[[quoteright:250:[[Film/TheAdventuresOfRobinHood http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/The_High_Middle_Ages.jpg]]]]
[[caption-width-right:250: [[Literature/TheCanterburyTales I speke of manye hundred yeres ago...]]]]

Stretching roughly from about the Norman Conquest (''1066 and All That'') to the early 1300s, but most often imagined as about the 12th or 13th century, this is Era of TheCrusades, RobinHood, and fat, lecherous, [[ChurchMilitant irascible]], but good-hearted [[ChristianityIsCatholic friars]]. Also home to [[KnightInShiningArmor knights]], beautiful [[EverythingsBetterWithPrincesses princesses]] with [[TheLateMiddleAges anachronistic]] [[NiceHat hennins]], and tall, spire-tipped Gothic architecture (note that most versions of the story of KingArthur are depicted as if they were set in this era, though strictly speaking he belongs to [[DarkAgeEurope Late Antiquity]]). Expect to see a {{corrupt church}}man or two wandering the landscape [[BurnTheWitch burning witches]], heretics, and pretty much ''anyone'' who doesn’t agree with [[MedievalMorons him]].

In actual history, this is the high spot between the Vikings and the Black Death. The modern nations began to take shape, and with them the foundations of the legal system and government bureaucracy. The first great European universities were founded as a renaissance began flickering into life, and then disaster struck. A combination of internal strife and climactic disaster, capped by the Black Death, brought the brief golden age to an end. Whole villages were swallowed up by the advancing wilds as civilisation retreated.

It is probably because it ended so badly that this period is remembered so well, the halycon days before the Black Death stalked the land, hence the idealised popular image of this time, which hasn't changed much in five centuries.

The setting is likely to be a [[TheThemeParkVersion mythologized]] UsefulNotes/{{Britain}} or UsefulNotes/{{France}}, though there are examples from farther afield. [[UsefulNotes/{{Israel}} Jerusalem]], which had pretty much been ignored since BiblicalTimes, will now also be used as the stage for all sorts of spectacular battles involving scimitar-wielding [[ArabianNightsDays Saracens]] and sinisterly handsome [[TheKnightsTemplar Knights Templar]].

See TheMiddleAges for the more fantasticated version of this trope.

WARNING: Do not confuse with the French "Haut Moyen Age", which is a phrase literally meaning the same thing as "High Middle Ages" but refers to the period before (roughly from 450 AD to 1000 AD).
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!!Popular tropes from this time period are
* BlackKnight
* ChivalricRomance: The era they were written in -- which helps explain the KingArthur stuff above.
* ChristianityIsCatholic: Though it ''was'' throughout most of Central and Western Europe, in Eastern Europe and the Near East, Orthodoxy was more prevalent; yet is much less common in fictional works (and officially, the final split came as late as 1054).
* CourtlyLove
* TheCrusades: These are a perennially favorite backdrop for medieval fiction.
* FeudalOverlord
* GorgeousPeriodDress: Though most people, even the nobility, were dressed in wool except on the most festive occasions, Hollywood noblemen and (especially) noblewomen are resplendent in silks, satins, and velvets (which weren’t invented until late in the period) all the time.
* HistoricalDomainCharacter: Henry II of England, Eleanor of Aquitaine, and RichardTheLionHeart appear in a number of works set in this period.
* HistoricalFiction: Due to the influence of Sir Creator/WalterScott, this is one of the most common settings for this type of fiction.
* KnightInShiningArmor
* LadyAndKnight
* LandOfOneCity/ MerchantCity : This was when the merchants were ariseing to form a third class to compete with the warriors and priesthood for power, often founding states of their own independant or semi-independant of the aristocracy, and even beating them on the battlefield.
* {{Swashbuckler}}: Only slightly less common as a setting for these than TheCavalierYears.
* WarriorMonk: Not only were there many militant churchmen like Bishop Turpin in ''The Song of Roland'', but this was the era of the military religious orders such as TheKnightsHospitallers, TheKnightsTemplar, and TheTeutonicKnights.
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!!Works set in this time period are

[[foldercontrol]]

[[folder: Film ]]

* ''Film/AlexanderNevsky''
* ''Becket''
* ''Film/{{Braveheart}}''
* ''Film/ElCid''
* ''Film/FirstKnight''
* Any version of the story of Francis of Assisi (''e.g., Brother Sun, Sister Moon''; ''Francesco''; or ''St. Francis of Assisi'')
* ''Film/KingdomOfHeaven''
* Most TV and movie incarnations of ''RobinHood'' (usually in the reign of [[RichardTheLionHeart Richard I]], though most scholars now place him in the reigns of either Edward I or Edward II).

