The Cross of Mathilde, a crux gemmata made for Mathilde, Abbess of Essen (973–1011), who is shown kneeling before the Virgin and Child in the enamel plaque. Probably made in Cologne or Essen, the cross demonstrates several medieval techniques: cast figurative sculpture, filigree, enamelling, gem polishing and setting, and the reuse of Classical cameos and engraved gems.
In the West, most kingdoms incorporated the few extant Roman institutions.
Monasteries were founded as campaigns to Christianise pagan Europe continued.
The Franks, under the Carolingian dynasty, briefly established the Carolingian Empire during the later 8th and early 9th century.
It covered much of Western Europe but later succumbed to the pressures of internal civil wars combined with external invasions: Vikings from the north, Magyars from the east, and Saracens from the south.
During the High Middle Ages, which began after 1000, the population of Europe increased greatly as technological and agricultural innovations allowed trade to flourish and the Medieval Warm Period climate change allowed crop yields to increase.
Chiefly known today for the supposed involvement of King Arthur but because of the limited number of sources, there is no certainty about the date, location, or details of the fighting.