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Greatest Medieval Civilization?

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Greatest Medieval Civilization?

Postby Throndor » Tue Dec 20, 2011 12:33 am

England, Holy Roman Empire, Poland, France, Spain, Venice, all great nations. What, in your opinion, is the best of them? Please leave out the Papal States and the Vatican, because they're cheaters. IMO, I suppose England was, because they had the Longbow and the smallest amount of political instability compared to the other great nations. Plus, the Magna Carta put England ahead of its competitors as far as People's rights went, although it didn't really have an effect on the peasant for another few hundred years. What do you think?
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Re: Greatest Medieval Civilization?

Postby OverLoad » Tue Dec 20, 2011 1:26 am

England has my vote. Granted, there were some huge losses (ie the Hundred Years' War) but all in all England seemed to be on the up and up, continuing well into the Age of Exploration and beyond.
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Re: Greatest Medieval Civilization?

Postby richardanthonyc » Thu Feb 09, 2012 6:15 pm

OverLoad wrote:England has my vote. Granted, there were some huge losses (ie the Hundred Years' War) but all in all England seemed to be on the up and up, continuing well into the Age of Exploration and beyond.

Sorry i cannot agree with this. The English were the poor islanders with a small population compared to their european counterparts and didnt even control their own island until the 17 th century. The Venetians, the Milanese, the Germans and the Spanish were all far superior in cultural advancement and military exploits in the medieval era
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Re: Greatest Medieval Civilization?

Postby Stormy Arthur » Tue Feb 28, 2012 3:57 pm

As a confirmed Anglo-phile I need to agree that England was a backwater until the 17th century.
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Re: Greatest Medieval Civilization?

Postby Thoriun » Sun Mar 11, 2012 5:54 pm

Hi ppl, but i disagree, lol.

The greatest was the Kingdom of Portugal, A country forged in the wars against spain and the muslins kingdoms (since 800's) although our birth official date is 1143. We started the age of discovery in 1415 and went all the way until the 17 18 century. The portuguese empire was second to england in size and for over 4 century more important than any other, Portugal, was at the time the first world true superpower, with and empire than was present in all continents. Portuguese sphere of inflence was present in the entire atlantic and indian ocean and all over the south asia and the far east.
Besides, the Portuguese are descendents of the Lusitanian People and our first hero was it leader Viriato.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Portuguese_empire
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Portugal

Of course i'm a suspect because i'm portuguese.

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Re: Greatest Medieval Civilization?

Postby WvdP » Sun Mar 11, 2012 6:24 pm

I disagree. Was Portugal that great and mighty? It was conquered in 1580 by Philip II of Spain, who at the same time didn't succeed in supressing a revolt of a small number of weird backward Dutchmen in the north...

What about the Kalmar Union in Scandinavia?
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Re: Greatest Medieval Civilization?

Postby Thoriun » Sun Mar 11, 2012 11:15 pm

From 1580 to 1640 Portugal was under Spanish rule, but it wasn't conquered. In 1578 Dom Sebastião (Portuguese King) went missing in the north of africa after the battle of alquacer quibir.
Two years later and do to the fact that there wasn't a direct descendent, philip of spain become King of Portugal, but in 1st of December of 1640 a Portuguese rebellion overthrew the spanish rulers. AS far as the northen kingdoms I admit that i don't know much of them, but true be told, Portugal led the age of discovery for over 300 years, or sailors went around the world making magnific discoveries of both lands and people, and unlike the spanish we didin't try to kill them. AS for the ducth, i really love your country and it's people, but when you become independent, we where already out there, and the rest is history. But again i remember i love your country and it's people and it's history.
And unlike most european countries Portugal only had a very small population. around a million or so. Spain, France, and many other were much more populated.

The Kalmar union was in fact important both political and it's influence was manly in northem europe, but it only lasted for a little over 200 years as a united power, afterwards it wasn't that peaceful among it's members.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kalmar_union

And Portugal is almost 900 (by official dates).

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Re: Greatest Medieval Civilization?

Postby WvdP » Mon Mar 12, 2012 9:04 am

As far as I remember, Philip II had to send troops under command of the Duke of Alba to Portugal before he was recognised as king :-P
However, you were right, Portugal was not conquered but united with Spain in a personal union of the crowns, which is of course something completely different (the Dutch have also some examples in history, like the dukes of Burgundy and stadtholder William III / King Billy.

However, I think Throndors question is very difficult to answer as long as we don't know what we consider as a great medieval civilization. What are the criteria? Cultural? Political? Scientific? Military? Expansion in Europe? Expansion out of Europe?
And maybe we look too much to Western Europe. What about Bohemia or Poland?
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Re: Greatest Medieval Civilization?

Postby Stormy Arthur » Tue Mar 13, 2012 9:13 pm

and unlike the spanish we didin't try to kill them.

tell that to the Moors, Africans and Jews that were forcibly emigrated to Brazil and the Azors.
(please don't take that as an attack on the Portuguese, pretty much every country has a history of atrocity)

the Dutch can't be a great kingdom, they had to drain the sea to even get any land :D

I had a Dutch ancestor 300 years ago, but got stuck with a Dutch last name :P
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Re: Greatest Medieval Civilization?

Postby WvdP » Tue Mar 13, 2012 9:55 pm

Stormy Arthur wrote:the Dutch can't be a great kingdom, they had to drain the sea to even get any land
They didn't have a king until 1815 either :-P
Famous French proverb: God created the Earth except Holland, because that was created by the Dutchmen.
In fact it was only the western half of the Netherlands which had to be protected against the sea, the rest is above sea-level.
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Re: Greatest Medieval Civilization?

