Market town or market right is a legal term, originating in the Middle Ages, for a European settlement that has the right to host markets, distinguishing it from a village and city. On the European continent, a town may be described as a "market town" or as having "market rights" if it no longer holds a market, provided the legal right to do so still exists. In Britain it remains in common use as a loose descriptive term for small rural towns with a hinterland of villages, it is sometimes reflected in their names, as with Market Rasen, or Market Drayton. Modern markets are in special halls, but this is a recent development; the markets were open-air, held in what is called the market square, centred on a market cross. They were and are open one or two days a week; the primary purpose of a market town is the provision of goods and services to the surrounding locality. Although market towns were known in antiquity, their number increased from the 12th century. Market towns across Europe flourished with an improved economy, a more urbanised society and the widespread introduction of a cash-based economy.
The Domesday Book of 1086 lists 50 markets in England. Some 2,000 new markets were established between 1200 and 1349; the burgeoning of market towns occurred across Europe around the same time. Market towns most grew up close to fortified places, such as castles or monasteries, not only to enjoy their protection, but because large manorial households and monasteries generated demand for goods and services. Historians term these early market towns "prescriptive market towns" in that they may not have enjoyed any official sanction such as a charter, but were accorded market town status through custom and practice if they had been in existence prior to 1199. From a early stage and administrators understood that a successful market town attracted people, generated revenue and would pay for the town's defenses. From around the 12th century and European kings began granting charters to villages allowing them to create a market on specific days. Framlingham in Suffolk is a notable example of a market situated near a fortified building.
Additionally, markets were located where transport was easiest, such as at a crossroads or close to a river. When local railway lines were first built, market towns were given priority to ease the transport of goods. For instance, in Calderdale, West Yorkshire, several market towns close together were designated to take advantage of the new trains; the designation of Halifax, Sowerby Bridge, Hebden Bridge, Todmorden is an example of this. A number of studies have pointed to the prevalence of the periodic market in medieval towns and rural areas due to the localised nature of the economy; the marketplace was the accepted location for trade, social interaction, transfer of information and gossip. A broad range of retailers congregated in market towns – peddlers, hucksters, stallholders and other types of trader; some were professional traders occupied a local shopfront such as a bakery or alehouse, while others were casual traders who set up a stall or carried their wares around in baskets on market days.
Market trade supplied for the needs of local consumers whether they were visitors or local residents. Braudel and Reynold have made a systematic study of European market towns between the 13th and 15th century, their investigation shows that in regional districts markets were held once or twice a week while daily markets were common in larger cities. Over time, permanent shops began opening daily and supplanted the periodic markets, while peddlers or itinerant sellers continued to fill in any gaps in distribution; the physical market was characterised by transactional exchange and bartering systems were commonplace. Shops had higher overhead costs, but were able to offer regular trading hours and a relationship with customers and may have offered added value services, such as credit terms to reliable customers; the economy was characterised by local trading in which goods were traded across short distances. Braudel reports. However, following the European age of discovery, goods were imported from afar – calico cloth from India, porcelain and tea from China, spices from India and South-East Asia and tobacco, sugar and coffee from the New World.
The importance of local markets began to decline from the mid-16th century. Permanent shops which provided more stable trading hours began to supplant the periodic market. In addition, the rise of a merchant class led to the import and exports of a broad range of goods, contributing to a reduced reliance on local produce. At the centre of this new global mercantile trade was Antwerp, which by the mid-16th century, was the undisputed largest market town in Europe. A good number of local histories of individual market towns can be found. However, more general histories of the rise of market-towns across Europe are much more difficult to locate. Clark points out that while a good deal is known about the economic value of markets in local economies, the cultural role of market-towns has received scant scholarly attention. In Denmark, the concept of the market town has existed since the Iron Age, it is not known, the first Danish market town, but Hedeby and Ribe were among the first. Per 1801, there were 74 market towns in Denmark.
The last town to gain market rights was Skjern in 195
The border between England and Scotland runs for 96 miles between Marshall Meadows Bay on the east coast and the Solway Firth in the west. It is Scotland's only land border with another country, one of England's two; the Firth of Forth was the border between the Picto-Gaelic Kingdom of Alba and the Anglian Kingdom of Northumbria in the early 10th century. It became the first Anglo-Scottish border with the annexation of Northumbria by Anglo-Saxon England in the mid 10th century. In 973, King of Scots attended the English king, Edgar the Peaceful, at his council in Chester. After Kenneth had done homage, Edgar rewarded Kenneth by granting him Lothian. Despite this transaction, the control of Lothian was not settled and the region was taken by the Scots at the Battle of Carham in 1018 and the River Tweed became the de facto Anglo-Scottish border; the Solway–Tweed line was established in 1237 by the Treaty of York between England and Scotland. It remains the border today, with the exception of the Debatable Lands, north of Carlisle, a small area around Berwick-upon-Tweed, taken by England in 1482.
