City Life during the Middle Ages
Medieval roots can be found in all of today's major European cities. When Julius Caesar set to conquer Western Europe, there were few places that could have been called cities. Lutetia, which would become Paris, was probably the largest of the early cities. By the 13th century, however, cities were flourishing from the Mediterranean to northwest Europe.
Viking invasions were a major factor in the development of cities during the early Middle Ages. These invaders often plundered more than they could carry, sold surplus goods to surrounding villages and created base camps to be used for trading. Dublin, Ireland's roots began as a Viking base camp. To protect themselves, villages began erecting walls and fortifying their positions. This lead to the great medieval walled cities that can still be seen in modern Europe.
These walled cities became known as "bourgs," "burghs," and later, bouroughs. Inhabitants were known as bourgeois. By the mid-900s, these fortified towns dotted the European landscape from the Mediterranean as far north as Hamburg, Germany.