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FEUDALISM IN EUROPE
By: Ms. Tran
Essential Questions
1.
2.
Why did feudalism develop?
How did feudalism affect the political, social, and
economic environment of medieval Europe?
Setting the Stage for Feudalism


Emperor Charlemagne’s son dies and leaves the
empire to his three sons
And what usually happens
when you and your sibling
are given one toy to share
between the two of you?
 You
end up fighting!
Setting the Stage for Feudalism


The three sons - Lothair, Charles the Bald, and Louis
the German (What fun nicknames, huh?) – go to war
for control of the Empire
They finally stop fighting and sign the Treaty of
Verdun, dividing the empire into three kingdoms
Question to Ponder
What’s the benefit of having one king instead of
three different kings?
Disunity Causes Chaos and Invasion


800 to 1000 C.E. – invasion destroyed the
Carolingian Empire
Who invaded?
 Muslims
from the South
 Magyars from the East
 Vikings from the North
Vikings
What do you think of when you hear the word
“Viking”?
The Vikings





Today, Vikings are portrayed
as harmless, friendly, jolly
ladies and fellows.
In reality, back during Medieval
times, Vikings were quite
terrifying!
Are Germanic peoples from
Scandanavia
Worshipped warlike gods
Had nicknames like Eric
Bloodaxe and Thorfinn
Skullspitter
The Vikings




Known for attacking and raiding villages with great
speed
Used swords, wooden shields
Known for their advanced shipbuilding and sailing skills
Looted, pillaged, and went back out to sea
The Vikings


Interesting Fact: A Viking explorer
named Leif Ericson actually
reached North America almost
500 years before Columbus did!
Scandanavians start settling down
and giving up the Viking lifestyle
as more adopt Christianity and
the climate made farming easier
Magyars and Muslims Attack from the
East and South

Magyars:
group of nomadic people, attacked Europe from the
east
 Superb horsemen
 Attacked villages and monasteries
 Didn’t settle down, captured people as slaves

Magyars and Muslims Attack from the
East and South

Muslims:
 Recap:
Who are the Muslims again?
 Attack from the south
 Wanted to conquer and settle in Europe, but later on,
their goals is to plunder
 Expert seafarers
Analyze this map:
A) What lands did the Vikings raid?
B) Why were these invasions so threatening to Europe?
Let’s Imagine…
Everyday after school, you like to go home and relax,
maybe sit on the couch, watch T.V., and eat a snack
before dinner time. However, right as you open a bag
of chips, strangers barge in from the front door, the
backyard, and through the window! They take your bag
of chips, your T.V., and all the pillow cushions on your
couch, and they have effectively terrified you and your
mom. After 5 minutes, these strangers run out of there as
fast as they came in! You stand there and have no idea
what just happened… And imagine this scenario
happened about every 2-3 weeks.
How would you feel?
Question to Ponder
What was the impact of Viking, Magyar, and Muslim
invasions on medieval Europe?
Effects of the Invasions





People in Western Europe lived in constant danger
Kings were powerless to defend their lands from
invasion
People no longer looked to a central ruler for
security
They start to turn to local rulers who have their own
armies
These local rulers start to gain followers and
political power: Feudalism emerges
What is Feudalism?

A political and economic system based on land
ownership and personal loyalty
 Remember




Japanese Feudalism?
Based on rights, obligations, and mutually-beneficial
agreements (both sides gain something)
Lord – landowners, granted fiefs in return for
military service
Fief – land that’s given to the vassal from the lord
Vassal – the person receiving the fief from the lord
in return for his military loyalty and service to the
lord
Feudalism


Knights: mounted horsemen who
pledged to defend their lords’
lands in exchange for fiefs
Serfs - peasants who were tied to
the land (can’t leave the place
they were born) and farmed the
land. Everything they owned
belonged to the lord in exchange
for protection and a place to live
and farm
Feudal System
Life as a Peasant








Never traveled – worked all day for their entire lives (from
childhood to adulthood – if they survived that long)
Short life spans – about 35 years
Lived in small cottages (1-2 rooms), slept on piles of straw,
had dirt-floors, ate simple diet
Owed their lord certain duties, such as a few days of labor
per week and some of their grain
Everything they farmed and produced technically belonged
to the lord
They also had to pay taxes on everything – even getting
married!
Had to get permission from the lord for many decisions
Also had to pay tithe – a church tax
Life as a Peasant
PRIMARY SOURCE:
What by spinning they save, they spend it in house-hire,
Both in milk and in meal to make a mess of porridge,
To cheer up their children who chafe for their food,
And they themselves suffer surely much hunger
And woe in the winter, with waking at nights
And rising to rock an oft restless cradle.
Manor Life was a Tough Life

Manor – the Lord’s estate (land), the basic economic
system of the time
 Based
on the rights and obligations between a lord and
his serfs
 The lord gets people to take care of his animals, land,
and home
 Peasants get housing, farmland, and protection from
bandits
 Each manor was like a mini town: the lord’s house, a
church, workshops, a mill,15-30 families in a village
 Produced everything they needed in the manor
Question to Ponder
How and why did peasants endure such a lifestyle?
What benefits did they receive from living on a
manor?
Now answer these questions in your
notes:
1.
2.
3.
Why did feudalism develop?
How did feudalism affect the political, social, and
economic environment of medieval Europe?
What social class would you want to be part of if
you were living in medieval Europe, and why?