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Europe (AD 1000) ~ The High Middle Ages by Undevicesimus Europe (AD 1000) ~ The High Middle Ages by Undevicesimus
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Europe (AD 1000) – The High Middle Ages

As the second millennium dawned, Europe slowly recovered from an era of chaos and war which had lasted almost two centuries. The division and implosion of the Carolingian Empire, the resulting internal struggles, the Viking raids and the Magyar invasions had produced a particularly unpleasant environment to live in, for kings and peasants alike. However, a gradual process of (re)consolidation had also begun, which largely built the foundations of Europe as we know it today, a thousand years later.

After the death of Louis the Pious in 840, the Carolingian Empire plunged into a civil war which ended in the definite division of its territory by the Treaty of Verdun in 843: West Francia under Charles the Bald, Middle Francia under Lothair I and East Francia under Louis the German. Halfway through the tenth century, the middle realm had been largely annexed by East Francia, leaving two separate power blocs to dominate Western and Central Europe. In the west, the election of Hugh Capet as Rex Francorum (987) established the foundations for the Kingdom of France, which would be ruled uninterruptedly by descendants of the House of Capet until the French Revolution of 1789. In the east, the election of Henry the Fowler brought to power the Ottonian dynasty, founding the Kingdom of Germany. Henry’s son Otto I decisively defeated the Magyars at the Battle of Lechfeld in 955 and had conquered most of Italy by 961 in support of Queen Adelaide, who became Otto’s second wife. He was subsequently crowned Emperor by Pope John XII in 962, intertwining the fate of the Kingdom of Germany with that of Italy and the Papacy. Thus was born the Holy Roman Empire, which would last until 1806.

However, the new kings and emperors had far less power than their title suggests for they had to tolerate or face up to the local rulers within their realms – a significant obstacle to consolidation. The concept of a ‘state’ or ‘country’ in the modern-day sense of the word was therefore nearly nonexistent. De facto power in the western Kingdom of Francia was not vested in the king, who was little more than a ‘first among equals’, but in the rulers of the kingdom’s duchies and counties, most of which were both larger and stronger than the royal crown domain. In the north, the strategic position and economic potential of the County of Flanders would eventually give many French monarchs a royal headache, as would the Duchy of Normandy; in the east, the Duchy of Burgundy held on to a proud tradition of de facto independence, one which would ultimately get completely out of hand; in the south and west, the powerful County of Toulouse and the Duchies of Aquitaine and Gascony would play a vital role in feudal attempts at maintaining local independence, the rise of religious heresy and the dynastic mechanisms which unleashed the Hundred Years’ War. The descendants of Hugh Capet had much work ahead of them as the High Middle Ages dawned…

Arguably even more work lay ahead of the Holy Roman Emperors in the east, whose realm found itself in a situation similar to that of the French monarchy. However, things here were further complicated by the Empire’s different power blocs, its vast extent which prevented decisive imperial interference and the inability of the Holy Roman Emperors to establish a lasting dynasty. The splinter dominions of the Kingdom of Germany bickered among each other and bitterly clung to their feudal rights, the Kingdom of Italy and its economical centres equally attempted to gain extensive autonomy and the Papacy defied the Empire in the debate over whether the papal or imperial authority was to be Latin Christendom’s supreme guardian. Italy itself was thus a political snake pit for the Emperor, but one which was crucial to both his imperial authority and legitimacy. Further worsening the situation were Byzantine claims to Italian territory and imperial dignity, the Muslim conquests of Corsica, Sardinia and Sicily, and the continued existence of the Lombard principalities of Capua, Benevento and Salerno. Throughout the High Middle Ages, Italy saw numerous conflicts as the Holy Roman Emperors attempted to assert their authority. This would in the long run distract them from the political games back in Germany, allowing the German lords to expand and consolidate their power at the cost of the Emperor.

Conflicts aplenty were also the case on the Iberian Peninsula, which had largely fallen to the Muslims in the early eighth century and housed the Umayyad Emirate (and later Caliphate) of Córdoba. Christian kingdoms had been carved out in the north, which sought to retake Iberia in the name of Christendom: the Reconquista. This ideal seemed very far away at the turn of the millennium: the military, cultural and economic power of Islamic Córdoba was a veritable giant compared to the bickering Christian realms. However, a succession crisis in the Córdoban Caliphate caused its dissolution into so-called Taifa kingdoms by 1031, giving the Christian forces a golden opportunity to further the advance of the Reconquista.

