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The Early
Middle Ages
Chapter 7
Sect.1 The Early Middle Age
• After the fall of the Roman Empire Europe was
cut off from the advance cultures of Asia
• The period of time from 500AD to 1000AD is
called the Dark Ages
– Political divided, rural and cut-off from the
advance civilizations.
• Middle East, India, China
• The blending of Greco-Roman, Germanic and
Christian tradition created the Middle Ages
Sect.1 The Early Middle Age
Sect.1 The Early Middle Age
• In the early Middle Ages, Germanic tribes
(Franks) divided Western Europe.
• In 486 Clovis the king of the Franks conquered
– Modern Day France
• Clovis had is own customs but kept some of the
Roman customs and converted to Christianity
– The religion of the people of Gaul
– Gained a powerful ally in the Pope
• Leader of the Christian Church of Rome
Sect.1 The Early Middle Age
• By 600Ad Islam began in Arabia,
– Muslim-Believer in Islam
• The Muslims created a huge empire and began to
• When the Muslim Army came into France, a battle with the
Franks occurred
• Charles Martel (Frankish warrior) fought the Muslim at the
Battle of Tours in 732AD
– Victory was a sign that God was on their side
• During this time the Muslims ruled in Spain, after their
defeat they didn’t advance into Western Europe.
• The Muslim presence was a source of anxiety to many
European Rulers
Sect.1 The Early Middle Age
The Age of Charlemagne
• In 768, Charles Martel’s grandson came to power.
– King of the Franks
– Charlemagne or Charles the Great
– He built an empire that covered France and Germany
and part of Italy.
• Spent much of his 46 year reign fighting, Muslims
in Spain, Saxon in the North, Avars and Slavs in
the East and Lombards in Italy
Sect.1 The Early Middle Age
A New Emperor of The Romans
• In 799AD, Pope Leo asked Charlemagne to put
down a rebellion of nobles in Rome.
• Charlemagne forces arrested Leo’s opponents.
• Proclaimed King of the Romans by the Pope
on Christmas Day 800AD.
– Very important on future events
Sect.1 The Early Middle Age
• The Christian pope had crowned a Germanic
king as successor to the Roman emperors.
• Revived the idea of a united Christian
– Christendom
• Spread power struggles between the popes
and future Germanic emperors.
Sect.1 The Early Middle Age
• The pope’s actions outraged the emperor of
eastern Roman empire in Constantinople.
– Eastern Empire continued to flourish.
• Eastern Emperor viewed as sole Roman ruler.
– Crowning of Charlemagne just deepened the split
between the two Christian worlds.
Sect.1 The Early Middle Age
Creating a unified Christian Empire
• Charlemagne envisioned a united Christian
• Worked closely with the church to spread
Christianity in Europe
– Used missionaries to convert peoples on the
fringes of his empire.
• Saxons and Slavs mostly
Sect.1 The Early Middle Age
• Charlemagne appointed powerful nobles to
rule local regions.
• Charlemagne sent out officials to check up on
– Missi Dominic
• Ordered to administer the law fully and justly
in the case of the holy churches of god and of
the poor, of wards and of widows, and of the
whole people
Sect.1 The Early Middle Age
A Revival of Learning
• Charlemagne viewed education as a way to
unite his kingdom.
– Charlemagne himself couldn’t read.
– Relied on officials to write records and reports
• Set out to revive Latin learning in the empire.
• Created a palace school called Aachen
Sect.1 The Early Middle Age
Europe after Charlemagne.
• Charlemagne died in 814AD
– His son. Louis I took the throne.
• Later Louis’ sons would fight for the throne
– Treaty of Verdum.
» Divided the Empire into three parts
Sect.1 The Early Middle Age
• Enough though his empire is not together, it
has a lasting impact.
– Spread Christianity into northern Europe
– Furthered the blending of Germanic, Roman and
Christian beliefs.