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Literature ]]

* Dante's ''Literature/DivineComedy,'' sort of (Hell, Purgatory and Heaven are effectively other dimensions, but most of the characters Dante meets are his close contemporaries).
* Sir Creator/WalterScott’s ''Literature/{{Ivanhoe}}'' (and all its film versions) and ''The Talisman'' (and its film version, ''King Richard and the Crusaders'').
* ''Literature/KristinLavransdatter'', a Nobel Prize-winning three-volume epic by Sigrid Undset, set in medieval Norway, is one of ''the'' most realistic depictions of this time period in fiction, especially interesting for its examination of feminism and religion in medieval life.
* ''Murder in the Cathedral''
* ''ThePillarsOfTheEarth'' is set during 'The Anarchy', the 12th-century English civil war between King Stephen and Empress Matilda.
* ''Literature/TheWildHuntTrilogy'' is set during the reign of the sons of William the Conqueror.
* ''Eleanor: Crown Jewel of Aquitaine, France'' from TheRoyalDiaries series.
* ''Literature/TheAccursedKings'' is about France (and England, in a lesser extend) from the last decades of the High Middle Ages to the beginning of the HundredYearsWar.
* Most of Sharon Kay Penman's historical fiction is set in this time period.
* The ''Literautre/{{Brother Cadfael}}'' series.

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Live Action TV ]]

* ''RobinOfSherwood'', which is cited as being one of the most faithfully accurate depictions of this era in television history.

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Tabletop Games ]]

* Creator/WhiteWolf's ''Dark Ages'' games, set in the 12th-13th centuries of the ''TabletopGame/OldWorldOfDarkness''.
* The standard start date for ''TabletopGame/ArsMagica'' is 1220, and the supernatural side of the setting (apart from the [[PlayerCharacter Hermetic magi]] themselves) is largely based on the folklore of the time.

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Theatre ]]

* Creator/WilliamShakespeare’s ''Theatre/KingJohn, Theatre/RichardII, Theatre/HenryIV'' (Parts I and II), and ''Theatre/HenryV'' (strictly speaking, ''Theatre/{{Hamlet}}'', ''Theatre/{{Macbeth}}'', and ''Theatre/RomeoAndJuliet'' should be, too, but they are very often performed in a [[TheRenaissance quasi-Elizabethan]] setting).
* ''Theatre/TheLionInWinter''

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Video Games ]]

* The main campaign in ''[[MedievalIITotalWar Medieval II: Total War]]'' starts shortly after the Norman Conquest of England (in fact, the game tutorial ''is'' the Norman Conquest of England) and the bulk of the game takes place in the High Middle Ages.
* ParadoxInteractive's ''CrusaderKings'' FourX games. The base games both start at the very beginning of the Norman Conquest and run up through 1453, the historical fall of Constantinople.
* ''VideoGame/AssassinsCreedI''
* The old Sierra adventure game ''ConquestsOfTheLongbow''.
* The beginning of the English campaign of ''EmpireEarth'' is set during the Norman Conquest. It then reenact the HundredYearsWar and the NapoleonicWars.
* Most campaigns of ''VideoGame/AgeOfEmpiresII''.
* The {{Stronghold}} series (minus ''Legends'' and ''Crusader'') is set in an non-historical realistic High Middle Age England. ''Crusader'' is an heavily historically-based reenactement of the Crusades.
* The bulk of ''KnightsOfHonor'' play in the High Middle Ages. There's 3 starting points in time, and confusingly they are named Early, Middle and Late Middle Ages, but the dates don't really match up with Historical convention (the game's Early Middle Ages start at 1000 AD for instance).
* The ''Videogame/{{Europe1200}}'' and ''[[http://forums.taleworlds.com/index.php/board,167.0.html 1257 A.D.]]'' {{Game Mod}}s for ''Videogame/MountAndBlade''.

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