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Western Civilization

1) Catholic Church functioned both as official and unofficial institution, which reflected two ways of its development. It was influential politically as its opinion was taken into account by monarchs when they took decisions on internal and external policy. At the same time, official rules and rituals were to be followed. At the same time, a lower level religion existed, a folk one, which combined a whole range of heterogeneous beliefs originating from different epochs, including Pre-Christian ones.

2) Middle Ages are considered to be transition between two epochs: antiquity and Renaissance, which in its turn was the start of the new modern Era. Middle Ages are often underestimated as an epoch because of their controversy, which included numerous wars and feuds in which numerous people died, inquisition, witch hunt, and plague. Thus, in this respect this was a decline of the previous civilization of great empires. Apparently, the period was a complex one because breaking the old and shaping the new is a painful process. Yet, as a result of this transition and chaos new vision of the world and a place of a human was formed, as well as sovereignty of new states were established.

3) The major factor that contributed to urbanization and towns growth is the development of trade, especially when Mediterranean territory got involved and new trade routes were open between the West and the East. Peace periods between the two areas and commercial agreements stimulated trade and economic growth. Merchant and craft guilds in towns made it easier for their participants to defend their joint rights and achieve favorable trade conditions, which eventually led to growth of towns.

4) Magna Carta is a document signed by King John that established the rights and the duties of English citizens. In fact, it guaranteed more liberty to feudal barons, who were protected from absolute royal influence and law breaking. Because it was confined only to a certain group of people, it is obviously a medieval charter by its nature , as it does not provide equal rights to all, only to the class that was crucial to medieval society and royal power. Yet, it can be considered to be a predecessor of a modern legal documents because it establishes agreement between the state and a citizen, and defends one from abuse of power.

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