homens invadindo castelo na Europa

Olá, vestibulando. Nesta seção colocamos textos de História Mundial em inglês para vocês praticarem a leitura nesse idioma. Com isso, vocês estarão revisando História Mundial e treinando para a parte de inglês das provas de primeira fase. Bons estudos. 

The New Agriculture

In the early Middle Ages, Europe had a relatively small population. In the High Middle Ages (1000–1300), however, population increased dramatically. The number of people almost doubled, from 38 million to 74 million. What caused this huge increase in population? For one thing, conditions in Europe were more settled and peaceful after the invasions of the early Middle Ages had stopped. This increased peace and stability also led to a dramatic expansion in food production after 1000.

In part, food production increased because a change in climate during the High Middle Ages improved growing conditions. In addition, more land was cultivated as peasants of the eleventh and twelfth centuries cut down trees and drained swamps. Changes in technology also aided the development of farming. The Middle Ages witnessed an explosion of labor-saving devices. For example, the people of the Middle Ages harnessed the power of water and wind to do jobs once done by humans or animals.

Many new devices were made from iron, which was mined in various areas of Europe. Iron was crucial in making the carruca, a heavy, wheeled plow with an iron plowshare. Unlike earlier plows, this plow could easily turn over heavy clay soils.

The shift from a two-field to a three-field system of crop rotation added to the increase in food production. In the early Middle Ages, peasants divided their land into two fields of equal size. One field was planted, while the other was allowed to lie fallow, or remain unplanted, to regain its fertility. Now, however, lands were divided into three parts. One field was planted in the fall with grains (such as rye and wheat) that were harvested in summer. The second field was planted in the spring with grains (oats and barley) and vegetables (peas and beans) that were harvested in the fall. The third field was allowed to lie fallow. The three-field system meant that only one-third, rather than one-half, of the land lay fallow at any time. The rotation of crops also kept the soil from becoming exhausted so quickly.

The Manorial System

sistema feudal na Europa

Landholding nobles were a military elite whose ability to be warriors depended on their having the leisure time to pursue the arts of war. Landed estates, located on the fiefs given to a vassal by his lord, and worked by peasants, provided the economic support that made this way of life possible.

A manor was an agricultural estate run by a lord and worked by peasants. Although free peasants continued to exist, increasing numbers of free peasants became serfs, or peasants legally bound to the land. Serfs had to provide labor services, pay rents, and be subject to the lord’s control. By 800, probably 60 percent of the people of western Europe were serfs.

Daily Life of the Peasants

The life of peasants in Europe was simple. Their cottages had wood frames surrounded by sticks, with the spaces between sticks filled with straw and rubble and then plastered over with clay. Roofs were simply thatched.

The houses of poorer peasants consisted of a single room. Others, however, had at least two rooms—a main room for cooking, eating, and other activities and another room for sleeping. There was little privacy in a medieval peasant household.

The position of peasant women in manorial society was both important and difficult. They were expected to work in the fields and at the same time bear children. Their ability to manage the household might determine whether a peasant family would starve or survive in difficult times.

The seasons of the year largely determined peasant activities. Each season brought a new round of tasks. Harvest time in August and September was especially hectic. Agood harvest of grains for making bread was crucial to survival in the winter months. In every season, of course, the serfs worked not only their own land but also the lords’ lands.

Anew cycle of labor began in October, when peasants worked the ground for the planting of winter crops. In November came the slaughter of excess livestock, because there was usually not enough food to keep the animals alive all winter. The meat would be salted to preserve it for winter use. In February and March, the land was plowed for the planting of spring crops—oats, barley, peas, and beans. Early summer was a fairly relaxed time, although there was still weeding and sheepshearing to be done.

The Revival of Trade

Medieval Europe was an agricultural society in which most people lived in small villages. In the eleventh and twelfth centuries, however, a revival of trade and an associated growth of cities changed the economic foundation of European civilization.

Cities in Italy took the lead in the revival of trade. While Venice and other northern Italian cities were busy trading in the Mediterranean, the towns of Flanders (along the coast of present-day Belgium and northern France) were doing the same in northern Europe. By the twelfth century, a regular exchange of goods had developed between Flanders and Italy.

As trade increased, demand for gold and silver coins arose at fairs and trading markets of all kinds. Slowly, a money economy—an economic system based on money—began to emerge. New trading companies and banking firms were set up to manage the exchange and sale of goods. All of these new practices were part of the rise of commercial capitalism, an economic system in which people invested in trade and goods in order to make profits. Some historians have called this the beginnings of a Commercial Revolution.

