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Section 4
European Kingdoms and Feudalism
Germanic states emerged
in the former Western
Roman Empire and
created a new European
European Kingdoms and Feudalism (cont.)
By 500 A.D., the Western Roman Empire had
been replaced by Germanic kings.
Clovis established the kingdom of the Franks.
He was the first Germanic ruler to convert to
Christianity and became an ally of the
Roman Catholic Church.
European Kingdoms and Feudalism (cont.)
Organization of the Church
− Parishes were led by priests.
− A group of parishes, or diocese, was led
by a bishop.
− The head of the Catholic Church was the
European Kingdoms and Feudalism (cont.)
Monks played an important role in the Church.
Saint Benedict wrote a series of rules that
became the model for monasticism.
Monks provided schools, hospitals, and other
social assistance to the people of Europe.
European Kingdoms and Feudalism (cont.)
In 768 Charles the Great, or Charlemagne,
became the ruler of the Frankish kingdom.
Charlemagne expanded the Frankish kingdom
into the Carolingian Empire, which covered
most of central and western Europe.
In 800 Charlemagne was crowned emperor of
the Roman Empire by the pope. This event
symbolized the joining of Roman, German,
and Christian elements.
European Kingdoms and Feudalism (cont.)
After Charlemagne’s death in 814, Europe was
invaded by foreign powers.
As a result of invasions, the people of Western
Europe turned to local lords for protection.
This led to a social and political system
known as feudalism.
Vassals swore allegiance to a lord and
provided military service. In turn, the vassal
was given land, called a fief, and maintained
political control of it.
European Kingdoms and Feudalism (cont.)
− In 1066 William of Normandy
defeated King Harold at the
Battle of Hastings. William was
crowned king of England.
− Henry II expanded the power of
the king by expanding the royal
courts. Common law began to
replace the varying codes of the
European Kingdoms and Feudalism (cont.)
− During the reign of King John, English
nobles resented the growing power of the
king and defeated the king’s forces at
− King John was forced to put
his seal on a document of
rights called the Magna
Carta, in 1215.
European Kingdoms and Feudalism (cont.)
− The Magna Carta outlined the rights of the
people and the king, strengthening the
idea that the king’s power was limited, not
− Under Edward I in the thirteen century, the
English Parliament was created. This
representative assembly dealt with taxes,
politics, and law.
European Kingdoms and Feudalism (cont.)
− Following the fall of the Carolingian
Empire, France was ruled by the
Capetians in the Paris region.
− The reign of Philip II Augustus was a
turning point for the French monarchy. He
added land and expanded the power and
income of the French monarchy.
European Kingdoms and Feudalism (cont.)
The Holy Roman Empire
− Otto I was a Saxon king in Germany
who was crowned emperor of the Romans
in 962.
− The Germanic kings tried to rule both
German and Italian states, which became
known as the Holy Roman Empire.
European Kingdoms and Feudalism (cont.)
Central and Eastern Europe
− The Slavic peoples were from central
Europe. Gradually, they split into three
Western Slavs eventually formed the Polish and
Bohemian kingdoms.
Eastern Slavs were converted to Orthodox
Christianity by Byzantine missionaries.
Southern Slavs included the Croats, Serbs, and
European Kingdoms and Feudalism (cont.)
− Eastern Slavic peoples also settled in
present-day Ukraine and Russia.
− Oleg and the Swedish Vikings settled in
Kiev and dominated the Slavic peoples
who lived in the region.
European Kingdoms and Feudalism (cont.)
− The Mongols conquered Russia in the
thirteenth century.
− In 1242, the Mongols rewarded the
Russian prince Alexander Nevsky with the
title of Grand Prince. Nevsky’s
descendants became the rulers of Russia.
Byzantine Empire and Crusades
The Crusades had a significant effect
on medieval society in both the East
and the West.
Byzantine Empire and Crusades (cont.)
Despite the fall of Rome, the Eastern Roman
Empire continued to exist.
Justinian became emperor of the Eastern
Roman Empire in 527 and sought to
reestablish the Roman Empire in the entire
Justinian’s most important contribution was
The Body of Civil Law, a codification of
Roman law.
Byzantine Empire and Crusades (cont.)
The Eastern Roman Empire soon lost much of
its territory because of overspending on
foreign conquest, Islamic invasions, and
defeats in the Balkans.
The new, smaller empire was called the
Byzantine Empire. It was both a Greek and a
Christian state.
The Christian church of the Byzantine Empire
came to be known as the Eastern Orthodox
Byzantine Empire and Crusades (cont.)
From the eleventh to the thirteenth centuries,
European Christians carried out a series of
Crusades to regain the Holy Land from the
Pope Urban II saw the Crusades as an
opportunity to free Jerusalem and Palestine
from the “infidels.”
Byzantine Empire and Crusades (cont.)
The First Crusade was made up of mostly
French warriors, who retook Jerusalem in
The Muslims began to fight back. In all, there
were four crusades, but only the first one
was successful.
Arab World and Africa
The Islamic religion arose in the Arabian Peninsula
during the 600s and quickly spread throughout
Southwest Asia and to parts of Africa and Europe.
Extensive trade helped
bring prosperity to the
Arab Empire.
Arab World and Africa
The earliest African states, Kush and Axum, thrived
on farming and trade, while the later kingdoms of
Ghana, Mali, and Songhai in western Africa
carried out the trade of gold and salt.
The Bantu spread
ironworking through
eastern and southern
Europe and the Byzantine Empire
A new European civilization emerged in the Middle
By recognizing the rights of nobles, the Magna Carta
limited the power of the English monarchs.
The Byzantine Empire
created its own unique
civilization in the eastern
The Asian World
The Sui, Tang, and Song dynasties brought peace
and prosperity to China, but in 1279 the Mongols
conquered the Song dynasty and made China
part of their vast empire.
State power was centralized in Japan in a new
system called the shogunate.
Chinese and Indian
examples of government
and religion influenced new
states in Southeast Asia.
Byzantine Empire and Crusades (cont.)
Effects of the Crusades
− Increased wealth for the Italian port cities
− Feudalism was weakened and kings
created stronger central governments.
− Development of strong nation-states in
Spain, England, and France