The Crusades accelerated the transformation of western Europe from crude, backward, and violent to sophisticated, educated, traders. That’s so 1190’s!
The Crusades also pushed warfare out of Europe and into the Middle East , giving Europe time to develop and emerge from the Middle Ages first.
Around the time of the Crusades, the heavy plow is invented. This allowed farmers to plow more land and grow more crops. This eventually contributed to population growth , too.
The collar harness replaced the ox yoke, shifting the weight onto the horse’s shoulders. Now horses didn’t die while plowing!
The heavy plow, collar harness, and crop rotation created an agricultural (r)evolution.
Now that it’s relatively safe to travel , towns such as Venice, Pisa, and Genoa flourished with the trade of silk, spices, and porcelain .
Early merchants used the barter system , but when a money economy appears, the benefits are: 1. The rise of Banking. 2. Standardized prices/units. 3. The ability to take out a loan.
The Church viewed lending with the intent of charging interest as evil (the sin of avarice .) Duh… they had plenty of $$$!
As warfare in Europe declined, towns began to grow larger. Unfortunately, sanitation had not yet been invented. A constant stench filled the towns.
A lack of sanitation caused diphtheria, typhoid, influenza, and malaria . In crowded conditions, lots of people died. (cough, cough)
During the 1100’s, merchants and artisans organized themselves in “ guilds ”. Their purpose was to maintain a monopoly over a trade.
Guild members were all skilled , had money, and could become part of the growing middle class burgesses . Medieval Aircraft Guild
Education grew when a variety of new schools were built. A new style of learning emphasized reason as well as faith. This was scholasticism . I’d rather be building a trebuchet!
Peter Abelard collected biblical statements showing both points to controversial questions. This book, Sic et Non (Yes and No), was one of the first on logic .
Thomas Aquinas wrote Summa Theologica in which he claimed that reason was God’s gift that could answer basic philosophical questions. “Reason exists in harmony with faith.”
Epic literary works are produced during this age. Beowulf and Chanson de Roland are both written. These tales are spread by troubadours (traveling minstrels). “ I gave my love a cherry that had no stone…”