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
 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 PostClassical 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
in order to improve their own economic
situations, lords end up taxing the lower
these conflicts remain until the 19th 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
 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