The Growth of Cities

The revival of trade led to a revival of cities. Towns had greatly declined in the early Middle Ages, especially in Europe north of the Alps. Old Roman cities had continued to exist but had dwindled in size and population.

With the revival of trade, merchants began to settle in the old Roman cities. They were followed by craftspeople or artisans—people who had developed skills and saw a chance to make goods that could be sold by the merchants. In the course of the eleventh and twelfth centuries, the old Roman cities came alive with new populations and growth.

Many new cities or towns were also founded, especially in northern Europe. Usually, a group of merchants built a settlement near a castle because it was located along a trade route and because the lord of the castle would offer protection. If the settlement prospered and expanded, new walls were built to protect it. The merchants and artisans of these cities later came to be called burghers or bourgeoisie, from the German word burg, “a walled enclosure.”

Medieval cities were small in comparison with either ancient or modern cities. A large trading city would number about five thousand inhabitants. Italian cities tended to be larger. Venice, Florence, and Milan each had more than 80,000 inhabitants. Even the largest European city, however, seemed small alongside the Byzantine capital of Constantinople or the Arab city of Baghdad.

Life in the Medieval City

Medieval towns were surrounded by stone walls. Because the walls were expensive to build, the space within was precious and tightly filled. Thus, medieval cities had narrow, winding streets. Houses were crowded against one another, and the second and third stories were built out over the streets.

multidão em uma cidade medieval

The danger of fire was great. Dwellings were built mostly of wood before the fourteenth century, and candles and wood fires were used for light and heat. Medieval cities burned rapidly once a fire started.

The physical environment of medieval cities was not pleasant. The cities were often dirty and smelled from animal and human waste. Air pollution was also a fact of life from the ever present wood fires.

Industry and Guilds The revival of trade enabled cities and towns to become important centers for manufacturing a wide range of goods, such as cloth, metalwork, shoes, and leather goods. A host of craft activities were carried on in houses located in the narrow streets of the medieval cities. From the eleventh century on, craftspeople began to organize themselves into guilds, or business associations.

Guilds came to play a leading role in the economic life of the cities. By the thirteenth century, there were guilds for tanners, carpenters, bakers, and artisans of almost every other craft. There were also separate guilds for specialized groups of merchants, such as dealers in silk or money (banking).

The Papal Monarchy

Since the fifth century, the popes of the Catholic Church had claimed supremacy over the affairs of the Church. They had also gained control of territories in central Italy that came to be known as the Papal States. This control kept the popes involved in political matters, often at the expense of their spiritual duties.

During part of the 800s and 900s, the authority of the popes declined as the feudal lords became more powerful. Bishops and abbots, for example, began to obtain their offices as grants from nobles, not the pope. As vassals, these church officials carried out the usual feudal services, including military duties.

By the eleventh century, church leaders realized the need to be free from the interference of lords in the appointment of church officials. Pope Gregory VII decided to fight this interference. Elected pope in 1073, he was convinced that he had been chosen by God to reform the Church. To pursue this aim, Gregory claimed that the pope’s authority extended over all the Christian world, including its rulers. He also asserted the right of the Church to appoint clergy and run its own affairs. If rulers did not accept this, the pope would remove them.

Gregory VII soon found himself in conflict with Henry IV, the king of Germany, over these claims. For many years, German kings had appointed highranking clerics, especially bishops, as their vassals in order to use them as administrators. Without them, the king could not hope to maintain his own power in the face of the powerful German nobles.

In 1075, Pope Gregory issued a decree forbidding high-ranking clerics from receiving their offices from lay (secular) leaders. Although Henry IV opposed the pope’s actions, the new papal policy ultimately won out.

The popes of the twelfth century did not give up the reform ideals of Pope Gregory VII, and they were even more inclined to strengthen papal power and build a strong administrative system. During the papacy of Pope Innocent III in the thirteenth century, the Catholic Church reached the height of its political power. Innocent III’s actions were those of a man who believed that he, the pope, was the supreme judge of European affairs. For example, he forced the king of France, Philip Augustus, to take back his wife and queen after Philip had tried to have his marriage

New Religious Orders

In the second half of the eleventh century and the first half of the twelfth century, a wave of religious enthusiasm seized Europe. This movement led to a rise in the number of monasteries and the emergence of new monastic orders. Both men and women joined religious orders in increasing numbers.

