Controversy, heresy, and the Western Schism within the Catholic Church paralleled the interstate conflict, civil strife, and 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.
Bruni and later historians argued that Italy had recovered since Petrarch's time, and therefore added a third period to Petrarch's two.
The "Middle Ages" first appears in Latin in 1469 as media tempestas or "middle season". Depending on the context, events such as Christopher Columbus's first voyage to the Americas in 1492, the conquest of Constantinople by the Turks in 1453, or the Protestant Reformation in 1517 are sometimes used.
It covered much of Western Europe but later succumbed to the pressures of internal civil wars combined with external invasions—Vikings from the north, Hungarians from the east, and Saracens from the south.
During the High Middle Ages, which began after 1000, the population of Europe increased greatly as technological and agricultural innovations allowed trade to flourish and the Medieval Warm Period climate change allowed crop yields to increase.
364–378) to settle in the Roman province of Thracia in the Balkans.