By Hywel Williams

The 500 years that separate the mid-tenth century from the mid-15th century represent a serious and formative interval within the historical past of Europe. This used to be the age of the approach of felony and armed forces legal responsibility often called 'feudalism', and of the delivery and consolidation of strong kingdoms in England, France and Spain; it was once an period of urbanization and the growth of exchange, of the development of the good Romanesque and Gothic cathedrals, of courtly romance and the artwork of the troubadour, and of the founding of celebrated seats of studying in Paris, Oxford and Bologna. however it was once additionally an epoch characterized by way of brutal army experience within the launching of armed pilgrimages to free up Jerusalem from Muslim regulate, of the brutal dynastic clash of the Hundred Years' struggle and of the devastating pandemic of the Black dying. In a chain of scholarly yet available articles - followed by means of an array of lovely and genuine photos of the period, plus timelines, maps, boxed gains and reveal rates - exceptional historian Hywel Williams sheds revelatory mild on each point of a wealthy and complicated interval of eu heritage. Ottonians and Salians; upward thrust of the Capetians; Normans in England; start of the city-states; The Normans in Sicily; the 1st campaign; The Investiture contest; The Hohenstaufen; The Angevin Empire; 12th-century Renaissance; Triumph of the Capetians; The 3rd campaign; The Albigensian campaign; the honor of Islamic Spain; the dominion of Naples; The Hundred Years conflict I; The Hundred Years struggle II; Avignon and the Schism; The Golden Age of Florence; The Reconquista; Popes, Saints and Heretics; Medieval society; Medieval tradition; Medieval conflict.

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Quedlinburg Abbey, Germany, founded by Otto the Great in 936. THE RISE OF THE CAPETIANS 987–1179 The kingdom of the Western Franks was created by the Treaty of Verdun in 843, and members of the Carolingian dynasty reigned within that territory until the late tenth century. As anointed kings, their authority, like that of their Capetian successors, had a sacramental quality that was acknowledged by the princes who ruled in significant centers of power such as Normandy, Burgundy, Anjou, Poitou and Toulouse.

1024 Henry II, the last Saxon emperor, dies. MAINTAINING OTTO’S DYNASTY Otto’s dynastic ambitions were endorsed when an assembly, meeting in Worms in 961, elected his son king of the Germans. The future Otto II was crowned joint-emperor with his father by the pope six years later and was thoroughly trained in the business of imperial war and government. His first major challenge came in 978 when Lothair, king of West Francia, launched an invasion and occupied Aachen. Otto retaliated in the autumn by leading his army over the frontier and inflicting heavy losses on the enemy.

Henry’s army marched into Italy in the spring of 1004 and crushed the margrave’s forces at a battle fought near Verona. Henry then marched on to Pavia, where he was crowned king of the Lombards. He then proceeded to burn most of Pavia to the ground as punishment for its past support for Arduin. It was necessary to embark on a second Italian campaign in 1013 as a result of Arduin’s renewed military activities. In the following year Pope Benedict VIII, an imperial ally in the project of Church renewal, crowned Henry emperor.

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