Kingdom of Northumbria
The Kingdom of Northumbria was a medieval Anglian kingdom in what is now Northern England and south-east Scotland. The name derives from the Old English Norþan-hymbre meaning "the people or province north of the Humber", which reflects the approximate southern limit to the kingdom's territory, the Humber Estuary. Northumbria started to consolidate into one kingdom in the early seventh century, when the two earlier core territories of Deira and Bernicia entered into a dynastic union. At its height, the kingdom extended from the Humber, Peak District and the River Mersey on the south to the Firth of Forth on the north. Northumbria ceased to be an independent kingdom in the mid-tenth century, though a rump Earldom of Bamburgh survived around Bernicia in the north to be absorbed into the mediaeval kingdoms of Scotland and England. Today, Northumbria refers to a smaller region corresponding to the counties of Northumberland, County Durham and Tyne and Wear in North East England; the term is used in the names of some North East regional institutions the Northumbria Police, (based in Newcastle upon Tyne, the Northumbria Army Cadet Force, the regionalist Northumbrian Association.
The local Environment Agency office, located in Newcastle Business Park uses the term Northumbria to describe its area. However, the term is not the official name for the EU region of North East England; the Anglo-Saxon kingdom of Northumbria was two kingdoms divided around the River Tees: Bernicia was to the north of the river and Deira to the south. It is possible that both regions originated as native British Kingdoms which the Germanic settlers conquered, although there is little information about the infrastructure and culture of the British kingdoms themselves. Much of the evidence for them comes from regional names that are British rather than Anglo-Saxon in origin; the names Deira and Bernicia are British in origin, for example, indicating that some British place names retained currency after the Anglo-Saxon migrations to Northumbria. There is some archeological evidence to support British origins for the polities of Bernicia and Deira. In what would have been southern Bernicia, in the Cheviot Hills, a hill fort at Yeavering called Yeavering Bell contains evidence that it was an important centre for first the British and the Anglo-Saxons.
The fort is pre-Roman, dating back to the Iron Age at around the first century. In addition to signs of Roman occupation, the site contains evidence of timber buildings that pre-date Germanic settlement in the area that are signs of British settlement. Moreover, Brian Hope-Taylor has traced the origins of the name Yeavering, which looks deceptively English, back to the British gafr from Bede's mention of a township called Gefrin in the same area. Yeavering continued to be an important political centre after the Anglo-Saxons began settling in the north, as King Edwin had a royal palace at Yeavering. Overall, English place-names dominate the Northumbrian landscape, suggesting the prevalence of an Anglo-Saxon elite culture by the time that Bede—one of Anglo-Saxon England's most prominent historians—was writing in the eighth century. According to Bede, the Angles predominated the Germanic immigrants that settled north of the Humber and gained political prominence during this time period. While the British natives may have assimilated into the Northumbrian political structure contemporary textual sources such as Bede's Ecclesiastical History of the English People depict relations between Northumbrians and the British as fraught.
The Anglo-Saxon countries of Bernicia and Deira were in conflict before their eventual semi-permanent unification in 654. Political power in Deira was concentrated in the East Riding of Yorkshire, which included York, the North York Moors, the Vale of York; the political heartlands of Bernicia were the areas around Bamburgh and Lindisfarne and Jarrow, in Cumbria, west of the Pennines in the area around Carlisle. The name that these two countries united under, may have been coined by Bede and made popular through his Ecclesiastical History of the English People. Information on the early royal genealogies for Bernicia and Deira comes from Bede's Ecclesiastical History of the English People and Welsh chronicler Nennius’ Historia Brittonum. According to Nennius, the Bernician royal line begins with son of Eoppa. Ida was able to annex Bamburgh to Bernicia. In Nennius’ genealogy of Deira, a king named Soemil was the first to separate Bernicia and Deira, which could mean that he wrested the kingdom of Deira from the native British.
