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Most of the towns and cities of Europe owe their origins and early development to the period between the ninth and fourteenth centuries AD. This time of population growth and commercialism saw the expansion of older existing urban centers, especially those of Roman antecedence, as well as the foundation of new towns established sometimes on greenfield sites, virgin land that had not been under the plow, and sometimes by being grafted onto existing preurban settlement nuclei. These twin processes of urbanization affected the whole of medieval Europe, but as is typical with this period, contemporaries wrote down relatively little about who was involved in shaping these new urban landscapes and how they went about their work. Instead, the main indication that these changes were ...

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