What makes a medieval village into a small town? And how different are these small urban arean when compared with the stone walled cities?
The Middle Ages is the middle period of the three traditional divisions of Western history: classical antiquity, the medieval period, and the modern period. The medieval period is itself subdivided into the Early, High, and Late Middle Ages.
The most commonly given starting point for the Middle Ages is 476, first used by Bruni. For Europe as a whole, 1500 is often considered to be the end of the Middle Ages, but there is no universally agreed upon end date.
Historians from Romance-speaking countries tend to divide the Middle Ages into two parts: an earlier “High” and later “Low” period. English-speaking historians, following their German counterparts, generally subdivide the Middle Ages into three intervals: “Early”, “High”, and “Late”. In the 19th century, the entire Middle Ages were often referred to as the “Dark Ages”, but with the adoption of these subdivisions, use of this term was restricted to the Early Middle Ages, at least among historians.
During the 11th century, developments in philosophy and theology led to increased intellectual activity. There was debate between the realists and the nominalists over the concept of “universals”. Philosophical discourse was stimulated by the rediscovery of Aristotle and his emphasis on empiricism and rationalism.
Chivalry and the ethos of courtly love developed in royal and noble courts. This culture was expressed in the vernacular languages rather than Latin, and comprised poems, stories, legends, and popular songs spread by troubadours, or wandering minstrels.
Legal studies advanced during the 12th century. Both secular law and canon law, or ecclesiastical law, were studied in the High Middle Ages. Secular law, or Roman law, was advanced greatly by the discovery of the Corpus Juris Civilis in the 11th century, and by 1100 Roman law was being taught at Bologna. This led to the recording and standardisation of legal codes throughout Western Europe.
Among the results of the Greek and Islamic influence on this period in European history was the replacement of Roman numerals with the decimal positional number system and the invention of algebra, which allowed more advanced mathematics. Astronomy advanced following the translation of Ptolemy’s Almagest from Greek into Latin in the late 12th century. Medicine was also studied, especially in southern Italy, where Islamic medicine influenced the school at Salerno.
In the 12th and 13th centuries, Europe produced economic growth and innovations in methods of production. Major technological advances included the invention of the windmill, the first mechanical clocks, the manufacture of distilled spirits, and the use of the astrolabe. Concave spectacles were invented around 1286 by an unknown Italian artisan.
In military affairs, the use of infantry with specialised roles increased. Along with the still-dominant heavy cavalry, armies often included mounted and infantry crossbowmen, as well as sappers and engineers.