Updated December 20, 2022
Medieval Period (Medieval World): The Medieval Period or Middle Ages lasted from the 5th to the 15th century in the history of Europe. The Middle Ages is the middle period of the three traditional divisions of Western history: classical antiquity, the medieval period, and the modern period.
The medieval period is itself subdivided into the Early, High, and Late Middle Ages. It began with the fall of the Western Roman Empire and merged into the Renaissance and the Age of Discovery but the split of the Western Church into two warring factions effectively ended the Middle Ages.
Essentially, the split ended the dominance of the Church over Western Europe. As Church authority splintered, this also allowed secular power to increase and become more involved in local Church business than it had in the past..
The majority of people living during the Middle Ages lived in the country and worked as farmers. Usually there was a local lord who lived in a large house called a manor or a castle. Local peasants would work the land for the lord. The peasants were called the lord’s “villeins”, which was like a servant.
Medieval Period, Medieval Europe, Arab Civilization, Medieval China & Medieval Japan
1. In the history of Europe, the Middle Ages or Medieval Period lasted from the 5th to the 15th century. It began with the fall of the Western Roman Empire and merged into the Renaissance and the Age of Discovery.
Note: We have emphasized over Medieval Europe, Medieval China and Medieval Japan in the this article of Medieval Period/Medieval World
2. The Eastern Roman empire or Byzantine empire was a vast empire and its capital Constantinople was the largest city of that time.
3. The Byzantine built beautiful churches. The most famous of these is the church of St. Sophia in Constantinople. This church was built during the reign of Byzantine emperor Justinian in 6th century AD.
4. The Ottoman Turks conquered the Byzantine territories in 1453.
5. The word ‘Feudal’ comes from feud which originally meant a fief or land held on condition or service. In a feudal society, land was the source of power.
6. Feudalism originated in the 8th & 9th centuries.
7. First of all in western Europe the feudal system developed.
8. The main division in feudal society was between ‘feudal lords’ who either got a share of the peasant’ produce or had peasant to work on their land without any payment.
9. Kings, Dukes & Earls, Barons and Knights were the feudal lords.
10. Peasants were those who worked on the land.
11. There were three categories of peasants: freeholders, villeins & serfs. In feudal hierarchy, the king stood at the top and peasant stood at the bottom.
12. The economic life under the feudal system was predominantly rural. The unit of land, which was like a village-farm was called ‘manor’.
Crusades (1095- 1291 AD)
13. Crusades means the military expeditions, under the banner of the cross, organized in western Christendom primarily to recover the Holy Places of Palestine from Muslim occupation.
14. Four Crusades were fought by the European Christian to liberate Jerusalem from Seljuq Turks (Muslim) who did not permit Christian pilgrims to enter the holy land.
15. The 1st Crusade (1095-99) was launched after provoking preachings of Pope Urban II. Jerusalem was captured and the crusader states of the Kingdom of Jerusalem, the country of Edessa, Antioch and Tripoli were created.
16. The fall of Edessa (1144) inspired the unsuccessful IInd Crusades (1147-48).
17. The capture of Jerusalem by Saladin in 1187 led the inconclusive IIIrd Crusades (1189-92), led by Philip II Augustus of France, Fredrich I Barbarossa, and Richard I (the ‘Lion of Heart”) of England.
18. The IVth Crusade (1202-91) was diverted from its original objective, Egypt, and sacked Constantinople (1204). This Crusades failed to recover lost ground and Acre, the last foothold of West is Palestine, was lost in 1291.
Arab Civilization aka Arab in Medieval Period
19. In the 7th Century, a new religion, Islam, arose in Arabia, which led to the establishment of a big empire.
20. Muhammad, the Prophet of Islam, was born in Mecca in 571 AD.
21. When he was 40, he had ‘Vision of truth’ and become a prophet.
22. Muhammad’s visions completely convinced him that Allah was the only god.
23. He forbade the worship of Idols and made many enemies. Ultimately, he had to leave Mecca and take refuge in Medina. This event took place in 622 AD and is known as the year of Hijira, or Migration, and from it, Muslim date their era (Hijira Samvat).
24. The Quran, the holy book of Islam, divided into a number of suras or chapters and contains the teachings of Muhammad, Besides the Quran, the life of a Muslim is guided by the Sunna, the practices of Muhammad and the Hadees, the sayings of the Muhammad.
25. Muhammad was not only a religious leader but also a political leader.
26. After his death (632 AD), his successors, were known as caliphs, or Khalifas who held both religious and political authority.
27. Nearly all Arabia had accepted the new religion and become a unified state before the death of Prophet Muhammad in 632 AD.