Postby Stormy Arthur » Tue Mar 13, 2012 11:28 pm

WvdP wrote:
Stormy Arthur wrote:the Dutch can't be a great kingdom, they had to drain the sea to even get any land
They didn't have a king until 1815 either :-P
Famous French proverb: God created the Earth except Holland, because that was created by the Dutchmen.
In fact it was only the western half of the Netherlands which had to be protected against the sea, the rest is above sea-level.


1806 :D
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Re: Greatest Medieval Civilization?

Postby WvdP » Wed Mar 14, 2012 8:56 am

Louis Napoleon was king of Holland, that's true. However, the Kingdom Holland was a puppet state of Napoleon Bonaparte so the Dutch see 1815 as the beginning of the current Kingdom of the Netherlands ;-)
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Re: Greatest Medieval Civilization?

Postby Stormy Arthur » Wed Mar 14, 2012 12:59 pm

Ah well first king and beginning of current kingdom are a little different aint they? But it's pretty much semantics.
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Re: Greatest Medieval Civilization?

Postby Kevdragon » Tue Apr 17, 2012 10:33 am

What about the Middle eastern/Far Eastern civilizations?

China was by far more technologically advanced than the west during the early middle ages, Europe only began to slowly eclipse China in terms of technology and scientific development by the late 16th Century. Even the Mongol invasion of China in the 12th/13th centuries and subsequent occupation(Perhaps the most formidable army in history) quickly sucumbed to Chinese Civilisation. Ghengiz Khan's Granson, Kublai Khan though Mongol by birthright, soon was seduced to the trappings of Chinese culture.
The Chinese had formidable armies armed with rudimemtry gunpowder and aided by developments in metalergy. They invented printing and printed paper money and the compass. They had harnessed water power, built vast canals and extensive irrigation networks, their agriculture, especially in the colder north was adept at growing a vast variaty of crops, even in winter by using manure to keep the soil warm. The centralised civil service was able to manage an empire larger than western Europe. The main reason they did not generally persue vast invasions of other nations was the belief that their "middle kingdom" was so blessed that they did not need other nations assets. They even practiced a form of religious tolerence, more so among the mongols, that would be unimaginable to Europeans. They also had 24 hour markets suppling their capitol city and 24 hour restaurants!

The Middle east was also undergoing a learning renaissance centred on Bagdhad and in areas of astronomy, Chemistry and distilation. ( Alcohol and alkaline are all arabic based words and discoveries in distilation.)medicine ( they were able to preform operations on cateracts!) and map cartography which was the initiative for the italian renaissance. The arab civilsations were the first peole to use the concept of the cheque to pay for goods!)
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Re: Greatest Medieval Civilization?

Postby Heir of Black Falcon » Mon Apr 30, 2012 3:23 pm

England was backwater until the 17th? What medieval period are you looking at? It had a representative body that gave voice to some people that was the birth in many ways to modern democracies of the western world. The Magna Carta, which gives most of the western world the basis of judgment by peers and actually needing evidence to arrest someone. It also was one of the more peaceful of places to live, some places in the Midlands have little to no conflict on large scale for hundreds of years.

England also had some of the most active traders in Europe trading with all Europe and even the surrounding regions to Europe.

In the late medieval period every major power in some way shape or form takes aspects of English military systems, in particular the longbow/warbow.

In total wealth and population they were behind France, The Holy Roman Empire but this is not true individually or as far as what of this the king of these places could employ. The Holy Roman Empire in little ways was really unified and the Emperors and Lords fought themselves more than others. Few Emperors there had the power to do much besides maintain themselves as they fought rivals. In France this is true during much of the period with places such as Brittany and the SW largely free of the King's power.

From the conquest England was largely centralized and kings were able to use a great deal of control of population and wealth, increasingly tied to parliament and its desires. Per capital English nobles were actually some of the more wealthy during the High and Late Periods. If you compare an average noble from France to England the transition is a good fifth more (See Bruce Campbells economic development of the medieval period for more info- not army of darkness Bruce Campbell by the way).

Some of the most well known and highly regarded intellectuals of the Earl, High and Late Medieval Period were English.... so why are they backwater?

Truth is they each have strength and weakness. These groups of the medieval periods are the keystones of the period of colonization and exploration of the next few hundred years that gives rise to periods of the West promoting its interests all over the world.

Advances metal working and weaponry, ship building, technology by the 14th and 15th centuries Europe is becoming a power to be reckoned with on the world scene. This enables them to basically take over trade across the seas of much of the old and new worlds.

Kev,

This is only true part way through for the Medieval period as by the time of the Song, at which point we see in many areas a slow down in major advances, largely because internal issues but also lack of funds from paying off all their surrounding rivals, the Liao Empire, Xi-Xia, Jin and others. Most of their major advances are Sui (great canal started under Yangdi) and T'ang. As far as religious tolerance.... sort of . From the T'ang on we see Buddhists and any foreign religion increasingly pressured to the back seat if not out. We need to be careful when gauging any group over 1000 years as what was true for the Buddhist T'ang rulers was not the same as the Confucian T''ang even.

So yes more advanced, largely because they start of fairly advanced under the T'and and Sui. The Song(Sung) in the place they were we haqrd pressed to keep up on such development, whereas in Europe some technologies were lost but more imporant Roman agriculture (and Greek) relied on huge numbers of persons- slaves and so did not develop. By the late medieval period Western Europe had advanced very well, fairly quickly.

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