The date of this supposed separation is unknown. The first Deiran king to make an appearance in Bede's Historia Ecclesiastica Gentis Anglorum is Ælle, the father of the first Roman Catholic Northumbrian king Edwin. A king of Bernicia, Ida's grandson Æthelfrith, was the first ruler to unite the two polities under his rule, he exiled the Deiran Edwin to the court of King Rædwald of the East Angles in order to claim both kingdoms, but Edwin returned in 616 to conquer Northumbria with Rædwald's aid. Edwin, who ruled from 616 to 633, was one of the last kings of the Deiran line to reign over all of Northumbria. Oswald's brother Oswiu succeeded him to the Northumbrian throne despite initial attempts on Deira's part to pull away again. Although the Bernician line became the royal line of Northumbria
Holy Roman Empire
The Holy Roman Empire was a multi-ethnic complex of territories in Western and Central Europe that developed during the Early Middle Ages and continued until its dissolution in 1806 during the Napoleonic Wars. The largest territory of the empire after 962 was the Kingdom of Germany, though it came to include the neighboring Kingdom of Bohemia, the Kingdom of Burgundy, the Kingdom of Italy, numerous other territories. On 25 December 800, Pope Leo III crowned the Frankish king Charlemagne as Emperor, reviving the title in Western Europe, more than three centuries after the fall of the earlier ancient Western Roman Empire in 476; the title continued in the Carolingian family until 888 and from 896 to 899, after which it was contested by the rulers of Italy in a series of civil wars until the death of the last Italian claimant, Berengar I, in 924. The title was revived again in 962 when Otto I was crowned emperor, fashioning himself as the successor of Charlemagne and beginning a continuous existence of the empire for over eight centuries.
Some historians refer to the coronation of Charlemagne as the origin of the empire, while others prefer the coronation of Otto I as its beginning. Scholars concur, however, in relating an evolution of the institutions and principles constituting the empire, describing a gradual assumption of the imperial title and role; the exact term "Holy Roman Empire" was not used until the 13th century, but the concept of translatio imperii, the notion that he—the sovereign ruler—held supreme power inherited from the ancient emperors of Rome, was fundamental to the prestige of the emperor. The office of Holy Roman Emperor was traditionally elective, although controlled by dynasties; the German prince-electors, the highest-ranking noblemen of the empire elected one of their peers as "King of the Romans", he would be crowned emperor by the Pope. The empire never achieved the extent of political unification as was formed to the west in France, evolving instead into a decentralized, limited elective monarchy composed of hundreds of sub-units: kingdoms, duchies, prince-bishoprics, Free Imperial Cities, other domains.
The power of the emperor was limited, while the various princes, lords and cities of the empire were vassals who owed the emperor their allegiance, they possessed an extent of privileges that gave them de facto independence within their territories. Emperor Francis II dissolved the empire on 6 August 1806 following the creation of the Confederation of the Rhine by emperor Napoleon I the month before. In various languages the Holy Roman Empire was known as: Latin: Sacrum Imperium Romanum, German: Heiliges Römisches Reich, Italian: Sacro Romano Impero, Czech: Svatá říše římská, Polish: Święte imperium rzymskie, Slovene: Sveto rimsko cesarstvo, Dutch: Heilige Roomse Rijk, French: Saint-Empire romain. Before 1157, the realm was referred to as the Roman Empire; the term sacrum in connection with the medieval Roman Empire was used beginning in 1157 under Frederick I Barbarossa: the term was added to reflect Frederick's ambition to dominate Italy and the Papacy. The form "Holy Roman Empire" is attested from 1254 onward.
In a decree following the 1512 Diet of Cologne, the name was changed to the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation, a form first used in a document in 1474. The new title was adopted because the Empire had lost most of its Italian and Burgundian territories to the south and west by the late 15th century, but to emphasize the new importance of the German Imperial Estates in ruling the Empire due to the Imperial Reform. By the end of the 18th century, the term "Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation" had fallen out of official use. Besides, contradicting the traditional view concerning that designation, Hermann Weisert has stated in a study on imperial titulature that, despite the claim of many textbooks, the name "Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation" never had an official status and points out that documents were thirty times as to omit the national suffix as include it. This, or the shortened "Roman Empire of the German Nation", is used in Germany to refer to the Holy Roman Empire. In a famous assessment of the name, the political philosopher Voltaire remarked sardonically: "This body, called and which still calls itself the Holy Roman Empire was in no way holy, nor Roman, nor an empire."
