What developments and achievements influenced life in Medieval Europe?

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Spices, first encountered by Europeans during the Crusades, profoundly affected European cuisines. Prior to soldiers returning home from the Crusades with spices, European foods were bland and indistinct. Subsequently, French, Italian and German cuisines began to exhibit their distinctive characteristics.

Navies, as a defensive force, developed in England to repel...

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Spices, first encountered by Europeans during the Crusades, profoundly affected European cuisines. Prior to soldiers returning home from the Crusades with spices, European foods were bland and indistinct. Subsequently, French, Italian and German cuisines began to exhibit their distinctive characteristics.

Navies, as a defensive force, developed in England to repel Viking invaders. The organization required to sustain an effective navy enabled England's various kingdoms to unite into a formidable nation-state capable of defending itself. Life in coastal towns no longer getting sacked by Viking raiding parties improved immensely.

Many events can be said to have bookended the Medieval period. From the point of view of the Catholic church, it began with a gradual process of the Pope replacing the Roman emperor as the most powerful political figure; by the 12th Century, the Pope had the unprecedented ability to raise an army. One of the many events that ended the Medieval period was the Protestant Reformation, which effectively ended the Pope's ability to raise troops for Crusades (a perennially popular rallying cause).

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