The Middle Ages: Western Europe from 500-1500 AD

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The Middle Ages: Western Europe from 500 1500 The breakdown of political order in Europe at the sacking of Rome meant that defense within Europe became a local affair, and the structure of feudalism meant that the peasantry was protected by the knighthood, and the knighthood supported by the labor of the peasantry. This politically anarchic system would slowly form into recognizable states that were defined by language and territorial boundaries. The political disunion of Europe into small feudal kingdoms first gave way to some form of a 'state' when in 800 AD Charlemagne of the Franks was crowned Holy Roman Emperor, restoring to some degree the consensus of order. (Camino de Santiago, 1991) The Vikings extended their pillages across Europe and destroyed countless lives in their pursuit of glory. Likewise, Muslim armies as well as Genghis Khan marched through Europe on voyages of conquest. Along with the breakdown of order in Rome came a change in the economy of Europe. Without a common currency system, bartering became the necessary tool for trade. The form of a barter could be either by service or goods, and merchants who traveled between cities were protected by their own security. Soon enough, the lords realized that they could facilitate these traders in their journeys by commissioning ships, as well as caravans, that would increase the efficiency of trade. Some cities were better suited for this, and these cities became the capitals of Europe, cities like Milan,
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