Hildesheim Cathedral Medieval Romanesque Treasure Manuscript Ringelheim Crucifix

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Seller: ancientgifts ✉️ (5,288) 100%, Location: Ferndale, Washington, US, Ships to: WORLDWIDE, Item: 384649719400 Hildesheim Cathedral Medieval Romanesque Treasure Manuscript Ringelheim Crucifix. "Medieval Treasures from Hildesheim" by Peter Barnet, Michael Brandt, and Gerhard Lutz. NOTE: We have 75,000 books in our library, almost 10,000 different titles. Odds are we have other copies of this same title in varying conditions, some less expensive, some better condition. We might also have different editions as well (some paperback, some hardcover, oftentimes international editions). If you don’t see what you want, please contact us and ask. We’re happy to send you a summary of the differing conditions and prices we may have for the same title.DESCRIPTION: Softcover. Publisher: Metropolitan Museum of Art (2013). Pages: 148. Size: 10½ x 9¼ inches; 2 pounds. Hildesheim, Germany, was a leading center of art between 1000 and 1250, when outstanding precious works, such as the larger-than-life size Ringelheim Crucifix, illuminated manuscripts lavishly bound in jeweled covers, and a monumental bronze baptismal font, were commissioned for its churches and cathedral. In 1985, UNESCO designated St. Mary’s Cathedral and St. Michael’s Church in Hildesheim a world cultural heritage site, recognizing them as monuments of medieval art with exceptionally rich treasures. Despite its significance, Hildesheim’s incomparable collection of medieval church furnishings is little known outside of Germany. This book provides the first comprehensive examination in English of the city’s treasures, its leading role in the art of the Middle Ages, and its churches’ history of commissioning and collecting outstanding objects. Highlighting fifty precious and rare works, this book beautifully illustrates some of the great masterpieces of medieval church art. CONDITION: NEW. Oversized softcover. Metropolitan Museum of Art (2013) 148 pages. Still in manufacturer's wraps. Unblemished and pristine in every respect. Pages are clean, crisp, unmarked, unmutilated, tightly bound, unambiguously unread. Satisfaction unconditionally guaranteed. In stock, ready to ship. No disappointments, no excuses. PROMPT SHIPPING! HEAVILY PADDED, DAMAGE-FREE PACKAGING! Meticulous and accurate descriptions! Selling rare and out-of-print ancient history books on-line since 1997. We accept returns for any reason within 14 days! #8645a. PLEASE SEE DESCRIPTIONS AND IMAGES BELOW FOR DETAILED REVIEWS AND FOR PAGES OF PICTURES FROM INSIDE OF BOOK. PLEASE SEE PUBLISHER, PROFESSIONAL, AND READER REVIEWS BELOW. PUBLISHER REVIEWS: REVIEW: Hildesheim Cathedral has one of the most complete surviving ensembles of church furnishings and treasures in Europe, with many masterpieces made between 1000 and 1250. As a result, it was designated a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site in 1985. A major renovation of the cathedral provides an opportunity for this extraordinary exhibition of medieval church treasures.Consisting of about fifty works, the exhibition (and the accompanying catalogue) focuses primarily on Bishop Bernward of Hildesheim (960–1022), one of the greatest patrons of the arts in the Middle Ages. In addition to the famous monumental bronze doors and the column in Hildesheim Cathedral that cannot travel, Bernward commissioned many smaller precious works of art, mostly for his monastic foundation St. Michael's.A silver crucifix and candlesticks and numerous illuminated manuscripts (that he is known to have commissioned), and the Golden Madonna (that he is believed to have commissioned), are part of the exhibition. The exhibition also examines the artistic production of Hildesheim in the high Middle Ages, including the monumental bronze baptismal font that is a masterpiece of thirteenth-century metalwork. REVIEW: Germany’s Hildesheim Cathedral in Lower Saxony has one of the most complete surviving ensembles of ecclesiastical furnishings and treasures in Europe, including many medieval masterpieces made between about 1000 and 1250. The cathedral was designated a UNESCO world cultural heritage site in 1985. Major renovations that are currently underway provide the opportunity for Medieval Treasures from Hildesheim—an extraordinary selection of about 50 medieval church treasures, most of which have never been shown outside Europe—to travel to The Metropolitan Museum of Art, where they will be on view beginning September 17.The first section of the exhibition will focus primarily on the legacy of Bishop Bernward of Hildesheim (960–1022), one of the greatest patrons of the arts in the Middle Ages. During his time, Hildesheim was a center for bronze-making and other artistic activities. In addition to the famous monumental bronze doors and the column in Hildesheim Cathedral that cannot travel, Bernward commissioned many smaller precious works of art, mostly for his Benedictine monastic foundation. These include the Golden Madonna, a silver crucifix, a pair of richly decorated silver candlesticks, and sumptuously illuminated manuscripts, all of which will be included in the exhibition. The monumental life-size wood carving known as the Ringelheim crucifix is one of the earliest surviving three-dimensional sculptures of the Middle Ages. It will provide a focal point for the gallery, which will contain one of the most impressive groups of 11th-century works of art ever seen in North America. The exhibition will also examine the continuing artistic production of Hildesheim in the high Middle Ages. Opulent jeweled crosses, as well as reliquaries and portable altars decorated with enamel and ivory will be featured. The late-12th-century Saint Oswald reliquary surmounted by a silver-gilt bust of the saint and decorated with finely drawn niello plaques is a highlight as are the three gilt-bronze liturgical fans with openwork decoration and cabochon stones, each over 16 inches in diameter.Hildesheim re-emerged as a major center for bronze casting in the early 13th century. The cathedral’s monumental bronze baptismal font dating to about 1226—which will be displayed nearby, in the Medieval Sculpture Hall— is one of the most important works to survive from the Middle Ages. The basin and its lid rest on free-standing kneeling figures of the four Rivers of Paradise and the complete ensemble measures six feet in height. Richly decorated in relief, the basin depicts the Baptism of Christ and the Virgin Enthroned flanked by scenes from the Hebrew Bible that were understood in the Middle Ages to prefigure the Baptism of Christ. The lid has four additional scenes in relief, and ancillary figures and lengthy inscriptions further enrich the font. Also on view in the exhibition will be other important examples of bronze-work from that time: a cast bronze eagle lectern, a lion aquamanile, a candlestick, and a crozier (a religious staff of office, in the shape of a shepherd's crook). The exhibition will be accompanied by a fully illustrated catalogue written by scholars on the Museum’s staff in collaboration with scholars in France and Germany. The first comprehensive overview of the Hildesheim collection in English, the book has been edited by Peter Barnet, Senior Curator, Department of Medieval Art and The Cloisters; and Michael Brandt, Director, and Gerhard Lutz, Curator, Hildesheim Cathedral Museum. It is published by the Metropolitan Museum and distributed by Yale University Press.REVIEW: Hildesheim, Germany, was a leading center of art between 1000 and 1250, when outstanding precious works, such as the larger-than-life size Ringelheim Crucifix, illuminated manuscripts lavishly bound in jeweled covers, were commissioned for its churches and cathedral. This book provides an examination of the city's treasures. REVIEW: Peter Barnet is Michel David-Weill Curator in Charge, department of Medieval Art and The Cloisters, The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Michael Brandt is director, Hildesheim Cathedral Museum. Gerhard Lutz is curator, Hildesheim Cathedral Museum. PROFESSIONAL REVIEWS: REVIEW: [This] text is well-informed, written in a clear style, with a detailed index and bibliography and enables the reader to place the exhibits in context. “Medieval Treasures” is highly recommended for those interested in cathedral treasures placed in context by a well-illustrated, scholarly text. [Penelope Nash, Parergon - Journal of the Australian and New Zealand Association for Medieval and Early Modern Studies]. REVIEW: Overflows with interesting and unique religious objects that will astound with their beauty and intricate workmanship. [Antiques and the Arts Weekly]. REVIEW: Today, [Hildesheim's] churches and museums still preserve one of the richest and densest concentrations of 11th-century European religious art anywhere. And the Met show is pure cream skimmed off the top. [New York Times]. REVIEW: Dazzling! [New York Sun].REVIEW: Medieval Treasures from Hildesheim, one of the oldest cities in northern Germany, is a truly phenomenal exhibit and accompanying catalogue. As often happens the legend of a miracle allowed for the building of a sacred place. The story goes that the chaplain accompanying Louis the Pious (778-840) on a hunt stopped and hung a reliquary of the Virgin on a rosebush and forgot it there. When it was found the next day it could not be removed.Bishop Altfried who reigned from 851-875 built the first Cathedral in Hildesheim consecrated in 872, at the site of the rosebush, which survives to this day. Subsequent Bishops eagerly expanded the Cathedral until it was ready for Bishop Bernward (reign 933-1022), the greatest patron of the arts in the middle ages to make Medieval Hildesheim flourish. The quantity and quality of the art were unrivaled for the time and Bernward’s commissions were extraordinary. Being a member of the Saxon Nobility did not harm either. He had connections everywhere. One of the most remarkable artifacts is a 6 foot high Baptismal Font in copper alloy in which you could easily lose a baby! It dates from 1226AD and was cast in Hildesheim for the Hildesheim Cathedral. It is incredibly elaborate and complex including scenes from both the New and Old Testament. After spending a long time gawking at this spectacular object I continued to the main site of the exhibition and the next object to gain my attention was the so called “Golden Madonna”.It dates from 1022, making it one of the oldest three-dimensional Western European Medieval sculptures to survive. The Virgin and Child are made of linden wood, covered with gold sheet. In spite of it missing both heads, three of the four hands, and many of its precious stones, it makes quite an impression. One can see its importance through the folds and delicate filigree on the garments. During the 13th century it was known to be on the high altar of the Eastern Apse of Hildesheim Cathedral. A pair of candlesticks is also especially noteworthy. They are incredibly elaborate and the design would easily support a larger format. The inscription along the bottom which is neither a profound nor liturgical pronouncement says, “Bishop Berward ordered his servant to cast these candlesticks in the first flowering of this art, not out of gold, not out of silver, and nevertheless as you discern here.” The material that looks like silver has recently been analyzed as electrum, a combination of gold and silver. Two other incredible pieces of goldsmiths’ work are the arm reliquary of Saint Bernward (yes, formerly known as Bishop Bernward) of 1194 and the reliquary of Saint Oswald from the same period which still today contains his skull. In the 13th century the latter was shown together with the Golden Madonna on the same high altar. Here my photograph falls short of showing the incredible detail of the engraving of the piece but the portraiture is perfectly clear and if I ever meet Saint Oswald I shall surely recognize him! While an arm reliquary is not that rare in medieval art I have never seen one this fine or elaborate. What a show! And the accompanying catalogue is equally exquisite. There is so much to learn about each piece and so much more to see in the exhibition including enamels, ivories and manuscript illuminations of the period. REVIEW: While renovations usually involve closing something off, recent work at Germany’s Hildesheim Cathedral has restored its medieval treasures for display at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. “Medieval Treasures from Hildesheim,” which opened at the Met on Sept. 17, consists of 48 pieces of ecclesiastical artwork commissioned by Bishop Bernward of Hildesheim, an avid patron of the arts. A UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site since 1985, the renovation of the Hildesheim Cathedral has made these treasures available to the public for the first time, and this exhibit marks the first time many of these artifacts have been shown in the United States. The exhibit and its accompanying catalogue fosters an appreciation for medieval artists, who were able to create inexplicably beautiful pieces of artwork with what we consider today to be such limited means. What was crafted in the name of religion in the ninth and 10th centuries can be appreciated in the 21st century as stunning examples of art. The Ringelheim crucifix, mounted on an impressive life-sized cross, is positioned in the center of the gallery. As the only artifact in the room made entirely of wood, the crucifix immediately commands attention. It dates from before 1022 and is considered one of the earliest and best representations of medieval three-dimensional sculpture. Its depiction of Christ’s eyes, looking on museum visitors with a mixture of both determination and pity, is its defining feature. Looking into those eyes forms a bond that is not easily broken—his gaze follows you around the exhibit. While the crucifix displays the stark suffering deeply ingrained in the religious thought of the Middle Ages, most of the exhibit focuses on the celebratory aspect of religion—opulence is everywhere. Golden reliquaries containing the bones of long-dead saints and bejeweled gospels line the walls. The splendor and wealth of the Catholic Church at the time cannot be disputed. The Hildesheim cathedral boasts several other sublime examples of medieval craftsmanship, such as the famous imposing bronze doors, depicting biblical events from Genesis through the life of Christ, and the cathedral column, a copy of a Roman monument from antiquity. Though these could not leave the cathedral, the museum has installed a short slideshow of pictures of the missing pieces to supplement the exhibit. REVIEW: “Medieval Treasures From Hildesheim” Visually, the exhibition (and the accompanying catalogue) is eminently graspable: a one-room cluster of 50 objects, many jewel-encrusted or covered in gold. In other ways, the art is almost beyond reach, being about the power politics of spirituality in a distant age, a subject that today’s drive-by museum-goer would seem to know little, or care little, about. A millennium ago, Hildesheim, in northern Germany, was one of the ecclesiastical centers of Western Europe. Under the patronage of Ottonian emperors, who ruled from A.D. 919 to 1014, it was a city of churches, the outstanding one being its grand cathedral, packed with art advertising the glory of God and kings. And because, for both, only the best would do, Hildesheim developed a top-class art industry. Its metal-casting workshops were superbly innovative; illuminated books poured from its scriptoria. Today, its churches and museums still preserve one of the richest and densest concentrations of 11th-century European