The Franks had been growing in power and soon their leader, Charlemange began an expansion throughout much of Europe. His success was due to the heavy cavalryman and his belief in God.
By 800AD he had created the Holy Roman Empire, which became the basis of Christendom and the Medieval world.
Also of importance during the period was England. After the fall of Rome, it had been colonized by Germanic peoples, formulating into the Anglo Saxons. Later incursions by the Danes and Vikings determined King Alfred to formulate England as a nation. Giving it its identity, and based upon Christianity, England thrived, but eventually was invaded by the Normans under William the Conqueror in 1066, themselves descendants of Danes. William eventually created the Domesday Book, and for the first time a country and its people was really known by its authority, formulating bureaucracy.
The extreme Christianity of Europe’s rulers would inevitably lead to trouble, and through the Middle Ages Europe and Islam were to clash in the Crusades. After initial success, most Crusades failed, but several things came out of this clash. Knightly orders were created, such as the Templars, who went on to create the first banking system by taking care of the money of pilgrims to the Holy Land, and the Hospitallers, who created the first hospitals to look after pilgrims. But the biggest influence was the idea of expansion and colonization, which would later take the European around the globe.
But what of the Medieval world of Christendom?
Society was perfectly regulated. Economically everything was tied to the Feudal system, where the serf rented land from the Baron and the Baron owed allegiance to the King. The King himself was tied to the Pope through the latter’s power of excommunication – if the Kings didn’t obey they would not go to Heaven upon death.
Within the system was the heavy cavalryman, or Knight, bound by the moral code of chivalry, his art of warfare practiced through jousting. Also there were the monastic orders, providing learning and what welfare there was.
Such monks held allegiance, also, to the Pope, and could whittle away at any power local priests could hold. Indeed, the requirement for celibacy rose as priestly families gained wealth and power. Celibacy guaranteed their families would die out, with power transferred to Rome. Christian worship was carried out through the priest as intermediary, speaking in Latin, so as the people could not truly understand what it was all about.
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