In those lands that became France and England, a series of strong monarchs emerged to provide the state with a center of authority that could contest with the church for the loyalties of the people.
While open conflict with the papacy was not yet contemplated, and no state in western Europe was secular in the sense of placing
the monarch above the papacy, both France and England were experiencing a rise of collective identity that would lead to a succession of royal triumphs.
Both would achieve unity as nation-states earlier than most other areas of Europe. In both an emerging tradition of scientific inquiry and the development of a lively, highly imaginative vernacular literary tradition would provide additional sources of controversy and discussion.