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The Development of
Feudalism in Western
PowerPoint #1
The Middle Ages
Three time periods
Early Middle Ages 476-1000
 The High Middle Ages 1000 – 1300
 The Late Middle Ages 1300 - 1450
The Early Middle Ages
Began with the fall of the Roman Empire
The Roman Empire had ruled much of
Europe for 500 years – barbarians
controlled the rest of the continent
After the fall life was dangerous and
 People had to work hard to have
enough to eat
 Needed to protect themselves from
Many invading groups set up
kingdoms and were often at war with
one another
 Resulted from the difficult living
situations in Europe
 Political system where people pledge
their loyalty to a lord
Franks were a powerful group that
eventually took over a large part of
 Fought with knights in armor on
 Clovis was one of the first leaders
Was a successful warrior
 Became king of the Franks at age 15
in 481
 Ruled for 30 years
 Widened the boundaries of the
Frankish kingdom
Clovis and Christianity
Married Clotilda a Catholic woman
 Was baptized in to the Roman
Catholic Church
 Many people also became Catholic
Most important Frankish leader
 Ruled from 768 to 814
 Was 6’4” tall (tall for the time) – stately
and dignified
 Could not read or could read very little
 Had scholarly works read to him
Encouraged education – made his
court a center of culture
 Rewarded knights with land and
 Unified nearly all the Christian lands
of Europe
 Was called “King Father of Europe”
Pope Leo III and Charlemagne
Charlemagne had the help of Pope Leo III
Church was central part of society
The blessing of the Church sent the
message to the people “God is on my side”
Leo needed the support of someone with an
Pope crowned Charlemagne the Holy
Roman Emperor in 800
Empire survived many barbarian
 Charlemagne died in 814
 Empire fell apart
 Weak rulers could not hold off
Ninth and tenth Centuries
Western Europe was threatened by
three groups
Muslims from the middle east and
northern Africa
 Magyars – a central Asian people
from the east
 Vikings swept down from present day
Norway and Denmark
Terrifying raids on towns and villages
 Came in shallow boats carrying
swords and axes
 Killed and took prisoners
 People of western Europe needed a
way to defend and protect themselves
Believed in the divine right of kings
the idea that God had given them the
right to rule
 Some had to work hard to keep
 Most did not have enough money to
keep their own army
In early middle ages the nobles or
lords grew very powerful and
governed as independent
 Monarch was little more than a
figurehead and had no real power
English Monarchs
Monarchs were quite strong in
England during the Middle Ages
 Vikings had invaded and settled in
 By mid 11th century, this area was
ruled by a powerful Germanic group
called the Saxons
The king was a descendant of both
the Saxon and Norman (French)
 He died without an adult heir
 William, the powerful Duke of
Normandy (present day France)
believed he had the right to rule
England crowned his cousin Harold
In 1066 William invaded England and
defeated Harold in what is known as the
battle of Hastings
A line of Norman Kings ruled England
William became known as William the
Brought feudal institutions from Europe with
Rulers or powerful land owners
 In return people received protection
from the lord
Armed warriors who fought on behalf
of their lord
Worked the land
 Serf a peasant that was not free to
leave the Lord’s land
Establishing Order
By High Middle Ages feudalism
provided the needed protection and
safety and social order
 People were bound to one another by
pledges of loyalty
 In theory all the land in the kingdom
belonged to the monarch – king or
Land granted by the kings to the most
important lords who became his
 In return the lords promised to supply
the king with knights
Large estates where lords and
wealthier knights lived
 Located in the country far from towns
 Included
castle or manor house
 One or more villages
 Surrounding farmland
Had to produce everything needed in
the manor
Social Class
People were born into it
 Had same position and job as their