Thursday, August 26, 2010

The Medieval World II: Society, Economy, and Culture

The Medieval World II: Society, Economy, and Culture

This is a well done course on the "people" of the Medieval World. It presents the Middle Ages as an important time of growth. It focuses on the "social" institutions of the age and their origins. The "fuedal" system was a gradual "improvement" over the existing systems. With the decline of the Roman Empire, cities began to fall apart. Without all their shipments (of food, goods, etc.), people were left to fend for themselves. They left for the country. The country, however, was no panacea. With the decline of law, bandits also roamed the countryside. Thus people needed food and protection. This eventually evolved in to the middle age systems. Advances in technology (such as the stirrup) lead to different forms (knights). Improved technology lead to improved production.

Even the black death was a benefit to European society. The massive decline in human population lead to advances in technology as people sought to minimize labor costs. This helped lead to the European dominance of the later centuries.

What would happen if some of our institutions or cities collapsed today? Would we learn from the middle age institutions?

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