Compare political and social developments in eastern and western Europe

Ruth Jenkins


From 600CE to 1450CE Europe was identified by its two main regions, Western Europe and Eastern Europe. Over time, both of these regions developed politically and socially in their own way.Though many areas of their social and political standings were far from similar, for instance how much power their churches held politically or how their citizens reacted to changes in their social order, Eastern and Western Europe could not completely ignore the similarities between them, for example the way they both ruled thier societies with local leaders who reported to the king and how they botyh faught for the same cause in the Crusaids. No matter how much they disagreed or what they called themselves, nothing could change them from who they were united, Europeans.

I. Eastern Europe

  • A. Social Developments

    • Followed the Eastern Orthodox Church
    • Women could obtain some rights
    • The social classes were not extremely tight and were flexible towards movement
    • Large peasant class
    • Interacted with major societies regularlyTechnologically advanced for there timeTechnologically advanced during their time
      • Controlled many major trading cities (example: Constantinople)
    • Technologically advanced during their time
    • Was involved in the Crusades
  • B. Political Development

    • Had sectional military leadership
    • Military service was benefited by land grants
    • Followed the Corpus Juris Civilis (Justinian Code)
      • One ruler over the government and church
      • Believed their ruler was divinely chosen
    • Centralized government
      • Autocratic rule- developed by Justinian. The king has absolute authority over religious and political affairs.

II. Western Europe

  • A. Social Developments

    • Strict adherence to the Roman Catholic Church
    • Woman had little to no rights
    • Very rigid social classes
    • The majority of society was tied to agriculture
      • Serfs had to give a share of crops to the lords as payment
    • Nobility of birth determined one's status
      • Marriage was key to gaining political power
    • Followed a code of chivalry
    • Raided seasonally by local Vikings
    • Also was involved in the Crusades
  • B. Political Developments

    • King and aristocrats held about the same amount of power
    • The Catholic church held more power than the king and aristocrats combined
      • Kept society more unified and centralized than in previous times
    • Sectional leadership by lords or vassals
    • Magna Carta 1215

Western and Eastern Europe
Western and Eastern Europe
Justinian and his wife Theodora
Justinian and his wife Theodora

Roman Catholic Church
Roman Catholic Church