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Changes/Continuities in Western Europe, 600-1450
Transcript of Changes/Continuities in Western Europe, 600-1450
600-1450 By Yasamin Sharifi
February 11, 2013 Thesis Agricultural Productivity Intellectual Revival Conclusions Conclusions Mechanical Energy While the agricultural productivity of Europe did not drastically change from 600-1450, Europe underwent an intellectual revival and developed new technologies to produce mechanical energy. While in northern Europe a three-field system became popular in farming, many parts of Europe did not adopt this system. Furthermore, the newly invented horse plows were not employed in many areas of Western Europe. As a result, while some areas increased their agricultural productivity, many part of Europe did not significantly change their agricultural yield. Due to population increases parallel to the small increase in agricultural yield, the agricultural yield/food available per person remained low as in the beginning of the period. While Western Europe had very little intellectual activity during the Middle Ages, it experienced a great increase in literacy and interest in learning during the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, culminating in the Renaissance. As a result of increased contact with the Middle East, translated works from Greek scholars began to return to Western Europe along with new works from Muslim scholars such as Ibn Sina. Furthermore, more degree-granting universities began to open throughout Europe with various specialties. The advent of the printing press further increased literacy in Western Europe of the late Middle Ages by providing the public access to various classical works. Altogether, these factors increased the scholarly activity of Western Europe from 600-1450 and allowed it to expand its intellectual horizons as well as produce writers, professors, and scholars of its own, unprecedented in the early Medieval era. In the late Middle Ages, Western Europe drastically increased its use of mills as a source of mechanical energy, thereby allowing an expansion of industrial activity. Around 1200, watermills grew in popularity throughout Western Europe, especially in England and France, and operated by virtue of waterwheels and dams. In drier Western European areas, windmills became common and were built by monasteries, wealthy individuals, and/or investors. Together, these mills provided the energy to grind grain and flour, saw lumber, make paper, etc. As such, much of Western Europe's economic advancements in the late Middle Ages hinged on the availability of the cheap power of the mills, which were relatively unused in the earlier centuries of the Medieval era. Changes 600-1450:
- Mechanical energy technologies
- Intellectual activity and productivity
- Overall agricultural productivity relative to population Throughout the Middle Ages, Western Europe's level of agricultural productivity did not increase greatly relative to its population and remained relatively low. However, Western Europe experienced an intellectual revival toward the later centuries of the period which brought it into the Renaissance. Technological changes also took place from 600-1450 as windmills and watermills came into widespread use and provided new sources of mechanical energy which helped spur various industries.