Chapter 14

Chapter 14
The Latin West,
1200 - 1500
AP World History
I. Rural Growth and Crisis
A. Peasants and Population
• Most people of the Latin West were peasants
bound by serfdom that used inefficient agricultural
• Women labored in fields and were subordinate to
• Europe’s population doubled between 1000 and
• Population growth was spurred by new agricultural
technologies in northern Europe, including the
three-field system and the cultivation of oats for
• As new land was opened up for cultivation much of
it had poor soil and poor growing conditions.
Hierarchy of responsibilities in the Latin West.
Peasant cultivators labored long hours and more than half of
the fruits of their labor went to the landowners, which led to a
lack of motivation to improve farming techniques.
Rural poverty was not simple the product of inefficient farming
methods and social inequality. It also resulted from the rapid
growth population – it doubled from 1100 to 1345.
B. The Black Death and Social Change
• The Black Death was brought from Kaffa to Italy
and southern France in 1346.
• Ravaged Europe for two years and returned
periodically in the late 1300s and 1400s.
• As a result of plague, labor became more
expensive in Western Europe and led to peasant
uprisings and the end of serfdom.
• After the plague, rural living standards improved,
the period of apprenticeship for artisans was
reduced, and per capita income rose.
The Black Death resolved the problem of overpopulation
by killing off a third of western Europeans.
The Black Death was a combination of two diseases:
Anthrax (from cattle and sheep)
Bubonic plague (from the fleas of rats)
Black Death victims developed boils the size of eggs
in their groins and armpits, black blotches on their skin,
foul body odors, and severe pain.
The south to north dispersion of the Black Death
in the Latin West. By 1400 Europe’s population
regained the size it had had in 1200.
C. Mines and Mills
• Between 1200 - 1500 Europeans invented and
used a variety of mechanical devices including
water wheels and windmills.
• Industrial enterprises, including mining,
ironworking, stone quarrying, and tanning, grew
during this time.
– The results included both greater productivity
and environmental damage including water
pollution and deforestation.
Wind mills were powered by water or wind and were used to
grind grain into flour, saw logs into lumber, crush olives, tan
leather, make paper, mold iron into tools, horseshoes, etc.
II. Urban Revival
A. Trading Cities
• Cities grew due to the increase in trade and
• The rise of Venice was the result of the capture of
Constantinople, the opening of the Central Asian
caravan trade under the Mongol Empire, and the
post Mongol development of the Mediterranean
galley trade with Constantinople, Beirut, and
• This increase in sea trade also brought profits to
Genoa and to the cities of the Hanseatic League in
the Baltic and the North Sea.
• Flanders prospered from its woolen textile
industries, while the towns of Champagne
benefited from their position on the major land
route through France.
• Trade industries also began to develop in England
and Florence and the use of windmills and water
wheels helped develop the textile, paper, and other
Routes and systems of trade in medieval Europe.
Illustrates the major overland and port trading cities.
Venice was the major trading power in the Mediterranean.
It was the first European city to open up trading
relationships with the Islamic world.
Marco Polo was the first European to open up trade with China
and spent years as an ambassador and governor of a Chinese
province for Khubilai Khan. He was gone from Venice for 24
years and few believed his stories about Asia’s wealth.
Flanders specialized in the European cloth and
wool trade which was smoother than the coarse
homemade textiles from village looms.
B. Civic Life
• European cities that were city-states were better
able to respond to the changing market conditions
than Chinese or Islamic cities and European cities
offered their citizens more freedom and social
• Europe's Jews lived in the cities and they were the
subject of persecution and they were blamed for
disasters like the Black Death and were expelled
from Spain due to the Inquisition.
• Guilds regulated the practice of and access to
trades, but women were rarely allowed to join.
• The growth of commerce gave rise to bankers like
the Medicis of Florence and the Fuggers of
Augsburg who handled financial transactions for
merchants, the church, and the kings and princes
Cosimo the Elder was the head of the Medici family
in Florence. They were largest banking family in Italy
and were important patrons of the arts.
