277 The late eleventh, twelfth, and thirteenth centuries are often called the High Middle Ages in order to distinguish them from the prior period (approximately 500 to 1050, when Western Europe reorganized itself after the fall of the Roman Empire in the West) and from the one that followed (see Chapter 16), which led up to the Protestant Reformation. These centuries are also “high” in the sense that they mark numerous peak developments and events of lasting importance in the Christian tradition. During this period of tremendous ferment, Christianity became thoroughly identified with European culture and society. The medieval church ran schools, licensed universities, owned and farmed land, tried to control fighting and violence and bring stability and discipline to economic life, rebuked kings and emperors, engaged in its own diplomacy and politics, cared for the poor and the sick, and exercised legal control over issues relating to marriage, family, and inheritance. Modern historians have given the name of Christendom to this unprecedented merging of Christianity and culture.