Early Middle Ages
Note that this is only a brief overview of the whole concept. We will try to focus on each subject throughout history on this page.
The Middle Ages are today classified in three categories: Early, High and Late Middle ages, to better define the time periods called in between ages, each representing the various things that had happened in the span of a 1000 years, beginning with the year 400 A.D and ending in the year 1400 A.D, with the start of the Renaissance Era in Italy. The already crumbling Roman Empire that faced political crisis, which was wrecked by civil wars and invasions, particularly of the Huns, finally had broken apart with the conquest of the Ostrogoths of the Western Empire, and emergence of the Byzantine Empire in what was called the Eastern Empire. The Migration Period had seen the largest movement of various peoples in Europe, particularly of the Germanic ones that had started to settle all over Europe, and of the coming of the Slavs claiming Eastern Europe. Some settled in Middle Europe and on the Balkans. Such a diversity of peoples that had brought with them their traditions and cultures had laid the foundations for the Early Middle Ages of newly emerging kingdoms, the rise of the monarchies, the appearance of dedicated soldiers in the service of kings called knights, the rise in power and control the Church acquired defining the lands of Christendom. Most powerful of kingdoms that had emerged in this time period was the Byzantine Empire that had busied itself rebuilding its power and reconquering the Balkan Peninsula under its rule, defining its laws in Anatolia and differing itself fully from its western counterpart most notably in the way Christianity was practiced, and the appearance of the Carolingian Empire, given birth by the legendary Charlemagne or Charles the Great. The new king had wrested control of the newly arrived Germanic tribes and kingdoms in what was once Gaul, now under the name of the Frankish Kingdom, and driving out the Moors that had started to invade, pillage and rape its way upwards from Spain or what was then known as Al-Andalus. Because of his actions, the Pope had crowned him emperor, allowing for the creation of the greatest empire in the Early Middle Ages. He had sons, therefore, they delved into civil war, fracturing the Frankish Empire and gave way to the emergence of the Kingdom of France and the Holy Roman Empire. In the Balkan peninsula, the newly arrived Slavs and Bulgars became Christianized and taught literacy by two scholars that later became saints known as Cyril and Methodius. They had created an alphabet defining the roots of the Slavic languages, as an order to do so by the Byzantine Empire. Under the Macedonian dynasty rule, the empire began flourishing and acquiring new territories to further its expansion, influence and power. The military innovations brought the return of the crossbow, gave way to the composite bow brought by the Huns, the forging of longswords, mail, scale and lamellar armor gave way to the usage of cataphracts and the creation of the caste of knights carrying out the chivalric code of honor and courage, defending the weak and the poor, and being the bastions for Christendom. Of note was the creation of the horseshoe, allowing for horses to traverse rocky terrain and to be used upon the battlefields, paving the way for the usage it would allow horses to be found later on.
High Middle Ages
Population had exploded in what is defined as the High Middle Ages, that allowed for 35 million people to become 80 million people, declining what was once rural life brought upon the peoples due to invasions and dissolving of empires and kingdoms. Castles were erected, towns grew exponentially, villages had suddenly become brimming with life, all that was due to the decline in invasions, slaveholding became almost non-existent, life was safer due to the law and governance alongside the innovations brought in agriculture, and the climate became more temperate and more stable. Feudality as a system became staple all around Europe, giving life to castes, kings and emperors who held absolute rule in their monarchies. Nobility included barons, earls and dukes who governed over land. Creating the law and maintaining order in the realm, the clergy were responsible for spreading the word of God and literacy among the populace. Knights and gentlemen that protected the weak and poor had fiefs that allowed them to acquire wealth and power. The most vastly populated class was indeed the peasantry, the common man and woman being the pillars of society, producing the various goods and foods that made the kingdoms and empires what they were. Maritime republics that likes of Venice, Genoa and Pisa brought control of the Mediterranean Sea in European control. The invasion of the Golden Horde led to turbulence in the political sphere. Territories were lost and reacquired again; this had also marked the most well known large scale clash of the West and East sides of the world. Reemergent was the Silk Road, brought back, safer and more reliable than ever before, allowing for trade between the far off lands that brought textiles, spices, written scriptures, news and diplomats from foreign kingdoms, sultanates, dynasties and empires. Al-Andalus was also broken, Moors were driven out of the Iberian Peninsula and the kingdoms of Spain and Portugal were born, while the British Isles were conquered by the Normans, creating the English Kingdom that quickly rose to power to rival the Kingdom of France, The Holy Roman Empire and the newly formed Kingdom of Spain. Crusades were called to snuff out the pagan north, preventing heretical practices from being done, and allowing for Christianity to become the sole religion of Europe, securing total control for the Pope. They were also called forth to defend Christian pilgrims to reach the Holy Land, and challenge the threat that Islam posed, paving the way for a newly emerging power in Anatolia. Arts were expanded greatly during this age, as castles, churches and guilds dotted the cities and towns, designed in the Gothic style well renowned for the use of stained glass, while military advancements were made in the form of siege engines, and the appearance of gunpowder in Europe.
Late Medieval Ages:
Brought to its knees by plagues and famines, Europe had made remarkable recovery, yet battles and wars were still ever more present on its soil, as kingdoms fought among each other. The Balkan peninsula became ravaged and split apart by the Kingdom of Serbia, Kingdom of Hungary, The Second Bulgarian Empire and the city state Venice. Already on constant defense, broken by the passing of the Crusades and of the wars for territory, the final nail to the coffin for the Byzantine Empire came in the form of the Ottomans, that conquered Constantinople with the usage of cannons and gunpowder rifles. Controversy came in the church as Martin Luther had posted his tenants decrying the version of Christianity perpetuated by the Papacy and creating movements such as Lutheranism and Protestantism. It also saw the decline of the power held by the church, as astronomy, geometry, and philosophical debates gave way for a rebellious population and the rise of technological advancements in such a rapid pace, bettering the life of anyone affected by it and allowing for science to explain everything a question might be asked for. Exploration was the sole reason that gave birth to the Renaissance Era, as people sought to trade spices by water; they had instead found land never seen before in the form of the rediscovery of the Americas, circumnavigation of the globe and the contact with indigenous peoples.