Jacob “the Rich” Fugger started out as a cloth merchant but
turned his family’s wealth into the largest banking family in
Europe. (x10 greater lending capital than the Medicis)
Jewish persecution peaked in times of crisis such as the Black
Death and the Spanish inquisition when they were blamed for
others misfortune.
C. Gothic Cathedrals
• Gothic Cathedrals are the masterpieces of late
medieval architecture and craftsmanship.
• Features include the pointed Gothic arch, flying
buttresses, high towers and spires, and large
interiors lit by huge windows.
• The men who designed and built the Gothic
cathedrals had no formal training in design and
engineering; they learned through their mistakes.
The men who designed and built the Gothic cathedrals
had no formal training in design and engineering;
they learned through their mistakes.
The hallmark of Gothic architecture is the Gothic arch which
replaced the older round Roman arch.
Gothic Cathedrals had large interiors lit by huge windows
supported by the exterior (flying) buttresses.
III. Learning, Literature, and the
A. Universities and Learning
• After 1100, Western Europeans got access to
Greek and Arabic works on science, philosophy,
and medicine.
• These manuscripts were translated and explicated
by Jewish scholars and studied at Christian
monasteries, which remained the primary centers
of learning.
• After 1200 colleges and universities emerged as
new centers of learning.
• Universities generally specialized in a particular
branch of learning.
– University of Prague is the oldest university in
– Bologna was famous for its law faculty, others
for medicine or theology.
• Theology was the most prominent discipline at the
time because theologians sought to synthesize the
rational philosophy of the time with the Christian
faith of the Latin West in an intellectual movement
known as scholasticism.
University of Prague (1347) is the oldest university, a degree
granting corporation which specialized in multi-disciplinary
research, in central Europe in continuous operation.
University of Bologna (1088) is the oldest continually
operating university in the world. The word “universitas”
was first used by this institution. It is historically notable
for its teaching of canon and civil law.
A medieval Italian classroom.
B. Humanists and Printers
• Dante Alighieri (Divine Comedy) tells the story of
the author’s journey through the nine circles of Hell
and seven terraces of Purgatory, followed by his
entry into Paradise.
• Geoffrey Chaucer (Canterbury Tales) is a rich
portrayal of the lives of everyday people in late
medieval England.
• Dante influenced the intellectual movement of the
humanists such as Petrarch and Boccaccio who
were interested in the humanities and the classical
literature of Greece and Rome.
• Humanists wrote in the vernacular and Latin and
worked to restore the original texts and Bible
through exhaustive comparative analysis of the
many various versions that had been produced
over the centuries.
• Pope Nicholas V established the Vatican Library
and the Dutch humanist Erasmus produced a
critical edition of the New Testament.
• In 1454 Johann Gutenberg perfected printing with
his Gutenberg Bible which was the first book in the
West printed from movable type.
– By 1500 more than 10 million works had been
Dante Alighieri’s Divine Comedy was the first to combine Christian
and Greco-Roman themes together, which foreshadowed the
literary fashions of the later Italian Renaissance.
Geoffrey Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales is a rich portrayal
of the actions and attitudes of everyday people
in late medieval England.
Francesco Petrarch and Giovanni Boccaccio were two of the
early humanist writers who led the rebirth of Greco-Roman
traditions that had been lost during the Middle Ages.
Johannes Gutenberg invented mechanical movable type
printing and started the printing revolution that played a key
role in the development of the Renaissance. It laid the
material basis for the modern knowledge-based
economy and the spread of learning to the masses.
The printing press was a mechanical device that pressed inked
type onto sheets of paper.
The Gutenberg Bible was the first to be printed
from movable type.
C. Renaissance Artists
• Style of art built on the more natural paintings of
Giotto and concentrated on the depiction of Greek
and Roman gods and of scenes from daily life.
• Jan van Eyck developed oil paints.
• Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo were two of
the famous artists.
• Wealthy merchant and clerical patrons liked the
Medici's of Florence and the church contributed to
the development of Renaissance art.
