael Choniates
Michael Choniates
in the beginning of the 13th century and George Akropolites a generation later. Dating from 12th century Byzantine Empire
Byzantine Empire
is also Timarion, an Orthodox Christian anticipation of Divine Comedy. Around the same time the so-called Byzantine
novel rose in popularity with its synthesis of ancient pagan and contemporaneous Christian
themes. At the same time southern France gave birth to Occitan literature, which is best known for troubadours who sang of courtly love. It included elements from Latin literature
Latin literature
and Arab-influenced Spain and North Africa. Later its influence spread to several cultures in Western Europe, notably in Portugal and the Minnesänger in Germany. Provençal literature also reached Sicily and Northern Italy laying the foundation of the "sweet new style" of Dante and later Petrarca. Indeed, the most important poem of the Late Middle Ages, the allegorical Divine Comedy, is to a large degree a product of both the theology of Thomas Aquinas
Thomas Aquinas
and the largely secular Occitan literature. Music[edit] Main article: Medieval music

Musicians playing the Spanish vihuela, one with a bow, the other plucked by hand, in the Cantigas de Santa Maria
Cantigas de Santa Maria
of Alfonso X of Castile, 13th century

Men playing the organistrum, from the Ourense Cathedral, Spain, 12th century

The surviving music of the High Middle Ages
Middle Ages
is primarily religious in nature, since music notation developed in religious institutions, and the application of notation to secular music was a later development. Early in the period, Gregorian chant
Gregorian chant
was the dominant form of church music; other forms, beginning with organum, and later including clausulae, conductus, and the motet, developed using the chant as source material. During the 11th century, Guido of Arezzo
Guido of Arezzo
was one of the first to develop musical notation, which made it easier for singers to remember Gregorian chants. It was during the 12th and 13th centuries that Gregorian plainchant gave birth to polyphony, which appeared in the works of French Notre Dame School ( Léonin and Pérotin). Later it evolved into the ars nova (Philippe de Vitry, Guillaume de Machaut) and the musical genres of late Middle Ages. An important composer during the 12th century was the nun Hildegard of Bingen. The most significant secular movement was that of the troubadours, who arose in Occitania
(Southern France) in the late 11th century. The troubadours were often itinerant, came from all classes of society, and wrote songs on a variety of topics, though with a particular focus on courtly love. Their style went on to influence the trouvères of northern France, the minnesingers of Germany, and the composers of secular music of the Trecento in northern Italy. Theatre[edit] Main article: Medieval theatre Economic and political changes in the High Middle Ages
Middle Ages
led to the formation of guilds and the growth of towns, and this would lead to significant changes for theatre starting in this time and continuing into in the Late Middle Ages. Trade guilds began to perform plays, usually religiously based, and often dealing with a biblical story that referenced their profession. For instance, a baker's guild would perform a reenactment of the Last Supper.[7] In the British Isles, plays were produced in some 127 different towns during the Middle Ages. These vernacular Mystery plays
Mystery plays
were written in cycles of a large number of plays: York (48 plays), Chester (24), Wakefield (32) and Unknown (42). A larger number of plays survive from France and Germany in this period and some type of religious dramas were performed in nearly every European country in the Late Middle Ages. Many of these plays contained comedy, devils, villains and clowns.[8] There were also a number of secular performances staged in the Middle Ages, the earliest of which is The Play of the Greenwood by Adam de la Halle in 1276. It contains satirical scenes and folk material such as faeries and other supernatural occurrences. Farces also rose dramatically in popularity after the 13th century. The majority of these plays come from France and Germany and are similar in tone and form, emphasizing sex and bodily excretions.[9] Timeline[edit] Further information: Timeline of the Middle Ages

The cathedral of Notre Dame de Paris, whose construction began in 1163, is one of the finer examples of the High Middle Ages architecture

