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The Birth of a New Europe About 1000 CE: Conversion, Transfer of Institutional Models, New Dynamics

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The spread of Christianity, the new state formation processes, the economic, social and cultural evolution, and the development of ecclesiastical and political institutions in East Central and Northern Europe after the turn of the first millennium provide an excellent subject for a broad comparative enterprise dealing with the transmission of institutional and cultural models. This period was a noteworthy and well articulated phase of Euroepan history as a whole, described by Marc Bloch as the "deuxième âge féodal"; this was the "age of the cathedrals" for Georges Duby and the high point of the "civilization of the medieval West" for Jacques Le Goff. More recently, it has been characterized by Robert Bartlett as the "making" and the "Europeanization" of Europe, and by R. I. Moore as "the first European revolution". If any model can be identified in the evolution of medieval Europe, this period is the best place to look for it. And if one is trying to observe the transfer of models, what better territory can there be than East Central and Northern Europe, whose people opted, precisely in this period, to follow the example of Europa Occidens? In my essay I provide a brief overview of the studies related to four aspects of this process: the conversion to Christianity, the extension of ecclesiastical structures and of religious orders, the formation of dynastic cults, and the evolution of social categories in the High Middle Ages, looking for similarities and differences in the evolution of these two regions.


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