Between 200 CE and 1000 CE, the Mediterranean region experienced substantial political turmoil, leading to the emergence of various cultures. Initially, the Roman Empire’s political consolidation brought advancements in technology, art, and trade. Nevertheless, with Rome’s decline and the rise of feudalism, a significant cultural transformation occurred that revolved around security.
During this period of change, both Christianity and the patriarchal society played a significant role as guiding factors in Mediterranean culture. Towards the end of this period, political fragmentation in the region led to decreased trade and fewer cultural exchanges. Within this time frame, the Roman Empire underwent various forms of government that influenced the cultural values of its people, while maintaining a consistent social hierarchy and religious practices.
In 200 CE, the Roman Empire thrived, covering a vast territory. Power was centralized under the emperor, with a senate and administration for specific regions. Being a multinational empire, diverse ideas from different ethnic groups emerged and spread among the population. This resulted in the development of sophisticated cities that became hubs for art, music, literature, and education. Trade within the empire was secure under Roman rule, leading to cultural exchanges of technology, knowledge, products, and ideas. Additionally, Christianity gained followers as believers spread their ideals and values to others.
After the fall of the Roman Empire in 600 CE, political turmoil ensued as the absence of a centralized government allowed for invasion by external states. This led to the establishment of Germanic kingdoms, each with their own customs and beliefs. In the absence of a unified governing authority, Christianity emerged as a unifying force, greatly strengthening the role of churches. Concurrently, feudalism began to take shape, increasing the influence of local leaders.
The manor system was implemented by local leaders, establishing a hierarchical structure of lords, vassals, and peasants with their fiefs. As a result, each territory became more isolated due to constant fear of invasion or attack, resulting in a greater sense of independence. The operation of the manor system required peasants to prioritize agricultural labor for protection and survival, leaving less time for cultural exchanges.
During these periods of change in Mediterranean culture, certain aspects remained constant. The elites and upper class maintained their dominance in society, holding the majority of power across the region. The social structure continued to be patriarchal, with women being expected to fulfill domestic roles. This belief of female subservience to men existed even with the introduction of the feudal system. Christianity played a crucial role in unifying the people during times of turmoil, as they embraced God as a source of salvation.
By the year 1000 CE, the Mediterranean and its surrounding regions experienced significant political fragmentation. The predominant survival methods were feudalism and manor systems, resulting in a profound impact on culture. This impact manifested through various means such as defending against external threats, engaging in agricultural or specialized occupations, and seeking sanctuary through prayer. The limited protection available led to restricted trade along the usual routes, thereby impeding cultural exchanges.