religious art anywhere. And the Met show is pure cream skimmed off the top. That the art in it has survived at all is some kind of miracle. Many of these objects were made as much for active use as for contemplation. Large-scale sculptures were on constant public display in churches, being touched and kissed. Smaller ones traveled the streets in processions. Gospel books were thumbed-through during services; liturgical vessels were moved about: carried, cleaned, dropped, repaired. And, of course, history kept happening. Power changed hands, and, with it, control over churches and treasures. In the 16th century, the Protestant Reformation put Roman Catholic art under threat. Enforced secularization in the 19th century also took a toll. Toward the end of World War II, old Hildesheim was leveled by bombs. A renovation of the rebuilt cathedral has supplied the pretext for sending its art to the Met.Although almost none of the work can be attributed to individual artists, the name of one man hovers in the air, that of Bernward, bishop of Hildesheim from A.D. 993 to 1022. Of noble Saxon lineage, he was more than a high-ranking cleric. He was a cosmopolitan traveler, a court fixture, a cultural impresario, a serial self-promoter and, eventually, a canonized saint. He was also one of the great shaping art patrons of his day, and possibly an artist himself.His major architectural project in Hildesheim was the Benedictine church of St. Michael, for which he famously commissioned a set of immense bronze doors, each covered with narrative reliefs. The doors didn’t make it to New York, but at least two sculptures, monumental in feeling and historically associated with Bernward’s name, did.One is the so-called Golden Madonna, a statue of the Virgin and Child carved from linden wood overlaid with sheets of hammered gold. Although both its figures are headless now, with their light-glancing surfaces studded with gemstones, they are magnetically opulent and must once have been even more so. Church records report that in the 15th century, the sculpture was half-buried in piles of brooches, rings and necklaces, left as offerings. More-is-more was the modus operandi of medieval aesthetics, and the show has textbook examples, beginning with a Gospel owned by Bernward. The book was already nearly a century old when he acquired it, but he freshened it up and made it his own by adding a new cover, with a Byzantine ivory plaque affixed to the front and his own initials splashed across the back. After his death, and maybe to celebrate his election to sainthood, the cover was further adorned with robin’s-egg-size crystals and miniature paintings.Material richness aside, the Golden Madonna is significant for being one of the earliest fully three-dimensional sculptures known from medieval Europe. Another is a five-foot-tall figure of the crucified Jesus, believed to have been commissioned by Bernward for the convent of Ringelheim, where his sister was abbess. Displayed high in the gallery, it stands as a kind of benedictory centerpiece for the show. The figure, apart from the arms, which are 12th-century replacements, is cut from a single piece of wood.The cross to which it was once attached is long gone, as is the paint that originally covered the body. But you don’t miss them. Their absence throws attention more fully onto the details of carving and especially on the face, with its half-open, pain-drugged eyes and a pulled-down mouth that seems to express bitterness mixed with regret.There’s an important add-on element present, too, though it’s all but invisible. During conservation work done several decades ago, relics of two Christian saints, Cosmas and Damian, were found sealed in a hollow in the Jesus’ head. Relics — bits of holy bodies or sanctified materials — were ubiquitous in medieval Europe, valued as radioactive scraps of spiritual matter and as negotiable forms of earthly wealth. Elaborate containers were designed to protect and publicize them. A 12th-century reliquary created to hold one of Bernward’s arm bones is a classic type, arm-shaped, stiffly upright, its fingers pointing to heaven. Others, though, depart from such familiar models.A second arm reliquary, this one for an unspecified saint, is startlingly naturalistic. Its soft, almost pudgy flexed fingers curve inward, not quite touching, in a kind of Buddhistic gesture, as if they had just let go of something. And there’s an impressive canister-shaped reliquary dedicated to the martyred St. Oswald — his skull is still inside — crowned by a lifelike silver gilt “portrait” of the man. With his tilted-back head and sharp stare, he seems to be asserting, with an edge of challenge: “I am here.”Hildesheim’s art can be giddy with razzle-dazzle (a set of three bejeweled liturgical fans look like opera props) and grim with memento mori (there are many crucifixions), and, for those reasons, depending on your tastes, off-putting. But what keeps coming through is the human touch, ordinary, specific, straight-to-the heart, though you have to look closely to find it.It’s there in minute figures of men scaling the stem of a cast-silver altar candlestick, as if climbing toward light. And in a slightly goofy Gospel book painting of St. Mark looking up, with some puzzlement, at a distinctly sleepy-eyed lion, his celestial muse, floating overhead. Acutely observed realism is the distinguishing feature of the biblical scenes covering the Hildesheim Cathedral’s baptismal font, a cast-metal masterpiece so renowned that you can’t believe it’s here. At the same time, nothing in the show is more gripping that a work a fraction its size: a tiny tableau of the Fall of Man — God, like an infuriated parent, looms over a cowering Adam, his child — contained within the curved head of a bishop’s silver staff.The show — organized by Peter Barnet, the Met’s senior curator of medieval art, and Michael Brandt and Gerhard Lutz of the Hildesheim Cathedral Museum — has many such anecdotal dramas. In a real sense, they are what this art is about, and what makes it emotionally alive. To sense this, you don’t need to know dogmas or histories or to move far from a secular present. You just have to be willing to stop, pay attention, spend time, to act as if objects from the past had something true to tell you about your life in the present, how to live it, what to feel about it. They do. The art of looking is the only art really in danger of being lost.REVIEW: The art displays technical excellence, especially in metallurgy, and an ability to crystallize - and elicit - a full range of emotional response. Formally titled Medieval Treasures from Hildesheim. Whatever one's religious beliefs, or lack thereof, the show is accessible in both size - one room - and in theme: the ability, indeed the compulsion, of men and women to imbue inanimate objects with meaning and power. Reigning from 919 AD until 1024, the northern German Ottonian dynasty established Hildesheim as a royal power base, anchored by a grand cathedral. Hildesheim is located in Lower Saxony; this is the Saxon in "Anglo-Saxon." Successions of Ottonian Holy Roman Emperors and Saxon bishops utilized their wealth to fund and commission architecture and artifacts during the brief Carolingian/Ottonian renaissance. What Holland Cotter calls the "material richness" of this movement was heavily influenced by renewed contact with Byzantium. The wife of Otto II, Theophanu (ca 960 - 991), was a well-connected Byzantine native who supposedly introduced the fork to Europe. In addition, noblewomen of the period, such as Matilda of Ringelheim, founded abbeys and convents for which devotional objects were needed. Another leading figure in this renaissance, Bernward, bishop of Hildesheim from 993 to 1022, is a presiding spirit in this show. His gospel book, a French import, was about a hundred years old when Bernward commissioned a new cover, with a Byzantine ivory plaque repurposed for the front, and Bernward's name in large rune-like letters on the back of the volume. But the encrustation of the precious text didn't stop there, as the large pink and blue cabochons were added after Bernward's death, perhaps to celebrate his canonization. Although most of the treasures now on display at the Met are small items, a few large sizeable artifacts made the trip too, including the Baptismal Font featured at the beginning of this post. That this masterpiece of the foundry survived at all is miraculous, given that so many liturgical objects were victims of religious and political upheavals and were melted, smashed, bombed, burned, defaced or discarded. Another survivor is the wood sculpture of Christ on the cross, in the image below. Never mind that it lacks its original paint and that the arms are 12th century oak replacements. What remains is more than impressive. Christ's body and head are carved from a single piece of linden wood. According to the Met's website, the slight twisting of the Christ's body - his knees point in one direction, his head in another - is unique in medieval representations of this time; the rotation, though subtle, gives an unexpected realism and poignancy to this figure. While the crucifix would have been a stationery object of devotion, many of the works in this show were made for personal or public use, including several croziers, or staffs, part of the regalia of bishop and abbot. Croziers are shaped like shepherd's crooks; the bishop or abbot is symbolically the shepherd of his flock. According to the Met, the one in the image below shows God evicting Adam from the Garden of Eden. The stem of the crozier features Eve, the apple and a snake; a curving tree branch forms the volute in which God is exiling Adam from the Garden. It appears that God is handing something to Adam - perhaps the clothes that God fashioned for Adam and Eve? Other items were designed to be "campaign furniture" for ecclesiastics, including the portable altars used for celebrating the Eucharist outside of a church. Bread and wine would have been placed on the surface. A particularly colorful example is shown below; I think it represents the six apostles and assume the remaining six are on the other side. Would that museums would utilize technology, or even mirrors, to show more sides of objects on display. In the same case as this altar are displayed three circular liturgical fans, along with candlesticks, more portable altars and a reliquary. Liturgical fans were used in processions and to fan the altar; these look too heavy for actual use and stood decoratively behind the altar in Hildesheim Cathedral for centuries. The openwork foliate patterns of the fans are beautiful, and cast intriguing shadows. In the cathedral interior, foggy with incense, the rock crystal would have gleamed like an earth-bound star.Whatever the medium, the medieval artists have cleared expended much effort in the depiction of fabric and costume. The above reliquaries, of wood overlaid with sheet gold, were designed to contain and protect precious pieces of sanctified materials or saints' body parts. The left reliquary was designed to hold the arm of Maurice, a saint with a military background; his snug-fitting tunic sleeve rises out of a shield and is shown slightly scrunched up. The sensitively modeled fingers may have held another object at one time. The arm reliquary in the right side of the image, in contrast, mimics the flowing ornamented sleeve of an ecclesiastical robe, and the fingers point heavenward. The gesture is conventional, but nevertheless an important reminder of the goal of the consumers of this art - a place in heaven and the reward of eternal life.READER REVIEWS: REVIEW: Hildesheim Cathedral is renowned for its treasures of Romanesque art and architecture, but not well documented in publications for English speakers, so while one could wish for more depth, this physically well-produced volume with high quality color illustrations is a welcome reminder of the works exhibited at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in 2013-14 in a display noteworthy for its wide range of material types (including illuminated manuscripts, metalwork and woodwork). Although many readers would have been helped by a broader introductory essay (including, for example, a map of the town in medieval times and certainly at least one image of the Cathedral entrance, as rebuilt after WWII), the book does include references (mostly to sources in German) and a full index. REVIEW: Gorgeous photos. I have a number of German publications from Hildesheim. This makes a lovely “coffee table” book, fantastic photos. REVIEW: Five stars! Fabulous photos, illuminating descriptive text. Very educational and visually appealing. ADDITIONAL BACKGROUND: HISTORY OF THE MIDDLE AGES: In the history of Europe, the Middle Ages or Medieval Period lasted from the 5th to the 15th century. It began with the fall of the Western Roman Empire and merged into the Renaissance and the Age of Discovery. 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. Population decline, counter-urbanization, collapse of centralized authority, invasions, and mass migrations of tribes. All of these had begun in Late Antiquity and continued in the Early Middle Ages. The large-scale movements of the Migration Period, including various Germanic peoples, formed new kingdoms in what remained of the Western Roman Empire. In the 7th century, North Africa and the Middle East which were once part of the Byzantine Empire fell. These regions came under the rule of the Umayyad Caliphate. The Caliphate was an Islamic empire founded by Muhammad's successors. Although there were substantial changes in society and political structures, the break with classical antiquity was not complete. The still-sizeable Byzantine Empire, Rome's direct continuation, survived in the Eastern Mediterranean and remained a major power. The empire's law code, the Corpus Juris Civilis or "Code of Justinian", was rediscovered in Northern Italy in 1070 and became widely admired later in the Middle Ages. In the West, most kingdoms incorporated the few extant Roman institutions. Monasteries were founded as campaigns to Christianize pagan Europe continued. The Franks, under the Carolingian dynasty, briefly established the Carolingian Empire during the later 8th and early 9th centuries. It covered much of Western Europe but later succumbed to the pressures of internal civil wars combined with external invasions: Vikings from the north, Magyars from the east, and Saracens from the south. During the High Middle Ages, which began after 1000, the population of Europe increased greatly. Technological and agricultural innovations allowed trade to flourish. The Medieval Warm Period climate change allowed crop yields to increase. The Medieval Manor System involved the organization of peasants into villages. The villages in turn owed rent and labor services to the nobles. The Feudal System encompassed a political structure whereby knights and lower-status nobles owed military service to their overlords in return for the right to rent from lands and manors. The Manor and Feudal systems were two of the ways society was organized in the High Middle Ages. First preached in 1095 AD the Crusades were a series of military attempts by Western European Christians to regain control of the Holy Land from Muslims. Kings became the heads of centralized nation-states. This reduced crime and violence but made the ideal of a unified Christendom more distant. Intellectual life was marked by scholasticism. Scholasticism was a philosophy that emphasized joining faith to reason, and by the founding of universities. The theology of Thomas Aquinas, the paintings of Giotto, the poetry of Dante and Chaucer, the travels of Marco Polo, and the Gothic architecture of