ChAPTER 15 -- Part 9: A New Civilization Emerges in
Despite the traditionalism of the guilds, manufacturing and commercial methods improved in medieval Europe.
European artisans led the world in a few areas, such as clockmaking, which involved both sophisticated technology and a concern for precise time.
Some manufacturing went beyond the bounds of guild control.
In parts of Italy and the Low Countries, groups of manufacturing workers were employed to produce for a wide market.
Their techniques were simple and they worked in their own homes.
Their work was guided by the merchant capitalists who gave them raw materials and then paid them for their work.
By the late Middle Ages, western Europe's economy and society embraced many different groups and principles.
The pace of economic life in the countryside was slower than in the urban area.
Most people remained peasants, but a minority had escaped to the cities, where they found more excitement and higher rates of disease.
A serf who lived in the city for a year and a day became a free person.
A few pros perous capitalists flourished, but most people operated according to different economic values.
This was an early model of a modern commercial society.
It was the fruit of several centuries of economic and social change.
New limits on the conditions of women may have been the final effect of the increasing complexity of medieval social and economic life.
Most families depended on women's work.
Women's lives in Western society were affected by the Christian emphasis on equality of all souls and the practical importance of women's monastic groups in providing an alternative to marriage.
The biblical emphasis on Eve as the source of human sin was counterbalanced by the veneration of Mary and other female religious figures.
The status of women in the West was higher than that of their sisters in Islam because they were less confined to the household.
The Middle Ages may have seen a decline in women's voice in the family.
Urban women often played important roles in local commerce and even operated some craft guilds, but they found themselves increasingly hemmed in by male-dominated organizations.
Women were not assured of property rights.
By the late Middle Ages, a literature stressed women's roles as the assistants and comforters to men, listing supplemental household tasks and docile virtues as women's distinctive sphere.
The structures seemed to be taking on more root.
During the 14th and 15th centuries, France and England were engulfed in a major war that caused both symptom and cause of larger difficulties.
The Hundred Years' War lasted longer than its name and was a sign of weakness in the French monarchy.
King reduced their reliance on the nobility in favor of their own armies as the war dragged on.
The feudal lords were challenged by new military methods as ordinary archers learned how to use bows and arrows and crossbows.
The French victory in the war was sparked in part by the heroic leadership of the inspired peasant woman Joan of Arc.
Key sources of Western vitality were in danger from about 1300 onward.
Medieval agriculture was no longer able to keep up with population growth because the readily available new lands had been used up.
The result included a decline in population levels until the end of the century.
The plague came from Asia and the Middle East, but the results were devastating.
Some of the ten sions noted earlier between peasants and landlords, artisans and their employees were heightened by new social disputes.
The West wouldn't work out a new social structure until the 16th century.
The economy of the West did not go into a tailspin.
As in manufacturing and mining technology, progress may have accelerated.
The features of the Middle Ages began to blur in the 150 to 200 years after 1300, when new problems and developments began to take center stage.
The postclassical version of Western civilization was not in a spiral of decline.
The Siege of Paris took place in 1465 after the French nobility rose up against the King.
The land-owning aristocracy began to show signs of independence from the Crown during the 14th century, after the ruling class treatment of them left them angry and ambitious to reestablish medieval society.
They were called the league of confusion.
The skill in warfare was open to indecisive and gave louis the chance to regroup after it had staked its claim to power on its control of Public Good.
There was a question about the uprising.
Two months later, the growth of professional armies and new weaponry ended.
Traditional fighting methods, including between feudal values and new royal ambition, were revealed in this incident.
The aristocracy did not disappear.
There were tournaments in which military expertise could be turned into competitive games.
The idea of Europe in the 14th century was chivalry--carefully controlled, polite behavior.
The upper class became more educated.
Similar changes have been seen in the Chinese social structure.
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