Northern Europe meanwhile was dominated by the so-called North Sea Empire of King Cnut the Great, who ruled Denmark, Norway, England and parts of Sweden, while his fleets were supreme in the North Sea and much of the Baltic. Scandinavian rule of England ended in 1042 when Edward the Confessor came to power, a fact confirmed by the Norman invasion of 1066 under William the Conqueror, which marked a turning point in the history of the Kingdom of England. Consolidation also took place in the north, where Picts, Scots, Britons and Angles formed the new Kingdom of Scotland. The Celtic realms of Ireland meanwhile successfully avoided falling under the Viking yoke (981), although some degree of Viking settlement could not be prevented, notably in the southern portion of the island, which fell to Danish and Norwegian invaders. The focus of their Swedish counterparts fell on the Baltic coastlines, from where Swedish raiding parties gained significant influence, establishing strongholds in Russia and sailing Russian rivers all the way to the Black Sea and the Byzantine Empire. The dominant power in Russia at this time was Kievan Rus’, which tied both its political and religious fortune to Byzantium from 978 onward: Vladimir the Great married Anna Porphyrogenita, the daughter of Byzantine Emperor Romanos II and sister of the Emperors Basil II and Constantine VIII. Russia would henceforth remain in the Greek Orthodox sphere.

Between Kievan Rus’ and the Holy Roman Empire lay the new kingdoms of Poland and Hungary. Poland proved itself an expansionist rival to the Empire for dominance of Central and Eastern Europe, temporarily taking Bohemia, Moravia and Pomerania and actively resisting the imperial Drang nach Osten (Drive to the East). Hungary emerged as a kingdom in the year 1000 when the Hungarian Grand Prince Stephen converted to Latin Christianity and received the fabled Crown of St. Stephen from Pope Silvester II. This act formally integrated the Magyar people into the Latin West.

Lastly, the Byzantine Empire had successfully survived the Arab and Slavic invasions and reasserted its authority over the Balkans throughout the first half of the eleventh century, most notably by toppling the Bulgarian Empire (1018). However, Byzantine borders once again came under serious pressure during the second half of the eleventh century, this time from the Pechenegs, Normans and most of all the migrating Seljuk Turks. The resulting catastrophes would end any hope of a Byzantine revival of the territory and power it had boasted as the Eastern Roman Empire...

© 2013 – 2015 undevicesimus.deviantart.com


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Add a Comment:
 
:iconartlovr59:
artlovr59 Featured By Owner Feb 23, 2015   Photographer
Very nice indeed. Just a question, also about Hungary. Why do people feel the need to write our cities in German? You'll find these German names were invented when the House of Hapsburg took power in Hungary and they sent a committee to re-name everything. In some cases, they were indeed old, but never official. Like "Gran" is Esztergom, the name "Eszter" likely comes from the Roman name "Ister".
I have often wondered at this phenomenon. A British historian told me it's because Hungarian names are "unpronounceable", but that's hardly a serious reason!
Do let me know!
Reply
:iconundevicesimus:
Undevicesimus Featured By Owner Feb 23, 2015   Artist
Thanks (:

Well, I'm not sure, but I do know that the language for city names is often a big hassle. So I chose to stick with the accepted naming in English-made maps. There are several names which have the same 'problem' you mention... For example Breslau, Stettin and Danzig are all currently ruled by Poland as Wroclaw, Szczecin and Gdansk and were also controlled by Poland in AD 1000, but still I went with the German name.

