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Leonardo Bruni was the first historian to use tripartite periodisation in his History of the Florentine People (1442), with a middle period "between the fall of the Roman Empire and the revival of city life sometime in late eleventh and twelfth centuries". 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.Historians from Romance-speaking countries tend to divide the Middle Ages into two parts: an earlier "High" and later "Low" period.Although there were substantial changes in society and political structures, the break with classical antiquity was not complete.
The need for revenue led to increased taxes and a decline in numbers of the curial, or landowning, class, and decreasing numbers of them willing to shoulder the burdens of holding office in their native towns.
More bureaucrats were needed in the central administration to deal with the needs of the army, which led to complaints from civilians that there were more tax-collectors in the empire than tax-payers. 284–305) split the empire into separately administered eastern and western halves in 286; the empire was not considered divided by its inhabitants or rulers, as legal and administrative promulgations in one division were considered valid in the other.
The settlement did not go smoothly, and when Roman officials mishandled the situation, the Goths began to raid and plunder.
The Migration Period began, when various peoples, initially largely Germanic peoples, moved across Europe.
Manorialism, the organisation of peasants into villages that owed rent and labour services to the nobles, and 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.Monasteries were founded as campaigns to Christianise pagan Europe continued.The Franks, under the Carolingian dynasty, briefly established the Carolingian Empire during the later 8th and early 9th century.The medieval period is itself subdivided into the Early, High, and Late Middle Ages.Population decline, counterurbanisation, collapse of centralized authority, invasions, and mass migrations of tribes, which had begun in Late Antiquity, continued in the Early Middle Ages.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, and by the founding of universities.It began with the fall of the Western Roman Empire and transitioned 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, and the modern period.Although the movements of peoples during this period are usually described as "invasions", they were not just military expeditions but migrations of entire peoples into the empire. When the line of Western emperors ceased, many of the kings who replaced them were from the same background.Such movements were aided by the refusal of the Western Roman elites to support the army or pay the taxes that would have allowed the military to suppress the migration. Intermarriage between the new kings and the Roman elites was common.