The Middle Ages were not just a time of
stagnation, barbarism and poverty--Monty Python and the Holy Grail has a certain air of accuracy about it--okay, maybe the Early Middle Ages were. Indeed,
some of the greatest monuments
to Western civilization date from twelfth and thirteenth centuries: the Gothic
Divine Comedy, the institution of the university and the works of
Thomas Aquinas. The period of time from the eleventh to the thirteenth
centuries saw a flowering of medieval culture. An agricultural revolution
occurred that brought increased wealth into the countryside; cities prospered as
trade expanded; a new middle class emerged. Contact with the Islamic Near East brought to the West a number of
classical Greek (and Roman) philosophical and scientific works that had been lost to
Western scholarship up to that time.
See the information by Paulette Damm on the Black Death.
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