I have heard that "unpronounceable" explanation too, and I agree it's not really a good reason, but then again, naming cities on historical maps isn't as evident as it might seem... Do you use the language of the country currently in control of a city/region, the language of the country/entity in control at the time of the map, the accepted word in English? Those questions have annoyed me to no end :/
Reply
:iconartlovr59:
artlovr59 Featured By Owner Feb 23, 2015   Photographer
I hear you. Still, I can't help feeling it's rather a put-down, whether you speak of Breslau or Ofen. What about going with the name at the time? I think I would go with that.
Reply
:iconundevicesimus:
Undevicesimus Featured By Owner Feb 23, 2015   Artist
Yes but the languages back then weren't what they are now ^^ There's a 1000 year gap. Like, Breslau was initially called something like Vratislavia (after a guy named Vratislav), and that evolved to Presslau/Preßlau/Breslau in German and Wrocislaw/Wroclaw in Polish... This would just complicate things even further, I believe.
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:iconartlovr59:
artlovr59 Featured By Owner Feb 23, 2015   Photographer
Some languages change faster than others. But here's an idea: They all used Latin. Why not use the Latin names? At least in the year 1000 they were in fact using them, whereas in many cases the German form came later...
Reply
:iconundevicesimus:
Undevicesimus Featured By Owner Feb 23, 2015   Artist
Yea I guess Latin names could be a good alternative, but it wouldn't solve everything. This would f. ex. bring up the question of what to do with Byzantium and the Islamic empires? Use the Romanised Greek and Arabic names for places like Constantinople, Damascus and Córdoba? And concerning Western Europe, although nearly every place had a Latin name/settlement to go with it, I don't think it's fitting to keep using terms like Londinium, Mediolanum or Lugdunum for a map of Europe in the year 1000.
Reply
:iconartlovr59:
artlovr59 Featured By Owner Feb 23, 2015   Photographer
No, but they didn't use Roman Latin then. So you'd find the period Latin name and use that. Of course, once you're out of Western Europe, then perhaps use the dominant language. It's tough, no doubt.
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:icongoppo713:
Goppo713 Featured By Owner Feb 6, 2015
nice
Reply
:iconundevicesimus:
Undevicesimus Featured By Owner Feb 6, 2015   Artist
Thanks (:
Reply
:icontoixstory:
ToixStory Featured By Owner Nov 3, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I love this map, but there is an empty city marker right above Croatia.
Reply
:iconundevicesimus:
Undevicesimus Featured By Owner Nov 3, 2014   Artist
Ah damnit, it's true. Fixed. ^^
Reply
:iconmondspeer:
mondspeer Featured By Owner Sep 9, 2014
Great work. 

Which program did you use?
Reply
:iconundevicesimus:
Undevicesimus Featured By Owner Sep 9, 2014   Artist
Thanks :bow:

This one was done in PS.
Reply
:iconmondspeer:
mondspeer Featured By Owner Sep 10, 2014
Photoshop that is? Wow, well done. :clap:
Reply
:iconx--siegfried--x:
x--Siegfried--x Featured By Owner Aug 6, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
Wow ! That's impressive !
It's just one thing... I see on your map Alsace Linked to Lorraine, but at 925, Henry the Fowler, king of Germany had linked the Duchy of Alsace to the Duchy of Swabia.
Reply
:iconkrovmalenkov:
KrovMalenkov Featured By Owner Mar 15, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Seriously, no doubt about such detail!!!
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:iconundevicesimus:
Undevicesimus Featured By Owner Mar 15, 2014   Artist
Thank you :bow:!
Reply
:iconwoodsman2b:
woodsman2b Featured By Owner Jan 1, 2014
I don't know in what way exactly you updated the maps but it's always a pleasure to see them :) Also, are you gonna make new ones ?
Reply
:iconundevicesimus:
Undevicesimus Featured By Owner Jan 2, 2014   Artist
Mostly I did some minor corrections/improvements to the essays in the description :)

And yes, I'm going to make new ones this year... I hope alot of maps :XD:
Reply
:iconwoodsman2b:
woodsman2b Featured By Owner Jan 2, 2014
I clap hands to that ! And happy New Year :)
Reply
:iconundevicesimus:
Undevicesimus Featured By Owner Jan 2, 2014   Artist
:iconnewyearplz:
Reply
:iconk-haderach:
K-Haderach Featured By Owner Oct 8, 2013
The level of detail on this map is amazing! I don't think I've ever seen a map of 11th century Europe with so much information on it. But are you sure about some of those borders of Poland and Kievan Rus'? All borders were somewhat vague in those times, but, as far as I'm aware, the borders of Poland and Kievan Rus' (and some others, like the northern borders of Sweden and Norway) were particularly ill-defined.
Reply
:iconundevicesimus:
Undevicesimus Featured By Owner Oct 8, 2013   Artist
Thanks :bow:!