cathedrals such as Chartres are among the outstanding achievements toward the end of this period and into the Late Middle Ages. The Late Middle Ages were marked by difficulties and calamities including famine, plague, and war. All of these combined to significantly diminish the population of Europe. Between 1347 and 1350, the Black Death killed about a third of all Europeans. Controversy, heresy, and the Western Schism within the Catholic Church paralleled the interstate conflict, civil strife, and peasant revolts that occurred in the kingdoms. Cultural and technological developments transformed European society, concluding the Late Middle Ages and beginning the early modern period. The term “Middle Ages” first appears in Latin in 1469 as media tempestas or "middle season". In early usage, there were many variants, including medium aevum, or "middle age", first recorded in 1604, and media saecula, or "middle centuries", first recorded in 1625. The adjective "medieval" derives from medium aevum. Medieval writers divided history into periods such as the "Six Ages" or the "Four Empires", and considered their time to be the last before the end of the world. When referring to their own times, they spoke of them as being "modern". In the 1330s the humanist and poet Petrarch referred to pre-Christian times as antiqua (or "ancient") and to the Christian period as nova (or "new"). Leonardo Bruni was the first historian to use three periods in his 1442 AD “History of the Florentine People”. He described a middle period "between the fall of the Roman Empire and the revival of city life, sometime in late 11th and 12th centuries". The reference to three periods of time “tripartite periodization” became standard after the 17th century German historian Christoph Cellarius divided history into three periods: ancient, medieval, and modern. The most commonly given starting point for the Middle Ages is around 500 AD, with the date of 476 first used by Bruni (the year the last [Western] Roman Emperor was deposed). For Europe as a whole, 1500 AD is often considered to be the end of the Middle Ages, but there is no universally agreed upon end date. Depending on the context, events such as the conquest of Constantinople by the Turks in 1453, Christopher Columbus's first voyage to the Americas in 1492, or the Protestant Reformation in 1517 are sometimes used. English historians often use the Battle of Bosworth Field in 1485 to mark the end of the period. For Spain, dates commonly used are the death of King Ferdinand II in 1516, the death of Queen Isabella I of Castile in 1504, or the conquest of Granada in 1492. 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". However with the adoption of the "Early", "High", and "Late" subdivisions, use of the term “Dark Ages” term (at least among historians) was restricted in its sense to refer specifically to the Early Middle Ages. The Roman Empire reached its greatest territorial extent during the 2nd century AD. The following two centuries witnessed the slow decline of Roman control over its outlying territories. Economic issues, including inflation, and external pressure on the frontiers combined to create the “Crisis of the Third Century”. A rapid succession of emperors came to the throne only to be almost immediately replaced by new usurpers. Military expenses increased steadily during the 3rd century. The military expenditures were mainly in response to the war with the Sasanian Empire, which revived in the middle of the 3rd century. The army doubled in size, and cavalry and smaller units replaced the Roman legion as the main tactical unit. The need for revenue led to increased taxes. There was a decline in numbers of the curial, or landowning, class. And from that diminished population there were decreasing numbers willing to shoulder the burdens of holding office in their native towns. More bureaucrats were needed in the central administration to deal with the needs of the army. This led to complaints from civilians that there were more tax-collectors in the empire than tax-payers. The Emperor Diocletian reigned from 284-305 AD. In an effort to better organize and increase efficiency he split the empire into separately administered eastern and western halves in 286. The empire was not considered divided by its inhabitants or rulers. A legal and administrative promulgation in one division were considered valid in the other. Constantine the Great (reigned from 306–337 AD. After a period of civil war Constantine refounded the city of Byzantium as the newly renamed eastern capital, Constantinople in 330 AD. Diocletian's reforms strengthened the governmental bureaucracy, reformed taxation, and strengthened the army. All of this bought the empire time but did not resolve the problems it was facing: excessive taxation, a declining birthrate, and pressures on its frontiers, among others. Civil war between rival emperors became common in the middle of the 4th century, diverting soldiers from the empire's frontier forces and allowing invaders to encroach. For much of the 4th century Roman society stabilized in a new form that differed from the earlier classical period. There was a widening gulf between the rich and poor, and a decline in the vitality of the smaller towns. Another change was the conversion of the empire to Christianity. This was a gradual process that lasted from the 2nd to the 5th centuries. In 376 AD the Goths, fleeing from the Huns, received permission from Emperor Valens (who reigned from 364 to 378) to settle in the Roman province of Thracia in the Balkans. The settlement did not go smoothly, and when Roman officials mishandled the situation, the Goths began to raid and plunder. Valens was killed fighting the Goths at the Battle of Adrianople in 378 attempting to put down the disorder. It was not the threat from such tribal confederacies from the north that was destabilizing Rome. Internal divisions within the empire caused problems as well, especially within the Christian Church. In 400, the Visigoths invaded the Western Roman Empire. Though they were briefly forced back from Italy, in 410 the succeeded in sacking the city of Rome. In 406 the Alans, Vandals, and Suevi crossed into the Roman Province of Gaul (France). Over the next three years they spread across Gaul and in 409 crossed the Pyrenees Mountains into modern-day Spain. Thus the “Migration Period” began. Initially largely Germanic peoples, but eventually many populations began moving across Europe. The Franks, Alemanni, and the Burgundians all ended up in northern Gaul while the Angles, Saxons, and Jutes settled in Britain/ The Vandals went on to cross the strait of Gibraltar after which they conquered the Roman Province of Africa. In the 430s the Huns began invading the Roman Empire. Their king Attila (reigned from. 434–453) led invasions into the Balkans in 442 and 447, Gaul in 451, and Italy in 452. The Hun to the empire threat remained until Attila's death in 453. With Atilla’s death the Hun confederation he led fell apart. The Hun invasions however completely changed the political and demographic nature of what had been the Western Roman Empire. By the end of the 5th century the western section of the empire was divided into smaller political units, ruled by the “barbarian” tribes that had invaded in the early part of the century. The deposition of the last emperor of the west, Romulus Augustulus in 476 AD has traditionally marked the end of the Western Roman Empire. By 493 the Italian peninsula was conquered by the Ostrogoths. The Eastern Roman Empire was often referred to as the Byzantine Empire after the fall of its western counterpart. However the Byzantine Empire had little ability to assert control over the lost western territories. The Byzantine Emperors maintained a claim over the territory. But while none of the new kings in the west dared to elevate himself to the position of emperor of the west, Byzantine control of most of the Western Empire could not be sustained. A brief reconquest of the Mediterranean periphery and the Italian Peninsula (sometimes referred to as the “Gothic War”) in the reign of Byzantine Emperor Justinian (who reigned from 527 to 565) was the sole, exception. The political structure of Western Europe changed with the end of the united Roman Empire. The movements of peoples during this period are usually described as "invasions". However they were not just military expeditions but migrations of entire peoples into the empire. Such movements were aided by the refusal of the Western Roman elites to support the army or pay the taxes that would have allowed the military to suppress the migration. The emperors of the 5th century were often controlled by military strongmen such as Stilicho who were of non-Roman background. When the line of Western emperors ceased, many of the kings who replaced them were from the same background. Intermarriage between the new kings and the Roman elites was common. This led to a fusion of Roman culture with the customs of the “invading” tribes. This included popular assemblies that allowed free male tribal members more say in political matters than was common in the Roman state. Material artifacts left by the Romans and the invaders are often similar, and tribal items were often modeled on Roman objects. Much of the scholarly and written culture of the new kingdoms was also based on Roman intellectual traditions. An important difference was the gradual loss of tax revenue by the new polities. Many of the new political entities no longer supported their armies through taxes, instead relying on granting them land or rents. This meant there was less need for large tax revenues and so the taxation systems decayed. Warfare was common between and within the kingdoms. Slavery declined as the supply weakened, and society became more rural. Between the 5th and 8th centuries, new peoples and individuals filled the political void left by Roman centralized government. The Ostrogoths, a Gothic tribe, settled in Roman Italy in the late 5th century under Theoderic the Great (died 526 AD). At least until the last years of Theodoric's reign the Ostrogoth Kingdom was noteworthy for its cooperation with the Italians,. The Burgundians settled in Gaul after an earlier realm was destroyed by the Huns in 436. They formed a new kingdom in the 440s. Between today's Geneva and Lyon, it grew to become the realm of Burgundy in the late 5th and early 6th centuries. Elsewhere in Gaul, the Franks and Celtic Britons set up small polities. Francia was centered in northern Gaul, and the first king of whom much is known is Childeric I (died in 481). His grave was discovered in 1653 and is remarkable for its grave goods. The grave goods included weapons and a large quantity of gold. Childeric's son Clovis I (who reigned from 509 to 511) was the founder of the Merovingian dynasty. The Frankish kingdom expanded and converted to Christianity. The Britons were related to the natives of Britannia, modern-day Great Britain. They settled in what is now Brittany. Other monarchies were established by the Visigothic Kingdom in the Iberian Peninsula, the Suebi in northwestern Iberia, and the Vandal Kingdom in North Africa. In the 6th century, the Lombards settled in Northern Italy. The Lombards replaced the Ostrogothic kingdom with a grouping of duchies that occasionally selected a king to rule over them all. By the late 6th century, this arrangement had been replaced by a permanent monarchy, the Kingdom of the Lombards. The “invasions” or migrations brought new ethnic groups to Europe, although some regions received a larger influx of new peoples than others. In Gaul for instance, the invaders settled much more extensively in the north-east than in the south-west. Slavs settled in Central and Eastern Europe and the Balkan Peninsula. The settlement of peoples was accompanied by changes in languages. Latin, the literary language of the Western Roman Empire, was gradually replaced by vernacular languages which evolved from Latin, but were distinct from it. These were collectively known as Romance languages. These changes from Latin to the new languages took many centuries. Greek remained the language of the Byzantine Empire, but the migrations of the Slavs added Slavic languages to Eastern Europe. As Western Europe witnessed the formation of new kingdoms, the Eastern Roman Empire remained intact and experienced an economic revival that lasted into the early 7th century. There were fewer invasions of the eastern section of the empire. Those that did occur typically occurred in the Balkans. Peace with the Sasanian Empire, the traditional enemy of Rome, lasted throughout most of the 5th century. The Eastern Empire was marked by closer relations between the political state and Christian Church. Doctrinal matters assumed an importance in Eastern politics that they did not have in Western Europe. Legal developments included the codification of Roman law. The first effort was the Codex Theodosianus, which was completed in 438. Under Emperor Justinian (who reigned from 527 to 565) the Corpus Juris Civilis was compiled. Justinian also oversaw the construction of the Hagia Sophia in Constantinople. On the military front the Byzantines under Belisarius (who died in 565) reconquered North Africa from the Vandals and Italy from the Ostrogoths. The conquest of Italy was not complete. A deadly outbreak of plague in 542 resulted in the balance of Justinian's reign concentrating on defensive measures rather than further conquests. At Justinian’s death the Byzantines had control of most of Italy, North Africa, and a small foothold in southern Spain. Justinian's reconquests have been criticized by historians for overextending the Byzantine realm and setting the stage for the early Muslim conquests. However many of the difficulties faced by Justinian's successors were due not just to over-taxation to pay for his wars, but to the essentially civilian nature of the empire. That civilian nature of the empire made raising troops difficult. In the Eastern Empire the slow infiltration of the Balkans by the Slavs added a further difficulty for Justinian's successors. It began gradually, but by the late 540s Slavic tribes were in Thrace and Illyrium. The Slavs had defeated an imperial army near Adrianople in 551. In the 560s the Avars began to expand from their base on the north bank of the Danube. By the end of the 6th century the Avars were the dominant power in Central Europe. The Avars were routinely able to force the Byzantine emperors to pay tribute. The Avars remained a strong power until 796. An additional problem to face the empire during the reigned from 582 to 602 reign of Emperor Maurice. This was as a result of the involvement of Emperor Maurice in a Persian political succession dispute. This led to a period of peace. But when Maurice was overthrown, the Persians invaded. During the reign of Emperor Heraclius (who reigned from 610 to 641) the Persian controlled large chunks of the empire. These included Egypt, Syria, and Anatolia until Emperor Heraclius' successful counterattack. In 628 the empire secured a peace treaty and recovered all of its lost territories. Meanwhile in Western Europe some of the older Roman elite families died out while others became more involved with ecclesiastical than secular affairs. Values attached to Latin scholarship and education mostly disappeared. While literacy remained important, it became a practical skill rather than a sign of elite status. In the 4th century, St. Jerome dreamed that God rebuked him for spending more time reading Cicero than the Bible. By the 6th century, Gregory of Tours had a similar dream. However instead of being chastised for reading Cicero, he was chastised for learning shorthand. By the late 6th century, the