It is thus one of the oldest extant borders in the world, although Berwick was not annexed into England until 1746, by the Wales and Berwick Act 1746. For centuries until the Union of the Crowns the region on either side of the boundary was a lawless territory suffering from the repeated raids in each direction of the Border Reivers. Following the Treaty of Union 1706, ratified by the Acts of Union 1707, which united Scotland with England and Wales to form the Kingdom of Great Britain, the Border continues to form the boundary of two distinct legal jurisdictions as the treaty between the two countries guaranteed the continued separation of English law and Scots law; the age of legal capacity under Scots law is 16, while it was 18 under English law. The border settlements of Gretna Green to the west, Coldstream and Lamberton to the east, were convenient for elopers from England who wanted to marry under Scottish laws, marry without publicity; the marine boundary was adjusted by the Scottish Adjacent Waters Boundaries Order 1999 so that the boundary within the territorial waters is 0.09-kilometre north of the boundary for oil installations established by the Civil Jurisdiction Order 1987.
The border country known as the Scottish Marches, is the area either side of the Anglo-Scottish border including parts of the modern council areas of Dumfries and Galloway and the Scottish Borders, parts of the English counties of Cumbria and Northumberland. It is a hilly area, with the Scottish Southern Uplands to the north, the Cheviot Hills forming the border between the two countries to the south. From the Norman conquest of England until the reign of James VI of Scotland, who in the course of his reign became James I of England while retaining the more northerly realm, border clashes were common and the monarchs of both countries relied on Scottish Earls of March and Lord Warden of the Marches to defend and control the frontier region. In 1333, during the Second War of Scottish Independence, Scotland was defeated at the Battle of Halidon Hill. Thereafter, Edward Balliol, the titular King of Scots, made formal his promises to the English king, Edward III and yielded a considerable portion of southern Scotland to England at the 1334 Treaty of Newcastle.
A 16th-century Act of the Scottish Parliament talks about the chiefs of the border clans, a late 17th-century statement by the Lord Advocate uses the terms "clan" and "family" interchangeably. Although Lowland aristocrats may have liked to refer to themselves as "families", the idea that the term "clan" should be used of Highland families alone is a 19th-century convention. Historic Border clans include the following: Armstrong, Bannatyne, Briar, Elliot, Hedley of Redesdale, Home or Hume, Jardine, Kerr, Moffat, Ogilvy, Routledge, Tweedie. During late medieval and early modern eras—from the late 13th century, with the creation by Edward I of England of the first Lord Warden of the Marches to the early 17th century and the creation of the Middle Shires, promulgated after the personal union of England and Scotland under James VI of Scotland —the area around the border was known as the Scottish Marches. For centuries the Marches on either side of the boundary was an area of mixed allegiances, where families or clans switched which country or side they supported as suited their family interests at that time, lawlessness abounded.
Before the personal union of the two kingdoms under James, the border clans would switch allegiance between the Scottish and English crowns depending on what was most favourable for the members of the clan. For a time a powerful local clan dominated a region on the border between Scotland, it was known as the Debatable Lands and neither monarch's writ was heeded. Following the 1603 Union of the Crowns, King James VI & I decreed that the Borders should be renamed'the Middle Shires'. In the same year the King placed George Home, 1st Earl of Dunbar in charge of pacification of the borders. Courts were known reivers were arrested; the more troublesome and lower classes were executed without trial. Mass hanging soon became a common occurrence. In 1605 he established a joint commission of ten members, drawn from Scotland and England, to bring law and order to the region; this was aided by statutes in 1606 and 1609, first to repeal hostile laws on both sides of the border, an
Kielder Forest is a large forestry plantation in Northumberland, surrounding Kielder village and the Kielder Water reservoir. It is the largest man-made woodland in England with three-quarters of its 250 square miles covered by forest; the majority of the forest lies within the Border Forest Park, with the southern tip known as Wark Forest lying within Northumberland National Park. The forest is owned and managed by the United Kingdom's Forestry Commission, which initiated the first plantings in the 1920s. During the 1930s, the Ministry of Labour supplied men from among the ranks of the unemployed. Many came from the mining shipyards of North East England, they were housed in one of a number of instructional centres created by the Ministry, most of them on Forestry Commission property. The hutted camp in Kielder is now under Kielder Water. Numerous purpose-built villages were constructed for workers' families, including Stonehaugh. Prior to the 1920s, the land was predominantly open moorland, managed for grouse shooting and sheep grazing with remnants of native upland woodland existing along stream sides and in isolated craggy areas.