As you mention yourself, borders were very dynamic in those times and not at all like today's fixed frontiers. But I remember I did a lot of reading and compared many maps to create an approximate border for Poland and Kievan Rus'.
Reply
:iconk-haderach:
K-Haderach Featured By Owner Oct 9, 2013
I assumed you did. That must have taken a while... :)

Of course, it wasn't just the external borders that were vague and in constant flux. Internally, the power of the sovereign was not at all evenly distributed, sometimes local aristocrats were de facto independent (as we were just discussing above regarding France), and also individual villages or even entire small regions could run their own affairs independently for long periods of time (particularly if the king or local lord was too busy with something else to bother enforcing his authority). In this way, pre-modern "states" were not at all like the thing we call a "state" today.
Reply
:iconk-haderach:
K-Haderach Featured By Owner Oct 8, 2013
Also, are you sure about Brittany being part of the Kingdom of France? I thought it was only united with France in the 15th century.
Reply
:iconundevicesimus:
Undevicesimus Featured By Owner Oct 8, 2013   Artist
"France" in the modern-day sense of the word did not exist back then. What we call "the Kingdom of France" in the year 1000 was a collection of quasi-independent territories which recognized their king as first-among-equals, not an overlord (like Louis XIV). In the year 1000, the King of France had little or no power in his kingdom except for his dynastic crown domain, which at this point was basically only the Ile-de-France (roughly the area around Paris).

The event you are referring to is the annexation of Brittany into the royal crown domain of the French King (in the 1530's), not the annexation of Brittany into the Kingdom of France. The French Kings had been working for centuries to increase their royal domain, to gain a greater grip on the entire kingdom. From that long evolution emerged the centralized, absolutist Kingdom of France sometime during the 17th century (under Louis XIII, Cardinals Richelieu and Mazarin, and of course Louis XIV "the Sun King").
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:iconk-haderach:
K-Haderach Featured By Owner Oct 8, 2013
I see that Wikipedia still refers to this kingdom as "West Francia" until the late 10th century (for what that's worth). I knew that the feudal political structure of the High Middle Ages was highly decentralized, with the various Counts, Dukes and other powerful vassals essentially ruling their territories as independent domains and owing just military service to their suzerain king... so my question was more about suzerainty. Was the Duke of Brittany indeed a (nominal) vassal of the French King around the year 1000? I guess you are saying the answer is yes, in which case I learned something new about medieval France. :)

And thank you for setting the record straight about the annexation of Brittany - I was off by a century.
Reply
:iconfuror-teutonicus:
Furor-Teutonicus Featured By Owner Jun 4, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Wow, this is impressive! One can't find such a detailed Map of Europe of that period pretty often these days.
I'm myself history student and we're doing exact the same period in a seminar right now and I've been excited from the first time I saw your Map and of course the historic content.
It seems that you put hell a lot of time and effort into making Investigations about this historic Informations, didn't you? It appears to me like a Text out of historic literature. That's a really such good overview! Good work!
Reply
:iconundevicesimus:
Undevicesimus Featured By Owner Jun 4, 2013   Artist
Thank you very much :bow:

And yes, I spend a lot of nights researching, studying and working on history-related stuff :)
Reply
:iconwoodsman2b:
woodsman2b Featured By Owner May 30, 2013
Yeah ! This is another great map !!! Just one thing, I see the islands of Sicily, Sardinia and Corsica with the same color as Cordoba but they were not under Cordoban authority, were they ? Anyway, I'm so happy to see the Byzantine themes... Basil II on the throne ! Bulgars didn't know what was gonna happen to them and their empire...
Reply
:iconundevicesimus:
Undevicesimus Featured By Owner May 30, 2013   Artist
Oh yes damn! You're right, I can't believe I made that mistake... :doh: Sicily was an emirate under Kalbids as vassals of the Fatimids, Corsica was nominally under the HRE but de facto continuously disputed by Saracens, the HRE and the local feudal lords & Sardinia was ruled by the so-called "giudicati" until it was taken over by Aragon. (I just checked it)

