The German Lands, 700–1100
Medieval German society was by no means static in spite of a literate predilection for well-defined legal theories to apply to its various classes. As elsewhere, social changes were, in part, inspired and fuelled by economic growth. This chapter examines how economic resources helped to reshape medieval German society century by century, first by asking how such a society was assembled in the first place, keeping in mind the gradual assimilation of huge areas east of the River Rhine by the Franks under Merovingian and Carolingian direction ever since the 6th century. When one considers the overall history of the establishment of new settlements, the growth of towns, and the internal and external colonisation so characteristic of the German Middle Ages, the purported acceleration in population increase in the 12th and 13th centuries seems probable.
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