As Roman power in Gaul declined during the 5th century, local Germanic tribes assumed control. In the late 5th and early 6th centuries, the Merovingians, under Clovis I and his successors, consolidated Frankish tribes and extended hegemony over others to gain control of northern Gaul and the middle Rhine river valley region. By the middle of the 8th century, the Merovingians had been reduced to figureheads, the Carolingians, led by Charles Martel, had become the de facto rulers. In 751, Martel's son Pepin became King of the Franks, gained the sanction of the Pope; the Carolingians would maintain a close alliance with the Papacy. In 768, Pepin's son Charlemagne became King of the Franks and began an extensive expansion of the realm, he incorporated the territories of present-day France, northern Italy, beyond, linking the Frankish kingdom with Papal lands. In 797, the Eastern Roman Emperor Constantine VI was removed from the throne by his mother Irene who declared herself Empress; as the Church regarded a male Roman Emperor as the head of Christendom, Pope
Mamluk is an Arabic designation for slaves. The term is most used to refer to non-muslimslave soldiers and Muslim rulers of slave origin. More it refers to: Ghaznavids of Greater Khorasan Khwarazmian dynasty in Transoxiana Mamluk dynasty Mamluk Sultanate Bahri dynasty Burji dynasty Mamluk dynasty The most enduring Mamluk realm was the knightly military caste in Egypt in the Middle Ages, which developed from the ranks of slave soldiers; these were enslaved Turkic peoples, Egyptian Copts, Circassians and Georgians. Many Mamluks were of Balkan origin; the "mamluk phenomenon", as David Ayalon dubbed the creation of the specific warrior class, was of great political importance. Over time, Mamluks became a powerful military knightly caste in various societies that were controlled by Muslim rulers. In Egypt, but in the Levant and India, mamluks held political and military power. In some cases, they attained the rank of sultan, while in others they held regional power as emirs or beys. Most notably, mamluk factions seized the sultanate centered on Egypt and Syria, controlled it as the Mamluk Sultanate.
The Mamluk Sultanate famously defeated the Ilkhanate at the Battle of Ain Jalut. They had earlier fought the western European Christian Crusaders in 1154–1169 and 1213–1221 driving them out of Egypt and the Levant. In 1302 the mamluks formally expelled the last Crusaders from the Levant, ending the era of the Crusades. While mamluks were purchased as property, their status was above ordinary slaves but they were not allowed to carry weapons or perform certain tasks. In places such as Egypt, from the Ayyubid dynasty to the time of Muhammad Ali of Egypt, mamluks were considered to be "true lords" and "true warriors", with social status above the general population in Egypt and the Levant. In a sense they were like enslaved mercenaries; the origins of the mamluk system are disputed. Historians agree that an entrenched military caste such as the mamluks appeared to develop in Islamic societies beginning with the ninth-century Abbasid Caliphate of Baghdad; when in the ninth century has not been determined.
Up until the 1990s, it was believed that the earliest mamluks were known as Ghilman and were bought by the Abbasid caliphs al-Mu'tasim. By the end of the 9th century, such warrior slaves had become the dominant element in the military. Conflict between these ghilman and the population of Baghdad prompted the caliph al-Mu'tasim to move his capital to the city of Samarra, but this did not succeed in calming tensions; the caliph al-Mutawakkil was assassinated by some of these slave-soldiers in 861. Since the early 21st century, historians suggest that there was a distinction between the mamluk system and the ghilman system, in Samarra, which did not have specialized training and was based on pre-existing Central Asian hierarchies. Adult slaves and freemen both served as warriors in the ghilman system; the mamluk system developed after the return of the caliphate to Baghdad in the 870's. It included the systematic training of young slaves in military and martial skills; the Mamluk system is considered to have been a small-scale experiment of al-Muwaffaq, to combine the slaves' efficiency as warriors with improved reliability.
