Introduction to Romanesque
POPULATION EXPLOSION AND THE ROLE OF THE MONASTERIES
The new trend emerging at around the year One Thousand was that Europe began to experience a period of political stability and the threat posed by the invasions of wandering populations was lessened: according to historians it was this new situation which caused a drastic increase in the European population. Creating a series of new basic needs. The historian Marc Bloch stated “this period experienced the greatest increase in cultivated surface area ever recorded in Europe since pre-historic times”. New land was prepared for cultivation everywhere and building work was widespread.
The focal point of these new activities were the monastic orders: the Cluniac, Cistercian and Carthusian orders, to name but a few. This greater population also required a greater number of churches, and churches of greater size to house not only the faithful, but also the great numbers of pilgrims who wanted access to the precious relics preserved in churches and monasteries. The number of priests also increased, worship became more personalized requiring a greater number of altars.