A New Activism In the eleventh century, one of the most important new orders to arise was the Cistercian order. It was founded in 1098 by a group of monks who were unhappy with the lack of discipline at their own Benedictine monastery. Cistercian monastacism spread rapidly from southern France into the rest of Europe. The Cistercians played a major role in developing a new, activistic spiritual model for twelfth-century Europe. While Benedictine monks spent hours inside the monastery in personal prayer, the Cistercians took their religion to the people outside the monastery. More than any other person, Saint Bernard of Clairvaux embodied the new spiritual ideal of Cistercian monasticism: “Arise, soldier of Christ, arise! Get up off the ground and return to the battle from which you have fled! Fight more boldly after your flight, and triumph in glory!”

Women were also actively involved in the spiritual movements of the age. The number of women joining religious houses grew dramatically. In the High Middle Ages, most nuns were from the ranks of the landed aristocracy. Female intellectuals found convents a haven for their activities. Most of the learned women of the Middle Ages, especially in Germany, were nuns. This was true of Hildegard of Bingen, who became abbess of a religious house for females in western Germany.

The Franciscans and Dominicans

In the thirteenth century, two new religious orders emerged that had a strong impact on the lives of ordinary people. They were the Franciscans and the Dominicans. The Franciscans were founded by Saint Francis of Assisi. Francis was born to a wealthy Italian merchant family in Assisi. After having been captured and imprisoned during a local war, he had a series of dramatic spiritual experiences. These experiences led him to abandon all worldly goods and material pursuits and to live and preach in poverty, working and begging for his food. His love for others soon attracted a band of followers.

The Franciscans became very popular. They lived among the people, preaching repentance and aiding the poor. They undertook missionary work, first throughout Italy and then in all parts of Europe and even in the Muslim world.

padre dominicano e um franciscano

The Dominican order was founded by a Spanish priest, Dominic de Guzmán. Dominic wanted to defend Church teachings from heresy—the denial of basic Church doctrines. Heretical movements became especially widespread in southern France. Dominic believed that a new religious order of men who lived lives of poverty and were capable of preaching effectively would best be able to attack heresy.

The Church’s desire to have a method of discovering and dealing with heretics led to the creation of a court called the Inquisition, or Holy Office. The job of this court was to find and try heretics, and it developed a regular procedure to deal with them. The Dominicans became especially well known for their roles as examiners of people suspected of heresy.

Popular Religion in the High Middle Ages

We have witnessed the actions of popes, bishops, monks, and friars. But what of ordinary people? What were their religious hopes and fears? What were their religious beliefs?

The sacraments (Christian rites) of the Catholic Church were central in importance to ordinary people. These rites, such as baptism, marriage, and the Eucharist (Communion), made the Church a crucial part of people’s lives from birth to death. The sacraments were seen as means for receiving God’s grace and were necessary for salvation. Only the clergy could administer the sacraments, so everyone who hoped to gain salvation depended on the clergy to help them achieve this goal.

Other church practices were also important to ordinary people. One practice involved veneration of saints. Saints were men and women who were considered especially holy and who had achieved a special position in Heaven. Saints were able to ask for favors before the throne of God for people who prayed to them. Their ability to help and protect people in this way made saints very popular with all Christians.

Jesus Christ’s apostles, of course, were recognized throughout Europe as saints. There were also numerous local saints who were of special significance to a single area. The Italians, for example, had Saint Nicholas, the patron saint of children, who is known today as Santa Claus. New saints emerged rapidly, especially in the intensely religious atmosphere of the eleventh and twelfth centuries.

Medieval Christians also believed that a pilgrimage to a holy shrine produced a spiritual benefit. The greatest shrine, but the most difficult to reach, was the Holy City of Jerusalem. On the continent, two pilgrim centers were especially popular in the High Middle Ages: Rome, which contained the relics of Saints Peter and Paul, and the town of Santiago de Compostela, supposedly the site of the tomb of the apostle James.


Gothic Architecture

The eleventh and twelfth centuries witnessed an explosion of building in medieval Europe, especially the building of churches. The cathedrals of the eleventh and twelfth centuries were built in the Romanesque style. Romanesque churches were normally built in the basilica shape used in the construction of churches in the late Roman Empire. (Basilicas were rectangular buildings with flat wooden roofs.)

Romanesque builders replaced the flat roofs with long, round, stone-arched structures called barrel vaults. Because stone roofs were heavy, Romanesque churches required massive pillars and walls to hold them up. This left little space for windows, so Romanesque churches were dark inside.

A new style, called Gothic, appeared in the twelfth century and was brought to perfection in the thirteenth. The Gothic cathedral remains one of the greatest artistic triumphs of the High Middle Ages. Two basic innovations of the twelfth century made Gothic cathedrals possible.