This recent interpretation seems to have been accepted. After the fragmentation of the Abbasid Empire, military slaves, known as either mamluks or ghilman, were used throughout the Islamic world as the basis of military power; the Fatimid Caliphate of Egypt had forcibly taken adolescent male Armenians, Turks and Copts from their families in order to be trained as slave soldiers. They formed the bulk of their military, the rulers selected prized slaves to serve in their administration; the powerful vizier Badr al-Jamali, for example, was a mamluk from Armenia. In Iran and Iraq, the Buyid dynasty used Turkic slaves throughout their empire; the rebel al-Basasiri was a mamluk who ushered in Seljuq dynastic rule in Baghdad after attempting a failed rebellion. When the Abbasids regained military control over Iraq, they relied on the ghilman as their warriors. Under Saladin and the Ayyubids of Egypt, the power of the mamluks increased and they claimed the sultanate in 1250, ruling as the Mamluk Sultanate.
Throughout the Islamic world, rulers continued to use enslaved warriors until the 19th century. The Ottoman Empire's devşirme, or "gathering" of young slaves for the Janissaries, lasted until the 17th century. Regimes based on mamluk power thrived in such Ottoman provinces as the Levant and Egypt until the 19th century. Under the Mamluk Sultanate of Cairo, Mamluks were purchased while still young males, they were raised in the barracks of the Citadel of Cairo. Because of their isolated social status and their austere military training, they were trusted to be loyal to their rulers; when their training was completed, they were discharged, but remained attached to the patron who had purchased them. Mamluks relied on the help of their patron for career advancement, the patron's reputation and power depended on his recruits. A Mamluk was "bound by a strong esprit de corps to his peers in the same household."Mamluks lived within their garrisons and spent their time with each
Selim I, known as Selim the Grim or Selim the Resolute, was the Sultan of the Ottoman Empire from 1512 to 1520. His reign is notable for the enormous expansion of the Empire his conquest between 1516 and 1517 of the entire Mamluk Sultanate of Egypt, which included all of the Levant, Hejaz and Egypt itself. On the eve of his death in 1520, the Ottoman Empire spanned about 576,900 sq mi, having grown by seventy percent during Selim's reign. Selim's conquest of the Middle Eastern heartlands of the Muslim world, his assumption of the role of guardian of the pilgrimage routes to Mecca and Medina, established the Ottoman Empire as the most prestigious of all Sunni Muslim states, his conquests shifted the empire's geographical and cultural center of gravity away from the Balkans and toward the Middle East. By the eighteenth century, Selim's conquest of the Mamluk Sultanate had come to be romanticized as the moment when the Ottomans seized leadership over the rest of the Muslim world, Selim is popularly remembered as the first legitimate Ottoman Caliph, although stories of an official transfer of the caliphal office from the Abbasid Dynasty to the Ottomans were a invention.
Born in Amasya around 1470, Selim was the youngest son of Bayezid II. Selim's mother was Gülbahar Hatun, a Turkish princess from the Dulkadir State centered around Elbistan in Maraş; some academics state that Selim's mother was a lady named Gülbahar Hatun, while chronological analysis suggests that his biological mother's name could be Ayşe Hatun. By 1512, Şehzade Ahmet was the favorite candidate to succeed his father. Bayezid, reluctant to continue his rule over the empire, announced Ahmet as heir apparent to the throne. Angered with this announcement, Selim rebelled, while he lost the first battle against his father's forces, Selim dethroned his father. Selim ordered the purge of Bayezid to Dimetoka. Bayezid died thereafter. Selim put his brothers and nephews to death upon his accession in order to eliminate potential pretenders to the throne, his nephew Şehzade Murad, son of the legal heir to the throne Şehzade Ahmet, fled to the neighboring Safavid Empire after the support meant for him failed to materialize.
