Published on January 20, 2008
The Middle Ages in Europe: The Middle Ages in Europe “Were the Dark Ages Really All That Dark?” 476-1350 The Germanic Peoples: The Germanic Peoples The Western Roman Empire fell to Germanic invaders in 476 C.E. – historians mark this as the start of the Middles Ages/Dark Ages – the time between the Roman Empire and the Renaissance in Europe. The early Middle Ages may be called “Dark” in the sense that the unity the Roman Empire brought to Europe was destroyed. Theodoric the Great – the Ostrogoth king tried to rule Roman by maintaining the Senate, etc. – but continued invasions destroyed the political unity that Rome provided. Slide3: The Germanic peoples were people from Eastern Europe and Eurasia. They had similar languages and cultural backgrounds. The largest of the invading groups were: Franks Ostrogoths Lombards Visigoth Saxons Angles Alemanii Thuringians Vandals Slide4: The Germanic peoples invaded and conquered most of Europe by the 600s. They mixed with the local populations over time. With the removal of Roman political power and unity – local chieftains assumed power and began to divide Europe into many smaller realms – eventually kingdoms. The Roman Catholic Church: The Roman Catholic Church When the political entity that was Rome was destroyed – the Christian Church in Rome became the only force that provided any sense of unity in Europe. As the Germanic invaders became Christian – the Church gained influence and the new converts gained legitimacy. Slide7: The Church became the center of daily life in most areas – as the Church was the source of most education, health care – really all aspects of life. Many men and women entered religious life as priests, monks, and nuns. In many ways, a life in the Church provided people with more education and stability than as lay people. Monasteries, abbeys and nunneries grew throughout Europe. Slide8: Pope Gregory the Great Supported the monastic movement and the Christianization of the Germans. This broadened and strengthened the Church. Slide9: Monks and nuns maintained knowledge of medicines, botany and other sciences. Monks copied the Bible as well as important books. Many thank the Irish monks for maintaining the knowledge of the West – as they copied books and protected them from the Vikings and other invaders. Slide14: The Book of Kells Churches and Architecture: Churches and Architecture The Church provided people with refuge in a time of chaos and confusion Perhaps more than at any other time – people were concerned with religion – their church and their own salvation. Life was short and brutal for most people – the hope of an afterlife influenced many of their actions. Slide16: People sought to praise God through building beautiful churches. Thousands and thousands of churches and cathedrals were built throughout Europe. Each church tried to outdo the others – with architecture, riches and relics. The early churches of the Middle Ages were built in a style called ROMANESQUE – based on the architecture of the Roman Empire. Walls were thick in order to support high ceilings. Gothic: Gothic As the Middle Ages went on – architects developed a keener sense of physics and began to build churches in the GOTHIC STYLE. High vaulted ceilings Large stained glass windows Thinner yet higher walls – flying buttresses Very ornate exteriors Slide21: Chartres Slide22: Westminster Abbey Slide27: Flying Buttress Feudalism: Feudalism With the fall of the Roman Empire – Europeans developed a system of political/social connection known as FEUDALISM. Feudalism was a system of responsibility At the top of the feudal system was the LORD of the land. People below him were his VASSALS. The land the lord gave out was called a FIEF. This was a bureaucratic way to control a kingdom. Slide32: The lord usually lived in the manor house or castle. Early castles were often built of wood in the moat and bailey format. Slide38: At the bottom of the feudal system were the peasants – most of whom were SERFS. They were not slaves in the normal sense – no one owned them. Instead, they were bound to the land – the MANOR. They could not leave the place where they lived. They had to grow food or produce products for the lord. In return, the lord promised military protection. Knights: Knights Wealthy young men often became knights – professional soldiers for their lord. The costly armor and horses meant that a knight was something a peasant almost never became. The knights – in theory – organized their lives around codes of knightly behavior called the CODE OF CHIVALRY. In theory – knights protected the weak and defenseless. Most soldiers were NOT KNIGHTS. The knights were fighters but also well educated members of high society. Most soldiers were from the peasantry and had joined the lord’s army – often to escape the toil of farming. Slide44: Long Bow The German Peoples in Middle Ages Europe: The German Peoples in Middle Ages Europe Germanic peoples moved into present day Scandinavia and northern Germany about 750 B.C.E. They were generally migratory people. Not nomads, but people who often moved every few generations in search of better lands Some of the Germanic tribes were: Slide47: Ostrogoths Visigoths Saxons Angles Franks Vandals Alemanii