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Brainstorm what you know about the
Medieval Times (the Dark Ages):
What was life like back then? What are
some key technologies they did not have?
What comes to mind when you think
about “chivalry”?
What do you know about knights/castles?
What do you think the church (the
Catholic Church) was like back then?
How were women/peasants treated?
A time period in European history (roughly 500 –
1500 AD) marked by the fall of the Western
Roman Empire (the end of Antiquity) and lasting
until the beginning of the Renaissance.
Divided into three periods: Early, High, and Late
“Medieval” is an adjective used to describe
things associated with the Middle Ages.
Some scholars, especially those during the
Renaissance and Enlightenment periods, viewed
the Middle Ages as the “Dark Ages”, a time
when civilization was mired in superstition and
The idea of estates, or orders
people belonged to, was
encouraged during the Age
 Clergy
 Spoke Latin, purpose was to
save everyone’s soul (priests,
bishops, nuns…etc.)
 Nobles
 Spoke French (after Norman
Invasion in 1066), purpose
was to protect—allow for all
to work in peace—and
provide justice (kings, dukes,
barons, knights…etc.)
 Commoners
 Spoke English, purpose was
to feed and clothe all above
them (peasants/serfs)
The economic system of much
of the Middle Ages (800-1100)
Commoners (peasants) lived on a
feudal manor. The lord of the
manor gave his vassals land to
In return, the vassals received
protection from roving bandits.
Yet they were taxed and had to
surrender a portion of their crops
to the lord.
Serfs, on the other hand, were
basically slaves. They were
bound to the land they worked,
unable to leave (though they did
own possessions).
Feudalism - basis of the society.
created ties of obedience and
loyalty between the vassals and
their lord.
A product of feudalism,
chivalry was an idealized
system of manners and
The Medieval knight was
bound to the chivalric code
to be loyal to…
his lord
his lady
Attributes of Chivalry:
benevolence (kindness),
brotherly love, politeness,
honor, courtly love,
protecting the defenseless
Provided guidance through
well known commandments:
Seven Deadly Sins
 Pride (vanity)
 Wrath (anger)
 Envy (jealousy)
 Gluttony (over-eating)
 Sloth (laziness)
 Lust
 Greed
The medieval
philosophy that fate is
capricious (constantly
changing). One
minute you could be
up and then the next
minute you’re down.
Believed to be turned
by the goddess
Fortuna (Fate). Notice
again the mixture of
pagan and Christian
The pervading
philosophy also
known as the
“Geocentric Model”,
meaning that the
universe is centered
on the earth.
People of the
Medieval period loved
order! Remember the
Three Estates, the
Seven Deadly Sins—a
place for everyone
and everyone in that
The “High” Middle Ages
(begin 1095)
• Begin with the First Crusade (1095)--reclaim
Jerusalem from the infidels
– Open trade routes
– Peasants (the vassals) are liberated from their
lords to fight, and die, in the Holy Lands
– Cities spring up along the crusade routes
– Feudalism dies out
– the transition to the Renaissance begins
The “High” Middle Ages
• Before, in the Early
Middle Ages, the
Church provided
structure to society,
not only with religion,
but by providing
education, as well.
• Sadly, with the
Crusades, the Church
becomes incredibly
– Popes fight for
political power
– Greed is rampant
• selling of indulgences
• Crusades for money
 Is
chivalry towards women a
good thing? Or does it
increase sexism because
women are treated
differently than men?
Explain your answer in a
half-page paragraph.
Marked by catastrophe: many wars,
famines, and diseases (The Black Death)
There was a revival in classical Greek and
Roman ideals when scholars from
Constantinople sought refuge in Italy from
the Ottoman Turks
The fall of Constantinople (the Eastern
Roman Empire), the invention of printing,
and the rise of colonialism marked the end
of the Middle Ages
spreads along trade routes
kills 1/3 of the population
the plague outbreaks occur
through the Middle Ages
and into the Renaissance
The Plague provides for
continued growth in cities
 Afterwards, hundreds of
new jobs available
 Many debts “died off” with
also contributed to society’s
Latin was the language of the
Roman Catholic Church, which
dominated Europe
The Church was the only source of
Thus, Latin was a common
language for Medieval writings.
Catholic clerics were the
intellectual center of society in
the Middle Ages, and it is their
literature that was produced in
the greatest quantity.
A notable amount of Medieval
literature is anonymous.
Medieval authors tended to retell stories they heard or read
rather than invent new stories.
An allegory is a figurative
mode of representation
conveying a meaning other
than the literal. (example:
Animal Farm where the animals
represent the Communist Party,
The Chronicles of Narnia where
Aslan represents Christ)
Much of Medieval literature
relied on allegory to convey
the moral of the story.
This relationship was
modeled on the feudal
relationship between a
knight and his liege
The knight serves his
courtly lady with the
same obedience and
loyalty which he owes
to his liege lord.
She is in complete
control; he owes her
obedience and
A quest is a hero’s journey towards a goal. It requires
great exertion from the hero, and the overcoming of
many obstacles.
The hero's must obtain something, or someone, by the
quest and with this object return home.
The knight's love for the lady inspires him to do great
deeds or quests in order to win her favor.
“Courtly love" was not
between husband and wife
because it was an idealized
sort of relationship that could
not exist within the context of
"real life" Medieval marriages.
In the Middle Ages, marriages
amongst the nobility were
typically based on practical
and dynastic concerns rather
than on love.
of Chivalry: benevolence
(kindness), brotherly love, politeness,
honor, courtly love, protecting others
who cannot protect themselves
chivalry dead or alive? In what ways?
are some ways we can encourage
 from both Germanic and Christian traditions
 Divine decent or accomplished
Presentations of idealized behavior
 literature as moral lesson
 loyalty to king
 chivalry
use of kennings (especially in Beowulf)
 A figurative, usually compound expression
used in place of a name or noun. Example,
storm of swords is a kenning for battle.
 Knights/Chivalry
 A narrative in prose or verse that tells of the
adventures and heroic exploits of chivalric
 exploits of knights
 often a supernatural element involved
Christian message
 concern with salvation and the world to come
 no interest in social change
 until the late 14th century
 Chaucer signals new thinking, up-ending
social order