Did I mention there's always a bunch of junk to fix in the first version? :XD:
Reply
:iconwoodsman2b:
woodsman2b Featured By Owner May 30, 2013
Haha I don't know, maybe ? But honestly, that's minor stuff considering all the work needed to make such a great map ! :) Hehe my maps are really basic compared to yours, I just focused on Rome and its boundaries and that's all...
Reply
:iconlaiqua-lasse:
Laiqua-lasse Featured By Owner May 30, 2013
Wonderful map, as yours are usually :)

One question/comment I had is regarding the northwestern border of Kievan Rus (between Rus and the Lithuanian tribes). Where did you find it to be so far north? For example, the Wikipedia map ([link] has that border approximately where the modern day border of Lithuania and Belarus is (although obviously not exactly that), while you show it to be going along the river Neris, ~100 km further north. I've never heard of these lands being part of Kievan Rus, so that makes me wonder.
Reply
:iconundevicesimus:
Undevicesimus Featured By Owner May 30, 2013   Artist
Thank you :bow:

Almost all the maps I checked (both on internet and in books) showed the border of Kievan Rus' that far north. I'm actually kind of surprised that the wikipedia map doesn't.

Borders were versatile things in those days, if they weren't definied by landscape features (rivers, mountain chains, etc.), I think it's important to keep that in mind. Especially on the wide steppes of Eastern Europe, I would imagine borders and frontline regions were flexible things...

(I wanted to add some links to other maps of Europe in AD 1000, so you can compare, but it tells me "the server thinks it's spam")... I'll try sending a note (:
Reply
:iconlaiqua-lasse:
Laiqua-lasse Featured By Owner May 30, 2013
Thanks for the reply :) And I realize that borders were fragile and versatile, so such variance among maps is all understandable.
Reply
:iconraubritter:
Raubritter Featured By Owner May 30, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
I could have used this four days ago so BADLY XD

Thanks anyway
Reply
:iconundevicesimus:
Undevicesimus Featured By Owner May 30, 2013   Artist
Damn, sorry man :) The map was finished for five days already, but dA & Firefox constantly crashed when I tried to upload :/ Last night it finally worked.
Reply
:iconraubritter:
Raubritter Featured By Owner May 30, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Kyrie Eleison!
Reply
:iconhildugard:
Hildugard Featured By Owner Jun 1, 2013  Student Artist
Mr. Mister fan?. :)
Reply
:iconraubritter:
Raubritter Featured By Owner Jun 2, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
:D
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:iconlombregrise:
lombregrise Featured By Owner May 30, 2013  Professional Writer
excellent, as usual, and the comments are quite welcome!
Reply
:iconundevicesimus:
Undevicesimus Featured By Owner May 30, 2013   Artist
Thank you very much :bow:!
Reply
:iconartlovr59:
artlovr59 Featured By Owner May 29, 2013   Photographer
Very nice!
Reply
:iconundevicesimus:
Undevicesimus Featured By Owner May 30, 2013   Artist
Thank you :bow:
Reply
:iconartlovr59:
artlovr59 Featured By Owner May 30, 2013   Photographer
You're welcome!
Reply
:icongt-illustrator:
GT-Illustrator Featured By Owner May 29, 2013  Professional Digital Artist
:) :clap:
Reply
:iconundevicesimus:
Undevicesimus Featured By Owner May 30, 2013   Artist
:bow:
Reply
:iconkalika12:
kalika12 Featured By Owner May 29, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
The green region names in Italy are unable to read because the colour makes it mend with the background ^^;
And I thought that the pope had recognized Hungary as a kingdom in 1001,not 1000...
Anyway,itīs great.I learned a lot!;)
Reply
:iconundevicesimus:
Undevicesimus Featured By Owner May 30, 2013   Artist
Oh yes, you're right.. Well, I'll update the map soon anyway. There's always a couple of "bugs" in the first version :) Thanks for noticing.

About Hungary... Stephen was crowned King either on Christmas Day in the year 1000, or New Years Day in 1001. It's not verifiable, but those few days of uncertainty don't really matter. Most sources/books I checked say Hungary became a kingdom in the year 1000... Also, the year 1000 is easy to remember, no? :XD:
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