A Study Guide to the Middle Ages Covering Events, Philosophies, & More

A Study Guide to the Middle Ages Covering Events, Philosophies, & More
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Examining the Middle Ages

Understanding the Middle Ages sounds like a difficult time in history to make sense of. In general historians agree that it began in the late 4th century CE and ended in the early 14th century. This piece will guide you to articles that are designed to help you better understand certain aspects without having to search individually for them. This work is a compilation of other articles that will work as a guide to the Middle Ages.

Social Order In the Middle Ages

The people of the middle ages had a very difficult life. There was no modern medicine and there were no days off. Ninety percent of the people who lived during those times were serfs. The remaining 10 percent belonged either to the nobility or the church. Priests and bishops often had a better existence than their peasant counterparts but were dependent on them as well as they were on the nobility.

Inventions and Science in the Middle Ages

Although the vast majority of information was controlled by the church in Rome during the Middle Ages, there were still some advances on the intellectual and scientific fronts. Philosophy had a rebirth since the writings of Plato, Socrates and Aristotle were rediscovered. There were also major discoveries on the maritime front that allowed for even better shipping and better times for delivery.

The Role of the Viking Invaders on Medieval Society

No single group during the Middle Ages was as feared as the Vikings. Vikings originated in Scandinavia and raided all along the coasts and up the rivers of Europe. They were capable swordsman and shipwrights, and they struck fear in the hearts of the peasantry as well as the nobility. Scratching out their existence in Scandinavia was difficult, so they took to raiding England and northern Europe to supplement their gold coffers and find food. The term viking is actually the act of invading and raiding. They were so feared that the French gave them the province of Normandy to appease them. The Russians were also heavily influenced by the Viking incursions into their interior.

Eastern Europe

Although many issues of the Middle Ages are concerned with Western Europe, there was another entire portion of Europe that was affected in a different way. In the east the Eastern Roman Empire continued to flourish under the name Byzantine Empire. Byzantium is often forgotten since it is in Eastern Europe, but was a central player in the largest event of the Middle Ages, the Crusades. An understanding of the Middle Ages cannot be complete without understanding Byzantium.

The Plague

One of the most significant and fateful events was the outbreak of the Bubonic Plague in the 14th Century. Estimates have one in four people dying from the plague. In an overpopulated Europe that had little or no understanding of the bacterium it proved to have a large effect on every individual’s life. The Plague did not discern between the wealthy or the poor, it was indiscriminate and paved the way for the Renaissance and the Reformation.

An Interesting Time Period

The Middle Ages has proven to be one of the most important parts of Western civilization. When Europe came out of Ancient Rome a new series of governments and traditions needed to be formed. What occurred was an adaptation of western society. The Church filled the void that was left by the retreating Roman Legions and Patricians. The Roman Catholic Church assumed the role of these former governmental zones and established Bishoprics. New warlords rose up and formed their own kingdoms. Some of these were from the barbarian tribes but there were some Roman Generals who formed their own Kingdoms. The period after the fall of Rome in the west generated chaos but eventually settled into an agrarian life dominated by the feudal system and the church.