1003 — death of Pope
Sylvester II 1018 — the First Bulgarian Empire
First Bulgarian Empire
is conquered by the Byzantine Empire under Basil II. 1027 — the Salian Conrad II succeeds the last Ottonian Henry II the Saint 1054 — East–West Schism 1066 — Battle of Hastings 1066–1067 Bayeux Tapestry 1073–1085 — Pope
Gregory VII 1071 — Battle of Manzikert 1077 — Henry IV's Walk to Canossa 1086 — Domesday Book 1086 — Battle of az-Zallaqah 1088 — University of Bologna
University of Bologna
founded 1091 — Battle of Levounion 1096–1099 — First Crusade 1123 — First Lateran Council 1139 — Second Lateran Council 1145–1149 — Second Crusade 1147 — Wendish Crusade c. 1150 — University of Paris
University of Paris
founded 1155–1190 — Frederick I Barbarossa 1158 — foundation of the Hanseatic League 1167 — University of Oxford
University of Oxford
founded 1185 — reestablishment of the Bulgarian Empire 1189–1192 — Third Crusade 1200–1204 — Fourth Crusade 1205 — battle of Adrianople 1209 — University of Cambridge
University of Cambridge
founded 1209 — foundation of the Franciscan
Order 1209–1229 — Albigensian Crusade 1212 — Battle of Las Navas de Tolosa 1215 — Magna Carta 1216 — recognition of the Dominican Order 1215 — Fourth Lateran Council 1217–1221 — Fifth Crusade 1218 — University of Salamanca
University of Salamanca
founded 1220–1250 — Frederick II 1222 — University of Padua
University of Padua
founded 1223 — approval of the Franciscan
Rule of Life 1228–1229 — Sixth Crusade 1230 — Prussian Crusade 1230 — battle of Klokotnitsa 1237–1242 — Mongol invasion of Europe 1241 — Battle of Legnica 1242 — Battle of the Ice 1248–1254 — Seventh Crusade 1257 — foundation of the Collège de Sorbonne 1261 — the Byzantine Empire
Byzantine Empire
reconquers Constantinople. 1274 — death of Thomas Aquinas; Summa Theologica
Summa Theologica
published 1277-1280 - Uprising of Ivaylo
Uprising of Ivaylo
- Medieval Europe's only successful peasant uprising 1280 — death of Albertus Magnus 1291 — Acre, the last European outpost in the Middle East, is captured by the Mamluks
under Khalil. 1299 - Peak of Mongol supremacy in Southeastern Europe
with Chaka of Bulgaria 1299 — Osman I
Osman I
founds the Ottoman Empire.

See also[edit]

Middle Ages
Middle Ages
portal History portal Crusades

Early Middle Ages Late Middle Ages Middle Ages


^ John H. Mundy, Europe
in the high Middle Ages, 1150-1309 (1973) online ^ http://www.fafich.ufmg.br/hist_discip_grad/barbarians_inavsions_halsall.pdf ^ http://www.cambridge.org/gb/knowledge/isbn/item1173036/?site_locale=en_GB ^ See ffor example: Aberth, John (2012). "The early medieval woodland". An Environmental History of the Middle Ages: The Crucible of Nature. Abingdon: Routledge. p. 87. ISBN 9780415779456. Retrieved 2017-08-17. The French historian of the early medieval forest, Charles Higounet, produced a map in the 1960s, which has been much reproduced since, that purports to show the distribution of the forest cover in Europe
on the eve of the so-called 'great clearances' (les grands défrichements) between 1000 and 1300.  ^ Jellinek, E. M. 1976. "Drinkers and Alcoholics in Ancient Rome." Edited by Carole D. Yawney andRobert E. Popham. Journal of Studies on Alcohol 37 (11): 1718-1740. ^ Franklin, J., "The Renaissance
myth", Quadrant 26 (11) (Nov, 1982), 51-60. (Retrieved on-line at 06-07-2007) ^ A History of English literature for Students, by Robert Huntington Fletcher, 1916: pp. 85-88 ^ Brockett and Hildy (2003, 86) ^ Brockett and Hildy (2003, 96)

Further reading[edit]

Fuhrmann, Horst. Germany in the high Middle Ages: c. 1050-1200 (Cambridge UP, 1986). Jordan, William C. Europe
in the high middle ages (2nd ed. Penguin, 2004). Mundy, John H. Europe
in the High Middle Ages, 1150-1309 (2014)--online Power, Daniel, ed. The Central Middle Ages: Europe
950-1320 (Oxford UP, 2006).

External links[edit]

Music of the Middle Ages: 475-1500 Middle Ages: The High Middle Ages
Middle Ages
on Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia at infoplease Provençal literature on Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia at infoplease

External links[edit] Media related to High Middle Ages
Middle Ages
at Wikimedia Commons

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