While it is tempting to characterize European intellectual life before about 1000 CE as part of a "dark age," that was obviously no longer the case by the eleventh century. Educational institutions multiplied, diversified, and expanded, and the quality of education and scholarship increased along with that expansion. While most people - by definition, peasants - remained illiterate and largely ignorant of the world beyond their own villages, there was at least a current of real intellectual curiosity and rigorous scholarship expanding among the upper classes by the High Middle Ages.
Image Citations (Wikimedia Commons):
Latin Principalities - MapMaster
Teutonic Theocracy - S. Bollmann