During the Middle Ages life in Europe life was simple and a system called Feudalism was followed and within this European system nobleman and bishops ruled, with the king of European countries being at the top. Simple peasants were the lowest level people in European medieval life, and usually worked the fields of the noblemen. During this time there was a certain hierarchy going on within the lands, in which peasants were at the lowest and the King was at the top. The higher the position, the more authority was allowed.
Medieval England was a European nation that was very strong and advanced, however the Normal Conquest in 1066 brought massive changes and the Feudal system to medieval England. Read more about the Medieval England >>
Medieval Spain was often under Muslim rule, towards the end of the medieval period Spain became very powerful militarily and they had a large network of impressive medieval castles. Read more about the Medieval Spain >>
The most recognizable symbol of European medieval times must surely be the medieval knight, anyone can identify with the medieval European knight and everything there is to know about them, such as their chivalry, armor, training, clothes etc.
European knights had a very strict Code of Chivalry – a set of rules that governed their conduct – they were militarily trained in order to protect their Lord and his lands. This Code of Chivalry grew the most in France where the code was popularized the most.
Every knight in Europe was put to a test which was meant to sharpen his skills in order for him to prove to his Lord that he is worthy to wield a weapon and defend the castle with his life.
Every European knight started his training as a page and then as a squire. The French paved the path for chivalry and knighthood with literature which inspired more chivalry throughout medieval Europe as a code.
The image shows the weaponary, shields and horses used by medieval Norman knights
Feudalism in Medieval Europe
European Feudalism was the main driving tool during the medieval ages in Europe and because of it society managed to overcome many difficult times.
In Medieval Europe the Carolingian dynasty introduced this method of order. During this time a king granted large pieces of land called fiefs to noblemen and bishops and those who received these lands offered peasants a place to stay in exchange for their labor on the fields.
During the 11th century the feudal life of people in Europe started to change with the introduction of ploughs, crop rotations and new trade goods from the East.
Fewer peasants were needed to tend the lands but population still managed to grow and by 1300 there were 15 cities with a population more than 50000 in Medieval Europe.
The French version of feudalism in medieval Europe under Norman rule was that a lord was a person who owns land, a vassal is a person who was granted possession of a land and fief was the name of the land which was granted.
Medieval Castles in Europe
Castles in medieval Europe were considered a fortified structure which had one sole purpose, proper defense of the nobility for which it is built.
During the Medieval age’s castles in Europe took many forms and shapes, from normal fortifications made from wood to the massive stone and iron constructions which still stand to this day.
Castles in medieval Europe were introduced after the fall of the Carolingian Empire, Italy, Spain and France started to have an average of 2-3 castles built every 50 years.
Depending on the location on which the castle was built it would be accompanied with proper defensive mechanisms such as walls, towers, gates and for more important locations, motes, drawbridges, double walls and similar.
Each country in medieval Europe had its specific castle design and it is believed that during the time when castles were introduced the Italian castles had the weakest defenses due to improper use of building materials.
Medieval Europe History
The medieval period in Europe started from the 5th century and was considered to have lasted until the 15th century. Many events shaped the lands in medieval Europe, territories and borders expanded, nations vanished.
The medieval times in Europe are also known as the Dark Ages because during this time many wars occurred due to the huge amount of power struggles between nobility.
Power hungry individuals wanted control over the territories whilst others tried to prevent this lunacy and swore to that with their lives. The main issue that prevented proper growth for countries in medieval Europe was the constant threats by the Islamic movement from Asia.
During this time the Eastern Europe regions were under the most pressure from the Asian fronts, and especially the Islamic movement. At a later period, Spain was also under heavy pressure because they were attacked from Africa by the Islamic conquerors.
The role of the church in Medieval Europe
It is believed that religion and the church played the biggest roles in history during medieval times in Europe. All Medieval people in Europe, especially the French, were dominated by the church and it was believed that there is no one equal or greater to its word.
Peasants in Europe were harmed the most by the authority of the church because of the tax they had to pay every year. A lot of the goods the church collected by tithes usually got spoiled and had to be thrown away.
The church of Europe scared people into believing that if they did not obey the religion, their souls would be sent to Hell where they would endure great amounts of terror for all eternity.
France was the worst European country for imposing taxes on their people because they taxed the land, not food or similar as in other European medieval countries.
Medieval Europe Art
During the medieval period in Europe art was considered a holy thing because most of the time it was displayed in churches and in the homes of nobility.
The Southern regions of medieval Europe contributed the most art, especially France.
Everything which was designed for decoration, no matter how it was made and with what was considered art in medieval Europe; some of these great arts were given as gifts to the church in order for the artist’s soul to be blessed so he wouldn’t have to go to Hell.
It is very hard to classify which type of art was the most dominant during this European period because of the variety of styles which were presented, such as Early Christian art, Gothic, Romanesque, Insular, Byzantine and many more.
Medieval Europe Religion
Religion in medieval Europe was the driving force for massive morale boost for peasants, armies and even nobility.
Religion was different in Europe and depending on the region, people worshiped according to different kinds of rules but the taxes people were forces to pay in order for “their souls to be saved", remained the same.
During this time the French offered the greatest contributions to European religion, but also they asked much in return from their citizens, in form of taxes, while on the other side of Europe the Greek state paid the church everything that was required, while the citizens remained untouched and nothing was demanded from them.