After the Dark Ages and the Justinian plague, evidence suggests the climate in Europe warmed. This created what people now call the Medieval Warm Period (MWP).
No all scientists and historians agree on the facts about the MWP. Some think it lasted from about 950 to 1250, while others think it was a shorter period of time – and even others doubt it ever happened. They also often disagree about just how much the world warmed during this time. Still, several studies show that Europe enjoyed reliably warm conditions during the period.
These institutions were very important for the future of the West and the entire world. One scholar who was educated in university was Thomas Aquinas, a leading thinker of the Renaissance, the era that would follow the Medieval period.
The Black Death
Around 1250, there were reports that sea ice was building up in the North Atlantic. By 1300, reliable warm summers were gone. Europe was once again falling into a cool period known as the Little Ice Age. In 1315, Europe experienced its first great famine in hundreds of years.
Cool Climate, Hot Philosophy
The end of the Medieval Warm Period began centuries of famine, plagues, and war in Europe. Unlike previous times of hardship, Europe had spent its warm period rediscovering the great thinkers of the ancient world. So, despite all the death and suffering, Europe still advanced in technology and knowledge.