Giotto painted natural paintings of religious scenes in which the
characters displayed emotions of either grief or love that the
viewer could identify. (not the stiff emotionless Byzantine style)
Jan van Eyck was the first painter to use oil to create
very life-like scenes. The portrait of the left is a self-portrait.
Leonardo da Vinci was a master of many media – designer,
artist, and sculptor.
Two of Leonardo da Vinci’s works of art – Mona Lisa and the
Vitruvian Man.
Michalangelo’s David is a masterpiece completed in 1504 and
the painting of the Sistine Chapel ceiling is considered his
crowing achievement completed in 1512.
IV. Political and Military
A. Monarchs, Nobles, and the Clergy
• 13th century European states were ruled by weak
monarchs whose power was limited.
• The armor piercing crossbow and firearms led to the
demise of knights.
• Philip the Fair of France reduced the power of the
church when he arrested the pope and had a new
French one installed in Avignon.
• The Magna Carta limited the power of the English
• Monarchs and nobles often entered into marriage
alliances and these led to wars and the establishment
of territorial boundaries.
Philip the Fair of France reduced the power of the church
when he arrested the pope and had a new French pope
installed in Avignon, France.
With an iron tipped arrow, the crossbow could pierce armor.
In 1139 it was outlawed because it was considered too
deadly to be used against Christians.
Magna Carta (Great Charter) affirmed that monarchs were
subject to established law. It is one of the foundations of
modern-day democracy.
Depiction of King John signing the Magna Carta under duress.
B. Hundred Years War, 1337-1453
• Pitted England against France when Edward III
claimed the French throne in 1337.
• War was fought with new military technology.
(pikes, cannon, crossbows, longbows, and
• The French superior cannon destroyed the castles
of the English and their allies and left the French
monarchy in a stronger position than before.
Land that was disputed during the Hundred Years War. It grew
out of the marriage alliance of Edward II of England and
Isabella of France.
King Henry V at the battle of Agincourt. The longbow allowed
the outnumbered English to crush the French knights.
Joan of Arc, the heroine of France, rallied the French to defeat
the English to end the Hundred Years War in 1429. Burned at
the stake in 1431 for being a “witch”.
English longbow could outshoot the crossbow. Changed armor
technology which made knights unable to maneuver once they
had been un-horsed.
C. New Monarchies in France and England
• New monarchies that emerged out of the hundreds
years war had stronger central governments, more
stable national boundaries, and stronger
representative institutions.
• The castle and knight had become outdated.
• Monarchs began to tax land, merchants, and the
• By the end of 15th century power had shifted from the
church and nobility toward the monarchs, but
monarchs in England were still hemmed in by
Parliament and in France the Estates General.
Parliament was a permanent fixture in the English
government by 1500.
The French Estates General which was less
effective than the English Parliament.
D. Iberian Unification
• The reconquest of Spain by Christians over
Muslims took several centuries.
• Portugal was established in 1249, but by 1415 they
had captured the Moroccan port of Ceuta, which
gave them access to the trans-Saharan trade.
• Castile and Aragon were united in 1469 and by
1492 they drove the Muslims out of their last
Iberian stronghold (Granada).
• Spain and Portugal then expelled all Jews and
Muslims from their territory.
Reconquest of the Iberian peninsula from the Moors.
Depiction of el Cid, one of the famous Spanish
knight that led the reconquest.
King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella completed the conquest of
Spain in 1492. They also sponsored the voyages of Columbus.
Muslim palace in Granada which was the last Muslim
stronghold to fall into Spanish hands during the reconquest.
V. Comparative Perspectives
A. Growth Comparisons
• The empires of Islamic Africa and Asia developed
through distant trade networks in the Indian
• The city-states and nations of Europe arose from
trade throughout the Mediterranean and North
B. Cultural and Technological Comparisons
• From 1200-1500, long distance trade fostered
learning and cultural exchanges as well as trade in
• The medieval Latin West had depended upon the
East for its commercial well-being, then made use of
the technology borrowed form the East to expand its
own influences into new frontiers.