Western Europe has a history in which much change has modified the area. The collapse of the Roman Empire in 476 A. D. was quite the calamity. Numerous appalling events were the result of the astounding Rome being sacked by barbarians.
These events include the destruction of art, the withering of great cities, the deterioration of the system of roads, the ruin of the Mediterranean trade, and the loss of European unity. It is difficult to imagine any good that came of it. After the last Roman emperor's reign ended in 476 A. D. , Europe would plunge into the Dark Ages or the Middle Ages. The Middle Ages would usher in the High Middle ages in which Europe would slightly recover.
The Dark Ages was a place of chaos and Europe would not recover fully to the magnificence of Rome that was once before for many centuries until the Renaissance would roll along. During these centuries, many events occurred that would change the course of Europe's history. These events include feudalism, technological advancements, the Crusades, the reign of Charlemagne, technology in agriculture and other fields, the Church, monarchies, universities, science, learning, the Black Death and much more. During the Dark Ages, Western Europe was a violent and disorderly land.
Turmoil and disarray plagued Europe through the 5 th and 10 th century until the High Middle ages began. However, during the Middle Ages, Europe laid the foundation for a more dynamic society. The ideas and institutions of western civilization is derived immensely from the turbulent events of the Early Middle Ages and the rebirth of culture in the later years. The Dark Ages can be described anything but unified. The only solid organization was the Church which provided people with many beliefs. Feudalism was an important stage in Europe's recuperation.
It evolved from the basic need for protection. Through these chaotic conditions, the manor was an imperative institution to Europe. One feature of it was that the manor was self-sufficient. In feudalism during the Dark Ages, the lord retained the most power and under him remained vassals. At the bottom of the pyramid were peasants also known as serfs.
The idea of serfdom was very popular in Europe. It was a mutual relationship between the serf and the lord based on obligations. The lord would offer the serf land and protection and in return, the serf would have to provide food to the lord from that land. Farming was difficult however agriculture played a major role in the Middle Ages. As the population began a slight increase throughout the Middle Ages, a major technology that aided agriculture was the plow. This innovation facilitated the clearing of the forests of fertile northwest Europe.
Before this time, because of the nature of the soil, it was difficult to plow these fields. However, plows were not used regularly until the 9 th century yet they did a great deal to agriculture. Other farming techniques that boosted agriculture was the 2 field system in which more than one crop could be grown simultaneously. The three-field system came into play during the High Middle Ages. All these changes including feudalism and agriculture technology aided and adjusted Europe for the better.
In all this darkness, one ray of light that shined was the empire of Charlemagne. From about the 7 th century to the 9 th century, the Carolingian Empire existed which was found by Charlemagne. This Frankish king was the grandson of Charles Martel who fought the Battle of Tours in 732 in the effort to halt Muslim conquest in Europe. Charlemagne tried to restore something of the old Roman order in the West when he succeeded in conquering neighboring German tribes and nations and bringing them under his personal sway.
With the gift of this period of peace brought on by the repulsing of the Muslims from France in the mid-700 s, by the year 800 Charlemagne had succeeded in developing Frankish power throughout much of Western and Central Europe. Thus at Christmas of that year he journeyed to Rome -- to become crowned by the pope as the new "Roman Emperor." Charlemagne helped restore some church based education in Western Europe. Intellectual learning began a slow growth however it was a start. However, Charlemagne's legacy hardly outlasted him. His lands were divided up among his heirs.
None of them possessed his skills at leadership. Consequently the momentum for revival was soon lost in the West. The Holy Roman Empire after Charlemagne's reign would not provide any unity for Europe. As the scholar Voltaire said, " It was neither Roman, nor Holy, nor an empire. ) The Church was an institution that created a strong sense of spiritual unity in Europe. It would play a more significant role in the High Middle Ages.
At the 10 th century, there was population growth and slow trade which ushered Europe into the High Middle Ages. The High Middle Ages was the time period from the 10 th century to about the start of the Renaissance, which was the 14 th century. As mentioned before, the Church was a major part of Europe. The principal impetus was in the shifting balance of power between Western Christianity and Eastern Islam. The Crusades was a major occurrence in history. The first crusade was around 1095 when Pope Urban II was the head and it was successful to Christianias.
All the Crusades after that was the antithesis of the first one. It was very brutal and it was the quest for who would possess the Holy land. The Crusades was also a sign of the end of feudalism and the Western aggressive spirit at its height. A major result of the Crusades was the opening up of trade. It opened up the communication between Europe and Islam centers. It really helped bring Europe out of the Middle Ages.
By the 1100 s Europe was clearly undergoing a cultural revival of major proportions. Cities were springing up all around Western Europe, a sign of the revival of commerce and shipping. Learning centers were also coming up especially around the cathedrals of Europe's bishops. These were the early foundations of the universities that would be so vital to the redevelopment of the European intellect. All this altered and assisted Europe come out of the Middle Ages in ways more than one. Europe remembered Rome's greatness and strived for it.
There were many towns in the High Middle Ages. Monarchies also emerged as in England under William the Conqueror. Another significant modification in Europe was in science. Medieval science focused on previous scientific discoveries. In the 13 th century, medieval science began to change to current science. People started using vernacular, architecture and art reflected church themes.
One great event in Europe was the Black Death which occurred in 1348. It killed off a massive portion of Europe's population however it wiped everything out so Europe had a chance to start all over. It definitely altered Europe's history. Right before the 14 th century, the scene of Europe would change from the High Middle Ages to the platform for the Renaissance, the era of learning.
Europe dramatically changed from the fall of Rome in 476 A. D. to 1350 A. D. Before the collapse of Rome, Europe was secure and trade prospered. However, after Rome was sacked, all this was altered.
It called forth the Dark Ages. Many events during the Middle Ages shaped Europe which led to the High Middle Ages which led to the Renaissance. These events include feudalism, technological advancements, Charlemagne's reign, the role of the Church, the Crusades, universities, growth of towns, the Black Death, trade and more. Europe managed to get back on its feet and the events in this time period shaped it into what it is today.