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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been replaced by Germanic kings.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
• Monks provided schools, hospitals, and
other social assistance to the people of
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.
In 800 Charlemagne
was crowned emperor
of the Roman Empire by
the pope.
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.)
• England
− 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 kingdom.
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.)
• France
− 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. These two groups
were converted to Christianity and became part
of the Roman Catholic Church.
• Eastern Slavs were converted to Orthodox
Christianity by Byzantine missionaries.
European Kingdoms and Feudalism (cont.)
• Southern Slavs included the Croats, Serbs, and
Bulgarians. They were converted to Eastern
Orthodoxy, except for the Croats who accepted
the Catholic Church.
− 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 Mediterranean.
• Justinian’s most important
contribution was The Body of
Civil Law, a codification of
Roman law.
Byzantine Empire and Crusades (cont.)
• 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
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.
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
• Wrapping things up.