principal means of religious instruction in the Church had become music and art rather than education, reading, and reason. Most intellectual efforts went towards imitating classical scholarship. Aristocratic culture focused on great feasts held in halls rather than on literary pursuits, changes also took place among laymen. Clothing for the elites was richly embellished with jewels and gold. Lords and kings supported entourages of fighters who formed the backbone of the military forces. Family ties within the elites were important, as were the virtues of loyalty, courage, and honor. These ties led to the prevalence of the feud in aristocratic society. Examples of such feuds included those related by Gregory of Tours that took place in Merovingian Gaul. Most feuds seem to have ended quickly with the payment of some sort of compensation. Women took part in aristocratic society mainly in their roles as wives and mothers of men. The role of mother of a ruler was especially prominent in Merovingian Gaul. In Anglo-Saxon society the lack of many child rulers meant a lesser role for women as queen mothers. However on the other hand women had an increased role in society as abbesses of monasteries. Only in Italy does it appear that women were always considered under the protection and control of a male relative. The characteristics of peasant society are much less well documented than that of the nobility. Most of the surviving information available to historians comes from archaeology. Few detailed written records documenting peasant life remain from before the 9th century. Most of the descriptions of the lower classes come from either law codes or writers from the upper classes. Landholding patterns in the West were not uniform. Some areas had greatly fragmented landholding patterns. In other areas large contiguous blocks of land were the norm. These differences allowed for a wide variety social characteristics of peasant society. Some peasants were dominated by aristocratic landholders, others experienced a great deal of autonomy. Land settlement also varied greatly. Some peasants lived in large settlements that numbered as many as 700 inhabitants. Others lived in small groups of a few families. Still others lived on isolated farms spread over the countryside. There were also areas where the pattern was a mix of two or more of those systems. Unlike in the late Roman period, there was no sharp break distinction the legal status of the free peasant and the aristocrat. It was possible for a free peasant's family to rise into the aristocracy over several generations through military service to a powerful lord. Roman city life and culture changed greatly in the early Middle Ages. Although Italian cities remained inhabited, they contracted significantly in size. Rome, for instance, shrank from a population of hundreds of thousands to around 30,000 by the end of the 6th century. Roman temples were converted into Christian churches and city walls remained in use. In Northern Europe, cities also shrank, while civic monuments and other public buildings were raided for building materials. The establishment of new kingdoms often meant some growth for the towns chosen as capital. Although there had been Jewish communities in many Roman cities, the Jews suffered periods of persecution after the conversion of the empire to Christianity. Officially they were tolerated, if subject to conversion efforts. At times they were even encouraged to settle in new areas. Religious beliefs in the Eastern Roman Empire and Iran were in flux during the late 6th and early 7th centuries. Judaism was an active proselytizing faith. At least one Arab political leader converted to it Judaism. Christianity had active missions competing with the Persians' Zoroastrianism in seeking converts. This was especially true among residents of the Arabian Peninsula. All these strands came together with the emergence of Islam in Arabia during the lifetime of Muhammad (who died in 632). After his death Islamic forces conquered much of the Eastern Empire and Persia. The Islamic conquests started with Syria in 634–635, continuing with Persia between 637 and 642, reaching Egypt in 640–641. North Africa followed in the late 7th century and the Iberian Peninsula in 711. By 714 Islamic forces controlled much of the Iberian Peninsula in a region they called Al-Andalus. The Islamic conquests reached their peak in the mid-8th century. The defeat of Muslim forces at the Battle of Tours in 732 led to the reconquest of southern France by the Franks. However the main reason for the halt of Islamic growth in Europe was the overthrow of the Umayyad Caliphate and its replacement by the Abbasid Caliphate. The Abbasids moved their capital to Baghdad and were more concerned with the Middle East than Europe, thus losing control of significant portions of what had been Umayyad territory. Umayyad descendants took over the Iberian Peninsula. The Aghlabids controlled North Africa, and the Tulunids became rulers of Egypt. The migrations and invasions of the 4th and 5th centuries had disrupted trade networks around the Mediterranean. African goods stopped being imported into Europe, first disappearing from the interior and by the 7th century found only in a few cities such as Rome or Naples. By the end of the 7th century, under the impact of the Muslim conquests, African products were no longer found in Western Europe. The replacement of goods from long-range trade with local products was a trend throughout the old Roman lands that happened in the Early Middle Ages. This was especially marked in the lands that did not lie on the Mediterranean, such as northern Gaul or Britain. Non-local goods appearing in the archaeological record are usually luxury goods. In the northern parts of Europe, not only were the trade networks local, but the goods carried were simple, with little pottery or other complex products. Around the Mediterranean, pottery remained prevalent and appears to have been traded over medium-range networks, not just produced locally. However by the middle of the 8th century new trading patterns were emerging in the Mediterranean. Trade between the Franks and the Arabs replaced the old Roman economy. Franks traded timber, furs, swords and slaves in return for silks and other fabrics, spices, and precious metals from the Arabs. The various Germanic states in the west all had coinages that imitated existing Roman and Byzantine forms. Gold continued to be minted until the end of the 7th century in 693-94 when it was replaced by silver in the Merovingian kingdom. The basic Frankish silver coin was the denarius or denier, while the Anglo-Saxon version was called a penny. From these areas, the denier or penny spread throughout Europe from 700 to 1000 AD. Copper or bronze coins were not struck, nor were gold except in Southern Europe. No silver coins denominated in multiple units were minted. Christianity was a major unifying factor between Eastern and Western Europe before the Arab conquests. However the Islamic conquest of North Africa sundered maritime connections between those areas. Increasingly the Byzantine Church differed in language, practices, and liturgy from the Western Church. The Eastern Church used Greek instead of the Western Latin. Theological and political differences emerged. By the early and middle 8th century issues such as iconoclasm, clerical marriage, and state control of the Church had widened. Eventually the cultural and religious differences were greater than the similarities. The formal break, known as the East–West Schism, came in 1054 when the papacy and the patriarchy of Constantinople clashed over papal supremacy and excommunicated each other. This led to the division of Christianity into two Churches. The Western branch became the Roman Catholic Church and the Eastern branch the Eastern Orthodox Church. The ecclesiastical structure of the Roman Empire survived the movements and invasions in the west mostly intact. However the papacy was little regarded. Few of the Western bishops looked to the bishop of Rome for religious or political leadership. Many of the popes prior to 750 were more concerned with Byzantine affairs and Eastern theological controversies. Of the more than 850 archived copies of the letters of Pope Gregory the Great (pope from 590–604) surviving, the vast majority were concerned with affairs in Italy or Constantinople. The only part of Western Europe where the papacy had influence was Britain, where Gregory had sent the Gregorian mission in 597 to convert the Anglo-Saxons to Christianity. Irish missionaries were most active in Western Europe between the 5th and the 7th centuries. They went first to England and Scotland, and then on to the continent. They founded monasteries, taught in Latin and Greek, and authored secular and religious works. The Early Middle Ages witnessed the rise of monasticism in the West. The shape of European monasticism was determined by traditions and ideas that originated with the Desert Fathers of Egypt and Syria. Most European monasteries were of the type that focuses on community experience of the spiritual life, called cenobitism, which was pioneered in the 4th century. Monastic ideals spread from Egypt to Western Europe in the 5th and 6th centuries through hagiographical literature such as the Life of Anthony. Benedict of Nursia (who died in 547) wrote the Benedictine Rule for Western monasticism during the 6th century. The rule detailed the administrative and spiritual responsibilities of a community of monks led by an abbot. Monks and monasteries had a deep effect on the religious and political life of the Early Middle Ages. They acted as land trusts for powerful families. They were centers of propaganda and royal support in newly conquered regions. And they were the base for missions and proselytizing efforts. They were oftentimes the main and sometimes only outposts of education and literacy in a region. Many of the surviving manuscripts of the Latin classics were copied in monasteries in the Early Middle Ages. Monks were also the authors of new works. These included works on history, theology, and other subjects. Great Britain was divided into small states dominated by the kingdoms of Northumbria, Mercia, Wessex, and East Anglia which descended from the Anglo-Saxon invaders. Smaller kingdoms in present-day Wales and Scotland were still under the control of the native Britons and Picts. Ireland was divided into even smaller political units, usually known as tribal kingdoms, under the control of kings. There were perhaps as many as 150 local kings of varying importance in Ireland. The Frankish kingdom in northern Gaul split into kingdoms called Austrasia, Neustria, and Burgundy during the 6th and 7th centuries. All of them ruled by the Merovingian dynasty, who were descended from Clovis. The 7th century was a tumultuous period of wars between Austrasia and Neustria. Such warfare was exploited by Pippin, the Mayor of the Palace for Austrasia who became the power behind the Austrasian throne. Later members of his family inherited the office, acting as advisers and regents. One of his descendants, Charles Martel, won the Battle of Poitiers in 732, halting the advance of Muslim armies across the Pyrenees. The Carolingian dynasty, as the successors to Charles Martel are known, officially took control of the kingdoms of Austrasia and Neustria in a coup of 753 led by Pippin III. A contemporary chronicle claims that Pippin sought and gained authority for this coup from Pope Stephen II (pope from 752 to 757). Pippin's takeover was reinforced with propaganda that portrayed the Merovingians as inept or cruel rulers, exalted the accomplishments of Charles Martel, and circulated stories of the family's great piety. At the time of his death in 768, Pippin left his kingdom in the hands of his two sons, Charles and Carloman. When Carloman died of natural causes, Charles blocked the succession of Carloman's young son and installed himself as the king of the united Austrasia and Neustria. Charles, more often known as Charles the Great or Charlemagne, embarked upon a program of systematic expansion in 774. Eventually Charlemagne unified a large portion of Europe, controlling modern-day France, northern Italy, and Saxony. In the wars that lasted beyond 800, he rewarded allies with war booty and command over parcels of land. In 774, Charlemagne conquered the Lombards, which freed the papacy from the fear of Lombard conquest and marked the beginnings of the Papal States. The coronation of Charlemagne as emperor on Christmas Day 800 is regarded as a turning point in medieval history. His coronation was regarded as a return of the Western Roman Empire, since the new emperor ruled over much of the area previously controlled by the Western Roman Emperors. It also marked a change in Charlemagne's relationship with the Byzantine Empire. Charlemagne’s assumption of the imperial title by the Carolingians asserted their claim of equivalence to the Byzantine state. There were several differences between the newly established Carolingian Empire and both the older Western Roman Empire and the concurrent Byzantine Empire. The Frankish lands were rural in character, with only a few small cities. Most of the people were peasants settled on small farms. Little trade existed and much of what little existed was with the British Isles and Scandinavia. This was anemic in contrast to the Roman Empire with its extensive trading networks centered on the Mediterranean. The Carolingian Empire was administered by an itinerant court that traveled with Emperor Charlemagne. The entourage also included approximately 300 imperial officials called counts, who administered the counties the empire had been divided into. Clergy and local bishops served as officials, as well as the imperial officials called missi dominici. The missi dominciwho served as roving inspectors and troubleshooters. Charlemagne's court in Aachen was the center of the cultural revival sometimes referred to as the "Carolingian Renaissance". Literacy increased, as did development in the arts, architecture and jurisprudence, as well as liturgical and scriptural studies. The English monk Alcuin was invited to Aachen and brought the education available in the monasteries of Northumbria. Charlemagne's chancery (writing office) made use of a new script today known as Carolingian minuscule. This allowed for a common writing style that advanced communication across much of Europe. Charlemagne also sponsored changes in church liturgy. The Roman form of church service was imposed throughout Charlemagne’s domains. The Gregorian chant was imposed as liturgical music for the churches. An important activity for scholars during this period was the copying, correcting, and dissemination of basic works on religious and secular topics. This was done with the aim of encouraging learning. New works on religious topics and schoolbooks were also produced. Grammarians of the period modified the Latin language. It was changed from the Classical Latin of the Roman Empire into a more flexible form to fit the needs of the Church and government. By the reign of Charlemagne, the language had so diverged from the classical Latin that it was later called Medieval Latin. Charlemagne planned to continue the Frankish tradition of dividing his kingdom between all his heirs. However he was unable to do so as only one son, Louis the Pious was still alive by 813. Just before Charlemagne died in 814, he crowned Louis as his successor. Louis's reign of 26 years was marked by numerous divisions of the empire among his sons. After 829 civil wars broke out over the control of various parts of the empire. The civil wars were between various alliances of father and sons. Eventually