Medieval Europe 800 Years Without the Light of Knowledge

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1 Medieval Europe 800 Years Without the Light of Knowledge Dark Ages - the Age of Feudalism Medieval Europe began with the fall of the Western Roman Empire in 476 AD. With the destruction of Roman civilization, centuries of knowledge and culture became lost. Within a few generations, Western Europe degenerated from being the world s most powerful society into the Dark Ages. Feudalism - a government where the lords rule over the serfs and peasants, and are supported by a warrior class. Topics of Study Feudalism Serfs and Peasants Knights Castles The Church Guilds and Towns Rise of Monarchies The Crusades Rise of Feudalism The widespread practice of feudalism arose from powerful families living in manor houses. They employed warriors to seize control of local villages and suppress the people into serfdom. This warrior class became hereditary, and European knights enjoyed a life of privilege. By the 600 s AD, thousands of lords and vassals controlled fiefs and feudal states across Western Europe. Vassals - a family of minor nobles in service to a greater lord. Fief - a province or small region of land controlled by a lord or vassal. Serfs and Peasants Serfs and peasants made up the overwhelming majority of people in medieval society. They were tied to the land with no rights. They had no education and only rudimentary skills, mostly in agriculture. The lords taxed most of what was grown. Daily Lives of Serfs and Peasants Worked 6 days a week. Obeyed the local lords and the clergy. Lived in one room hovels and shacks. Only owned one or two sets of clothing. Had no sanitation or medicine. Never traveled far from their villages. Had short life spans (30-40 years). Lived their lives in the hope of heaven. 1

2 Knights - the Warrior Class The knights were the key to the success of feudalism. protected the lords controlled the serfs fought battles defended the Church Code of Chivalry A knight without honor is no longer alive. Honor, loyalty, duty to one s lord, piety, courage, protection of noble ladies, and defense of the meek. Stages of Knighthood Page: 5-7 years old - Pages learned riding, dancing & deportment, and did menial labor. Squire: years old - Squires trained for combat. Knight: 18 years old Knights lived a life of service & warfare. Heraldry - Study of Coats of Arms Since knights were largely covered from head to toe in mail (armor), they used coats of arms to identify themselves. These coats of arms were painted on their armor and shields. Problems with Feudal Knights The extreme expense of maintaining knights meant that kings and powerful lords became dependent upon their vassals for their armies; therefore the lords became more powerful than the kings they served. Knights often had conflicting duties or personal ambitions that impaired their adherence to the codes of chivalry. Castles Castles were the fortified centers of a lord s fief. They contained a keep, defensive walls, and towers. Castles also served as the cultural centers of medieval society. The Church In a continent divided by hundreds of fiefs and feudal states, the Church was the only source of unity. Despite the chaos of the Dark Ages, some measure of stability was found through Christianity. The Roman Catholic Church was the one Christian Church for a thousand years. The name Catholic, which meant universal church, was applied to Christianity - circa 100 AD. The Church Preserved Knowledge When the knowledge of the Roman empire was lost, monks preserved thousands of books. They also hand-copied and illustrated bibles called illuminated manuscripts. 2

3 Roles of the Church The Church s primary role was the salvation of souls. The clergy educated the nobility and the priests. Churches and chapels served as hospitals & inns. Monasteries preserved knowledge and books. Eventually, the Church became the most powerful political institution in Europe, overseeing governmental duties such as collecting taxes, running courts, and making laws. Charlemagne 800 AD - In order to create greater stability in Europe, Pope Leo III crowned Charlemagne emperor of the new Holy Roman Empire. Charlemagne was the grandson of Charles (the Hammer) Martel. Power Struggles There were often power struggles between the nobles and the clergy. In the end, it was Christianity s promise of salvation that gave the Church the edge over the kings and lords. Those who refused to obey the Church were excommunicated, which meant their souls were damned for all eternity. Corruption of the Church Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. The Roman Catholic Church lost focus, and fell victim to continued power struggles from within and from without. Christian doctrine was changed to suit more mundane considerations. selling of indulgences spiritual discipline declined growth of the Church s wealth and power took precedence over spiritual concerns challenges to the Church s authority were often met with ruthless violence The Great Schism 1054 AD - the Christian Church split in half. A power struggle between the Pope in Rome and the Patriarch of Constantinople would eventually divide the Church. An argument ensued over the use of icons in the Western European churches. This was merely and excuse for both sides to create conflict. Pope Leo IX and Patriarch Michael Cerularius excommunicated each other and split Christianity in half between East and West. Western Europe - the Roman Catholic Church Eastern Europe - the Eastern Orthodox Church The Great Western Schism An internal power struggle in electing the Pope in 1378 AD, led to another split in the Catholic Church. From , there were two Popes, one in Rome and one in Avignon, France. Christianity continued to fracture. 3

