ople was miserable and without comforts, lacking many things which we consider necessities. Yet even in those far-away days things were improving, because man has always felt the desire to make his lot better; and the constant effort of these people of the Middle Ages led to that beautiful awakening which we call the Renaissance.
One of the first glimmers of this new life may be said to have come from the Crusades. The Europeans who had journeyed down into Asia to drive the Mohammedans, or Saracens, out of the Holy Land, came back impressed with the fact that these infidel Asiatics had more refinement and courtesy than Christian Europe knew. The returning Crusaders introduced some of this refinement into their own countries, and it caused people to abandon some of their rude ways. Of course there were many more influences working toward the great awakening, principally the growth of commerce. All Europe became alive with the desire for progress; many new things were invented, many old ones perfected; a