Height of Medieval Civilization

The Height of Medieval Civilization
Growth of Towns
• Warfare declined in western Europe during
the 11th and 12th century
• Manor economy became more productive
• Population increased
• Trade revived and towns increased in size
• Peasants and nobles became aware of a
larger world
Where are the Towns?
• During the early Middle Ages trade
declined, small Roman towns remained
– Vikings kept some trade links open between old
– Many old roman roads were used for trade
Revival of trade
Decline of feudal warfare
Easier to trade using old Roman roads and rivers
Wool was the main trade item. Towns became
the collecting and distributing point for these
English/Flemish…. sheep
Antwerp and Bruges….weavers
Milan and Florence…. trade cloth
• Italian fleets gain control of the
Mediterranean from the Muslims
• During the Crusades trade expanded into
the east.
• Travel was expensive
• Barter system was gradually replaced by a
money economy.
Trade Fairs and the Hanseatic
• Annual Trade fairs
• (Champagne, France)
• Nobles provided
protection, rented
booths, and hired
money changers
• Fairs became a magnet
for goods and ideas
• Trade fairs become
elaborate events
• Mixing place of
customs, languages,
and goods.
• Gradual decline due to
competition from the
Hanseatic League, but
also the rents were too
Hanseatic League
Group of over 80 towns/cites fronting the Baltic.
Dominate shipping lanes of Northern Europe
Provided protection, made coinage, and treaties
Lubeck: located on the southern shores of the Baltic
Growth of Towns
• Growth in trade, encouraged by the Trade Fairs
helped Towns grow
• Merchants stayed and opened inns for travellers
• Bakers, shoemakers, carpenters and tailors settled
in towns to provide needed goods and services
• Rural peasants sold extra produce to townspeople
• Towns specialize, Flanders produces wool, other
lace or leather.
Chartering a Town
• Towns located on lands already owned by lords or
the church
• Fees paid to lord or church
• As towns grew they demanded charters or their
rights guaranteed
• Charter gave towns control over their own affairs:
taxes, property,courts, and grant freedom to serfs
• Population of towns consisted of serf, peasants
merchants, artisans
• Townspeople called bourgeoisie (Fr.) burgesses
(Eng.) burghers (Ger.)
Medieval Guilds
• Merchants and artisans
given the right to form
• Governed prices,
wages, standards,
disputes and
• Only guild members
could practice their
Guild Practices
• Protected members
• ‘Just Price’ for goods
• Set work week, hours,
• Social welfare
• Entertainment and
religious feasts
• Training ; apprentice,
journeyman and
master craftsman.
• Could take 7 to 20
• Guilds prevented
• Passed down through
the family
Town Life
• Many towns with few
• Walled, gated
• Town centre with
church, town hall,
• Guild quarters
• Waste, poor sanitation
• Fires a problem
• Epidemics
• What’s good about
• Ideas, could make
money, entertainment
Related flashcards
Create flashcards