Map Exercise 5: The Middle Ages, c. 1000-1300    (This exercise includes 8 maps)

After the fall of the Roman Empire, the western world rebuilt itself based on the foundations of security and protection. Much of this was accomplished by Charlemagne in the early ninth century, although stability was short-lived. In the ninth and tenth centuries, Europe faced even more difficulties as this was the age of the great Viking, Magyar, and Muslim invasions.

By the twelfth century, these invasions had subsided and Europe found itself on the road to recovery. With the manorial system and feudalism in place, Europeans gained the necessary security and protection. Technological advances enabled them to produce more food from the land and as a result, the population increased. Meanwhile, the number of cities grew and an urban culture resulted. It was in the cities of Europe that we could find the nobility, the clergy, merchants, and guild members as well as a decidedly new institution known as the university. These developments also gave rise to a new world view, Scholasticism, which was built on the idea that reason and faith were two roads to a single truth. Major questions to consider in this exercise include:

  • What forces led to the recovery of Europe in the twelfth century?
  • What relationship is there between medieval trades and urbanization and the rise of heresy?
  • Why did European popes and kings lead a Crusade to the Holy Lands?
  • What was the relationship between medieval universities and the papacy?
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