4 The Growth of Towns During the late Middle ages (1000 AD), an agricultural revolution in Europe led to an increased population. Farming villages became overcrowded, and people began moving to towns looking for work. Commerce in towns and cities were controlled by trades guilds. Growth of Guilds Guilds were organized groups of craftsmen and merchants. Each guild focused upon a particular craft or trade. Developed skilled craftsmen. Regulated the quality and trade of goods. Served as governing bodies in large towns and cities. Types of Guilds Merchant Guilds - these guilds regulated trade across a city, region, or country. Crafts Guilds - these guilds regulated a particular craft. Ranks within a Guild Apprentice - a boy who entered a seven year contract, during which he worked for a master learning the trade and doing menial tasks. Journeyman - an advanced craftsman who wandered from town to town in order to further develop his skills. Master - a expert in his craft who ran a shop and trained his own apprentices. The Rise of Monarchies As people left the land and moved to towns and cities, the power of the feudal lords weakened. The king could directly tax the cities. This revenue provided the monarchs with a power which was separate from the lords and their vassals. Furthermore, European monarchs began recruiting large armies of inexpensive soldiers with new weapons such as the English long bow, instead of relying on small expensive armies of knights provided by the lords. As power transferred from the lords to the kings, feudalism was replaced by monarchy. The Magna Carta the Dawn of Modern Legal Practices King John of England, after abusing the rights of his subjects, was forced to sign the Magna Carta the great charter. This document guaranteed the rights of property to the English people and limited the power of the king. End of the Middle Ages The Late Middle Ages saw the fall of feudalism. Europe was facing dramatic changes. Three events would alter medieval history and lead the Europeans into a new age. The Crusades The Development of the Long Bow & Musket The Black Death 4

5 Medieval Europe The Crusades Holy War between Christianity and Islam The Crusades were a series of eight Holy Wars fought between the Muslims & Christians for control of the Holy Land. The wars lasted from AD. In the late 1000 s AD, the Seljuk Turks (Muslims) invaded the Byzantine empire in force. Emperor Alexius I sent a plea to Pope Urban II for help in defending his empire AD - Pope Urban II called upon the kings, lords, knights, and peasants of western Europe to invade the Holy Land and retake Jerusalem for Christianity. At the Council of Claremont, he gave a famous speech ordering Christians to take up the cross and defeat the Muslims. He declared this to be the will of God - Deus Vult. Motives for Joining the Crusades o peasants promise of salvation, and the adventure of leaving behind feudal life o knights opportunity for battle & glory, and a chance to gain a small fief (land) o lords chance to gain a feudal state o clergy to expand the power & glory of Christianity, and to find holy relics o Pope - to regain the Holy Land for Christianity, and to increase the Church s influence First Crusades AD The Peasants Crusade - Armies of Christian knights and peasants won the 1 st Crusades by invading the Holy Land and retaking Jerusalem. The Christians set up feudal states under the Kingdom of Jerusalem. Second Crusades AD Muslim armies invaded again, and were able to recapture most of the Holy Land, except for Jerusalem. Third Crusades AD Saladin the Magnificent invaded Jerusalem and conquered the Kingdom of Heaven. After the fall of Jerusalem, three powerful Christian kings led their armies into the Holy Land. The Third Crusades became known as the Kings Crusades. King Richard the Lionheart of England King Philip of France King Frederick of Germany Richard and Saladin For over a year, the Crusaders battled the Muslims, regaining some lost territory, but failed to retake Jerusalem. In September 1192, Richard the Lionheart and Saladin the Magnificent signed a five year peace treaty. Christian pilgrims were once again allowed to travel the Holy Land. 5

6 The Fourth Crusades AD Knights sailed to the Holy Land on ships, and passed through the wealthy city of Constantinople AD - The Crusaders tried installing a new Byzantine emperor, which instigated a three day riot that left the capital of Eastern Europe in ruins. The crusaders ran rampant across the city, pillaging, murdering, and desecrating holy places. Most of these crusaders returned home without ever having reached the Holy Lands. The Failure of the Crusades In the end, the Christians lost all their feudal territories in the Holy Lands. The Crusades proved to be a military failure. Reconquista The Spanish Christians began a centuries-long campaign to regain Spain from the Muslims AD - Queen Isabella of Spain defeated the last of the Moors; though the influence of Islam in Spanish culture and language would remain. The Crusades Impacted Judaism Many Christians believed Judaism to be as much a threat as Islam, and used the Crusades as an excuse to persecute Jews across Europe. The Positive Results of the Crusades o The Crusades sparked a period of growth and trade and in Europe. o Europeans were introduced to advances in science and engineering. o European contact with Muslim culture led to an awakening of European society. An influx of ideas, art, science, culture, and trade goods led Europe out of the Middle Ages and into a period of Enlightenment. Europe would now awaken to a much larger world, and they would journey to all corners of the earth seeking adventure and profit. 6

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