"and from the 11th century until the slump and crisis of the 14th and 15th centuries stretch the High Middle Ages, and epoch of economic growth, territorial expansion and dynamic cultural and social change.
"The vitality of European society between the late 10th and early 14th centuries can be seen in many spheres of life. The scale and speed of production and distribution were transformed: the population grew, the cultivated area expanded, urbanization and commercialization restructured economic and social life. Alongside the spread of money, and of banking and business devices, there developed in some areas a level of manufacturing activity that had never previously been attained. The same creativity is found in social organization. in many areas of life fundamental institutions and structures were given their decisive shape in the centuries: the incorporated town, the university, central representative bodies, the international orders of the Roman Catholic Church--all date from this epoch." -- Robert Bartlett, The Making of Europe, p. 2