28. From Arabia, Islam spread very fast to many other parts of the world. Within a hundred years, the Khalifas and their generals had conquered Iran, Syria, Egypt, Central Asia, North Africa and Spain. The Arab empire was the largest that world had so far seen.
29. The first three Khalifas ruled from the city of Medina. Then the capital was shifted kufah.
30. By 660 A.D, when the Omayad dynasty took over the reins of government, the principal city was Damascus.
31. About 750, the Omayyad were overthrown by Abbasids, who made Baghdad their capital. Harun Rashid, famous in many legends was an Abbasid ruler.
32. The Abbasids ruler for about 300 years, till the Seljuq Turks took Baghdad and ended the Arab rule. During the next four centuries, the Turks dominated the Islamic world.
33. In the 15th century, most of these territories came under the domination of the Ottoman Turks. It was the Ottoman Turks who took Constantinople and ended the Eastern Roman empire in 1453.
Contribution of Arab Civilization
34. The establishment of a vast empire facilitate the coming together of intellectual and scientific traditions of various civilizations, particularly Greek, Iranian & Indian. The Arabs made all knowledge their own and developed in further.
35. Al Razi (Rhazes), an Arab scientist discovered the true nature of small pox, and Ibn (Avicenna) that tuberculosis is infectious.
36. In Mathematics, the Arab learned the Indian numerals (Hindsah) and spread their use far and wide, so that in the west they are to this day called Arabic numerals.
37. Some of the famous literary work of the Arab civilization are the ‘Rubaiyat’ by Omar Khayyam, ‘Shahnama’ by Firdausi and the ‘Arabian Nights’ a collection of 1001 stories.
38. The Arab developed their own decorative designs. Their buildings had bulblike domes, small minarates, horse shoe arches and twisted.
39. The Arab also developed a decorative style of writing called Calligraphy and made book-illumination an art.
40. Arab carpet, leather work, beautiful swords, silks inlays, metal-work, and enamelled glassware were prized everywhere.
China in Medieval Period aka Medieval China
41. From the early 7th century, China was ruled by the Tang dynasty.
42. The rule of Tang dynasty (618-906 AD) was followed by the Sung dynasty for about 300 years.
43. After this, for about 100 years China was ruled by the Mongols.
44. The rule of Mongols in China was followed by that of Ming dynasty which continued for about 300 years.
45. In 1644, China was conquered by the Manchus who continued to rule until 1911 AD.
Contribution of Medieval China
46. To prevent drain on the country’s wealth the sung rulers started the use of paper.
47. The invention of gun-powder was made in china in the 10th century about 400 years before the knowledge reached the Western world.
48. The Chinese made iron-chain suspension bridges as early as the 10th century.
49. The Chinese advised the first method of printing in 10th century. The importance of this invention for the spread of knowledge was a great as the invention of paper.
Japan in Medieval Period aka Medieval Japan
50. Japan consists of hundreds of small islands of which four are major islands-Hokkaido, Honshu, Kyushu & Shikoku.
51. Almost the entire country was unified into single state by about the 7th Century AD.
52. In the 8th century Edo (modern Kyoto) became the capital and continued the seat of the emperors of Japan for over 1000 years. The real power, however, was in the hands of aristocratic family.
53. Towards the end of the 12th century, a new political institution came into being that of the Shogun. The Shogun or the ‘General’ became the commander of Japan’s army and ruled, while the emperors remained at his capital at Edo (Kyoto).
54. Until 1867, the Shoguns were the real rulers of Japan. Tokugawa Leyasu was the founder of Shogun dynasty.
55. In 1867, the last Shogun of Tokugawa dynasty was overthrown and the power was restored by the emperor. After this Japan launched herself on the road of industrial development, modernization and expansion.
56. Samurai or the warriors were similar to the knights of Western Europe.
57. The most unique contribution of medieval Japan to literate was a form of poetry called Haiku. Haiku poems are short poems of only 17 syllables.
58. The important contribution of medieval Japan to art was Ikebana or the art of flower arrangement, which is being imitated throughout the world.
59. Buddhism reached Japan early in the 6th century from China through Korea and during the course of centuries it became widespread. In certain periods it even eclipsed Shintoism, the old religion of Japan.
60. Gradually, Japanese developed their own distinct schools of Buddhism, the most famous of which is Zen Buddhism. The word Zen is derived from Dhyana.
Seven Wonders of Medieval Period (Medieval World)
61. Collosseum of Rome, The Great Wall of China, Porcelain Tower of Nanking, Stonehenge of England, Mosque at St. Sophia (Constantinople), Catacombs of Alexandria and Leaning Tower of Pisa.
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