High Middle Ages

Article

July 1, 2022

The High Middle Ages is the period in the history of Europe and the Middle East that begins in the 5th century and ends between the 9th and 10th centuries, thus distinguishing this period from the next, known as the Late Middle Ages. It is generally admitted that it begins in 476, with the deposition of the last Western Roman Emperor; Rómulo Augustulus, although today it is chosen to simply indicate the 5th century, in its last decades. The end of this period is usually placed in the year 1000, but such a date has ceased to be significant for historiography and the end of the 9th century is preferred, with the beginning of feudal institutions, the Viking and Magyar incursions, the renewal of the imperial power in the East with the Macedonian dynasty and the decline of the Abbasid caliphate.[1] During the High Middle Ages, Christianity was consolidated in Europe and reached peoples outside the Roman sphere (Slavs, Magyars, Germans) at the same time that the regions where it arose passed into the power of the Muslims. Politically, it is marked by the existence of two great empires; the Roman of the East and the Caliphate, together with the appearance in the West of the Roman barbarian kingdoms and the appearance of the short-lived Carolingian Empire. Culturally, the Eastern Empire developed a Christian culture of the Greek language, preserving much of the knowledge of Antiquity, but developed in its own way, the Levant, Egypt, North Africa and Spain were integrated into the nascent Arab Islamic culture. and in the West the monasteries fulfill the role of transmitting the remains of the Latin culture, while the Romance languages ​​develop.

First Germanic invasions

In the fourth century, considered by historiography as belonging to the Ancient Age, the Roman Empire entered an economic, political and social crisis. Several Germanic peoples began a systematic harassment of the borders that was resolved with the invasion of a large part of the Empire, especially its western half, by some of these peoples. In addition, the Roman state itself authorized the entry of other peoples as federates, granting them territories in payment for their services. These events, which are usually called barbarian invasions or migrations of peoples, marked the beginning of what is known as the Middle Ages. The first five centuries of it (from the deposition of the last Western emperor, in 476, until the year 1000) have been called the High Middle Ages, and the following five centuries (until the fall of Constantinople to the Ottoman Empire, 1453 , or the discovery of America, 1492) are considered as the Late Middle Ages. At the time of the first Germanic invasions, in Late Antiquity, Emperor Theodosius I achieved peace through a pact of friendship with the Visigoth chief (the Visigoths being the western branch of the Gothic people). But Theodosius I died in 395 leaving the empire to his two sons. Honorius in the West and Arcadius in the East. The death of Theodosius I meant for the Visigoths the breaking of the agreements made with the Empire. Their leader, Alaric I, began a campaign of depredations in the Balkan Peninsula. Arcadius, under the pretext that there was a dispute over Illyria, launched the Visigoths into the Western Empire, where they settled permanently. Shortly after, in the year 406, the Roman Empire was invaded by Germanic peoples looking for a place to settle. In 423, Valentinian III succeeded Honorius to the throne, assimilating the invaders to his mercenary troops. During his reign, the empire suffered a major advance from the Huns, under the command of their king Attila; but they were stopped in the Catalaunian Fields in a Roman-Germanic alliance. The Empire was in frank dissolution and in 476 Romulus Augustulus, the last emperor of the West, was deposed by Odoacer. The Western Roman Empire was coming