Louis recognized his eldest son Lothair I as emperor and gave him Italy. Louis divided the rest of the empire between Lothair and his youngest son Charles the Bald. Lothair took East Francia comprising both banks of the Rhine and eastwards. This left Charles West Francia with the empire to the west of the Rhineland and the Alps. The middle child Louis the German had been rebellious to the last. He was allowed to keep Bavaria under the suzerainty of his elder brother. The division was disputed. The emperor’s grandson Pepin II of Aquitaine rebelled in a contest for Aquitaine. Louis the German tried to annex all of East Francia. When Louis the Pious died in 840 the empire still in chaos. A three-year civil war followed the death of Louis the Pious. By the 843 AD Treaty of Verdun a kingdom between the Rhine and Rhone rivers was created for Lothair to go with his lands in Italy. And his imperial title was recognized and acknowledged. Louis the German was in control of Bavaria and the eastern lands in modern-day Germany. Charles the Bald received the western Frankish lands, comprising most of modern-day France. Charlemagne's grandsons and great-grandsons divided their kingdoms between their descendants, eventually causing all internal cohesion to be lost. In 987 the Carolingian dynasty was replaced in the western lands, with the crowning of Hugh Capet as king. In the eastern lands the dynasty had died out much earlier in 911 with the death of Louis the Child and the selection of the unrelated Conrad I as king. The breakup of the Carolingian Empire was accompanied by invasions, migrations, and raids by external foes. The Atlantic and northern shores were harassed by the Vikings, who also raided the British Isles and settled there as well as in Iceland. In 911 the Viking chieftain Rollo received permission from the Frankish King Charles the Simple to settle in what became Normandy. The eastern parts of the Frankish kingdoms were under continual Magyar assault. This was especially true for Germany and Italy. The assaults continued until the Magyar defeat at the Battle of Lechfeld in 955. The breakup of the Abbasid dynasty meant that the Islamic world fragmented into smaller political states as well. Some of these began expanding into Italy and Sicily, as well as over the Pyrenees into the southern parts of the Frankish kingdoms. Efforts by local kings to fight the invaders led to the formation of new political entities. In Anglo-Saxon England King Alfred the Great came to an agreement with the Viking invaders in the late 9th century. This resulted in Danish settlements in Northumbria, Mercia, and parts of East Anglia. By the middle of the 10th century Alfred's successors had conquered Northumbria, and restored English control over most of the southern part of Great Britain. In northern Britain Kenneth MacAlpin united the Picts and the Scots into the Kingdom of Alba. In the early 10th century the Ottonian dynasty had established itself in Germany and was engaged in driving back the Magyars. Its efforts culminated in the coronation in 962 of Otto I as Holy Roman Emperor. In 972 Otto secured recognition of his title by the Byzantine Empire. Otto sealed the recognition with the marriage of his son Otto II to Theophanu, daughter of an earlier Byzantine Emperor Romanos II. By the late 10th century Italy had been drawn into the Ottonian sphere after a period of instability. The western Frankish kingdom however was more fragmented. Although kings remained nominally in charge, much of the political power devolved to the local lords. Missionary efforts to Scandinavia during the 9th and 10th centuries helped strengthen the growth of kingdoms such as Sweden, Denmark, and Norway. The kingdoms gained power and territory. Some kings converted to Christianity, although as late as 1000 AD, not all. Scandinavians also expanded and colonized throughout Europe. Besides the settlements in Ireland, England, and Normandy, further settlement took place in what became Russia and Iceland. Swedish traders and raiders ranged down the rivers of the Russian steppe, and even attempted to seize Constantinople in 860 and 907. Christian Spain had initially driven by Islamic invaders into a small section of the peninsula in the north. During the 9th and 10th centuries Christian Spain expanded slowly south establishing the kingdoms of Asturias and León. In Eastern Europe Byzantium revived its fortunes during the 9th and 10th centuries. This occurred under Emperor Basil I and his successors Leo VI and Constantine VII, all members of the Macedonian dynasty. Commerce revived and the emperors oversaw the extension of a uniform administration to all the provinces. The military was reorganized. This allowed emperors John I and Basil II during the late 10th and early 11th centuries to expand the frontiers of the empire on all fronts. The imperial court was the center of a revival of classical learning, a process known as the Macedonian Renaissance. Writers composed new hymns, poems, and other works. Missionary efforts by both Eastern and Western clergy resulted in the conversion of the Moravians, Bulgars, Bohemians, Poles, Magyars, and Slavic inhabitants of the Kievan Rus'. These conversions contributed to the founding of political states in the lands of those peoples. These included the states of Moravia, Bulgaria, Bohemia, Poland, Hungary, and the Kievan Rus'. Bulgaria founded around 680 at its height reached from Budapest to the Black Sea, and from the Dnieper River in modern Ukraine to the Adriatic Sea. However by 1018 the last Bulgarian nobles had surrendered to the Byzantine Empire. Few large stone buildings were constructed between the Constantinian basilicas of the 4th century and the 8th century, although many smaller ones were built during the 6th and 7th centuries. By the beginning of the 8th century, the Carolingian Empire revived the basilica form of architecture. One feature of the basilica is the use of a transept, or the "arms" of a cross-shaped building that are perpendicular to the long nave. Other new features of religious architecture included the crossing tower and a monumental entrance to the church, usually at the west end of the building. Carolingian art was produced for a small group of court figures and the monasteries and churches they supported. It was dominated by efforts to regain the dignity and classicism of imperial Roman and Byzantine art. However it was also influenced by the Insular art of the British Isles. Insular art integrated the energy of Irish Celtic and Anglo-Saxon Germanic styles of ornament with Mediterranean forms such as the book. It established many characteristics of art for the rest of the medieval period. Surviving religious works from the Early Middle Ages are mostly illuminated manuscripts and carved ivories. These were originally made for metalwork that has since been melted down. Objects in precious metals were the most prestigious form of art. Almost all of these treasures have unfortunately been lost to time. A few crosses such as the Cross of Lothair and several reliquaries are the surviving exceptions. Then there have been notable archaeological finds such as the Anglo-Saxon burial at Sutton Hoo, the hoards of Gourdon from Merovingian France, Guarrazar from Visigothic Spain, Nagyszentmiklós near Byzantine territory. There are also survivors from the large brooches in fibula or penannular form that were a key piece of personal adornment for elites, including the Irish Tara Brooch. Highly decorated books were mostly Gospel Books. These have survived in larger numbers. They include the Insular Book of Kells, the Book of Lindisfarne, and the imperial Codex Aureus of St. Emmeram. The latter is one of the few to retain its "treasure binding" of gold encrusted with jewels. Charlemagne's court seems to have been responsible for the acceptance of figurative monumental sculpture in Christian art. By the end of the period near life-sized figures such as the Gero Cross were common in important churches. During the later Roman Empire, the principal military developments were attempts to create an effective cavalry force as well as the continued development of highly specialized types of troops. The creation of heavily armored cataphract-type soldiers as cavalry was an important feature of the 5th century Roman military. The various tribes invading the Roman Empire tribes had differing emphases on types of soldiers. These ranged from the primarily infantry Anglo-Saxon invaders of Britain to the Vandals and Visigoths who had a high proportion of cavalry in their armies. During the early invasion period, the stirrup had not been introduced into warfare. This limited the usefulness of cavalry as shock troops. The lack of a stirrup made it impossible to put the full force of the horse and rider behind blows struck by the rider. The greatest change in military affairs during the invasion period was the adoption of the Hunnic composite bow in place of the earlier, weaker, Scythian composite bow. Other developments included the increasing use of long-swords, and the progressive replacement of scale armor by mail armor and lamellar armor. The importance of infantry and light cavalry began to decline during the early Carolingian period. This was due to the growing dominance of elite heavy cavalry. The use of militia-type levies of the free population declined over the Carolingian period. Much of the Carolingian armies were mounted. However a large proportion of those during the early period appear to have been mounted infantry rather than true cavalry. One exception was Anglo-Saxon England. There the armies were still composed of regional levies led by the local elites known as the fyrd. In military technology, one of the main changes was the return of the crossbow. The crossbow had been known in Roman times and reappeared as a military weapon during the last part of the Early Middle Ages. Another change was the introduction of the stirrup, which increased the effectiveness of cavalry as shock troops. A technological advance that had implications beyond the military was the horseshoe. The horseshoe allowed horses to be used in rocky terrain. A famous surviving medieval French manuscript (“Li Livres dou Sante”) illustrated the three classes of medieval society. First were those who prayed (the clergy). The second class were those who fought (the knights). Last those who worked (the peasantry). The relationship between these classes was governed by feudalism and manorialism. The High Middle Ages was a period of tremendous expansion of population. The estimated population of Europe grew from 35 to 80 million between 1000 and 1347. Although the exact causes remain unclear, improved agricultural techniques, the decline of slaveholding, a more clement climate, and the lack of invasion have all been suggested by historians. As much as 90 per cent of the European population remained rural peasants. Many were no longer settled in isolated farms but had gathered into small communities. The communities usually took the form of manors or villages. The peasants were often subject to noble overlords. The peasants had to pay the nobles rent and labor in a system known as “manorialism”. There remained a few free peasants throughout this period and beyond. Free peasants were more common in regions of Southern Europe than in the north. The practice of assarting, or bringing new lands into production by offering incentives to the peasants who settled them, also contributed to the expansion of population. The open-field system of agriculture was commonly practiced in most of Europe. This was especially the norm in northwestern and central Europe. Such agricultural communities had three basic characteristics. Individual peasant holdings in the form of strips of land were scattered among the different fields belonging to the manor. Crops were rotated from year to year to preserve soil fertility. Common land was used for grazing livestock and other purposes. Some regions used a three-field system of crop rotation, others retained the older two-field system. Other sections of society included the nobility, clergy, and townsmen. Nobles, both the titled nobility and simple knights not own lands outright but were granted rights to the income from a manor or other lands by an overlord through the system of feudalism. The key to a noble’s economic success was the exploitation of the manor and its peasants. During the 11th and 12th centuries these lands or “fiefs” came to be considered hereditary. In most areas they were no longer divisible between all the heirs as had been the case in the early medieval period. Instead, most fiefs and lands went to the eldest son. The dominance of the nobility was built upon many factors. These included control of the land, its military service as heavy cavalry, control of castles, and various immunities from taxes or other impositions. Castles were built initially in wood but later in stone. They began to be constructed in the 9th and 10th centuries in response to the disorder of the time. They provided protection from invaders as well as allowing lords defense from rivals. Control of castles allowed the nobles to defy kings or other overlords. Nobles were stratified. Kings and the highest-ranking nobility controlled large numbers of commoners and large tracts of land, as well as subordinate nobles. Beneath the highest nobility lesser nobles had authority over smaller areas of land and fewer people. Knights were the lowest level of nobility. Knights they controlled but did not own land, and had to serve other nobles. The clergy was divided into two types. There were the secular clergy, who lived out in the world. Then there were the regular clergy, who lived isolated under a religious rule and usually consisted of monks. Throughout the period monks remained a very small proportion of the population, usually less than one percent. Most of the regular clergy were drawn from the nobility, the same social class that served as the recruiting ground for the upper levels of the secular clergy. The local parish priests were often drawn from the peasant class. Townsmen were in a somewhat unusual position. They did not fit into the traditional three-fold division of society into nobles, clergy, and peasants. During the 12th and 13th centuries, the ranks of the townsmen expanded greatly as existing towns grew and new population centers were founded. But throughout the Middle Ages the population of the towns probably never exceeded 10 percent of the total population. Jews also spread across Europe during the period. Communities were established in Germany and England in the 11th and 12th centuries. Spanish Jews had been long settled in Spain under the Muslims. As Spain came under Christian rule there was increasing pressure on Jews to convert to Christianity. Most Jews were confined to the cities. They were not allowed to own land or be peasants. There were other non-Christians on the edges of Europe. These included pagan Slavs in Eastern Europe and Muslims in Southern Europe. Women in the Middle Ages were officially required to be subordinate to some male. This could be their father, husband, or other kinsman. Widows were often allowed much control over their own lives. But they were still restricted legally. Women's work generally consisted of household or other domestically inclined tasks. Peasant women were usually responsible for taking care of the household, child-care, as well as gardening and animal husbandry near the house. They could supplement the household income by spinning or brewing at home. At harvest-time, they were also expected to help with field-work. Like peasant women townswomen were responsible for the household and could also engage in trade. What trades