Hello everyone and welcome to this written lesson set on the history of Medieval Europe. Before we get into the truly educational parts of this set, I want to start by mentioning a couple of things to give you perspective on the era.
First, this era is not exceedingly well defined. There are a few different start and end dates given, however for this set we will be using the Fall of the Western Roman Empire as the starting point and the Fall of Constantinople as the ending point.
Second, this era saw a significant decline in the study of history as we view it today, and as the Classical empires had viewed the study before. We begin to see a huge shift away from precise documentation, with historians (called Chroniclers at this time) focusing more on telling epic tales that are oftentimes heavily mixed with mythological details. There are exceptions to this rule, one of whom we will talk about later in this series, but as a general rule, take any and all apparent romanticization and storytelling from these resources with a massive grain of salt.
Third, and arguably most important, while we in the west tend to view this time period as one of significant decline, this is not true everywhere. The Medieval era in Europe overlaps with both the Indian and Islamic Golden Ages which gave us the scientific method, our base-10 counting system, and algebra and trigonometry.
It is also worth noting that the average life expectancy in Europe was actually slightly higher during this time than during the Roman Empire, for various reasons. So, with all of that in mind, hopefully we’re all equipped to start this journey through one of the most fascinating periods in the history of Europe.