This fratricidal policy was motivated by bouts of civil strife, sparked by the antagonism between Selim's father and his uncle, Cem Sultan, between Selim himself and his brother Ahmet. Selim I was described as tall, with broad shoulders and a long mustache, he was said to be fond of fighting. One of Selim's first challenges as Sultan was the growing tension between himself and Shah Ismail, who had brought the Safavids to power and had switched the state religion from Sunni Islam to the adherence of the Twelver branch of Shia Islam. By 1510, he had conquered the whole of Iran and Azerbaijan, southern Dagestan, Armenia, Eastern Anatolia, had made the Georgian kingdoms of Kartli and Kakheti his vassals, he was a great threat to his Sunni Muslim neighbors to the west. In 1511, Ismail had supported a pro Shia/Safavid uprising in the Şahkulu Rebellion. In 1514, Selim I attacked Ismail's kingdom to stop the spread of Shiism into Ottoman dominions. Selim and Ismā'il had been exchanging a series of belligerent letters prior to the attack.
Selim I defeated Ismā'il at the Battle of Chaldiran in 1514. Ismā'il's army was more mobile and their soldiers were better prepared, but the Ottomans prevailed due in large part to their efficient modern army, possession of artillery, black powder and muskets. Ismā'il was wounded and captured in battle, Selim I entered the Iranian capital of Tabriz in triumph on September 5, but did not linger; the Battle of Chaldiran was of historical significance, as the reluctance of Shah Ismail to accept the advantages of modern firearms and the importance of artillery was decisive. After the battle, referring to Ismail, stated that his adversary was: "Always drunk to the point of losing his mind and neglectful of the affairs of the state". Selim conquered the Mamluk Sultanate of Egypt, defeating the Mamluk Egyptians first at the Battle of Marj Dabiq, at the Battle of Ridanieh; this led to the Ottoman annexation of the entire sultanate, from Syria and Palestine in Sham, to Hejaz and Tihamah in the Arabian Peninsula, Egypt itself.
This permitted him to extend Ottoman power to the Muslim holy cities of Mecca and Medina, hitherto under Egyptian rule. Rather than style himself the Ḥākimü'l-Ḥaremeyn, or The Ruler of The Two Holy Cities, he accepted the more pious title Ḫādimü'l-Ḥaremeyn, or The Servant of The Two Holy Cities; the last Abbasid caliph, al-Mutawakkil III, was residing in Cairo as a Mamluk puppet at the time of the Ottoman conquest. He was subsequently sent into exile in Istanbul. In the eighteenth century a story emerged claiming that he had transferred his title to the Caliphate to Selim at the time of the conquest. In fact, Selim did not make any claim to exercise the sacred authority of the office of caliph, the notion of an official transfer was a invention. After conquering Damascus in 1516, Selim ordered the restoration of the tomb of Ibn Arabi, a famous Sufi master, revered among Ottoman Sufis; this campaign was cut short when Selim was overwhelmed by sickness and subsequently died in the ninth year of his reign.
He was about fifty years of age. It is said that Selim succumb
Holy Roman Emperor
The Holy Roman Emperor was the ruler of the Holy Roman Empire during the Middle Ages and the early modern period. The title was without interruption, held in conjunction with title of King of Germany throughout the 12th to 18th centuries. From an autocracy in Carolingian times the title by the 13th century evolved into an elected monarchy chosen by the prince-electors. Various royal houses of Europe, at different times, became de-facto hereditary holders of the title, notably the Ottonians and the Salians. Following the late medieval crisis of government, the Habsburgs kept possession of the title without interruption from 1440–1740; the final emperors were from the House of Lorraine, from 1765–1806. The Holy Roman Empire was dissolved after the defeat at Austerlitz by emperor Francis II, who continued to rule as Austrian emperor; the Holy Roman Emperor was perceived to rule by divine right, though he contradicted or rivaled the Pope, most notably during the Investiture controversy. In theory, the Holy Roman Emperor was primus inter pares among other Catholic monarchs.
In practice, a Holy Roman Emperor was only as strong as his army and alliances, including marriage alliances, made him. There was never a Holy Roman Empress regnant, though women such as Theophanu and Maria Theresa of Austria served as de facto Empresses regnant. Throughout its history, the position was viewed as a defender of the Roman Catholic faith; until the Reformation, the Emperor elect was required to be crowned by the Pope before assuming the imperial title. Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor was the last to be crowned by the Pope in 1530. After the Reformation, the elected Emperor always was a Roman Catholic. There were short periods in history when the electoral college was dominated by Protestants, the electors voted in their own political interest. From the time of Constantine I, the Roman emperors had, with few exceptions, taken on a role as promoters and defenders of Christianity; the reign of Constantine established a precedent for the position of the Christian emperor in the Church.