The Forestry Commission, funded from the public purse, purchased land across the country with the brief of establishing a strategic reserve of timber for the nation. This single objective held sway until the 1960s. Since that time, management principles have changed in order to reflect rising awareness of environmental needs and to provide recreational facilities whilst seeking to maintain a sustainable supply of timber. Kielder today remains state-owned and its development from a single-objective plantation to a multi-purpose forest mirrors the development of plantation forestry across the United Kingdom. Many archaeological remains can be found within the forest and are an important cultural link to the turbulent history of the area; the name'Kielder Forest' is also applied to the area of hills and remote moorland that surround the forestry plantations. The group of hills merges into the Cheviots to the north-east but is well-defined on other sides, it reaches a maximum height of 602 m at Peel Fell and contains the Marilyns of Sighty Crag and Larriston Fells.
These hills, despite not being high, are remote owing to the scarcity of settlement in the region. Indeed, Sighty Crag is the furthest hill in England from a road, at four miles' distance. Kielder is dominated by conifers. Sitka spruce covers 75% of the planted area. Other species include Norway lodgepole pine, which cover 9 % of the area each; the remainder is made up of Scots pine, Douglas-fir, broadleaves including birch, cherry, oak and willow. 475,000 cubic metres of timber is harvested annually to supply local sawmilling, chipboard and wood fuel customers. Most of this volume comes from clearfelling areas. Clear felled areas are replanted with a mix of coniferous and broadleaf tree species, opportunities are taken to increase the proportion of open space and to improved the riparian habitat; as with all Forestry Commission woodlands timber is independently certified under the Forest Stewardship Council scheme. The forest contains a number of sites of special scientific interest associated with the upland moorland environment.
A programme of restoration of Border mires is ongoing. The forest is home to around 50% of England's red squirrel population, is their biggest remaining stronghold in the country; the best place to catch a glimpse of one is at the squirrel hide at Kielder waterside.. It provides excellent habitat for many species of birds of prey. In 2009 a pair of osprey nested in the forest; this pair have continued to nest there each year since, a second pair nested in 2011. In 2014 eight young were fledged and by 2016 there were four nesting osprey pairs fledging eleven young. A large population of roe deer is managed. Due to the low human population and scarcity of roads and railways, Kielder Forest was proposed in July 2016 as one of the preferred reintroduction sites for the Eurasian lynx, extinct in Britain for 1,300 years. Interest in reintroducing the species was further bolstered in 2016 in relation to a successful breeding program for the Iberian lynx in Spain. Kielder Castle Visitor Centre is an 18th-century hunting lodge built by the Duke of Northumberland, converted into a visitor and information centre.
It is located on the edge of Kielder Village at the head of the River North Tyne valley. The Castle serves as a hub for the growing number of recreational facilities on offer and cycling trails, picnic areas and a forest drive. A great football match is reported to have taken place between the men of Tynedale and Redesdale at Kielder Castle in 1790; the forest contains a number of art and architectural installations including a Skyspace designed by James Turrell and Wave Chamber, a camera obscura in a stone cairn by Chris Drury. The forest contains Kielder Observatory, an astronomical observatory. In 2010, former British distance runner Steve Cram inaugurated the Kielder Marathon, a circuit around the lake taking in the surrounding gentle contours. In the same decade the local authority began a reduction of late night street lights to enhance the dark skies of
University of Edinburgh
The University of Edinburgh, founded in 1582, is the sixth oldest university in the English-speaking world and one of Scotland's ancient universities. The university has five main campuses in the city of Edinburgh, with many of the buildings in the historic Old Town belonging to the university; the university played an important role in leading Edinburgh to its reputation as a chief intellectual centre during the Age of Enlightenment, helped give the city the nickname of the Athens of the North. The University of Edinburgh is ranked 18th in the world by the 2019 QS World University Rankings, it is ranked as the 6th best university in Europe by the U. S. News' Best Global Universities Ranking, 7th best in Europe by the Times Higher Education Ranking; the Research Excellence Framework, a research ranking used by the UK government to determine future research funding, ranked Edinburgh 4th in the UK for research power, 11th overall. It is ranked the 78th most employable university in the world by the 2017 Global Employability University Ranking.