– Influenced future medieval rulers
Sect.1 The Early Middle Age
• Charlemagne’s heirs faced new waves of
• Muslims still pose a threat.
– Conquered Sicily and made it the center of
Muslim culture.
– Attacks subsided in the 900’s when power struggle
appeared in the Middle East.
Sect.1 The Early Middle Age
Raiders From the North
• The Vikings broke the last thread of unity in
Charlemagne’s empire
– Home in Scandinavia
• Vikings were independent farmers ruled by a
• Expert Sailors
• By 700AD began to looting and burning
communities along the coast and river of
Sect.1 The Early Middle Age
• Vikings were also traders and explorers
– Sailed around the Mediterranean Sea and Atlantic
– Around 1,000 set up a short lived villages in North
• Opened trade routes that linked the
Mediterranean Lands to Northern Europe
• Settled in England, Ireland, Northern France,
parts of Russia
– Mixed into local populations
Sect.2 Feudalism and Manor Economy
• Feudalism began to develop in Europe as a
result of the invasions by Vikings, Muslims and
• Kings and emperors were too weak to
maintain law and order.
• A decentralized political and economic
structure evolved.
Sect.2 Feudalism and Manor Economy
Feudalism: was a loosely organized system of
rule in which powerful local lords divided their
landholdings among lesser lords.
In exchange the lesser lords or Vassals. Pledged
to service and loyalty to the greater lord.
Sect.2 Feudalism and Manor Economy
• The relationship between lords and vassals was
based on the exchange of land for loyalty and
military service.
• Feudal contract: exchange of pledge between
lords and vassals.
• Fief: an estate granted by a lord to vassal in
exchange for service and loyality.
– Can range from a few acres to hundreds of square
Sect.2 Feudalism and Manor Economy
• The fief included the peasants to work the
– Towns and buildings
• As part of the agreement, the lord promised
protection, the vassal pledge loyality.
• Vassal also would provide 40 days of military
service each year.
Sect.2 Feudalism and Manor Economy
The world of Knights and Nobles
– In Medieval Europe, warfare was a part of daily
– Most nobles began training in boyhood to become
a Knight.
• Mounted warrior.
– Around 7 years old, boys who were to become
Knights, were sent off the castle of his fathers
Sect.2 Feudalism and Manor Economy
– Learned armor and weapons
– Training was very difficult and discipline was strict
• Punished laziness with angry blows and severe beating.
– When finished the boy would be dubbed a Knight
in a public ceremony.
– Usually fought on horseback with sword, axes and
Sect.2 Feudalism and Manor Economy
• When on foot, used daggers, spears and
crossbows and longbows.
• Knights often fought in tournaments
Sect.2 Feudalism and Manor Economy
Sect.2 Feudalism and Manor Economy
• During the middle ages, powerful lords
fortified their homes
• Eventually they became larger and grander.
• Knights that defended castle also lived their.
• In times of war, peasants in nearby villages
took refuge in the castle.
Sect.2 Feudalism and Manor Economy
Sect.2 Feudalism and Manor Economy
• War often was centered around seizing castles
that commanded strategic crossings, harbors,
and mountain passes.
Sect.2 Feudalism and Manor Economy
Noblewomen: Restriction and Power
• Played a active role in society
• Took over the manor when husband was off at
• Eleanor of Aquitaine was a leading force in
politics in Europe for over 50 years
Sect.2 Feudalism and Manor Economy
• Women’s rights to inheritance was restricted
in the feudal system.
• Land was usually passed down to eldest son.
• Women frequently received land as part of
her dowry.
Sect.2 Feudalism and Manor Economy
• Many young women were expected to learn
how to sew, spin, weave and supervise the
• Expected to bear children and be dutiful to
her husband
Sect.2 Feudalism and Manor Economy
Chivalry: Knight’s code of conduct.
• Knights wouldn’t attack another knight
without allowing him to put his armor on.
