Middle French ( French: moyen français) is a historical division of the French language that covers the period from the 14th to the 16th century. It is a period of transition during which: the literary development of French prepared the vocabulary and grammar for the Classical French ( le français classique) spoken in the 17th and 18th centuries.
Within Old French many dialects emerged but the Francien dialect is one that not only continued but also thrived during the Middle French period (14th–17th centuries). Modern French grew out of this Francien dialect. Grammatically, during the period of Middle French, noun declensions were lost and there began to be standardized rules.
Category:Middle French literature. Literature written in French between c. 1340 and c. 1610; this overlaps with both Medieval French literature (c. 1340 to c. 1480) and French Renaissance literature (c. 1440 to c. 1610). Works of the mid 15th century can in good faith be classed as both "medieval" and "Renaissance", so just put them in both ...
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Medieval French literature is, for the purpose of this article, Medieval literature written in Oïl languages (particularly Old French and early Middle French) during the period from the eleventh century to the end of the fifteenth century. The material and cultural conditions in France and associated territories around the year 1100 unleashed ...
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From the Middle Ages onward, French rulers believed their kingdoms had natural borders: the Pyrenees, the Alps and the Rhine. This was used as a pretext for an aggressive policy and repeated invasions. The belief, however, had little basis in reality for not all of these territories were part of the Kingdom and the authority of the King within his kingdom would be quite fluctuant. The lands that composed the Kingdom of France showed great geographical diversity; the northern and central parts enjoyed a temperate climate while the southern part was closer to the Mediterranean climate. While there were great differences between the northern and southern parts of the kingdom there were equally important differences depending on the distance of mountains: mainly the Alps, the Pyrenees and the Massif Central. France had important rivers that were used as waterways: the Loire, the Rhone, the Seine as well as the Garonne. These rivers were settled earlier than the rest and important cities...
At the end of the Middle Ages, France was the most populous region[clarification needed] in Europe—having overtaken Spain and Italy by 1340. In the 14th century, before the arrival of the Black Death, the total population of the area covered by modern-day France has been estimated at around 16 million. The population of Paris is controversial. Josiah Russell argued for about 80,000 in the early 14th century, although he noted that some other scholars suggested 200,000. The higher count would make it by far the largest city in western Europe; the lower count would put it behind Venice with 100,000 and Florence with 96,000. The Black Death killed an estimated one-third of the population from its appearance in 1348. The concurrent Hundred Years' Warslowed recovery. It would be the mid-16th century before the population recovered to mid-fourteenth century levels. In the early Middle Ages, France was a center of Jewish learning, but increasing persecution, and a series of expulsions in t...
In the Middle Ages in France, Medieval Latin was the primary medium of scholarly exchange and the liturgical language of the medieval Roman Catholic Church; it was also the language of science, literature, law, and administration. From 1200 on, vernacular languages began to be used in administrative work and the law courts, but Latin would remain an administrative and legal language until the Ordinance of Villers-Cotterêts(1539) prescribed the use of French in all judicial acts, notarized contracts and official legislation. The vast majority of the population however spoke a variety of vernacular languages derived from vulgar Latin, the common spoken language of the western Roman empire. The medieval Italian poet Dante, in his Latin De vulgari eloquentia, classified the Romance languages into three groups by their respective words for "yes": Nam alii oc, alii si, alii vero dicunt oil, "For some say oc, others say si, others say oïl". The oïl languages – from Latin hoc ille, "that is...
In the Middle Ages in France, the vast majority of the population—between 80 and 90 percent—were peasants. Traditional categories inherited from the Roman and Merovingian period (distinctions between free and unfree peasants, between tenants and peasants who owned their own land, etc.) underwent significant changes up to the 11th century. The traditional rights of "free" peasants—such as service in royal armies (they had been able to serve in the royal armies as late as Charlemagne's reign) a...
