Transport and communications in medieval Europe

Although the royal authority also cared about the construction of roads, without which it was impossible to reliably manage the state, the road network in medieval Europe was disgusting. Cobbled roads were a rarity. The majority of the roads of that time are ordinary paths traversed through fields and meadows and laid in forest thickets. Only the so-called royal roads in France were wide enough to allow them to disperse counter-carts. Ideal was the road, which, as they said at the time, “a bride could ride through without hitching the carts with the deceased”. In the XIII century. in Europe, however, the first rules of the road, according to which the one who was traveling empty, is obliged to pass a loaded cart.

Roman bridges in the Middle Ages were in ruins. Most often wooden bridges were built through small rivers. Only in Northern Italy the Roman tradition of building stone bridges has been preserved.

Overcoming even small distances under such road conditions

took a long time. In addition, the traveler could become a victim of robbers. Therefore, not everyone decided on the journey. Merchants were more willing to forward their goods along rivers, because using water transport was cheaper and more reliable.

Completely corresponded to such transport in medieval Europe and the organization of means of communication. The postal service was preserved only in Byzantium, and in Europe it fell into decay. Europeans wrote letters with the help of postal pigeons, messengers or random people. They went to the addressee for weeks and months. It is no coincidence that the son of Emperor Frederick Barbarossa received the news of his father’s death five months later!

In the X century. Caliph of North Africa Aziza wanted to eat fresh cherries that grew in Lebanon. Fruits were sent to him with the help of 600 postal pigeons, to the feet of which were tied a small bag of berries. This was the first shipment of air parcels by air.

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Transport and communications in medieval Europe