It is a member of both the Russell Group, the League of European Research Universities, a consortium of 21 research universities in Europe. It has the third largest endowment of any university in the United Kingdom, after the universities of Cambridge and Oxford; the annual income of the institution for 2017–18 was £949.0 million of which £279.7 million was from research grants and contracts, with an expenditure of £931.3 million. Alumni of the university include some of the major figures of modern history, including 3 signatories of the American declaration of independence and 9 heads of state; as of March 2019, Edinburgh's alumni, faculty members and researches include 19 Nobel laureates, 3 Turing Award laureates, 1 Fields Medalist, 1 Abel Prize winner, 2 Pulitzer Prize winners, 2 currently-sitting UK Supreme Court Justices, several Olympic gold medallists. It continues to have links to the British Royal Family, having had the Duke of Edinburgh as its Chancellor from 1953 to 2010 and Princess Anne since 2011.
Edinburgh receives 60,000 applications every year, making it the second most popular university in the UK by volume of applications. It has 4th highest average UCAS entry tariff in Scotland, 5th overall in the UK. Founded by the Edinburgh Town Council, the university began life as a college of law using part of a legacy left by a graduate of the University of St Andrews, Bishop Robert Reid of St Magnus Cathedral, Orkney. Through efforts by the Town Council and Ministers of the City the institution broadened in scope and became formally established as a college by a Royal Charter, granted by King James VI of Scotland on 14 April 1582 after the petitioning of the Council; this was unprecedented in newly Presbyterian Scotland, as older universities in Scotland had been established through Papal bulls. Established as the "Tounis College", it opened its doors to students in October 1583. Instruction began under the charge of another St Andrews graduate Robert Rollock, it was the fourth Scottish university in a period when the richer and much more populous England had only two.
It was renamed King James's College in 1617. By the 18th century, the university was a leading centre of the Scottish Enlightenment. In 1762, Reverend Hugh Blair was appointed by King George III as the first Regius Professor of Rhetoric and Belles-Lettres; this formalised literature as a subject at the university and the foundation of the English Literature department, making Edinburgh the oldest centre of literary education in Britain. Before the building of Old College to plans by Robert Adam implemented after the Napoleonic Wars by the architect William Henry Playfair, the University of Edinburgh existed in a hotchpotch of buildings from its establishment until the early 19th century; the university's first custom-built building was the Old College, now Edinburgh Law School, situated on South Bridge. Its first forte in teaching was anatomy and the developing science of surgery, from which it expanded into many other subjects. From the basement of a nearby house ran the anatomy tunnel corridor.
It went under what was North College Street, under the university buildings until it reached the university's anatomy lecture theatre, delivering bodies for dissection. It was from this tunnel. Towards the end of the 19th century, Old College was becoming overcrowded and Sir Robert Rowand Anderson was commissioned to design new Medical School premises in 1875; the design incorporated a Graduation Hall, but this was seen as too ambitious. A separate building was constructed for the purpose, the McEwan Hall designed by Anderson, after funds were donated by the brewer and politician Sir William McEwan in 1894, it was presented to the University in 1897. New College was opened in 1846 as a Free Church of Scotland college of the United Free Church of Scotland. Since the 1930s it has been the home of the School of Divinity. Prior to the 1929 reunion of the Church of Scotland, candidates for the ministry in the United Free Church studied at New College, whilst candidates for the old Church of Scotland studied in the Divinity Faculty of the University of Edinburgh.
