Examine the lives of ordinary Europeans from before the year 1000 until after 1400. How did commoners fare? What trends contributed to the changes in the quality of life for most Europeans during this time?
Historians debate about the timeline of the European Renaissance, but most agree it began as early as the 1200s and continued on into the 1600s. This displaced the medieval era of European history, which ran from the fall of the Roman Empire to Columbus' discovery of the Americas.
Answer and Explanation:
For many ordinary Europeans, their roles and responsibilities changed little between 1000 to 1400: the majority were poor peasants, farmers who lived on a lord's land and labored to plant and harvest practically every day. However, many changes in everyday life can be pointed out: the average peasant would likely have worn better clothing in the 1400, a result of the growth of the wool trade (centered in modern-day Belgium) that connected buyers and sellers throughout Europe. Labor-saving inventions like mills became more prevalent, making it easier to do taxing work.
Additionally, those lucky enough to live in cities or be born to the middle class had the chance to build a business thanks to Renaissance innovations like banks and credit. While the threat of the Vikings largely vanished by the 11th century, the average European nevertheless lived in constant danger of conflict: major wars like the 100 Years' War could devastate entire regions to a far greater degree than the Vikings ever did.
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from Western Civilization I: Help and ReviewChapter 9 / Lesson 10