chapter  2
40 Pages

European Roots

During the early part of the Middle Ages, known as the “Dark Ages,” wars and internal strife made survival difficult. The society was poor in resources, and its hierarchical structure led to the concentration of assets in the hands of the overprivileged few. It was a violent civilization, yet it was impotent against disease and epidemics. Religion, as interpreted by the church, provided not only moral norms, but also a sanction for extremism, with all that it entailed.2 the period from 400 to 1400 was an arduous one for children. In the years 400 to 900, many children did not live past their first days on earth. Between 900 and 1400, a child’s fate often depended upon his station in life. Although their birthrate was approximately the same, the upper classes left more heirs than the lower classes. Only one child out of every two or three lived to maturity.3