Slide48: The Germanic peoples met a powerful force in the Roman Empire. Despite their desire to move into Roman lands – the Germanic peoples were pushed back by the Roman legions. As the Roman Empire weakened, the Germanic peoples pushed more and more into Roman lands. While the Romans usually brought new peoples into the Roman Empire, they usually kept the Germanic peoples outside – sometimes taking them as slaves. Slide50: By the 400s, the Germanic invaders were taking advantage of Roman weakness in order to destroy the Roman Empire in the West. After taking control over most of Western Europe – the Germanic peoples began to convert to Christianity. The Franks: The Franks The Germanic peoples who lived in what the Romans called Gaul were the Franks. The Franks were ruled in the 400s by the MERGOVIAN DYNASTY – the best known Mergovian Frank king was Clovis who built the great Frank Empire. By the early 700s, the Mergovian kings had a title – but the real power lay with their chief advisor the “mayor of the palace” The Carolingians: The Carolingians In 732, Charles Martel defeated the Muslims at the French town of Tours. This stopped the Muslim invasion of Europe. The popes of this time looked to Charles Martel and his family to save Christendom. In the 750s, Charles Martel’s son, Pepin, defeated the Lombards – who were controlling central Italy. Slide55: Pepin gave the Lombard kingdom that he conquered to the pope. This was known as the DONATION OF PEPIN. It strengthened the link between the Carolingian Franks and the papacy. The successes of Charles Martel and his son Pepin led them to assume control over the Franks – taking it away from the Mergovians kings. This received the approval of the pope because of the battles Charles Martel and Pepin fought in order to help the papacy. Charlemagne: Charlemagne Pepin was succeeded by his son Carl (Charles in English) (Carolus in Latin). He was soon known as Charles the Great or CHARLEMAGNE. Charlemagne wanted to build a kingdom larger and stronger than the kingdom of his father’s. Charlemagne’s motto was Renovatio imperii romani – Renewal of the Roman Empire Creation of the Holy Roman Empire: Creation of the Holy Roman Empire Charlemagne established a system of bureaucracy and hierarchy within his lands. This allowed the kingdom to run efficiently and it strengthened his control over the land and the nobles. In 800, Pope Leo III crowned Charlemagne as “Emperor of the Romans” and established the Holy Roman Empire. Slide63: This was an attempt to bring stability to Europe in the days after the fall of the Roman Empire. The term “Holy” in the H.R.E. comes from the fact that it was the pope and Christianity creating the empire – not merely military force. The Holy Roman Empire: The Holy Roman Empire After Charlemagne’s death, his kingdom was divided among his three sons. The western part developed into one nation – France. The eastern parts began to break down into many smaller parts – although they technically remained part of the Holy Roman Empire. Slide66: The Holy Roman Emperors eventually were elected to the office by the heads of the smaller realms that made up the Holy Roman Empire. This often meant that the Holy Roman Emperors were weak and much of the real power lay in the hands of the princes who elected him. Slide67: By the 1400s, the Holy Roman Emperors were traditionally elected from the HABSBURG family that controlled Austria. The Development of France in the Middle Ages: The Development of France in the Middle Ages France began as a kingdom when Charlemagne’s grandsons divided his lands into three parts – the western part became France. 987 A.D. – HUGH CAPET elected by the French nobles to be king. He is often recognized as the first truly French king. For many centuries, the French monarchs were very weak. Usually, their own vassals were stronger than they. The Hundred Years War: The Hundred Years War Starting in the later 1300s, the English and French fought in France for nearly one hundred years. The English kings wanted to take greater control of France The English kings owned large sections of France – and were in theory the vassals of the French king. Slide71: Jeanne d’Arc (JOAN OF ARC) “the Maid of Orleans” – French peasant girl who said that holy voices told her to save France. She did lead French armies to victory. She was eventually captured by the English and burned to death. The Development of England during the Middle Ages: The Development of England during the Middle Ages The Romans under Julius Caesar first invaded the island today known as Great Britain. The Romans faced fierce resistance – but eventually established the southern part of the island as part of the Roman Empire. Slide73: About 60 A.D., the native Britains rallied around their warrior queen – BOUDICCA. While she was eventually defeated, her heroism and defiance against the Romans is still legendary. Boudicca: Boudicca Slide75: In order to help defend Roman Britain from the people in the north – known as the Picts (ancestors of today’s Scottish), the Roman Emperor Hadrian ordered a massive defensive wall built across the island. Similar to the ancient Wall of China, it provided limited defense and required the use of thousands of Roman soldiers to man