The High Middle Ages

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Europe experienced considerable change during the High Middle Ages. Various social, economic, political, and religious factors differentiated the period from the Early Middle Ages. In particular, the Church was very influential during these centuries as it developed a more influential role in Europe. The papacy also began to exercise more power throughout Europe. Europe experienced a substantial growth in population at the beginning of the High Middle Ages. The expansion of the European economy increased mobility, and many people moved in search of a better life. The Hispanic population of Spain doubled from 1130 to 1340. By the end of the High Middle Ages, the population of France was possible as high as nineteen million. The modern…show more content…
Factors such as labor specialization, technology, growth of urban centers, new roads, and the development of collective enterprises differentiated the time period from the Early Middle Ages. Population growth was a factor in the increasing specialization of labor, which included professions such as blacksmiths and miners. Specialization in commercial crops also existed in southern Italy including Sicily and Calabria. The development of new forms of technology also impacted the economy of High Middle Ages. Jordan notes that “the widespread diffusion of the technology was made possible only by the millennial revolution in iron production” Increased iron production was instrumental for cutting down the forests and plowing the fields of Europe. Cleared land meant increased economic opportunity for some Europeans. Jordan explains that “assarting made people free (‘Rodung macht uns frei’); it elevated them from slavery and serfdom” In towns, business people formed collective enterprises to advance their economic fortunes. The commenda in Italy was created to accumulate funds and resources for sea ventures. Guilds were also created to regulate industries and protect merchants and others from competition. Guilds also gave members a “shared identity and recognized status” within…show more content…
Several developments in the area of religion differentiate the High Middle Ages from the previous centuries including the reform movement of Gregory VII. The “Investiture Controversy” highlighted one of the components of the reform movement, which also included increased attention to eliminating the practices of simony and priestly marriage. In addition, the rise of the Papacy was a major development in Europe during the High Middle Ages. The Dictatus Papae of 1075 is an example of an assertion of papal authority. It includes statements of power including “that he alone can depose or reinstate bishops” and “that he may depose Emperors” A power invoked commonly by popes of this era to enforce decrees was excommunication. In Gregory VII’s first prohibition of lay investiture, he decrees that lay investiture is invalid and that the lay rulers are subject to “excommunication until fitting satisfaction shall have been rendered” In the end, compromise was reached, it was the very beginning of the modern separation of church and state. Papal primacy developed during the High Middle Ages and the “papal monarchy” gained authority. With the rise of the papacy, the College of Cardinals also extended influence as the most important advisers of the pope. The election of the pope was under the authority of the Cardinalate. The duties of the College of Cardinals included administrative
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