During the 1930s the two institutions came together. By the end of the 1950s, there were around 7,000 students matriculating annually. An Edinburgh Students' Representative Council was founded in 1884 by student Robert Fitzroy Bell. In 1889, the SRC voted to be housed in Teviot Row House; the Edinburgh University Sports Union, founded in 1866. The Edinburgh
Kingdom of Scotland
The Kingdom of Scotland was a sovereign state in northwest Europe traditionally said to have been founded in 843. Its territories expanded and shrank, but it came to occupy the northern third of the island of Great Britain, sharing a land border to the south with the Kingdom of England, it suffered many invasions by the English, but under Robert I it fought a successful War of Independence and remained an independent state throughout the late Middle Ages. In 1603, James VI of Scotland became King of England, joining Scotland with England in a personal union. In 1707, the two kingdoms were united to form the Kingdom of Great Britain under the terms of the Acts of Union. Following the annexation of the Northern Isles from the Kingdom of Norway in 1472 and final capture of the Royal Burgh of Berwick by the Kingdom of England in 1482, the territory of the Kingdom of Scotland corresponded to that of modern-day Scotland, bounded by the North Sea to the east, the Atlantic Ocean to the north and west, the North Channel and Irish Sea to the southwest.
The Crown was the most important element of government. The Scottish monarchy in the Middle Ages was a itinerant institution, before Edinburgh developed as a capital city in the second half of the 15th century; the Crown remained at the centre of political life and in the 16th century emerged as a major centre of display and artistic patronage, until it was dissolved with the Union of Crowns in 1603. The Scottish Crown adopted the conventional offices of western European monarchical states of the time and developed a Privy Council and great offices of state. Parliament emerged as a major legal institution, gaining an oversight of taxation and policy, but was never as central to the national life. In the early period, the kings of the Scots depended on the great lords—the mormaers and toísechs—but from the reign of David I, sheriffdoms were introduced, which allowed more direct control and limited the power of the major lordships. In the 17th century, the creation of Justices of Peace and Commissioners of Supply helped to increase the effectiveness of local government.
The continued existence of courts baron and the introduction of kirk sessions helped consolidate the power of local lairds. Scots law was reformed and codified in the 16th and 17th centuries. Under James IV the legal functions of the council were rationalised, with Court of Session meeting daily in Edinburgh. In 1532, the College of Justice was founded, leading to the training and professionalisation of lawyers. David I is the first Scottish king known to have produced his own coinage. At the union of the Crowns in 1603 the Pound Scots was fixed at only one-twelfth the value of the English pound; the Bank of Scotland issued pound notes from 1704. Scottish currency was abolished by the Act of Union, however to the present day, Scotland retains unique banknotes. Geographically, Scotland is divided between the Lowlands; the Highlands had a short growing season, further shortened during the Little Ice Age. From Scotland's foundation to the inception of the Black Death, the population had grown to a million.
It expanded in the first half of the 16th century, reaching 1.2 million by the 1690s. Significant languages in the medieval kingdom included Gaelic, Old English and French. Christianity was introduced into Scotland from the 6th century. In the Norman period the Scottish church underwent a series of changes that led to new monastic orders and organisation. During the 16th century, Scotland underwent a Protestant Reformation that created a predominately Calvinist national kirk. There were a series of religious controversies that resulted in persecutions; the Scottish Crown developed naval forces at various points in its history, but relied on privateers and fought a guerre de course. Land forces centred around the large common army, but adopted European innovations from the 16th century. From the 5th century AD, north Britain was divided into a series of petty kingdoms. Of these, the four most important were those of the Picts in the north-east, the Scots of Dál Riata in the west, the Britons of Strathclyde in the south-west and the Anglian kingdom of Bernicia in the south-east, stretching into modern northern England.
In AD 793, ferocious Viking raids began on monasteries such as those at Iona and Lindisfarne, creating fear and confusion across the kingdoms of north Britain. Orkney and the Western Isles fell to the Norsemen; these threats may have speeded up a long-term process of gaelicisation of the Pictish kingdoms, which adopted Gaelic language and customs. There was a merger of the Gaelic and Pictish kingdoms, although historians debate whether it was a Pictish takeover of Dál Riata, or the other way round; this culminated in the rise of Cínaed mac Ailpín as "king of the Picts" in the 840s, which brought to power the House of Alpin. When he died as king of the combined kingdom in 900 one of his successors, Domnall II, was the first man to be called rí Alban; the term Scotia would be used to describe the heartland of these kings, north of the River Forth, the entire area controlled by its kings would be referred to as Scotland. The long reign of Donald's successor Causantín is regarded as the key to formation of the Kingdom of Alba/Scotland, he was la
In the history of Europe, the Middle Ages lasted from the 5th to the 15th century. It began with the fall of the Western Roman Empire and merged into the Renaissance and the Age of Discovery; the Middle Ages is the middle period of the three traditional divisions of Western history: classical antiquity, the medieval period, the modern period. The medieval period is itself subdivided into the Early and Late Middle Ages. Population decline, counterurbanisation, collapse of centralized authority and mass migrations of tribes, which had begun in Late Antiquity, continued in the Early Middle Ages; the large-scale movements of the Migration Period, including various Germanic peoples, formed new kingdoms in what remained of the Western Roman Empire. In the 7th century, North Africa and the Middle East—once part of the Byzantine Empire—came under the rule of the Umayyad Caliphate, an Islamic empire, after conquest by Muhammad's successors. Although there were substantial changes in society and political structures, the break with classical antiquity was not complete.
