Map of Europe c. 1100.
European Maps & Diagrams
We generally refer to the 11th and much of the 12th century in Western Europe as the ROMANESQUE period. It was a time of expansion, economic revival, the clearance of waste lands, increasing population, growth of towns and communal governments, as well as the development of a monetary economy.
This map shows the political boundaries of Europe in the year 1100. The large tan area is the Holy Roman Empire. Henry II, the last of the Ottonian emperors, died in 1024 and a new dynasty, the Franconian house, had assumed control. The empire consisted of Germany and the alpine countries, as well as North and Central Italy. In the last lesson we looked at the architecture that was created in those regions.
France split off from the Empire in 843 and had developed slowly into a powerful national state under the Capetian house. This most centralized form of feudal government began in the Ile de France and gradually extended its domain over the entirety of present day France and into Flanders. The French managed to pacify and civilize the marauding Viking barbarians by offering them land in Normandy, an offer which was immediately accepted. In 1066, the Vikings, now known as Normans, invaded Saxon England under the command of William the Bastard. After the success of their conquest, William changed his name to William the Conqueror. Another Norman, Roger I, led his followers by sea around Spain through the Straits of Gibraltar to Sicily, which they subjugated in 1071. Roger established a kingdom in Sicily that was a marvelous mixture of Northern Christian, Byzantine, Islamic and Jewish cultures. His son, Roger II or Roger the Pagan as he was called, and his grandson Frederick II, who later became Holy Roman Emperor, were known as the two uncrowned sultans of Europe.
During the 10th and 11th centuries much of Spain was recaptured by the Christians from the Moslems. Santiago de Compostela, on the northwest tip of the Spanish peninsula, became the destination of pilgrims from all over Europe because it was thought to be the burial place of St. James (Santiago in Spanish), one of Christ's apostles.
The Crusades to the Holy Land to win back the Holy Sepulcher brought the Europeans into closer contact with the more developed cultures of Islam and Byzantium which encouraged the development of trade. The renewed connection with the Classical scholarship that had been sustained by the Moslems stimulated Western thinking and encouraged the establishment of universities. Old monastic orders were reformed and new ones were founded, the two most important being the Benedictines of Cluny and the Cistercians under the leadership of St. Bernard of Clairvaux. The Papacy reached its height under Innocent II. Innocent used the power of excommunication to keep the kings and emperors of Europe under his control. This technique proved to be extremely successful. For example, the German emperor, Henry IV, was forced by Innocent to stand barefoot in the snow for three days before he agreed to remove the edict of excommunication from Henry's realm.
Map of Europe c. 1100.