• If captured they would be treated well or even
released, if he promised to pay his ransom.
Sect.2 Feudalism and Manor Economy
• Knight were dictated to protect the weak
– Peasants and noblewomen
• Troubadours: wandering musicians, sang
about the brave deeds of knights
• Their songs became the basis for long epic
stories and poems
Sect.2 Feudalism and Manor Economy
• The heart of the feudal was the manor.
– Lord’s estate
– Included the surrounding villages and land.
– Peasant made up the majority of the population
• Serfs. Peasant that were bound to the land.
– They were not slave, but not free.
– They couldn’t leave the manor without the
permission of the lord.
Sect.2 Feudalism and Manor Economy
• Lords and peasant had mutual obligation to
each other.
– Peasant had to ask to marry.
– Pay a fee to the lord for inherited land.
– At the local mill to grind grain
– Most payment were due on Christmas or Easter
Sect.2 Feudalism and Manor Economy
• The lord would give them:
– Land to farm in their spare time.
– Protection.
The manor was generally self-sufficient
– Peasant produced from food to clothing to
furniture and tools
– Peasant only travelled a few miles from the
Sect.2 Feudalism and Manor Economy
• NO schooling or knowledge of the outside
• The typical manor included cottage and
cluster of huts in a villages.
• Fields surrounded by the fields
Sect.2 Feudalism and Manor Economy
Peasant Life:
• Very harsh.
• Long hour. From sun up to sun down.
• All members of the family,
– Children helped plant seeds and etc.
• Starvation was common
• Average life span was 35 years.
The Medieval Church
• A pilgrimages was one way that medieval
Christians showed their devotion to their
• The most important achievement in the
Middle Ages was converting the diverse
people of Western Europe to Christianity.
The Medieval Church
• Christian rituals and faith were part of
everyday life.
• In villages the only contact with the church
came from local priest or parish.
• The priest led mass and administered the
– Sacred rite of the Church.
The Medieval Church
• Later middle age, parish priest ran schools
• The Church was the center of social life.
– Largest building in the village.
– Also a place of worship.
• Daily life centered around the Christian
– Easter, Local Holy days.
The Medieval Church
The Medieval Church
• Christians believed participating in sacrament
would help lead to salvation.
• Priest preached the teachings of the bible
– Only in Latin.
– Guided people on moral issues and offered
assistance to the sick and needy.
The Medieval Church
• Villages took pride in their church buildings.
– Built of stone.
– Housed relics or remains of Saints.
• People were asked to pay a tithe.
– Equal to tenth of their income.
– Supported local parish
The Medieval Church
The rise of cathedrals
• Bishops oversaw local parish.
– Managed larger churched called cathedrals.
• New technology made them possible.
• Cities all over Europe built cathedrals.
– Sign of pride for communities.
Lincoln Cathedral in England
Cologne Cathedral, Gemany
The Medieval Church
Church's attitude towards women
• Church principle taught that men and women
were equal before God.
• On Earth, women were viewed as weak and
easily led into sin.
– Needed guidance of men.
The Medieval Church
• The Church tried to protect women
– Set a minimum age for marriage.
– Fined men who seriously injured their wives.
• Women could be fined for similar offenses.
The Medieval Church
Monasteries and Convents
• Women and Men who withdrew from worldly
– Monks and Nuns
– Devoted to a spiritual goals
The Medieval Church
• Benedictine Rule. Used to regulate monastic
– Three Vows
• Obedience to head of the monastery or convent.
(abbot or abbess)
• Poverty
• Chastity or purity
– Monks are responsible for improvement in
agricultural methods.
The Medieval Church
• In a world without no hospitals or schools,
monasteries and convent often provided basic
health and educational services.
• Monks and Nuns looked after the poor, sick.
– Provide shelter for travelers.
• Responsible for keeping learning alive.
The Medieval Church
• Their libraries contains Greek and Roman
• Educated Monks and Nun wrote and taught
– Language of the church.