were open to women varied by country and period. Noblewomen were responsible for running a household. They could occasionally be expected to handle estates in the absence of male relatives. However noblewomen were usually restricted from participation in military or government affairs. The only role open to women in the Church was that of nuns. They were unable to become priests. Central and northern Italy as well as Flanders witnessed the rise of towns that were to a degree self-governing. This stimulated economic growth and created an environment for new types of trade associations. Commercial cities on the shores of the Baltic entered into agreements known as the Hanseatic League. The Italian Maritime republics such as Venice, Genoa, and Pisa expanded their trade throughout the Mediterranean. Great trading fairs were established and flourished in northern France during the period. This allowed Italian and German merchants to trade with each other as well as local merchants. In the late 13th century new land and sea routes to the Far East were pioneered. These were famously described in “The Travels of Marco Polo” which was written by one of the traders, Marco Polo. Besides new trading opportunities agricultural and technological improvements enabled an increase in crop yields. In turn this allowed the trade networks to expand. Rising trade brought new methods of dealing with money. Gold coinage was again minted in Europe. This occurred first in Italy and later in France and other countries. New forms of commercial contracts emerged, allowing risk to be shared among merchants. Accounting methods improved, partly through the use of double-entry bookkeeping. Letters of credit also appeared, allowing easy transmission of money. The High Middle Ages was the formative period in the history of the modern Western state. Kings in France, England, and Spain consolidated their power, and set up lasting governing institutions. New kingdoms such as Hungary and Poland emerged. After their conversion to Christianity they became Central European powers. The Magyars settled Hungary around 900 after a series of invasions in the 9th century. The papacy had been long attached to an ideology of independence from secular kings. The papacy finally asserted its claim to temporal authority over the entire Christian world. The Papal Monarchy reached its apogee in the early 13th century under the pontificate of Innocent III (pope from 1198 to 1216). The Northern Crusades and the advance of Christian kingdoms and military orders into previously pagan regions in the Baltic and Finnish north-east brought the forced assimilation of numerous native peoples into European culture. During the early High Middle Ages Germany was ruled by the Ottonian Dynasty. The Ottonian Dynasty struggled to control the powerful dukes ruling over territorial duchies tracing back to the Migration period. In 1024, they were replaced by the Salian Dynasty. The Salian Dynasty famously clashed with the papacy under Emperor Henry IV (who ruled from 1084 to 1105). The dispute was over Church appointments as part of the Investiture Controversy. Henry’s successors continued to struggle against the papacy as well as the German nobility. A period of instability followed the death of Emperor Henry V (who reigned from 1111 to 25). Henry V died without heirs. The period of instability lasted until Frederick I Barbarossa took the imperial throne in 1155. Although he ruled effectively, the basic problems remained. His successors continued to struggle into the 13th century. Barbarossa's grandson Frederick II (who reigned from 1220 to 1250) clashed repeatedly with the papacy. His court was famous for its scholars and he was often accused of heresy. He was not only emperor of Germany, was also heir to the throne of Sicily through his mother. He and his successors faced many difficulties. In particular this included the invasion of the Mongols into Europe in the mid-13th century. Mongols first shattered the Kievan Rus' principalities and then invaded Eastern Europe in 1241, 1259, and 1287. Under the Capetian Dynasty the French monarchy slowly began to expand its authority over the nobility. The Capetian Dynasty grew out of the Île-de-France to exert control over more of the country in the 11th and 12th centuries. They faced a powerful rival in the Dukes of Normandy. Under William the Conqueror the Normans conquered England in 1066 AD. They created a cross-channel empire that lasted, in various forms, throughout the rest of the Middle Ages. Normans also settled in Sicily and southern Italy. Robert Guiscard landed there in 1059 and established a duchy that later became the Kingdom of Sicily. Under the Angevin dynasty of Henry II and his son Richard I the kings of England ruled over England and large areas of France. The areas of France were brought by Henry II's marriage to Eleanor of Aquitaine. Eleanor was heiress to much of southern France. Richard's younger brother John lost Normandy and the rest of the northern French possessions in 1204 to the French King Philip II Augustus. This led to dissension among the English nobility. John's financial exactions to pay for his unsuccessful attempts to regain Normandy led in 1215 to Magna Carta. This charter confirmed the rights and privileges of free men in England. Under Henry III, John's son, further concessions were made to the nobility, and royal power was diminished. The French monarchy continued to make gains against the nobility during the late 12th and 13th centuries. This brought more territories into the kingdom under the king's personal rule and centralized the royal administration. Under France’s 13th century King Louis IX royal prestige rose to new heights as Louis served as a mediator for most of Europe. In Iberia the Christian states had been confined to the north-western part of the peninsula. They began to push back against the Islamic states in the south, a period known as the Reconquista. By about 1150 the Christian north had coalesced into the five major kingdoms of León, Castile, Aragon, Navarre, and Portugal. Southern Iberia remained under control of Islamic states. Initially under the Caliphate of Córdoba, the Caliphate broke up in 1031 and devolved into a shifting number of petty states known as taifas. The taifas fought with the Christians until the Almohad Caliphate re-established centralized rule over Southern Iberia in the 1170s. Christian forces advanced again in the early 13th century, culminating in the capture of Seville in 1248. In the 11th century the Seljuk Turks took over much of the Middle East. The Seljuks occupied Persia during the 1040s, Armenia in the 1060s, and Jerusalem in 1070. In 1071 the Turkish army defeated the Byzantine army at the Battle of Manzikert and captured the Byzantine Emperor Romanus IV. The Turks were then free to invade Asia Minor, which dealt a dangerous blow to the Byzantine Empire by seizing a large part of its population and its economic heartland. The Byzantines regrouped and recovered to a degree. However they never fully regained Asia Minor and were often on the defensive. The Turks also had difficulties, suffering from a series of internal civil wars. They lost control of Jerusalem to the Fatimids of Egypt. The Byzantines also faced a revived Bulgaria, which in the late 12th and 13th centuries spread throughout the Balkans. The Crusades were intended to seize Jerusalem from Muslim control. The First Crusade was proclaimed by Pope Urban II at the Council of Clermont in 1095. This was in response to a request for aid against further Muslim advances from the Byzantine Emperor Alexios I Komnenos. Urban promised indulgence to anyone who took part. Tens of thousands of people from all levels of society mobilized across Europe and captured Jerusalem in 1099. One feature of the crusades was the pogroms against local Jews that often took place as the crusaders left their countries for the East. These were especially brutal during the First Crusade. Jewish communities in Cologne, Mainz, and Worms were destroyed, as well as many other smaller communities in cities between the rivers Seine and the Rhine. Another outgrowth of the crusades was the foundation of a new type of monastic order, the military orders of the Templars and Hospitallers. These orders fused monastic life with military service. The crusaders consolidated their conquests into crusader states. During the 12th and 13th centuries, there were a series of conflicts between them and the surrounding Islamic states. Appeals from the crusader states to the papacy led to further crusades. This included the Third Crusade. The Third Crusade was called to try to regain Jerusalem which had been captured by Saladin in 1187. In 1203 the Fourth Crusade was diverted from the Holy Land to Constantinople. The crusaders of this crusade turned on their hosts, capturing the city of Constantinople in 1204. The Crusaders set up a Latin Empire of Constantinople, greatly weakening the Byzantine Empire. The Byzantines recaptured the city in 1261, but never regained their former strength. By 1291 all the crusader states had been captured or forced from the Levant mainland, although a titular Kingdom of Jerusalem survived on the island of Cyprus for several years afterwards. Popes called for crusades to take place elsewhere besides the Holy Land: in Spain, southern France, and along the Baltic. The Spanish Crusades became fused with the Reconquista of Spain from the Muslims. The Templars and Hospitallers took part in the Spanish crusades. However similar Spanish military religious orders were also founded. Most had become part of the two main orders of Calatrava and Santiago by the beginning of the 12th century. Northern Europe also remained outside Christian influence until the 11th century or later. It too became a crusading venue as part of the Northern Crusades of the 12th to 14th centuries. These crusades also spawned a military order, the Order of the Sword Brothers. The Teutonic Knights although founded in the crusader states focused much of its activity in the Baltic after 1225. In 1309 its headquarters were moved to Marienburg in Prussia. 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. Scholars such as 12th century Peter Abelard and Peter Lombard introduced Aristotelian logic into theology. In the late 11th and early 12th centuries cathedral schools spread throughout Western Europe. This heralded the shift of learning from monasteries to cathedrals and towns. Cathedral schools were in turn replaced by the universities established in major European cities. Philosophy and theology fused in scholasticism. This was an attempt by 12th and 13th century scholars to reconcile authoritative texts (most notably Aristotle) and the Bible. This movement tried to employ a systemic approach to truth and reason. It culminated in the thought of 13th century Thomas Aquinas who wrote the “Summa Theologica” or “Summary of Theology”. Chivalry and the ethos of courtly love developed in royal and noble courts. This culture was expressed in the vernacular languages rather than Latin. It comprised poems, stories, legends, and popular songs spread by troubadours, or wandering minstrels. Often the stories were written down in the “chansons de geste”, or "songs of great deeds". Examples include “The Song of Roland” and “The Song of Hildebrand”. Secular and religious histories were also produced. Geoffrey of Monmouth composed his 12th century “Historia Regum Britanniae”, a collection of stories and legends about King Arthur. Other works were more clearly history, such as Otto von Freising's 12th century “Gesta Friderici Imperatoris” detailing the deeds of Emperor Frederick Barbarossa. Another 12th century example would be William of Malmesbury's “Gesta Regum” on the kings of England. Legal studies advanced during the 12th century. Both secular (“Roman”) law and canon (ecclesiastical) law were studied in the High Middle Ages. Secular law was advanced greatly by the discovery of the ancient Roman “Corpus Juris Civilis” in the 11th century. By 1100 Roman law was being taught at Bologna. This led to the recording and standardization of legal codes throughout Western Europe. Canon law was also studied. Around 1140 a monk named Gratian, a teacher at Bologna, wrote the “Decretum”, which became the standard text of canon law. There were a number of significant developments consequence of Greek and Islamic influence during this period in European history. One was the replacement of Roman numerals with the decimal positional number system. Another was 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. Islamic medicine significantly influenced the medical school at Salerno. In the 12th and 13th centuries, Europe experienced 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, probably working in or near Pisa. The development of a three-field rotation system for planting crops increased the usage of land from one half in use each year under the old two-field system to two-thirds under the new system. The result was a significant increase in agricultural production. The development of the heavy plow allowed heavier soils to be farmed more efficiently. The use of the heavy plow was aided by the spread of the horse collar. This led to the use of draught horses in place of oxen. Horses are faster than oxen and require less pasture. These factors aided the implementation of the three-field system. In addition to the usual cereal crops of wheat, oats, barley, and rye, legumes such as peas, beans, or lentils were grown more widely as crops. The construction of cathedrals and castles advanced building technology. This led to the development of large stone buildings. Ancillary structures included new town halls, houses, bridges, and tithe barns. Shipbuilding improved with the use of the rib and plank method rather than the old Roman system of mortise and tenon. Other improvements to ships included the use of lateen sails and the stern-post rudder. Both of these advancements increased the speed at which ships could be sailed. In military affairs the use of infantry with specialized roles increased. Along with the still-dominant heavy cavalry, armies often included mounted and infantry crossbowmen, as well as sappers and engineers. Crossbows had been known in Late Antiquity. However their use increased significantly in the 10th and 11th centuries due in part to the increase in siege warfare. The increasing use of crossbows during the 12th and 13th centuries led to the use of closed-face helmets, heavy body armor, as well as horse armor. Gunpowder was known in Europe by the mid-13th century. History records its use in European warfare by the English against the Scots in 1304. However it was merely used as an explosive and not as a weapon. Cannon were being used for sieges in the 1320s. Hand-held guns were in use by the 1360s. In the 10th century the establishment of churches and monasteries led to the development of stone architecture. The architectural style elaborated vernacular Roman forms, from which the term "Romanesque" is derived. Where available Roman brick and stone buildings were recycled for their materials. From the tentative beginnings known as the First Romanesque, the style flourished and spread across Europe in a remarkably homogeneous form. Just before 1000 there was a great wave of building stone churches all over Europe. Romanesque buildings have massive stone walls, openings topped by semi-circular arches, small windows, and particularly in France, arched stone vaults. The large portal with colored sculpture in high relief became a central feature of façades. This was especially true in France. The capitals of columns were often carved with narrative scenes of imaginative monsters and animals. According