Medieval Culture

The Medieval Culture is a set of philosophical manifestations, literary, religious, scientific, mixing factors of Greco-Roman and Germanic cultures, a synthesis permeated by Christian aspects.

It is worth noting that the Catholic Church had a marked preponderance throughout the medieval period (4th to 15th centuries), especially when the Franks and the Germanic tribes joined Christianity.

In such a way, it held about a third of the arable land, which guaranteed a considerable economic power.

In addition, education was in charge of the Church, where all knowledge was impregnated with religiosity, which ended up motivating the Renaissance to call this historical period as “Dark Ages”.

To learn more about the period, access the links: Middle Ages and Medieval Church

Historical Context: Summary

The period comprising the Middle Ages encompasses approximately a millennium of history and begins during the 4th and 5th centuries.

Its initial milestone is the dismantling of the Western Roman Empire. The Middle Ages remained until the 14th and 15th centuries, with the crisis of feudalism and the rise of national states. However, it was between the 11th and 13th centuries that “medieval culture” reached its peak.

From the 10th century onwards, in Western Europe an economic, social, political and cultural restructuring began that will culminate in the Cultural and Urban Renaissance perpetrated by the bourgeoisie.

In addition, pilgrimages, fairs and the copyist movement in the Monasteries contributed to the cultural spread throughout the Middle Ages.

To learn more: Cultural Renaissance and Urban Renaissance

Main features

Below are some of the main characteristics of the medieval period, in the fields of education, arts and sciences.

Medieval and Scholastic Education

From the outset, it is worth noting that only a minority of the medieval population knew how to read and write, since, as a rule, only the children of the nobility studied.

Anyway, for most of the medieval period, Latin was the official language, especially when it came to writing. Its oral version supported a less educated form.

Another highlight that must be done is for the School Institution that developed from the 12th century onwards: Scholastics , a method by which it was intended to discover the truth through dialectics.

This form of teaching developed in the Monasteries and in the Schools of the Cathedrals, main centers of study and depository of intellectual production, until the creation of the Universities, which were still closely linked to the Church throughout the 12th century.

Consequently, in these centers of knowledge, the authors of Classical Antiquity, such as Aristotle and Plato, were highly valued, who dedicated themselves to St. Thomas Aquinas and St. Augustine, the main theologians of the medieval period.

Learn more about Medieval Philosophy .

Medieval Architecture

In medieval architecture, the Romantic (High Middle Ages) styles stood out , characterized by austerity and solidity and the Gothic style , marked by lightness and slender forms.

Medieval architecture was well known for the construction of castles, but it was in the Churches and Cathedrals that religious architecture flourished.

In these sacred spaces, it was necessary to portray religious and moralizing scenes to catechize the population.

Medieval music

The music also received great influence from the Church, considering the sacred singing, especially Gregorian Great Gregorian (Pope Gregory I), composed of male voices in the shape of a choir.

However, while the Italian monk Guido d’Arezzo created the line of four lines and musical scale, the troubadours and minstrels spread popular music.

The main musical styles of the time were modal music, polyphonic music, ars antiqua and ars nova , as well as variations of profane music.

In turn, the most used musical instruments were the Zither, the Lute, the Harp, the Flute and the Drums.

Medieval Literature

Medieval literature was marked by the use of Latin in most texts, which reflected the religious and existential themes of Christian morality.

However, the vernacular manifestations in lyrical and narrative form of the 12th century, broke with this tradition and marked the abandonment of classical Latin.

There is the appearance of troubadour poetry, as in the songs of gesture, scorn, love, friendship, which marked medieval thought until the appearance of Quinhentismo, in the middle of 1418.

To learn more read the articles:

  • Medieval Literature
  • Troubadour
  • 16th century

Medieval Cooking

Medieval cuisine is very rich and stands out for the use of spices such as nutmeg, cinnamon, ginger, powdered cloves, saffron, used in the production of sauces for red meat, poultry and fish.

Despite this variety, the most consumed foods were breads and cereals, as well as potato stews and broths, as meat was a very valuable food.

Medieval Science

As for medieval scientific aspects, Alchemy, with a notably Arab influence, as well as medicine, influenced by Greek and Eastern doctors, are worth mentioning.

Leave a Comment