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Change over Time Essay (Europe from 500 to 1500)

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In Europe from 500 CE to 1500 CE, a continuity was the importance of the Church, and two changes were the split of the church into two branches, Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox, and the ruination of structure in Europe caused by the black plague. A continuity in Europe was the importance of the Church. The importance of the church happened because of how the earlier empires used Christianity as a unifier. The popularity of Christianity was first spread during the decline of the Roman Empire. It’s popularity became enforced by the Byzantine Empire, when Justinian tried to rebuild the Roman Empire.

Justinian was often portrayed with his officials on his left, and the church powers on his right. He used Christianity to unite the people under his rule. Another time when the church’s importance was enforced was the mass conversion of Russia under the rule of Vladimir I. He ruled from 980 to 1015, and when he converted, he converted not only himself, but his entire empire. Vladimir organized mass baptisms for his subjects, forcing conversions by military pressure. He created his own branch of Christianity, Russian Orthodox.

A change in Europe was the split of the church to two branches, Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox starting in 1054. An ambitious church patriarch in Constantinople raised several old questions about Christianity, causing this great split. The Roman Catholic church believed that the bread for communion cannot be made with yeast, that the priest should take vows of celibacy, placing great power in the Pope in rome, and being much more strict in their rules. The Eastern Orthodox church were much looser in their values, believing the the bread used for communion could be baked with yeast, that priests could be allowed to marry, diminishing the power of the pope, and being much more lax in rules of the church. The Eastern Orthodox church were less strict in their values because they had more influence from other religions as they were closer to the trade routes than the places where Roman Catholicism was popular.

Not only this, but Roman Catholicism was popular in the west because of it’s proximity to Rome, where the Pope was and held power. One great change in Europe was the destruction of the structure of Europe, caused by the black death, better known as the black plague. It was one of the biggest pandemics to ever happen in history, killing over a third of the population in Europe, about 75 to 200 million people. It is believed that the plague originated from the plains of central Asia, and traveled to Europe through the silk road. It destroyed Europe politically because people were more concerned about dying from the plague instead of honoring their part of the deal in the feudalistic society, therefore destroying any sort of order. The economy and intellectual arts were eradicated because everyone was dying rather than working in the fields and manufacturing goods or ideas. Social conditions declined because everyone was panicked and distraught. People didn’t interact so much, being scared to spread the plague.

One continuity and two changes in Europe from 500 CE to 1500 CE was importance of the church, the splitting of the church into two branches, and the dissolving of structure in Europe caused by the black plague, respectively.

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