to art historian C. R. Dodwell, "virtually all the churches in the West were decorated with wall-paintings", of which few survive. Simultaneous with the development in church architecture, the distinctive European form of the castle was developed and became crucial to politics and warfare. Romanesque art was at its most sophisticated in Mosan art, especially metalwork. Distinct artistic personalities including 12th century Nicholas of Verdun became apparent. An almost classical style is seen in works such as a font at Liège, contrasting with the writhing animals of the exactly contemporary Gloucester Candlestick. Large illuminated bibles and psalters were the typical forms of luxury manuscripts. Wall-painting flourished in churches. These often followed a widely adapted scheme with a Last Judgment on the west wall, a Christ in Majesty at the east end, and narrative biblical scenes down the nave. In the best surviving example, at Saint-Savin-sur-Gartempe, the biblical scenes are found on the barrel-vaulted roof. From the early 12th century, French builders developed the Gothic style. This style was characterized by the use of rib vaults, pointed arches, flying buttresses, and large stained glass windows. It was used mainly in churches and cathedrals and continued in use until the 16th century in much of Europe. Classic examples of Gothic architecture include Chartres Cathedral and Reims Cathedral in France, as well as Salisbury Cathedral in England. Stained glass became a crucial element in the design of churches, which continued to use extensive wall-paintings. During this period the practice of manuscript illumination gradually passed from monasteries to lay workshops. According to Historian Janetta Benton, "by 1300 most monks bought their books in shops". The book of hours developed as a form of devotional book for lay-people. Metalwork continued to be the most prestigious form of art, with Limoges enamel a popular and relatively affordable option for objects such as reliquaries and crosses. In Italy the innovations of 14th century artists Cimabue and Duccio, followed by the Trecento master Giotto, greatly increased the sophistication and status of panel painting and fresco. Increasing prosperity during the 12th century resulted in greater production of secular art. Many carved ivory objects such as gaming-pieces, combs, and small religious figures have survived. Monastic reform became an important issue during the 11th century. Elites began to worry that monks were not adhering to the rules binding them to a strictly religious life. In 909 Cluny Abbey was established in the Mâcon region of France in response to this fear. It became the center of a larger movement of monastic reform which came to be known as the Cluniac Reforms. Cluny quickly established a reputation for austerity and rigor. It sought to maintain a high quality of spiritual life by placing itself under the protection of the papacy. It also elected its own abbot without interference from laymen. Cluny thus maintained economic and political independence from local lords. Monastic reform inspired change in the secular Church as well. The ideals upon which it was based were brought to the papacy by Pope Leo IX. It resulted in the ideology of clerical independence that led to the Investiture Controversy in the late 11th century. This involved Pope Gregory VII and Emperor Henry IV, who initially clashed over episcopal appointments. Their dispute eventually turned into a battle over the ideas of investiture, clerical marriage, and simony. The emperor saw the protection of the Church as one of his responsibilities. He also wanted to preserve the right to appoint his own choices as bishops within his lands. The papacy insisted on the Church's independence from secular lords. These issues remained unresolved after the compromise of 1122 known as the Concordat of Worms. The dispute represents a significant stage in the creation of a papal monarchy separate from and equal to lay authorities. It also had the permanent consequence of empowering German princes at the expense of the German emperors. The High Middle Ages was a period of great religious movements. Besides the Crusades and monastic reforms, people sought to participate in new forms of religious life. New monastic orders were founded, including the Carthusians and the Cistercians. The latter in particular, expanded rapidly in their early years under the guidance of 12th century Bernard of Clairvaux. These new orders were formed in response to the feeling of the laity that Benedictine monasticism no longer met the needs of the laymen. Along with laypersons, those wishing to enter the religious life wanted a return to the simpler hermetical monasticism of early Christianity, or to live an Apostolic life. Religious pilgrimages were also encouraged. Old pilgrimage sites such as Rome, Jerusalem, and Compostela received increasing numbers of visitors. New sites such as Monte Gargano and Bari rose to prominence. In the 13th century mendicant orders approved by the papacy such as the Franciscans and the Dominicans swore vows of poverty and earned their living by begging. However the papacy did not approve of all such orders, many were considered heretical. Such examples for instance included religious groups such as the Waldensians and the Humiliati. During the middle 12th to early 13th centuries these two groups also attempted to return to the life of early Christianity. Still more laypersons joined the Cathars, another movement condemned as heretical by the papacy. A crusade was preached against the Cathars in 1209 known as “the Albigensian Crusade”. The Crusade in combination with the medieval Inquisition eliminated the Cathars. The first years of the 14th century were marked by famines, culminating in the Great Famine of 1315 to 1317. The causes of the Great Famine included the slow transition from the Medieval Warm Period to the Little Ice Age, which left the population vulnerable when bad weather caused crop failures. The years 1313 to 1314 and 1317 to 1321 were excessively rainy throughout Europe, resulting in widespread crop failures. The climate change resulted in a declining average annual temperature for Europe during the 14th century. To make matters worse it was accompanied by an economic downturn. These troubles were followed in 1347 by the Black Death, a pandemic that spread throughout Europe during the following three years. The death toll was probably about 35 million people in Europe, about one-third of the population. Towns were especially hard-hit because of their crowded conditions. Large areas of land were left sparsely inhabited, and in some places fields were left unworked. Wages rose as landlords sought to entice the reduced number of available workers to their fields. Further problems were lower rents and lower demand for food, both of which cut into agricultural income. Urban workers also felt that they had a right to greater earnings, and popular uprisings broke out across Europe. Among the uprisings were the jacquerie in France, the Peasants' Revolt in England, and revolts in the cities of Florence in Italy and Ghent and Bruges in Flanders. The trauma of the plague led to an increased piety throughout Europe. This was manifested by the foundation of new charities, the self-mortification of the flagellants, and the scape-goating of Jews. Conditions were further unsettled by the return of the plague throughout the rest of the 14th century. It continued to strike Europe periodically during the rest of the Middle Ages. Society throughout Europe was disturbed by the dislocations caused by the Black Death. Lands that had been marginally productive were abandoned. Those surviving the plague were able to take over more fertile areas. Although serfdom declined in Western Europe it became more common in Eastern Europe. Landlords simply imposed it on those of their tenants who had previously been free. Most peasants in Western Europe managed to change the labor they had previously owed to their landlords into cash rents. The percentage of serfs amongst the peasantry declined from a high of 90 to closer to 50 percent by the end of the period. Landlords also became more conscious of common interests with other landholders. They joined together to extort privileges from their governments. Partly at the urging of landlords, governments attempted to legislate a return to the economic conditions that existed before the Black Death. Non-clergy became increasingly literate, and urban populations began to imitate the nobility's interest in chivalry. Jewish communities were expelled from England in 1290 and from France in 1306. Although some were allowed back into France, most were not. Many Jews emigrated eastwards, settling in Poland and Hungary. The Jews were expelled from Spain in 1492 and dispersed to Turkey, France, Italy, and Holland. The rise of banking in Italy during the 13th century continued throughout the 14th century. This was fuelled partly by the increasing warfare of the period and the needs of the papacy to move money between kingdoms. Many banking firms loaned money to royalty. It was at great risk to the lenders, as some were bankrupted when kings defaulted on their loans. Strong royalty-based nation states rose throughout Europe in the Late Middle Ages. This was particularly so in England, France, and the Christian kingdoms of the Iberian Peninsula: Aragon, Castile, and Portugal. The long conflicts of the period strengthened royal control over their kingdoms and were extremely hard on the peasantry. Kings profited from warfare that extended royal legislation and increased the lands they directly controlled. Paying for the wars required that methods of taxation become more effective and efficient. The rate of taxation frequently increased. The requirement to obtain the consent of taxpayers allowed representative bodies such as the English Parliament and the French Estates General to gain power and authority. Throughout the 14th century French kings sought to expand their influence at the expense of the territorial holdings of the nobility. They ran into difficulties when attempting to confiscate the holdings of the English kings in southern France. This led to the Hundred Years' War which was waged from 1337 to 1453. Early in the war the English under Edward III and his son Edward the Black Prince won the battles of Crécy and Poitiers. They captured the city of Calais and won control of much of France. The resulting stresses almost caused the disintegration of the French kingdom during the early years of the war. In the early 15th century France again came close to dissolving. But in the late 1420s the military successes of Joan of Arc led to the victory of the French and the capture of the last English possessions in southern France in 1453. The price had been high. The population of France at the end of the Wars was likely half what it had been at the start of the conflict. Conversely the Wars had a positive effect on English national identity. They did much to fuse the various local identities into a national English ideal. The conflict with France also helped create a national culture in England separate from French culture. Prior thereto French culture had been the dominant influence in England. Two notable historical events during the Hundred Year’s War had included the renowned dominance of the English longbow, which was established during early stages of the Hundred Years' War. Second, cannon made their first appearance on the battlefield at Crécy in 1346. In Germany the Holy Roman Empire continued to rule. However the elective nature of the imperial crown meant there was no enduring dynasty around which a strong state could form. Further east the kingdoms of Poland, Hungary, and Bohemia grew powerful. In Iberia the Christian kingdoms continued to gain land from the Muslim kingdoms of the peninsula. Portugal concentrated on expanding overseas during the 15th century. The other European kingdoms were riven by difficulties over royal succession and other concerns. After losing the Hundred Years' War, England went on to suffer a long civil war known as the Wars of the Roses. The Wars of the Roses lasted into the 1490s and only ended when Henry Tudor (who reigned from 1485 to 1509 as Henry VII) became king and consolidated power with his victory over Richard III at Bosworth in 1485. In Scandinavia Margaret I of Denmark in the late 14th century consolidated Norway, Denmark, and Sweden in the Union of Kalmar, which continued until 1523. The major power around the Baltic Sea was the Hanseatic League. The Hanseatic League was a commercial confederation of city-states that traded from Western Europe to Russia. In he early 14th century Scotland emerged from English domination under Robert the Bruce, who secured papal recognition of his kingship in 1328. Although the Byzantine Empire recaptured Constantinople from the Western Europeans in 1261, they were never able to regain control of much of the former imperial lands. They usually controlled only a small section of the Balkan Peninsula near Constantinople, the city itself, and some coastal lands on the Black Sea and around the Aegean Sea. The former Byzantine lands in the Balkans were divided between the new Kingdom of Serbia, the Second Bulgarian Empire and the city-state of Venice. The power of the Byzantine emperors was threatened by a new Turkish tribe, the Ottomans. The Ottomans had established themselves in Anatolia in the 13th century and steadily expanded throughout the 14th century. The Ottomans expanded into Europe, reducing Bulgaria to a vassal state by 1366 and taking over Serbia after its defeat at the Battle of Kosovo in 1389. Western Europeans rallied to the plight of the Christians in the Balkans and declared a new crusade in 1396. A great army was sent to the Balkans, where it was defeated at the Battle of Nicopolis. Constantinople was finally captured by the Ottomans in 1453. During the tumultuous 14th century, disputes within the leadership of the Church led to the Avignon Papacy of 1309 to 76, and then to the Great Schism. The Great Schism lasted from 1378 to 1418. During that period of time there were two and later three rival popes, each supported by several states. Ecclesiastical officials convened at the Council of Constance in 1414. In the following year the council deposed one of the rival popes, leaving only two claimants. Further depositions followed, and in November 1417, the council elected Martin V as (the sole) pope. Besides the schism, the Western Church was riven by theological controversies. Some of those controversies were condemned as heresies. An English theologian John Wycliffe was condemned as a heretic in 1415 for teaching that the laity should have access to the text of the Bible, as well as for holding views on the Eucharist (“Holy Communion”) that were contrary to Church doctrine. Wycliffe's teachings influenced two of the major heretical movements of the later Middle Ages: Lollardy in England and Hussitism in Bohemia. The Bohemian movement was founded on the teachings of Jan Hus, who was condemned as a heretic by the Council of Constance and burned at the stake in 1415. The Hussite Church, although the target of a crusade, survived beyond the Middle Ages. Other heresies were manufactured, such as the accusations against the Knights Templar. The accusations of heresy resulted in their suppression in 1312. Their enormous wealth was then divided between the French King Philip IV and the Hospitallers. The papacy refined the Eucharist in the Mass in the Late Middle Ages. The papacy ruled that the clergy alone was allowed to partake of the wine in the Eucharist. This further distanced the secular laity from the clergy. The laity continued