Emperors considered themselves responsible to the gods for the spiritual health of their subjects, after Constantine they had a duty to help the Church define orthodoxy and maintain orthodoxy. The emperor's role was to enforce doctrine, root out heresy, uphold ecclesiastical unity. Both the title and connection between Emperor and Church continued in the Eastern Roman Empire throughout the medieval period; the ecumenical councils of the 5th to 8th centuries were convoked by the Eastern Roman Emperors. In Western Europe, the title of Emperor became defunct after the death of Julius Nepos in 480, although the rulers of the barbarian kingdoms continued to recognize the Eastern Emperor at least nominally well into the 6th century. From the western perspective, the interregnum in the Roman Empire spanned the 8th centuries; the title of Emperor was revived in 800, when Charlemagne was crowned Emperor of the Romans by Pope Leo III. The title of Emperor in the West implied recognition by the pope; as the power of the papacy grew during the Middle Ages and emperors came into conflict over church administration.
The best-known and most bitter conflict was that known as the investiture controversy, fought during the 11th century between Henry IV and Pope Gregory VII. After the coronation of Charlemagne, his successors maintained the title until the death of Berengar I of Italy in 924; the comparatively brief interregnum between 924 and the coronation of Otto the Great in 962 is taken as marking the transition from the Frankish Empire to the Holy Roman Empire. Under the Ottonians, much of the former Carolingian kingdom of Eastern Francia fell within the boundaries of the Holy Roman Empire. Since 911, the various German princes had elected the King of the Germans from among their peers; the King of the Germans would be crowned as emperor following the precedent set by Charlemagne, during the period of 962–1530. Charles V was the last emperor to be crowned by the pope, his successor, Ferdinand I adopted the title of "Emperor elect" in 1558; the final Holy Roman Emperor-elect, Francis II, abdicated in 1806 during the Napoleonic Wars that saw the Empire's final dissolution.
The term sacrum in connection with the German Roman Empire was first used in 1157 under Frederick I Barbarossa. The standard designation of the Holy Roman Emperor was "August Emperor of the Romans"; when Charlemagne was crowned in 800, he was styled as "most serene Augustus, crowned by God and pacific emperor, governing the Roman Empire," thus constituting the elements of "Holy" and "Roman" in the imperial title. The word Roman was a reflection of the principle of translatio imperii that regarded the Holy Roman Emperors as the inheritors of the title of Emperor of the Western Roman Empire, despite the continued existence of the Eastern Roman Empire. In German-language historiography, the term Römisch-deutscher Kaiser is used to distinguish the title from that of Roman Emperor on one hand, that of German Emperor on the other; the English term "Holy Roman Emperor" is a modern shorthand for "emperor of the Holy Roman Empire" not corresponding to the historical style or title, i.e. the adjective "holy" is not intended as modifying "emperor".
High Middle Ages
The High Middle Ages, or High Medieval Period, was the period of European history that commenced around 1000 and lasted until around 1250. The High Middle Ages were preceded by the Early Middle Ages and were followed by the Late Middle Ages, which ended around 1500. Key historical trends of the High Middle Ages include the increasing population of Europe, which brought about great social and political change from the preceding era, the Renaissance of the 12th century, including the first developments of rural exodus and of urbanization. By 1250, the robust population increase had benefited the European economy, which reached levels that would not be seen again in some areas until the 19th century; that trend faltered during the Late Middle Ages because of a series of calamities, most notably the Black Death, but numerous wars as well as economic stagnation. From around 780, Europe saw the last of the barbarian invasions and became more and politically organized; the Carolingian Renaissance led to philosophical activity in Northern Europe.
