Europe Prehistory

By | January 3, 2023

The unitary culture, the Mediterranean culture, which characterized the Roman Empire even in its late stages, had definitely collapsed around 1500. The Ottoman Empire’s expansion across the Balkans closed this area of ​​European influence for several centuries. Something similar was the case with the vast Russian territory, which since the Mongol conquest in the 1200’s. preferably had received impulses from the east. These peripheral areas therefore also followed a different pattern of development from the rest of Europe.

Here, about 1,500 breaches could be traced in almost all areas. Everywhere the population had again begun to grow after the great losses associated with the 1300’s plague epidemics. According to a soluble estimate, there lived around 1500 approximately 80 million people in Europe, including European Russia. This number had grown around 1600 to approximately 110 million to further increase to approximately 187 million around 1800. There was an unprecedentedly high growth rate, a population explosion.

The renewed increase in population had significant economic and social effects. Many cities were now growing rapidly after centuries of stagnation, and at the same time the growing pressure on natural resources required a steady streamlining of agriculture and food production, which in turn gave rise to significant changes. Europe thus experienced in the 1500’s. for the first time in centuries, a general inflation, a price revolution, which endowed the continent’s economic life with an unprecedented lack of stability.

In addition, there were extensive changes in the usual trading patterns. The great discoveries and improved ship technology, in connection with the Turks’ blocking of the caravan routes to the Orient, meant that the old trade routes became less important. Instead, new ones emerged, predominantly oriented towards the Atlantic and primarily based on maritime transport. The economic center of gravity increasingly became the areas around the English Channel, and cities such as London, Amsterdam and Antwerp experienced a period of prosperity, while old centers such as Venice and the southern German cities languished. During the 1500’s. the economic division of labor between Eastern and Western Europe was strengthened. Visit Countryaah for detailed information about East Europe, West Europe, Central Europe and Southern Europe. The sparsely populated areas around the Baltic Sea produced a surplus of cheap grain, meat and raw materials, which were then processed and consumed in the rich, densely populated Western Europe.

There was also a break in consciousness. Fundamentalist religious movements gathered in the Protestant Reformations (the Lutheran 1517, the Zwinglian 1519 and the Calvinist 1541), which definitively shattered the old utopia of a unified Christianity under the papal clergy and the secular authority of the emperor. Due to the ecclesiastical schism, the old German-Roman Empire was split into a northern Protestant and a southern Catholic part, which led to a significant weakening of the Habsburg emperor in relation to the local princely powers. A whole new dividing line emerged in Europe: on the one hand a Protestant Northern Europe, which more and more distanced itself from the Latin world, on the other a Catholic Southern Europe, which was still dominated by the old Mediterranean culture. To the east, the Orthodox Church dominated.

At the same time, the Italian Renaissance and its northern European counterpart led to a quantum leap in consciousness that left long traces in European civilization. At its core was the abandonment of the medieval notion of creation as a completed process and earthly society as an imperfect reflection of an eternal divine order. This cosmological way of thinking was gradually replaced by a conception that could be called anthropocentric in the sense that it put man at the center and thought all things from there. Man was, from this point of view, endowed with a free will and created to create; creation was a continuous process, and man was not just a product of God’s creation, but instead an opportunity, a part of the very process of creation. This new belief in man’s ability to shape the future for better or worse gave European civilization a new, almost aggressive and experimental touch. It was thus hardly unrelated to the fact that powers such as Spain, France, the Netherlands and England in the following centuries created an extensive network of overseas colonies with the result that European civilization around 1800 dominated approximately 35% of the total land mass of the globe.

The colonial empires in Asia, Africa and the Americas made Europe the center of a worldwide economic system and, in the long run, gained great importance for the development of the continent. Economically, because the colonies became an inexhaustible source of cheap raw materials and at the same time a large market for European industry, which became a significant triggering factor for the industrial revolution of the 1700’s. Politically, because the colonial occupation favored the Atlantic-facing naval powers, each of which became centers of worldwide empires. This relationship also explains that conflicts between the European powers often had a tendency to spread to the whole world.

Romania’s prehistory

Romania’s prehistory is the country’s history up to around 600-500 before our time.

Stone Age

The oldest prehistoric finds from Romania are of the abbevilli character. One of the richest sites of Paleolithic time is Ripiceni in the Suceava region. Here, an area of ​​up to 12-13 meters thick cultural layers is uncovered on a 2100 square meter area. The oldest finds represent the Clactonien culture. Further up in the settlement layers, from the Mousterian period, several fireplaces and bone remains have been found that testify to the hunting of the elephant species Mammuthus primigenius. Remains of the Neanderthal man have been found in the Chaba-Ponor cave. Several settlement phases have been identified with houses, tombs, flint implements, ornamental objects made by mammoth teeth and animal statuettes as well as so-called “Venus statuettes” of clay. C-14 dates indicate that the Dolní Věstonice settlement dates back to approximately 24,000 BCE.

The paleolithic cultures were followed by Mesolithic hunter and fishery groups. Early Neolithic times in the Balkans are characterized by related cultural groups. The site of Starčevo in Serbia is characteristic of the period 6-4. millennium BCE The archaeological material from the Middle Neolithic period (about 4000-2700 BCE) is more differentiated. Ribbon ceramic culture is represented in the northeastern part of the country. From Eastern Romania and Bulgaria one knows the Boian culture with its characteristic decorated pottery. The settlement teams have created small mounds here (tells). The area around the Danube estuary is known as the Hamangia culture. From here are small sculptures in terracottaand marble.

The site of Sălcuta near the border with Bulgaria and Serbia is on a hill. The town was probably fortified with moat and an earthen wall. The houses were oval or rectangular. Several of the settlements from the Middle Neolithic cultural groups also lived in Late Neolithic times. Gumelniţa is a pure Late Neolithic / Copper Age culture with permanent villages.

Bronze Age and Iron Age

The transition to the Bronze Age took place at different times (2200-1800 BCE) in the different regions of the country. At about the same time the bronze came into normal use, the horse was introduced as a domestic animal. Monteoru, located on a hill near Bucharest, represents a typical Bronze Age village from the eastern part of the country. It resided in the period 1600–1300 BCE. Import objects have been found here that show contact with areas further south and east. From the Bronze Age, numerous deposits of bronze objects are known.

The transition to the Iron Age occurred around 800 BCE. In the early Iron Age, differentiation of the area took place.