Economic Takeoff and Social Change

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Rutgers University
History, European
Anthonydi Battista

Economic Takeoff and Social Change, c. 1000-1300 The Central Middle Ages • Agricultural innovations more than doubled the food available in Europe • Slow expansion of education and literacy • Church revitalized by monastic reform and papal leadership • Medieval west finally came of age • Europe’s population grew steadily; accommodated roughly twice as many people in 1300 as in 1000 • Living standards improved because more food was being made • 1300: Europeans lived in better houses, ate better food (esp. peas and beans, and more cheese, eggs, fish, and meat). They also wore better clothing. • Although agricultural villages still predominated, cities had become a critical part off European life by 1300 • Europe developed by its own efforts, no external stimulus • Centralization of governing authority, both within secular state and within the church. Kings were more powerful and so were the popes • Christian theology was more clearly articulated: cathedrals were built ad staffed, universities trained men for service to Church and state, and a new style of architecture called Gothic was created • Things became written down on parchment instead of being passed on orally • Europeans became dependent on written records; explosion of documentary • Reading, writing, and mathematical calculation became essential to government bureaucracies, urban businesses, and agricultural enterprises • Scribes, clerks, lawyers, and accountants rose in power and so did professors, scholars, and teachers • The social vitality of these centuries offered mobility and opportunity, but also gave rise to increased social anxiety o Xenophobia and persecutions o 11 century ideal of Christian community: sought to put everyone in a proper place with a proper role (those who pray, those who fight, and those who work) • Letters and autobiographies • While the fortunes of the West improved, those of Byzantium and Islam declined • Western knights after 1000 slowly reconquered large parts of an-Andalus, temporarily established kingdoms in the Middle East, and even plundered Constantinople Byzantium in the Central MiddleAges • 1000: Byzantium was powerful and secure; Basil II the Bulgar-Slayer • Macedonian dynasty ended when Basil II died • Threat posed byAsian power, Seljuk Turks o Took awayArmenia from Byzantium and destroyed Byzantines at the Battle of Manzikert in 1071 o Manzikert was a turning point in Byzantine history, breaking Byz’s age-long hold onAsia Minor • Byz empire began to shrink • Alexius Comnenus of the Byzantine empire begged Pope Urban II of the west for help against the Seljuks • Urban II responded by urging Western knights to go on a crusade—in aid of Byzantium but really in aid of the Holy Land • The century of Manzikert ended with the First Crusade and its capture of Jerusalem by Western crusaders th • For the Byzantines, the Crusades were bad. 4 Crusade devastated their empire. th o The soldiers of the 4 Crusade pillaged Constantinople for 3 days and nights, killing people, stealing valuables, and setting fires • Eventually Constantinople was somewhat restored by Michael VIII Paleologus but it was not the same Islamic States in the Central MiddleAges • Seljuk Turks conquered Abbasid capital Baghdad,Abbasid caliphs became mere figureheads • Seljuk rulers: Sultans • Seljuks faced a new threat by the mid-thirteenth century: The Mongols • 1258: Mongols took Baghdad, massacred its people • Seljuks eventually took Baghdad back but only for a short amount of time • Fatimid dynasty; the waxing and waning of atimid borders was one factor in launching the First Crusade • When the Fatimids lost Jerusalem to the Seljuks, Christian pilgrims were t as welcome as they have once been, so Pope Urban II responded toAlexius Comnenus’request for help against the Seljuks—he was thinking more of Jerusalem than Constantinople • Salah al-din Yusuf’s recapture of Jerusalem led to the Second Crusade • 1000 was glorious for al-Andalus but later was conquered by Christian armies Neighbors • In the borderlands, the Medieval people learned and acquired things Agricultural Revolution • Climate was good; less rain and warmer • Less marshes and bogs, less ice and milder storms • Peasants dramatically increased their yield per acre and began to use weekly or monthly markets to sell their surplus food and purchase tools, cloth, and other goods that they no longer had to produce themselves • Townspeople and towns proliferated • Nobles and knights moved to nice castles • More prosperous villages, more bustling towns, and more opulent castles • Throughout the MiddleAges, most people lived in the countryside • Whenever peasants began to produce more goods more efficiently, the economy grew • More land was brought under cultivation, some peasants cultivated the land more intensely • Fallow: Best way to keep land productive was to let it lie fallow/uncultivated • Three-field system: three fields moved through a three year cycle, spring planting for fall harvesting, fall planting for early summer harvesting, and fallow (kept two thirds of cultivated land in use at any one time) • Gradual improvements in agrarian technology o Tandem harnesses, redesigned horse collars, horseshoes o Use of axels on wagons, greater use of metal tools o Plow (heavy enough to cut through rich soil, wheeled and hence maneuverable, tipped with a metal cutting blade that withstood hard use o Water mills and windmills • More food encouraged population growth, fostered an improved standard of living, and encouraged specialization of production and the trade that flowed from it • Crop yields doubled, famine eased, improved diet Rural Society • Some manors covered multiple villages • Arural community had farms, a manor house, a church a lord’s mill, etc. • Tithes; one tenth of annual produce or earnings, formerly taken as a tax for the support of the church and clergy The Village • Houses set close together surrounded by great fields (called open fields because they were normally divided up into unfenced strips that were separated only by rocks or other low markers) • Became common, attracted settlers • Strips were long because wheeled plow was awkward to turn • Families often shared plows and oxen • Villages also had woodland from which fuel and building materials were gathered and in which pigs fed • Almost all villages had a few artisans and tradespeople who combined field work with other labor • With fields, woods streams, mills, artisans, victualers, and wage-laborers, villages were complex economic machines driven by many resources, but seldom economically self-sufficient The Manor • The lord or lady of the manor profited from the labor of the peasants and exercised authority over them • Owner of the manor might be a king or queen a great nobleman or noblewoman, a bishop or monastery, or even a knight or lady • Manor was an efficient way to get support from the land without actually working it • On most manors, peasants were free or enserfed • Freeman and freewomen owned rents, paid in cash or goods, but little more • Serfs also paid rent in cash or kind, but they also had to labor for a certain number of days e
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