• In Britain, Venerable Bede wrote the earliest
know history of England.
The Medieval Church
Opportunities for women
• Couldn’t become priests.
• Could teach the Gospel
– Later was taken away.
The Medieval Church
Church powers grows
• The church Gradually increased over time to a
more powerful secular (Worldly) force in
medieval Europe.
• Medieval popes eventually claimed papal
– Authority over all secular rulers, Includes kings
and emperors.
The Medieval Church
• Popes headed an army of the church.
– Also held vast lands in central Italy
• Papal States
– Gave considerable economic and political power.
• Churchmen were often highly educated.
– Churchmen and Secular rulers were closely linked
– Church officials were often relate to Secular rulers.
The Medieval Church
• The medieval church was dedicated to the
worship of God
– Also believed that people sinners and doomed to
eternal suffering.
• To avoid suffering a person should believe in Christ and
participate in Church rituals.
• Could deny them as punishment.
– Showed absolute power of the church.
The Medieval Church
• The Church developed its own set of laws
– Canon Laws.
• Based on religious teachings
– Governed many parts of everyday life
– Anyone who disobeyed the church could face
many penalties.
• Excommunication (severe penalty)
– Couldn’t receive the sacrament or Christian burial and
condemned to suffer in eternity.
The Medieval Church
• Nobles who opposed the Church could be
– Order excluding an entire town from receiving
sacraments and a Christian Burial.
– Nobles usually gave into the church to avoid being
• Led to revolts by the common people.
The Medieval Church
• Church tried to with its great power to end
warfare between nobles.
• Truce of God.
– No fighting from Friday to Sunday each week and
religious holidays.
The Medieval Church
Corruption and reform.
• as wealth grew, discipline weakened
– Started with Land and wealth being left to
monasteries and convents.
• Lead some monks and nuns to ignore the vow of
– Clergy lived in luxury
– Priest eventually spent more time with family over
religious matters.
The Medieval Church
• Church reforms began in the middle ages.
Two reforms of the church
• Reviving of Benedictine rule, Began in France.
– Refused to allow nobles and bishops to influence the
• Limit secular influence on the Church.
– Insisted church picks its own officials.
• Outlawed marriage of priest
The Medieval Church
New preaching order.
Friar: Monks who didn’t live in isolation.
• Travelled around Europe preaching to the poor
• First friar was of the Franciscans
– Wealthy Italian known as St. Francis of Assisi.
• Gave up a comfortable life to preach the gospel.
The Medieval Church
Jews in Medieval Europe
• Jewish communities all over Europe
– Large population in Spain.
• Center of Jewish learning.
• As more people became Christian more
prejudice towards Jewish people.
The Medieval Church
• Christians blamed Jews for famine, Illness and
• Church forbid Jews from owning land and
holding most jobs.
• In response to prejudice most Jews migrated
to Eastern Europe.
• Rulers of Eastern Europe, welcomed the Jews.
Sect.4 Economic recovery sparks
An Agricultural Revolution
• Changes in Europe around 1000 set a
• By 800’s peasant were using Iron plows to
plow northern Europe.
– Better than wooden plow used in the lighter soil
in the south.
Sect.4 Economic recovery sparks
• New kind of harness allowing horses to be
used instead of ox.
– Much faster.
• Could plow more land in one day, allowed for larger
• Manors who wanted to increase production
cut down forest, drained swamps and
reclaimed wetlands.
Sect.4 Economic recovery sparks
• Also to increase production peasant used a
three-field system.
– One field had grain
– Second field had legume (peas and beans)
• Added fertilizer to the soil
• Added a protein to peasants diet.
– Third was left unplanted
• Increased the amount of land planted.
Sect.4 Economic recovery sparks
• With more food available the population
tripled from 1100 to 1300.
The revival of Trade.
• Population grew and feudal warfare and
foreign invasion declined.
