Feudal Advancements


Western Culture in Post-Classical Era

Christianity dominates philosophy and art, which causes conflict and change

Popular Religion

In early medieval times, people don’t necessarily understand the correlation between their actions and their religion

Over time, the ways in which people can express their faith increase

Ordinary people blend Christianity with their local culture

Religious Themes in Art and Literature

Western Europe is very extensive in religious art (crucifixion and nativity scene)

Artists paint on wooden panels

Artwork produced on key religious figures

(Christ, Mary, various St.s)

Architectural schemes change from

Romanesque to Gothic

Gothic architecture consists of taller windows, and church spires that point toward the heavens

Medieval music and literature reflects strong religious interest (hymns and poems)

Religious texts still written in Latin, but everyday music/literature/conversations are in vernacular

Changing Economic and Social Forms in Post-

Classical Centuries

Under manorial system, most regions produce for local consumption

Italian merchants trade for cloth from

Netherlands and Belgium, England trades timber for Scandinavian furs

Strains on Rural Life:

Agriculture increases, and peasants escape manorialism in order to improve their own economic situations, lords end up taxing the lower

 classes these conflicts remain until the 19 th

century religion prompts egalitarian sentiment among lower classes, which doesn’t necessarily make those in power happy

Growth of Trade and Banking

 as agriculture increases, many people are able to specialize

skilled workers produce goods that they trade

 banking system is brought to Europe to help facilitate long-distance trade

 wealthy merchants invest in ships and goods in hope that a profit is earned

Christian thinkers, such as Thomas Aquinas, oppose profit-making

sell at a “just” price

Western Europeans trade luxurious goods

(silk, spices)

used for preservation of meat, and medicine

North Germany and Southern Scandanavia join together in the Hasneatic League to encourage trade

Merchants are less accepted in Europe than they are in India and China

Aside from taxation and from loans, the royal government lets merchants conduct their own business

little interference

In ascending to a more powerful role in society, the merchant class creates their own law

Guilds- organizations of like-skilled workers

Their goals were security and quality, not necessarily maximization of profit

Guilds give their members a voice in society

Europeans are excellent clock-makers

In Italy and in Germany, workers are employed by capitalists who pay them based on production

 contradictory teachings in


After living in a city for 366 days, a serf can gain his freedom from the manor