The still-sizeable Byzantine Empire, Rome's direct continuation, survived in the Eastern Mediterranean and remained a major power. The empire's law code, the Corpus Juris Civilis or "Code of Justinian", was rediscovered in Northern Italy in 1070 and became admired in the Middle Ages. In the West, most kingdoms incorporated the few extant Roman institutions. Monasteries were founded; the Franks, under the Carolingian dynasty established the Carolingian Empire during the 8th and early 9th century. It covered much of Western Europe but succumbed to the pressures of internal civil wars combined with external invasions: Vikings from the north, Magyars from the east, Saracens from the south. During the High Middle Ages, which began after 1000, the population of Europe increased as technological and agricultural innovations allowed trade to flourish and the Medieval Warm Period climate change allowed crop yields to increase. Manorialism, the organisation of peasants into villages that owed rent and labour services to the nobles, feudalism, the political structure whereby knights and lower-status nobles owed military service to their overlords in return for the right to rent from lands and manors, were two of the ways society was organised in the High Middle Ages.
The Crusades, first preached in 1095, were military attempts by Western European Christians to regain control of the Holy Land from Muslims. Kings became the heads of centralised nation-states, reducing crime and violence but making the ideal of a unified Christendom more distant. Intellectual life was marked by scholasticism, a philosophy that emphasised joining faith to reason, by the founding of universities; the theology of Thomas Aquinas, the paintings of Giotto, the poetry of Dante and Chaucer, the travels of Marco Polo, the Gothic architecture of cathedrals such as Chartres are among the outstanding achievements toward the end of this period and into the Late Middle Ages. The Late Middle Ages was marked by difficulties and calamities including famine and war, which diminished the population of Europe. Controversy and the Western Schism within the Catholic Church paralleled the interstate conflict, civil strife, peasant revolts that occurred in the kingdoms. Cultural and technological developments transformed European society, concluding the Late Middle Ages and beginning the early modern period.
The Middle Ages is one of the three major periods in the most enduring scheme for analysing European history: classical civilisation, or Antiquity. The "Middle Ages" first appears in Latin in 1469 as media tempestas or "middle season". In early usage, there were many variants, including medium aevum, or "middle age", first recorded in 1604, media saecula, or "middle ages", first recorded in 1625; the alternative term "medieval" derives from medium aevum. Medieval writers divided history into periods such as the "Six Ages" or the "Four Empires", considered their time to be the last before the end of the world; when referring to their own times, they spoke of them as being "modern". In the 1330s, the humanist and poet Petrarch referred to pre-Christian times as antiqua and to the Christian period as nova. Leonardo Bruni was the first historian to use tripartite periodisation in his History of the Florentine People, with a middle period "between the fall of the Roman Empire and the revival of city life sometime in late eleventh and twelfth centuries".
Tripartite periodisation became standard after the 17th-century German historian Christoph Cellarius divided history into three periods: ancient and modern. The most given starting point for the Middle Ages is around 500, with the date of 476 first used by Bruni. Starting dates are sometimes used in the outer parts of Europe. For Europe as a whole, 1500 is considered to be the end of the Middle Ages, but there is no universally agreed upon end date. Depending on the context, events such as the conquest of Constantinople by the Turks in 1453, Christopher Columbus's first voyage to the Americas in 1492, or the Protestant Reformation in 1517 are sometimes used. English historians use the Battle of Bosworth Field in 1485 to mark the end of the period. For Spain, dates used are the death of King Ferdinand II in 1516, the death of Queen Isabella I of Castile in 1504, or the conquest of Granada in 1492. Historians from Romance-speaking countries tend to divide the Middle Ages into two parts: an earlier "High" and late
The Roman Empire was the post-Roman Republic period of the ancient Roman civilization. Ruled by emperors, it had large territorial holdings around the Mediterranean Sea in Europe, North Africa, the Middle East, the Caucasus. From the constitutional reforms of Augustus to the military anarchy of the third century, the Empire was a principate ruled from the city of Rome; the Roman Empire was ruled by multiple emperors and divided in a Western Roman Empire, based in Milan and Ravenna, an Eastern Roman Empire, based in Nicomedia and Constantinople. Rome remained the nominal capital of both parts until 476 AD, when Odoacer deposed Romulus Augustus after capturing Ravenna and the Roman Senate sent the imperial regalia to Constantinople; the fall of the Western Roman Empire to barbarian kings, along with the hellenization of the Eastern Roman Empire into the Byzantine Empire, is conventionally used to mark the end of Ancient Rome and the beginning of the Middle Ages. The previous Republic, which had replaced Rome's monarchy in the 6th century BC, became destabilized in a series of civil wars and political conflict.
