Geography -...

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Geography, more than anything else, gave Italy an advantage over northern Europe in  regard to potential for amassing wealth and breaking free from the feudal system.  Jutting into the Mediterranean Sea, and strategically located between the majority of  Europe and the Byzantine Empire, Italian cities had almost no choice but to participate  in international trade and the market economy, and to integrate the activities of  commerce into daily life. In this way, Italy became exposed to the large-scale flow of  both goods and ideas much earlier than most other regions in Europe. Thus, during the  later years of the Middle Ages, northern Italy flourished economically and intellectually.  Further, because Italy's maintained its market economy while the rest of Europe  developed a self- contained barter economy of feudal territories spawned by agrarian  life, feudalism did not take hold in northern Italy as it did elsewhere in Europe. In both 
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This note was uploaded on 12/12/2011 for the course HIST 1320 taught by Professor Murphy during the Fall '08 term at Texas State.

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Geography -...

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