The first universities started operating in Bologna, Paris and Modena. The Vikings settled in the British Isles and elsewhere, Norse Christian kingdoms started developing in their Scandinavian homelands; the Magyars ceased their expansion in the 10th century, by the year 1000, a Christian Kingdom of Hungary had become a recognized state in Central Europe, forming alliances with regional powers. With the brief exception of the Mongol invasions in the 13th century, major nomadic incursions ceased; the powerful Byzantine Empire of the Macedonian and the Komnenos dynasties gave way to the resurrected Serbia and Bulgaria and to a successor crusader state, which countered the continuous threat of the Seljuk Turks in Asia Minor. In the 11th century, populations north of the Alps began a more intensive settlement, targeting "new" lands, some of which areas had reverted to wilderness after the end of the Roman Empire. In what is known as the "great clearances", Europeans cleared and cultivated some of the vast forests and marshes that lay across of the continent.
At the same time, some settlers moved beyond the traditional boundaries of the Frankish Empire to new frontiers beyond the Elbe River, which tripled the size of Germany in the process. The Catholic Church, which reached the peak of its political power around called armies from across Europe to a series of Crusades against the Seljuk Turks; the crusaders founded the Crusader States in the Levant. Other wars led to the Northern Crusades; the Christian kingdoms took much of the Iberian Peninsula from Muslim control, the Normans conquered southern Italy, all part of the major population increases and the resettlement patterns of the era. The High Middle Ages produced many different forms of intellectual and artistic works; the age saw the rise of ethnocentrism, which evolved into modern civic nationalisms in most of Europe, the ascent of the great Italian city-states and the rise and fall of the Muslim civilization of Al-Andalus. The rediscovery of the works of Aristotle led Thomas Aquinas and other thinkers of the period to expand Scholasticism, a combination of Catholicism and ancient philosophy.
For much of this period, Constantinople remained Europe's most populous city, Byzantine art reached a peak in the 12th century. In architecture, many of the most notable Gothic cathedrals were built or completed around this period; the Crisis of the Late Middle Ages began at the start of the 14th century and marked the end of the period. In England, the Norman Conquest of 1066 resulted in a kingdom ruled by a Francophone nobility; the Normans invaded Ireland by force in 1169 and soon established themselves throughout most of the country, although their stronghold was the southeast. Scotland and Wales were subdued to vassalage at about the same time, though Scotland asserted its independence and Wales remained under the rule of independent native princes until the death of Llywelyn ap Gruffydd in 1282; the Exchequer was founded in the 12th century under King Henry I, the first parliaments were convened. In 1215, after the loss of Normandy, King John signed the Magna Carta into law, which limited the power of English monarchs.
Much of the Iberian peninsula had been occupied by the Moors after 711, although the northernmost portion was divided between several Christian states. In the 11th century, again in the thirteenth, the Christian kingdoms of the north drove the Muslims from central and most of southern Iberia. In Italy, independent city states grew affluent on eastern maritime trade; these were in particular the thalassocracies of Pisa, Amalfi and Venice. From the mid-tenth to the mid-11th centuries, the Scandinavian kingdoms were unified and Christianized, resulting in an end of Viking raids, greater involvement in European politics. King Cnut of Denmark ruled over both Norway. After Cnut's death in 1035, England and Norway were lost, with the defeat of Valdemar II in 1227, Danish predominance in the region came to an end. Meanwhile, Norway extended its Atlantic possessions, ranging from Greenland to the Isle of Man, while Sweden, under Birger Jarl, built up a power-base in the Baltic Sea. However, the Norwegian influence started to decline in the same period, marked by the Treaty of Perth of 1266.
Civil wars raged in Norway between 1130 and 1240. By the time of the High Middle Ages, the Carolingian Empire had been divided and replaced by separate successor kingdoms called France and Germany, although not with their modern boundaries. Germany was under the banner of the Holy Roman Empire, which reached its high-water mark of unit
Wessex was an Anglo-Saxon kingdom in the south of Great Britain, from 519 until England was unified by Æthelstan in the early 10th century. The Anglo-Saxons believed that Wessex was founded by Cerdic and Cynric; the two main sources for the history of Wessex are the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle and the West Saxon Genealogical Regnal List, which sometimes conflict. Wessex was expanded under his rule. Cædwalla conquered Sussex and the Isle of Wight, his successor, issued one of the oldest surviving English law codes and established a second West Saxon bishopric. The throne subsequently passed to a series of kings with unknown genealogies. During the 8th century, as the hegemony of Mercia grew, Wessex retained its independence, it was during this period. Under Egbert, Sussex, Kent and Mercia, along with parts of Dumnonia, were conquered, he obtained the overlordship of the Northumbrian king. However, Mercian independence was restored in 830. During the reign of his successor, Æthelwulf, a Danish army arrived in the Thames estuary, but was decisively defeated.