the wall’s defenses. Slide77: The Romans brought Roman culture to Britain – giving the capital it’s name of Londinium. Roman civilization can still be seen in the city of Bath – named by the Romans because of the geothermic waters there that the Romans used for building formal baths. Great Britain – an island of invasion: Great Britain – an island of invasion Until 1066, the southern part of the island of Great Britain was continually invaded, conquered, and settled by different European peoples. Each group brought with it a different culture and language that has been incorporated into what today call English. Slide81: Some of the invaders and conquerors were: Celts Romans Angles Saxons Vikings Normans – from Normandy in France Slide82: The uniqueness of the English language today comes in part because of the many languages that combined with the language of the native Britains over the centuries to make English. Slide83: The Anglo-Saxon rulers of Britain developed the southern part of the island into the “land of the Angles” or ENGLAND. In the early Middle Ages – pre 1066, they were plagued by invasions and raids by the Vikings from Scandinavia. To the English – the Vikings were feared above all. The Norman Invasion of England: The Norman Invasion of England In 1066, England was ruled by the Anglo-Saxon king EDWARD THE CONFESSOR. When he died that year, his relative HAROLD became king. Harold quickly became involved in fighting new and fearsome invasions by the Vikings. Harold also had reason to fear across the English Channel in the French region of Normandy. Bayeaux Tapestry: Bayeaux Tapestry Tomb of Edward the Confessor in Westminster Abbey: Tomb of Edward the Confessor in Westminster Abbey Slide87: The Normans were ruled by Duke William of Normandy. He claimed that the dead Edward the Confessor had promised the throne of England to him. In 1066, William sailed with thousands of soldiers and Norman nobles. They invaded England to take the throne from Harold. Harold’s troops were exhausted from just having defeated the Vikings – and they were defeated by the Normans at the BATTLE OF HASTINGS in 1066. William the Conqueror – William I of England: William the Conqueror – William I of England The Normans established a kingdom in England that continues today with William the Conqueror’s descendant – Elizabeth II. The Normans brought French language, culture, and legal system to England. For many generations the Normans and Anglo-Saxons of England struggled for power and to live together. Slide90: Elizabeth II – descendant of William the Conqueror Slide91: William the Conqueror united England under his control. He used military force and bureaucracy. He built many castles throughout the kingdom for his forces to rule from – such as the Tower of London and Windsor Castle. He established the DOMESDAY BOOK which was a bureaucratic survey of the kingdom. Slide92: William I tomb Tower of London: Tower of London Windsor Castle: Windsor Castle Development of Rights: Development of Rights The English nobles and people always resisted a monarchy with unlimited power. COMMON LAW – Henry II established traveling judges who went throughout England ensuring that the law was the same everywhere – for the wealthy and the common people Slide96: 1215 – the nobles feared that King John had too much power. They forced him to sign the MAGNA CARTA – or Great Charter. This was the king’s recognition that the nobles had rights he could not trample upon. These were not rights for the common people – but it is seen as the beginning of a government that recognized its own limits to power. Slide97: Magna Carta Tomb of King John: Tomb of King John Slide99: The nobles and wealthy people of England developed an assembly to balance the power of the monarch. This became known as PARLIAMENT. It has two parts to it: House of Lords – originally filled with people with hereditary tiles (this has changed) House of Commons – originally made up of wealth citizens who were not nobles Problems for England 1350-1485: Problems for England 1350-1485 About the year 1350 – the Black Death or bubonic plague came to England. Approximately 1/3 of the population of Europe died from the disease. The Hundred Years’ War – rivalry between the English and French monarch led to over 100 years of warfare between the two nations. This was very costly for both countries and especially England – as it lost most of its territory in France The War of the Roses 1455-1485 – for 30 years two branches of the English royal family fought for control of England. The Lancasters used the symbol of the red rose and the Yorks used the white rose. The war ended at the Battle of Bosworth Field in 1485 when Henry Tudor (Lancaster) killed King Richard III (York). Slide105: Joan of Arc Slide106: Richard III Slide107: Henry Tudor Henry VII The Tudor Monarchies: The Tudor Monarchies The most powerful and perhaps most important of all of England’s monarch were the Tudors who reigned from 1485 to 1603 Henry VII (Henry Tudor) crowned 1485 Henry VIII Edward VI Mary I – “Bloody Mary” Elizabeth I d. 1603 Slide109: The Tudors brought a strong central power to England. They also worked well with Parliament and avoided power struggles between the two parts of the government.