The Emergence of the Middle Ages: 1000 ad

When the Old World Order began to crumble with the fall of the Roman Empire and the break up of the Mediterranean the foundation was laid for a new type of civilization to emerge, a “western civilization”. The Empire in the East continued, based in Constantinople.. It was the most obvious heir to the culture of the classical world. This culture still dominates Eastern Europe and Russia, through Orthodoxy. Islam was the religion of Arab townsmen. Led by Mohammad (d. c. 640, Hijira 622). They swept out of the Arabian Peninsula. [Lacey, 174] They eventually took control of all North Africa, Egypt,

Anatolia (under the Turks) and for a time Spain. Islam is also is an heir to Classical civilization. It gleamed mathematics from Mesopotamia, Philosophy from the Greeks and Monotheism from the Jews. For almost a thousand years Muslims were by all objective standards more advanced than Western Europe Finally, Barbarians and Germanic tribes dominated what was left in the area known today as; France, Spain, Italy, Britain, Germany. This was the least developed of the three cultures that succeeded the classical world. It was dominated increasingly also by the Church of Rome.

It was a Latin reading and speaking world, therefore the term “Latin Christendom. ” This area was to become the West. From around 600 to 1000 AD conditions were fairly bleak in the emergence of a western civilization. By 1050 AD the Latin Christendom movement comes to life. Political states such as France, England (and for a millisecond of time Germany) began to pull themselves together into tribal states.. Some of The defining characteristics that identify this civilization are; the idea of law (sovereign king- states), the importance of trade and the role of the Christian religion.

The concept of what a king is his responsibilities of a king come to be defined in this period. Starting with The emergence of Charlemagne in around 800 a glimmer of the sovereign promise to follow was shown. As far as trade is concerned prior to the 1000’s most people lived on the land doing subsistence farming. From around 1050 a Commercial revolution began. There were no towns larger than 10,000 inhabitants at the most. In the earlier period money had largely disappeared. Now it became important again and trade started up in local areas and between far distant areas.

During the latter part of the age Westerners even get as far as China. As far as the advancement of Christianity goes, The Crusades were established as a way to stamp out all of the non-believers. The western civilizations begin to attack both the Byzantine Empire and Islam in order to conquer Jerusalem, the holy city of Christ. The crusades are successful for a time but they are soon pressed back by the invaded countries. During this time many of the classical styles of architecture know to the medireview period are borrowed from the Islamic nations.

The medireview period of time as started in 1000 AD may not be viewed as the age of enlightenment as the Renaissance period is. But, without such a period of growing pains western civilization would not have emerged at all. In short the West begins to have notion of itself. The notion is called Christendom, but develops into the idea of Europe. In the Middle Ages we have the origin of a specifically Western civilization, based not on the Mediterranean, but the Western lands of the entire Continent and on the classical ideals of the past.


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