I’m not sure we can truly appreciate how the world worked in the Medieval era because we here in the United States are so used to the concept of self-governance and separation of church and state.
The Roman Empire had provided unity of most of western Europe. With the inclusion of Christianity as the exclusive religion of the Empire, it could dictate to the daily behaviors of European peasants. When the Empire went away, it became unsafe to travel the roads, cities became disease-ridden (because sewers want maintenance) and trade became very difficult beyond a few miles from any village. People craved the sense of unity that the Roman Empire had engendered and the concept of hierarchial political organization that called for one ultimate head over all existing states.
The Holy Roman Empire was an attempt to reacquire those ideals. It never completely worked. France and England, for example, never…
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