the practices of pilgrimages, veneration of relics, and belief in the power of the Devil. Mystics such as Meister Eckhart in the 14th century and Thomas à Kempis in the 15th century wrote works that taught the laity to focus on their inner spiritual life. These teachings laid the groundwork for the Protestant Reformation. Besides mysticism, belief in witches and witchcraft became widespread. By the late 15th century the Church had begun to lend credence to populist fears of witchcraft with its condemnation of witches in 1484. Then further with the publication in 1486 of the Malleus Maleficarum, the most popular handbook for witch-hunters. During the Later Middle Ages, theologians such as 13th century John Duns Scotus and William of Ockham led a reaction against intellectualist scholasticism. Their objection was to the attempt to apply reason to faith. Their efforts undermined the prevailing Platonic idea of universals. Ockham's insistence that reason operates independently of faith allowed science to be separated from theology and philosophy. Legal studies were marked by the steady advance of Roman law into areas of jurisprudence previously governed by customary law. The lone exception to this trend was in England, where the common law remained pre-eminent. Other countries codified their laws. Legal codes were promulgated in Castile, Poland, and Lithuania. Clerics studying astronomy and geometry, French, and education remained mostly focused on the training of future clergy. The basic learning of the letters and numbers remained the province of the family or a village priest. The secondary subjects of grammar, rhetoric, and logic were studied in cathedral schools or in schools provided by cities. Commercial secondary schools spread. Some Italian towns had more than one such enterprise. Universities also spread throughout Europe in the 14th and 15th centuries. Lay literacy rates rose, but were still low. One historical estimate gave a literacy rate of 10 per cent of males and 1 per cent of females in 1500. The publication of vernacular literature increased, with such authors as Dante, Petrarch, and Giovanni Boccaccio in 14th century Italy; Geoffrey Chaucer and William Langland in 14th century England; and François Villon and Christine de Pizan in 15th century France. Most literature remained religious in character. Although a great deal of it continued to be written in Latin, a new demand developed for saints' lives and other devotional tracts in the vernacular languages. This was fed by the growth of the Devotio Moderna movement. This was most pronounced in the formation of the Brethren of the Common Life. But it was also apparent in the works of 14th century German mystics such as Meister Eckhart and Johannes Tauler. Theatre also developed in the guise of miracle plays put on by the Church. The development of the printing press in about 1450 at the end of the period led to the establishment of publishing houses throughout Europe by 1500. In the early 15th century, the countries of the Iberian Peninsula began to sponsor exploration beyond the boundaries of Europe. During his lifetime Prince Henry the Navigator of Portugal sent expeditions in the mid-15th century that discovered the Canary Islands, the Azores, and Cape Verde. After his death, exploration continued. Bartolomeu Dias went around the Cape of Good Hope in 1486, and Vasco da Gama sailed around Africa to India in 1498. The combined Spanish monarchies of Castile and Aragon sponsored the voyage of exploration by Christopher Columbus in 1492 that discovered the Americas. The English crown under Henry VII sponsored the voyage of John Cabot in 1497, which landed on Cape Breton Island. One of the major developments in the military sphere during the Late Middle Ages was the increased use of infantry and light cavalry. The English also employed longbow archers. However other countries were unable to create similar forces with the same success. Armor continued to advance, spurred by the increasing power of crossbows. Plate armor was developed to protect soldiers from crossbows as well as the hand-held guns that were developed during the era. Pole arms reached new prominence with the development of the Flemish and Swiss infantry armed with pikes and other long spears. In agriculture the increased usage of sheep with long-fibred wool allowed a stronger thread to be spun. In addition, the spinning wheel replaced the traditional distaff for spinning wool, tripling production. A less sophisticated technological refinement that still greatly affected daily life was the use of buttons as closures for garments. Buttons allowed for better fitting without having to lace clothing on the wearer. Windmills were refined with the creation of the tower mill. This allowed the upper part of the windmill to be spun around to face the direction from which the wind was blowing. The blast furnace appeared around 1350 in Sweden. Blast furnaces increased both the quantity and quality of iron produced. The first patent law in 1447 in Venice protected the rights of inventors to their inventions. The Late Middle Ages in Europe as a whole correspond to the Trecento and Early Renaissance cultural periods in Italy. Northern Europe and Spain continued to use Gothic styles. These became increasingly elaborate in the 15th century and continued to be until almost the end of the period. International Gothic was a courtly style that reached much of Europe in the decades around 1400. It produced masterpieces such as the Très Riches Heures du Duc de Berry. All over Europe secular art continued to increase in quantity and quality. By the 15th century the mercantile classes of Italy and Flanders became important art patrons. They commissions small portraits of themselves in oils. However the art work commissioned also included a growing range of luxury items such as jewelry, ivory caskets, cassone chests, and maiolica pottery. These objects also included the Hispano-Moresque ware produced by mostly Mudéjar potters in Spain. Although royalty owned huge collections of plate, little survives. Italian silk manufacturing developed. Western churches and elites no longer needed to rely on imports from Byzantium or the Islamic world. In France and Flanders tapestry weaving of sets like The Lady and the Unicorn became a major luxury industry. The large external sculptural schemes of Early Gothic churches gave way to more sculpture inside the building. Tombs became more elaborate and other features such as pulpits were sometimes lavishly carved. One outstanding example is the Pulpit by Giovanni Pisano in Sant'Andrea. Painted or carved wooden relief altarpieces became common. This became especially prevalent as churches created many side-chapels. Early Netherlandish painting by artists such as 15th century Jan van Eyck and Rogier van der Weyden rivaled that of Italy. Northern illuminated manuscripts likewise came to rival those produced in Italy. In the 15th century illuminated manuscripts began to be collected on a large scale by secular elites. The same elites also commissioned secular books, especially histories. From about 1450 printed books rapidly became popular, though still expensive. There were around 30,000 different editions of works printed before 1500. By That point in time illuminated manuscripts were commissioned only by royalty and a few others. Very small woodcuts were affordable even by peasants in parts of Northern Europe from the middle of the 15th century. The woodcut motifs were nearly all religious. More expensive engravings supplied a wealthier market with a variety of images. The medieval period is frequently caricatured as a "time of ignorance and superstition" that placed "the word of religious authorities over personal experience and rational activity." This perception is a legacy from both the Renaissance and Enlightenment. Scholars of those eras favorably contrasted their intellectual cultures with those of the medieval period. Renaissance scholars saw the Middle Ages as a period of decline from the high culture and civilization of the Classical world. Enlightenment scholars saw reason as superior to faith. Thus they viewed the Middle Ages as a time of ignorance and superstition. Contemporary scholars argue that reason was generally held in high regard during the Middle Ages. Science historian Edward Grant writes, "If revolutionary rational thoughts were expressed [in the 18th century], they were only made possible because of the long medieval tradition that established the use of reason as one of the most important of human activities". Also, contrary to common belief, David Lindberg writes, "the late medieval scholar rarely experienced the coercive power of the Church and would have regarded himself as free (particularly in the natural sciences) to follow reason and observation wherever they led". The caricature of the period is also reflected in some more specific notions. One misconception first propagated in the 19th century and still very common is that all people in the Middle Ages believed that the Earth was flat. This is untrue. Lecturers in the medieval universities commonly argued that evidence showed the Earth was a sphere. Lindberg and Ronald Numbers, another expert scholar of the period, state that there "was scarcely a Christian scholar of the Middle Ages who did not acknowledge [Earth's] spherical nature and even know its approximate circumference". Other misconceptions of the role of the Church in the Middle Ages abound. "The Church prohibited autopsies and dissections during the Middle Ages". "The rise of Christianity killed off ancient science". "The medieval Christian Church suppressed the growth of natural philosophy". These are all cited by historian Ronald Numbers as examples of widely popular myths. They often still pass as historical truth. They are not supported by historical research [Wikipedia]. SHIPPING & RETURNS/REFUNDS: We always ship books domestically (within the USA) via USPS INSURED media mail (“book rate”). Most international orders cost an additional $17.99 to $48.99 for an insured shipment in a heavily padded mailer. There is also a discount program which can cut postage costs by 50% to 75% if you’re buying about half-a-dozen books or more (5 kilos+). Our postage charges are as reasonable as USPS rates allow. ADDITIONAL PURCHASES do receive a VERY LARGE discount, typically about $5 per book (for each additional book after the first) so as to reward you for the economies of combined shipping/insurance costs. Your purchase will ordinarily be shipped within 48 hours of payment. We package as well as anyone in the business, with lots of protective padding and containers. All of our shipments are fully insured against loss, and our shipping rates include the cost of this coverage (through stamps.com, Shipsaver.com, the USPS, UPS, or Fed-Ex). International tracking is provided free by the USPS for certain countries, other countries are at additional cost. We do offer U.S. Postal Service Priority Mail, Registered Mail, and Express Mail for both international and domestic shipments, as well United Parcel Service (UPS) and Federal Express (Fed-Ex). Please ask for a rate quotation. Please note for international purchasers we will do everything we can to minimize your liability for VAT and/or duties. But we cannot assume any responsibility or liability for whatever taxes or duties may be levied on your purchase by the country of your residence. If you don’t like the tax and duty schemes your government imposes, please complain to them. We have no ability to influence or moderate your country’s tax/duty schemes. If upon receipt of the item you are disappointed for any reason whatever, I offer a no questions asked 30-day return policy. Send it back, I will give you a complete refund of the purchase price; 1) less our original shipping/insurance costs, 2) less non-refundable eBay payment processing fees. Please note that eBay does NOT refund payment processing fees. Even if you “accidentally” purchase something and then cancel the purchase before it is shipped, eBay will not refund their processing fees. So all refunds for any reason, without exception, do not include eBay payment processing fees (typically between 5% and 15%) and shipping/insurance costs (if any). If you’re unhappy with eBay’s “no fee refund” policy, and we are EXTREMELY unhappy, please voice your displeasure by contacting eBay. We have no ability to influence, modify or waive eBay policies. ABOUT US: Prior to our retirement we used to travel to Europe and Central Asia several times a year. Most of the items we offer came from acquisitions we made in Eastern Europe, India, and from the Levant (Eastern Mediterranean/Near East) during these years from various institutions and dealers. Much of what we generate on Etsy, Amazon and Ebay goes to support The Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg, as well as some other worthy institutions in Europe and Asia connected with Anthropology and Archaeology. Though we have a collection of ancient coins numbering in the tens of thousands, our primary interests are ancient jewelry and gemstones. Prior to our retirement we traveled to Russia every year seeking antique gemstones and jewelry from one of the globe’s most prolific gemstone producing and cutting centers, the area between Chelyabinsk and Yekaterinburg, Russia. From all corners of Siberia, as well as from India, Ceylon, Burma and Siam, gemstones have for centuries gone to Yekaterinburg where they have been cut and incorporated into the fabulous jewelry for which the Czars and the royal families of Europe were famous for. My wife grew up and received a university education in the Southern Urals of Russia, just a few hours away from the mountains of Siberia, where alexandrite, diamond, emerald, sapphire, chrysoberyl, topaz, demantoid garnet, and many other rare and precious gemstones are produced. Though perhaps difficult to find in the USA, antique gemstones are commonly unmounted from old, broken settings – the gold reused – the gemstones recut and reset. Before these gorgeous antique gemstones are recut, we try to acquire the best of them in their original, antique, hand-finished state – most of them centuries old. We believe that the work created by these long-gone master artisans is worth protecting and preserving rather than destroying this heritage of antique gemstones by recutting the original work out of existence. That by preserving their work, in a sense, we are preserving their lives and the legacy they left for modern times. Far better to appreciate their craft than to destroy it with modern cutting. Not everyone agrees – fully 95% or more of the antique gemstones which come into these marketplaces are recut, and the heritage of the past lost. But if you agree with us that the past is worth protecting, and that past lives and the produce of those lives still matters today, consider buying an antique, hand cut, natural gemstone rather than one of the mass-produced machine cut (often synthetic or “lab produced”) gemstones which dominate the market today. We can set most any antique gemstone you purchase from us in your choice of styles and metals ranging from rings to pendants to earrings and bracelets; in sterling silver, 14kt solid gold, and 14kt gold fill. When you purchase from us, you can count on quick shipping and careful, secure packaging. We would be happy to provide you with a certificate/guarantee of authenticity for any item you purchase from us. There is a $3 fee for mailing under separate cover. I will always respond to every inquiry whether via email or eBay message, so please feel free to write. Condition: NEW. See detailed condition description below.

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