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The Church, once so highly respected by the general populace, suffered reduced status when some of its priests refused to minister to the dying during the plague and sparked resentment when it enjoyed enormous profits in bequests from plague victims.
And the reduction in population triggered economic and political changes that would never be reversed.
The nobility, the clergy, the peasantry, the guilds—all were group entities that saw to the welfare of their members but put the welfare of the community, and their own community in particular, first.
The Early Medieval Era is sometimes still called the Dark Ages.
This epithet originated with those who wanted to compare the earlier period unfavorably with their own so-called "enlightened" age.
Generally, the medieval era is divided into three periods: the Early Middle Ages, the High Middle Ages, and the Late Middle Ages.
Like the Middle Ages itself, each of these three periods lacks hard and fast parameters.
This period is often what we think of when someone mentions "medieval culture." It is sometimes referred to as the "flowering" of medieval society, thanks to an intellectual renaissance in the 12th century, such notable philosophers as Peter Abelard and Thomas Aquinas, and the establishment of such Universities as those in Paris, Oxford, and Bologna.
There was an explosion of stone castle-building and the construction of some of the most magnificent cathedrals in Europe.
Even limiting it to a mere 300 years, the High Middle Ages saw such significant events as Norman conquests in Britain and Sicily, the earlier Crusades, the Investiture Controversy and the signing of the Magna Carta.
By the end of the 11th century, nearly every corner of Europe had become Christianized (with the notable exception of much of Spain), and the Papacy, long established as a political force, was in constant struggle with some secular governments and alliance with others.