1. What were the causes of the "agricultural revolution" in northern and western Europe? Why did it not occur earlier than the High Middle Ages?
  2. Summarize the prerequisites for the agricultural revolution that were found in Europe.
  3. What specific advantages did the new agricultural techniques have over the old Roman farming methods?
  4. What technological developments allowed horses to replace oxen as farm animals? What were the advantages of the shift to horses?
  5. How did the greater use of iron help increase agricultural productivity?
  6. What effects did a stable food supply have on European history?
  7. Explain the origin of the medieval European manor. How did it differ from the old Roman landed estate?
  8. Explain this statement: "The entire manorial system emphasized communal enterprise and solidarity."
  9. What were the causes of the decline of serfdom in the thirteenth century?
  10. How did the nobility benefit from the agricultural revolution, even after the emancipation of their serfs?
  11. Explain the origin of the code of chivalry. What was expected of a chivalric lord?
  12. How did the life style and social attitudes of the nobility change during the High Middle Ages?
  13. "Whereas the Romans were really only interested in land communications, medieval people, starting in the eleventh century, concentrated on land transport." Explain this statement.
  14. Explain the growth of European towns in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries. What were its major causes? How was this growth related to changes in agriculture?
  15. How did medieval guilds differ from modern trade unions?
  16. What functions did medieval guilds serve in addition to purely professional ones?
  17. How did the growth of a merchant class affect prevailing attitudes toward moneylending and profit?
  18. Summarize the effects of the revival of trade in western Europe.
  19. In 1050, Germany was the most centralized European territory. By 1300 it was the most fragmented. Explain how this came about.
  20. How did the emperor Frederick II, in spite of his brilliance and energy, contribute to the misfortunes of both Italy and Germany?
  21. Define political feudalism as it existed in western medieval Europe. In view of its decentralized character, how could it nevertheless contribute to the growth of stable governments?
  22. How did William the Conqueror aid the development of a national monarchy in England?
  23. What developments in the judiciary mark the reign of Henry II as one of the most momentous in all of English history?
  24. What were the consequences of the disagreement between Henry II and Thomas Becket?
  25. Explain why Magna Carta was basically a feudal document rather than a "charter of liberties for the common people." What principles of value did it embody for the future?
  26. In response to what needs did a trained officialdom develop in England?
  27. What was the origin of the English Parliament? How did its composition change and its importance grow under Edward I?
  28. Why did the Capetians have more difficulty in strengthening the monarchy in France than did the Norman rulers in England? How were they able to overcome these difficulties?
  1. Investigate further any of the following:
      a. The development of agricultural technology during the High Middle Ages
      b. The social and domestic life of the feudal nobility
      c. The personality and deeds of Frederick II of Hohenstaufen
      d. The thirteenth-century origins of the English Parliament
      e. Medieval craft guilds
  2. Compare the life of the medieval peasant with that of the modern working person. In what ways was the life of the former superior? In what ways was it inferior?
  3. Describe the chief differences between feudalism as a system of government and the modern state.
  4. What factors operated during the High Middle Ages to bring the nation-state into existence?
  5. Trace the development of Anglo-American democratic institutions in the high-medieval age.
  6. Discuss the effects upon civilization of the growth of cities.
  7. Debate--pro or con--this proposition: The rise of national monarchies was essential to the development of modern civilization.


W.W. Norton
REVIEW: World Civilizations
Page created by Thomas Pearcy, Ph.D and Mary Dickson.
Direct questions or comments to Webmaster.
Last revised January 30, 1997
Copyright (c) 1997. W. W. Norton Publishing. All Rights Reserved