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14 - The Latin West, 1200 - 1500.doc

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Arizona State University
HST 101
Tom Wang

CHAPTER 15 The Latin West, 1200–1500 I0. Rural Growth and Crisis A0. Peasants and Population 10. In 1200 CE. most Europeans were peasants, bound to the land in serfdom and using inefficient agricultural practices. Fifteen to thirty such heavily taxed farming families supported each noble household. 20. Women labored in the fields with men but were subordinate to them. 30. Europe’s population more than doubled between 1000 and 1445. Population growth was accompanied by new agricultural technologies in northern Europe, including the vthree-field system and the cultivation of oats. 40. As population grew, people opened new land for cultivation, including land with poor soil and poor growing conditions. This caused a decline in average crop yields beginning around 1250. B0. The Black Death and Social Change 10. The population pressure was eased by the Black Death (bubonic plague), which was brought from Kaffa to Italy and southern France in 1346. The plague ravaged Europe for two years and returned periodically in the late 1300s and 1400s, causing substantial decreases in population. 20. As a result of the plague, labor became more expensive in Western Europe. This gave rise to a series of peasant and worker uprisings, higher wages, and the end of serfdom. Serfdom in Eastern Europe grew extensively in the centuries after the Black Death. 30. Rural living standards improved, the period of apprenticeship for artisans was reduced, and per capita income rose. C0. Mines and Mills 10. Between 1200 and 1500 Europeans invented and used a variety of mechanical devices including water wheels and windmills. Mills were expensive to build, but over time they brought great profits to their owners. 20. Industrial enterprises, including mining, ironworking, stone quarrying, and tanning, grew during these centuries. The results included both greater productivity and environmental damage including water pollution and deforestation. II0. Urban Revival A0. Trading Cities 10. Increases in trade and in manufacturing contributed to the growth of cities after 1200. The relationship between trade, manufacturing, and urbanization is demonstrated in the growth of the cities of northern Italy and in the urban areas of Champagne and Flanders. 20. The Venetian capture of Constantinople (1204), the opening of the Central Asian caravan trade under the Mongol Empire, and the post-Mongol development of the Mediterranean galley trade with Constantinople, Beirut, and Alexandria brought profits and growth to Venice. The increase in sea trade also brought profits to Genoa in the Mediterranean and to the cities of the Hanseatic League in the Baltic and the North Sea. 30. Flanders prospered from its woolen textile industries, while the towns of Champagne benefited from their position on the major land route through France and the series of trade fairs sponsored by their nobles. 40. Textile industries also began to develop in England and in Florence. Europeans made extensive use of water wheels and windmills in the textile, paper, and other industries. B0. Civic Life 10. Some European cities were city-states, while others enjoyed autonomy from local nobles: they were thus better able to respond to changing market conditions than Chinese or Islamic cities. European cities also offered their citizens more freedom and social mobility. 20. Most of Europe’s Jews lived in the cities. Jews were subject to persecution everywhere but Rome; they were blamed for disasters like the Black Death and expelled from Spain. 30. Guilds regulated the practice of and access to trades. Women were rarely allowed to join guilds, but they did work in unskilled non-guild jobs in the textile industry and in the food and beverage trades. 40. The growth in commerce gave rise to bankers like the Medicis of Florence and the Fuggers of Augsburg who handled financial transactions for merchants, the church, and the kings and princes of Europe. Because the Church prohibited usury, many moneylenders were Jews; Christian bankers got around the prohibition through such devices as asking for “gifts” in lieu of interest. C0. Gothic Cathedrals 10. Gothic cathedrals are the masterpieces of late medieval architecture and craftsmanship. Their distinctive features include the pointed Gothic arch, flying buttresses, high towers and spires, and large interiors lit by huge windows. 20. The men who designed and built the Gothic cathedrals had no formal training in design and engineering; they learned through their mistakes. III0. Learning, Literature, and the Renaissance A0. Universities and Learning 10. After 1100 Western Europeans got access to Greek and Arabic works on science, philosophy, and medicine. These manuscripts were translated and explicated by Jewish scholars and studied at Christian monasteries, which remained the primary centers of learning. 20. After 1200, colleges and universities emerged as new centers of learning. Some were established by students; most were teaching guilds established by professors in order to oversee the training, control the membership, and fight for the interests of the profession. 30. Universities generally specialized in a particular branch of learning; Bologna was famous for its law faculty, others for medicine or theology. Theology was the most prominent discipline of the period as theologians sought to synthesize the rational philosophy of the Greeks with the Christian faith of the Latin West in an intellectual movement known as scholasticism. B0. Humanists and Printers 10. Dante Alighieri (1265–1321) and G
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