One innovation was the replacement of the round barrel vault of Romanesque churches with a combination of ribbed vaults and pointed arches. This change enabled builders to make Gothic churches higher than Romanesque churches, as if they were reaching to God.

Another technical innovation was the flying buttress— a heavy, arched support of stone, built onto the outside of the walls. Flying buttresses made it possible to distribute the weight of a church’s vaulted ceilings outward and down. This eliminated the heavy walls that were needed in Romanesque churches. Gothic cathedrals were built, then, with relatively thin walls, which could be filled with magnificent stained glass windows.

The Late Middle Ages

The Middle Ages in Europe had reached a high point in the thirteenth century. European society in the fourteenth and early fifteenth centuries (the Late Middle Ages), however, was challenged by an overwhelming number of disastrous forces. Especially catastrophic was the Black Death.

The Black Death

dezenas de doentes deitados enfermos

The Black Death was the most devastating natural disaster in European history. One observer wrote that “father abandoned child, wife [abandoned] husband, one brother [abandoned] another, for the plague seemed to strike through breath and sight. And so they died.” People were horrified by the plague, an evil force they could not understand.

Bubonic plague was the most common form of the Black Death. It was spread by black rats infested with fleas carrying a deadly bacterium. Italian merchants brought the plague with them from Caffa, on the Black Sea, to the island of Sicily in October 1347. The plague had spread to parts of southern Italy and southern France by the end of 1347.

Usually, the path of the Black Death followed trade routes. In 1348 and 1349, the plague spread through France, Spain, the Low Countries (modern Belgium, Luxembourg, and the Netherlands), and Germany. It ravaged England in 1349 and expanded to northern Europe and Scandinavia. Eastern Europe and Russia were affected by 1351.

Out of a total European population of 75 million, possibly as many as 38 million people died of the plague between 1347 and 1351. Especially hard hit were Italy’s crowded cities, where 50 to 60 percent of the people died. In England and Germany, entire villages disappeared.

The death of so many people in the fourteenth century had severe economic consequences. Trade declined, and a shortage of workers caused a dramatic rise in the price of labor. At the same time, the decline in the number of people lowered the demand for food, resulting in falling prices.

The Decline of Church Power

The popes of the Roman Catholic Church reached the height of their power in the thirteenth century. Then, in the fourteenth century, a series of problems led to a decline in the Church’s political and spiritual position.

The European kings had grown unwilling to accept papal claims of supremacy by the end of the thirteenth century. This is evident in the struggle between Pope Boniface VIII and King Philip IV of France. This struggle led a French pope in 1305 to take up residence in Avignon, in southern France.

From 1305 to 1377, the popes lived in Avignon. Sentiments against the papacy grew during this time. The pope was the bishop of Rome, and it seemed improper that he should reside in Avignon instead ofRome. When the pope did return in 1377, another disaster soon struck. After his death, a group of Italian cardinals elected an Italian pope, while a group of French cardinals elected a French pope.

The existence of two popes caused the Great Schism, which lasted from 1378 to 1417. It divided Europe. France and its allies supported the French pope, who had returned to Avignon. England and England’s allies supported the pope in Rome.

The pope was widely believed to be the true leader of Christendom. When each line of popes denounced the other as the Antichrist (one who opposes Christ), people’s faith in both the papacy and the Church were undermined. Although the schism was finally ended in 1417, the Church had lost much of its political and spiritual authority.

Political Crisis and Recovery

batalha da guerra dos cem anos
Battle of Agincourt – Hundred Years’ War

War and political instability were also problems of the Late Middle Ages. The Hundred Years’ War between England and France, which lasted from 1337 to 1453, was the most violent struggle during this period. It took the efforts of a simple peasant girl, Joan of Arc, to help the French armies and finally bring an end to the war.

In the fourteenth century, France, England, and other European states faced serious problems. In the fifteenth century, recovery set in as rulers attempted to reestablish the centralized power of monarchies. Some historians have spoken of these reestablished states as the new monarchies. This term applies especially to the monarchies of France, England, and Spain at the end of the fifteenth century.

Unlike France, England, and Spain, the Holy Roman Empire did not develop a strong monarchical authority. The failures of German emperors in the thirteenth century had made Germany a land of hundreds of independent states.

In eastern Europe, rulers also found it difficult to centralize their states. Religious differences troubled the area as Roman Catholics, Eastern Orthodox Christians, and other groups confronted one another. Since the thirteenth century, Russia had been under the domination of the Mongols. Gradually, the princes of Moscow rose to prominence. Under the great prince Ivan III, a new Russian state was born.