In the mid-1st century BC Julius Caesar was appointed as perpetual dictator and assassinated in 44 BC. Civil wars and proscriptions continued, culminating in the victory of Octavian, Caesar's adopted son, over Mark Antony and Cleopatra at the Battle of Actium in 31 BC; the following year Octavian conquered Ptolemaic Egypt, ending the Hellenistic period that had begun with the conquests of Alexander the Great of Macedon in the 4th century BC. Octavian's power was unassailable and in 27 BC the Roman Senate formally granted him overarching power and the new title Augustus making him the first emperor; the first two centuries of the Empire were a period of unprecedented stability and prosperity known as the Pax Romana. It reached its greatest territorial expanse during the reign of Trajan. A period of increasing trouble and decline began with the reign of Commodus. In the 3rd century, the Empire underwent a crisis that threatened its existence, but was reunified under Aurelian. In an effort to stabilize the Empire, Diocletian set up two different imperial courts in the Greek East and Latin West.
Christians rose to power in the 4th century following the Edict of Milan in 313 and the Edict of Thessalonica in 380. Shortly after, the Migration Period involving large invasions by Germanic peoples and the Huns of Attila led to the decline of the Western Roman Empire. With the fall of Ravenna to the Germanic Herulians and the deposition of Romulus Augustulus in 476 AD by Odoacer, the Western Roman Empire collapsed and it was formally abolished by emperor Zeno in 480 AD; the Eastern Roman Empire, known in the post-Roman West as the Byzantine Empire, collapsed when Constantinople fell to the Ottoman Turks of Mehmed II in 1453. Due to the Roman Empire's vast extent and long endurance, the institutions and culture of Rome had a profound and lasting influence on the development of language, architecture, philosophy and forms of government in the territory it governed Europe; the Latin language of the Romans evolved into the Romance languages of the medieval and modern world, while Medieval Greek became the language of the Eastern Roman Empire.
Its adoption of Christianity led to the formation of Christendom during the Middle Ages. Greek and Roman art had a profound impact on the late medieval Italian Renaissance, while Rome's republican institutions influenced the political development of republics such as the United States and France; the corpus of Roman law has its descendants in many legal systems of the world today, such as the Napoleonic Code. Rome's architectural tradition served as the basis for Neoclassical architecture. Rome had begun expanding shortly after the founding of the republic in the 6th century BC, though it did not expand outside the Italian peninsula until the 3rd century BC, it was an "empire" long before it had an emperor. The Roman Republic was not a nation-state in the modern sense, but a network of towns left to rule themselves and provinces administered by military commanders, it was ruled, not by annually elected magistrates in conjunction with the senate. For various reasons, the 1st century BC was a time of political and military upheaval, which led to rule by emperors.
The consuls' military power rested in the Roman legal concept of imperium, which means "command". Successful consuls were given the honorary title imperator, this is the origin of the word emperor since this title was always bestowed to the early emperors upon their accession. Rome suffered a long series of internal conflicts and civil wars from the late second century BC onward, while extending its power beyond Italy; this was the period of the Crisis of the Roman Republic. Towards the end of this era, in 44 BC, Julius Caesar was perpetual dictator before being assassinated; the faction of his assassins was driven from Rome and defeated at the Battle of Philippi in 42 BC by an army led by Mark Antony and Caesar's adopted son Octavian. Antony and Octavian's division of the Roman world between themselves did not last and Octavian's forces defeated those of Mark Antony and Cleopatra at the Battle of Actium in 31 BC, ending the Final War of the Roman Republic. In 27 BC the Senate and People of Rome made Octavian princeps ("first citi