The early Middle Ages

under the term the early Middle Ages become in the Mediävistik more used, accurately not outlined period between the end 6. Century and the beginning of the 11. Century understood, whereby the start time is most disputed. One rather speaks therefore of one Transitional phase, those, depending upon interpretation and regarded region, between late 5. and early 7. Century lies. In this period the late ancient times mediterrane world changed itself to, one as the European Middle Ages in such a way specified designation.

Table of contents

the transformation phase of the lateantique world

the following section represents only a strongly shortened summary; to details is on thatArticle late ancient times referred to.

In the time of the people migration Germanic and slawische trunks advanced to the west and with the culture of the antique ones and the Christianity were confronted. , Where the culture of the Roman realm had existed long time, it becametaken up by the Teutons at least partly, so that, although the Roman state disintegrated in the west slowly, the antique culture continued and with it also some economic and social structures. Also after the end of the westRoman dock ore around 476 and/or. 480 remainedthe idea of the Imperium Romanum alive. The eastRoman emperor Justinian could temporarily subject far parts of the old west realm again to his rule, and still to approximately 600 the Germanic succession states in the west saw themselves nominal only as subjects to sovereigns of the ruler,the eastRoman emperor. The last course of the lateantique people migration took place 568. Only after it accelerated disappearing of lateantique elements in Western Europe is to be observed. But still 200 years later the idea of the westRoman was dock ore around so work powerful that Karl thatLarge its renewal tried.

The lateRoman state was quite strongly bürokratisiert and been centralized (see in addition late ancient times). Since with it also the superordinate rule force and the standardized Verwaltungsstrukten were lost, new Herrschaftsstrukten developed, on the GermanicTradition of the person federations were based. An aristocracy layer developed, which based on the basic rule, i.e. on right over house and reason and all persons living on it. This power was expanded since the relationship, later also beyond the actual families,up to hierarchical structures, at whose point the king stood.

society, church, State of

the earlymedieval society was naturalwirtschaftlich coined/shaped agrarian and. In the comparison to the antique one trade and money economy at meaning lost, although the modern researchstressed that it gave continuity beside the breaks within certain ranges quite also to late ancient times.

The Roman society had been strongly arbeitsteilig organized, economics and trade depended on intact remote trade routes. With the collapse of the westRoman state disintegrated alsothis sensitive system, and now the local of markets dependent humans did not have no more the means and the technical know-how, in order to maintain the achievements of the antique ones further. The highly developed society of the antique ones was missing at specialists, without thosenot to continue could. Thus 5 went into. to 7. Century numerous literary works lost, above all however sank the level of the material culture under the conditions after Roman conquest: Around 600 a farmer at Rhine or Themse lived thusby far more primitively than its ancestors around Christi birth.

When the state disintegrated to a large extent, the church remained the only superordinate institution. However power was fragmentarisiert also here; much power was with the bishops, those often from the local basic gentlemen assignedbecame, and the Primat of the papacy yet had not developed. The substantial carrier of the culture and the knowledge was special the church, in it the monasteries of the Benediktiner. Reading and writing controlled usually only member of the Klerus.The science was limited to a large extent to the supply and systematization of the existing knowledge and copying works of antique authors. Also practical aspects from the antique one were tradiert, e.g. Fruit-growing and viticulture. The historical persons and events of the7. to 10. Jh. are mostly well-known from the many handwritten and dated documents of the monks of all countries of Europe.

Also in the eastRoman realm (Byzanz) the transition took place to the earlymedieval culture, even if it carried out itself in other courses, therein the east the antique culture more strongly continued than in the west. The development of the eastRoman realm was accelerated to the Byzantine realm by the Islamic expansion around 640, whereby Byzanz lost and likewise the Middle Ages occurred its lateantique character to a large extent.

see also


  • Roger Collins: Early Medieval Europe 300-1000. 2.Aufl., New York 1999, ISBN 0312218869.
  • Hans Werner Goetz: Europe in the early Middle Ages. 500-1050. Ulmer, Stuttgart 2003 (manual of the history of Europe 2), ISBN 3-8001-2790-3.
    A completely excellent introduction with research part and rich literature data, those besides Europe as totalhistorical areatruely takes.
  • Friedrich prince: From Konstantin to Karl the large one. Development and change of Europe. Duesseldorf and Zürich 2000, ISBN 3-538-07112-8.
    Well written representation, which above all continuities and breaks of late ancient times rausarbeitet to the Middle Ages.
  • Bryan Ward Perkins: The case OF Rome and the end to OF Civilization. Oxford 2005, ISBN 0-19-280564-9.
    Representation worth reading of the end of the westRoman realm, whereby Ward Perkins this process contrary to other historians again than brutal cut, released by GermanicInvasions, understands.

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