Medieval Urbanism

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The Middle Ages in Europe was a key period in the continent’s urbanization. The proliferation of urban life, especially from 1000 CE to 1300 CE, shaped the European landscape, physically, economically, and demographically, as population levels increased and a growing commercialization affected all aspects of culture and society. The creation of towns occurred simultaneously with the expansion of older-established urban centers to forge a new map of urban Europe by 1300. At the same time, the fortunes of some towns and cities grew, while others waned, and some disappeared altogether or became villages rather than places with urban functions. The explanations given for these changes in urban fortune range from the following: (1) the importance played by long-distance trade, encompassing both maritime networks and land routes; (2) the role played by aristocratic elites through tenancy and dynastic practices, involving both secular and ecclesiastical lords; and (3) the European-wide expansion and colonization of lands through cultivation and settlement, particularly in areas that were previously marginally occupied, such as uplands, woodlands, and marshlands.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication Encyclopedia of Global Archaeology
EditorsClaire Smith
PublisherSpringer Cham
Number of pages9
ISBN (Electronic)9783030300180
ISBN (Print)9783030300166
Publication statusPublished - 29 Oct 2020


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