Europe in 1300 had reached a cultural high point similar to Ciceronian Rome or Periclean Athens. The economy was robust.Traders from the great cities sailed all across the known world. Universities studied the Classics, debated theology, dissected corpses in the medical schools. Translations from Greek, Hebrew, and Arabic works were being completed and published in all the great cities of Spain. Italian merchants had penetrated to the heart of the Chinese empire and Marco Polo had known the great Khan. Soon he would write a book about. Cathedrals in all the major cities of France, Spain, and Italy were the wonder of the world. How did this all happen?