When Æthelwulf's son, Æthelbald, usurped the throne, the kingdom was divided to avoid war. Æthelwulf was succeeded in turn by the youngest being Alfred the Great. Wessex was invaded by the Danes in 871, Alfred was compelled to pay them to leave, they were forced to withdraw. In 878 they forced Alfred to flee to the Somerset Levels, but were defeated at the Battle of Edington. During his reign Alfred issued a new law code, gathered scholars to his court and was able to devote funds to building ships, organising an army and establishing a system of burhs. Alfred's son, captured the eastern Midlands and East Anglia from the Danes and became ruler of Mercia in 918 upon the death of his sister, Æthelflæd. Edward's son, Æthelstan, conquered Northumbria in 927, England became a unified kingdom for the first time. Cnut the Great, who conquered England in 1016, created the wealthy and powerful earldom of Wessex, but in 1066 Harold Godwinson reunited the earldom with the crown and Wessex ceased to exist.
Modern archaeologists use the term Wessex culture for a Middle Bronze Age culture in this area. A millennium before that, in the Late Neolithic, the ceremonial sites of Avebury and Stonehenge were completed on Salisbury Plain; this area has many other earthworks and erected stone monuments from the Neolithic and Early Bronze periods, including the Dorset Cursus, an earthwork 10 km long and 100 m wide, oriented to the midwinter sunset. Although agriculture and hunting were pursued during this long period, there is little archaeological evidence of human settlements. From the Neolithic onwards the chalk downland of Wessex was traversed by the Harrow Way, which can still be traced from Marazion in Cornwall to the coast of the English Channel near Dover, was connected with the ancient tin trade. During the Roman occupation starting in the 1st century AD, numerous country villas with attached farms were established across Wessex, along with the important towns of Dorchester and Winchester; the Romans, or rather the Romano-British, built another major road that integrated Wessex, running eastwards from Exeter through Dorchester to Winchester and Silchester and on to London.
The early 4th century was a peaceful time in Roman Britain. However, following a previous incursion in 360, stopped by Roman forces, the Picts and Scots attacked Hadrian's Wall in the far north in 367 and defeated the soldiers stationed along it, they laid siege to London. The Romans responded promptly, Count Theodosius had recovered the land up to the Wall by 368; the Romans temporarily ceased to rule Britain on the death of Magnus Maximus in 388. Stilicho attempted to restore Roman authority in the late 390s, but in 401 he took Roman troops from Britain to fight the Goths. Two subsequent Roman rulers of Britain, appointed by the remaining troops, were murdered. Constantine III became ruler, but he left for Gaul and withdrew more troops; the Britons requested assistance from Honorius, but when he replied in 410 he told them to manage their own defenses. By this point, there were no longer any Roman troops in Britain. Economic decline occurred after these events: circulation of Roman coins ended and the importation of items from the Roman Empire stopped.
In An Introduction to Anglo-Saxon England, Peter Hunter Blair divides the traditions concerning the Anglo-Saxon settlement of Britain into two categories: Welsh and English. De Excidio et Conquestu Britanniae, written by Gildas, contains the best preservation of the Welsh tradition. In brief, it states that after the Romans left, the Britons managed to continue for a time without any major disruptions. However, when faced with northern invaders, a certain unnamed ruler in Britain requested assistance from the Saxons in exchange for land. There were no conflicts between the British and the Saxons for a time, but following "a dispute about the supply of provisions" the Saxons warred against the British and damaged parts of the country. In time, some Saxon troops left Britain. A lengthy conflict ensued, in which neither side gained any decisive advantage until the Britons routed the Saxons at the Battle of M