Cities and towns
Much of the Gallo-Roman urban network of cities survived (albeit much changed) into the Middle Ages as regional centers and capitals: certain cities had been chosen as centers of bishoprics by the church (for example, Paris, Reims, Aix, Tours, Carcassonne and Narbonne, Auch, Albi, Bourges, Lyon, etc.), others as seats of local (county, duchy) administrative power (such as Angers, Blois, Poitiers, Toulouse). In many cases (such as with Poitiers) cities were seats of both episcopal and administ...
Aristocracy, nobles, knights
In the Carolingian period, the "aristocracy" (nobilis in the Latin documents) was by no means a legally defined category. With traditions going back to the Romans; one was "noble" if he or she possessed significant land holdings, had access to the king and royal court, could receive honores and benefices for service (such as being named count or duke). Their access to political power in the Carolingian period might also necessitate a need for education. Their wealth and power was also evident...
During the later years of the elderly Charlemagne's rule, the Vikings made advances along the northern and western perimeters of his kingdom. After Charlemagne's death in 814 his heirs were incapable of maintaining political unity and the empire began to crumble. The Treaty of Verdun of 843 divided the Carolingian Empire, and Charles the Bald ruled over West Francia, roughly corresponding to the territory of modern France. Viking advances were allowed to escalate, and their dreaded longboats...
The First Capetians
The history of medieval France starts with the election of Hugh Capet (940–996) by an assembly summoned in Reims in 987. Capet was previously "Duke of the Franks" and then became "King of the Franks" (Rex Francorum). Hugh's lands extended little beyond the Paris basin; his political unimportance weighed against the powerful barons who elected him. Many of the king's vassals (who included for a long time the kings of England) ruled over territories far greater than his own. He was recorded to...
Louis VI and Louis VII
It is from Louis VI (reigned 1108–1137) onward that royal authority became more accepted. Louis VI was more a soldier and warmongering king than a scholar. The way the king raised money from his vassals made him quite unpopular; he was described as greedy and ambitious and that is corroborated by records of the time. His regular attacks on his vassals, although damaging the royal image, reinforced the royal power. From 1127 onward Louis had the assistance of a skilled religious statesman, Abb...
The period after the death of Charlemagne was marked by an economic crisis caused by political instability; town life all but disappeared. However, this had changed by the 11th century. The introduction of new crops, the improvements in the climate, and the introduction of new agricultural technologies created a large agricultural surplus. This was accompanied by the growth in town life, trade, and industry. The economy once again collapsed in the fourteenth century because of war, bad weather, and the Black Death. The rural economy was based on the manor; in urban areas economic activity was organized around guilds.
1. For the literature of Northern France written in one of the Old French languages ("langues d'oïl") and (later) Middle French, see Medieval French literature. 2. For the literature of Southern France written in one of the Occitan languages, see Occitan literature. 3. For the literature written in the "langue d'oïl" Anglo-Norman language during the Norman rule of England, see Anglo-Norman literature.
Art was a large staple of the medieval France.
Early Middle Ages
1. Stéphane Lebecq. Les origines franques: Ve-IXe siècles. Series: Nouvelle histoire de la France médiévale. Paris: Editions du Seuil, 1999. ISBN 2-02-011552-2 2. Chris Wickham. The Inheritance of Rome: Illuminating the Dark Ages, 400–1000. Penguin: 2009. ISBN 978-0-14-311742-1
High Middle Ages
1. Dominique Barthélemy. (in French) L'ordre seigneurial: XIe-XIIe siècle. Series: Nouvelle histoire de la France médiévale, tome 3. Editions du Seuil. ISBN 2-02-011554-9 2. Marc Bloch. Feudal Society. 2nd edition: Routledge, 1989. ISBN 978-0226059785 3. Constance Brittain Bouchard. Strong of Body, Brave and Noble": Chivalry and Society in Medieval France. ISBN 978-0801485480 4. Norman F. Cantor. The Civilization of the Middle Ages. New York: HarperPerennial, 1993. ISBN 0-06-092553-1 5. Alain...