Europe 750 CE

Medieval Europe is beginning to emerge from the wreckage of the Ancient World.

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What is happening in Europe in 750CE

Western Europe

The past two and a half centuries have seen the Franks come to rule most of modern-day France and much of Germany. Their kings are active supporters of the Catholic church and its leaders, the popes (based in Rome). The Franks will shortly intervene in Italy to safeguard a pope against his enemies, the Lombards.

In these areas of western Europe, urban life and culture is mostly a thing of the past. Economic life is now largely based on huge self-contained estates (the precursors of medieval “manors”); a class of warrior land-owners dominates society. Literacy and education is almost exclusively the preserve of the Christian clergy, and Graeco-Roman learning is preserved only in monasteries.

The frontiers of Europe

Pagan tribes still inhabit central, eastern and northern Europe. England is now divided amongst a group of Anglo-Saxon kingdoms, with Celtic kingdoms to their north and west. Most of these have now converted to Christianity.

Spain has been conquered by the vast Muslim Caliphate. The Christians hang on only in the mountainous north.

The Byzantine empire

To the East, the Roman empire has also been battered by Muslim armies. Other enemies, pagan tribes from central Europe, have occupied most of the Balkans.

As a result of these attacks, the Roman empire (or Byzantine empire, as modern scholars call it) is now but a fraction of its former size. Internally, Byzantine society has also changed a great deal. The great cities of the past have now all but vanished, with Constantinople the only sizeable one left. Nevertheless, Graeco-Roman culture is still cherished, and (along with Christian teaching) remains the basis for the education of the upper classes.

Next map, Europe 979

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The Byzantine Empire

Medieval Europe

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Europe in the Middle Ages (a PowerPoint bird’s eye view of a thousand years of history)

Medieval Europe 400 to 1000 CE (a more in-depth look at the early Middle Ages)

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