– People felt safer and began to travel more
Sect.4 Economic recovery sparks
• The demand for goods from outside of Europe
– Noble : Luxury Goods.
– Peasant : Iron for tools.
• Traders and Merchants formed caravans for
– Followed trade route that had little use of the
pervious centuries.
Sect.4 Economic recovery sparks
• Along the trade routes, merchants trade for
local goods.
• Merchants would bring goods from other
regions to centers to be shipped all over
– Chinese Silk, Byzantine Gold Jewelry and Asian
Spices and etc.
Sect.4 Economic recovery sparks
• Northern Europeans would pay these items
with Honey, furs, cloth, tin and lead.
Sect.4 Economic recovery sparks
• Trade center became the first small cities.
– Due to weather in Europe
• Trade centers closed in Autumn.
• Winter made trade route impassable.
• Large cities developed in Northern Europe and
– North – South of trade routes.
Sect.4 Economic recovery sparks
• Charters began to protect merchants.
– Set out rights and privileges of the town.
– Merchants paid the lord or a king a yearly fee or a
large sum of money, maybe both.
– One popular clause was with Serfs.
• Anyone serf who lived in one of these cites for more
than a one year would be come free.
Sect.4 Economic recovery sparks
• This was due to the increase in population
Commercial Revolution.
– As trade increase, use of money increased too.
– Merchants began to issue credit to each other.
• Arranged payment for goods.
Sect.4 Economic recovery sparks
• With the growth in business partnerships
– Group of merchants joining together.
• Pooled funds to make large scale ventures
• Insurance system developed to protect the
merchant and shipments,
– Protected against lost and damaged ships.
• Underwriter would issue insurance on shipments
Sect.4 Economic recovery sparks
• If lost or damaged underwriter would pay out.
• If the shipment arrived with no issues on the insurance was
• System of credit developed.
– Letters of credit and bills of credit.
– A merchant would deposit money with a banker in his
home city. The banker would issue a bill of exchange,
which the merchant could exchange in a distant town
for cash.
Sect.4 Economic recovery sparks
• The use of money changed medieval society
– Undermined the manor/Feudal system
– Lords had to exchange money for goods.
• A shift to tenant farmers.
– The paying of rent for land or farm help.
Sect.4 Economic recovery sparks
The rise of the middle class.
• The old social order changed over time.
– By 1000 merchants, traders, and artisans formed a
new class.
• The middle class emerges
– Between noble and peasant.
Sect.4 Economic recovery sparks
– Middle class gained power and influence over
• Guilds: Associations of artisans and merchants
– Merchant guilds emerged first.
• Decide how to spend funds in cities
• Became resented by the artisans.
– Artisans formed guilds.
Sect.4 Economic recovery sparks
• Struggle between artisan and merchant guilds led to
riots in some cities.
– Guilds could worked together to protect
• Prevented competition, Limited membership.
– Had to be a member of a guild to work in a trade.
• Protected quality, regulate work hours and set prices.
Sect.4 Economic recovery sparks
• To become a member of a guild took many
years of hard work.
– Started at a young age.
• 7 or 8 to become an apprentice.
– Trainee
– Received no pay.
• Only received housing and food for guild master
Sect.4 Economic recovery sparks
– Journeymen: Salaried worker in the guild.
• Low wages. Prevent competition.
• Women in the Guilds.
– Often worked in same trade as husbands and
– Ribbonmaking and papermaking
Sect.4 Economic recovery sparks
• Medieval towns became overcrowded.
– People settled in surrounding fields.
– Over time dwelling added second and third levels
due to overcrowding.
– Fire was a constant threat
Sect.4 Economic recovery sparks
• All towns and cities had a church with a steeple
that could be seen for miles.
• People lived in neighborhoods with similar
• Towns were very busy during the day and
deserted at night.
• Dirty, smelly, noisy, and crowded, a perfect
breeding ground for disease.