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Bringing Order with Laws and
• As Germanic law codes were codified,
preserving details of the early German
kingdoms for historians, principles of
Roman law were also incorporated.
– The basic social unit was based on the
kinship group not the individual.
Bringing Order with Laws and
• The Rule of Law
– Legal Codes
• Germanic tribes brought with them customary legal
procedures, such as, trial by battle in which the
victor was judged innocent.
• My favorite, picking up a red-hot iron to see if the
accuser's hand was damaged and trial conducted
by professional judges.
• The whole system of Germanic law was that, no
concept that laws were made by kings, but based
on the will of the people. Justice was based on
Chapter 7
– Wergeld (Vehr-gelt)
• In Germanic law, the relative price of individuals
that established the fee for compensation in case
of injury.
• The Anglo-Saxon kingdoms struggled to
integrate Christianity and Roman learning
into their own customs and traditions of
law and learning.
Anglo-Saxon England: Forwarding
Learning and Law
• The Venerable Bede: Recording Science and
– Bede’s History
• Bede was primarily a teacher who wrote a number of works
intended as educational tracts. In these works he drew from
previous scholars, thus preserving and expanding upon
knowledge from previous centuries.
• Governing the Kingdom
– Witan
• The ancient Anglo-Saxon men who participated in the
assembly of nobles.
– Royal Offices
• Earls served as judges. Shire reeves were sheriffs.
Anglo-Saxon England: Forwarding
Learning and Law
• Alfred the Great: King and Scholar
– Danelaw
• The major problem faced by Alfred the Great was a Danish
invasion that overran half of England.
• After some English victories, the Danes and the English
signed a treaty in 886.
• Under its terms, Alfred and the Danish King Guthrum agreed
to divide England between them.
– Alfred’s Translations
• Alfred the Great,(871-901) King of England, developed a
strong administration and promoted scholarship, producing
several remarkable intellectuals, such as Bede.
Chapter 7
• Charlemagne, who represented the
melding of classical, Germanic, and
Christian traditions, linked religion and
politics to consolidate his rule over an
– The dominant ruler of Western Europe in the
late 8th century was Charlemagne.
Charlemagne and the Carolingians:
A New European Empire
• Charlemagne’s Kingdom
– Administering the Realm
• The effectiveness of the Carolingian administration
rested primarily upon Charlemagne’s designation
of traveling inspectors, called missi dominici, to
keep him informed.
• Linking Politics and Religion
– Charlemagne’s Coronation
• The coronation of Charlemagne as emperor took
place when there was an Empress, but no
Emperor, in Constantinople.
Charlemagne and the Carolingians:
A New European Empire
• Charlemagne taking the title of emperor irked the Byzantine court,
but Irene ran out of time to object strenuously. She was overthrown
in 802 by Nicephorus, a Byzantine aristocrat.
• Finally, in 813, both parties agreed that Charlemagne could be
emperor of the Franks and the Byzantine emperor would be
emperor of the Romans.
• Negotiating with Byzantium and Islam
• An Intellectual Rebirth
– Establishing Schools
• The Carolingian emperor pushed an intellectual revival which
included schools in the hope of obtaining an educated clergy.
• Developing a curriculum that became a foundation of liberal arts
– Correcting Texts
• Developing a standardized handwriting that is the ancestor to the
modern printed alphabet.
Struggle for Order in the Church
• The church was dominated by monarchs
in the 8th and 9th centuries, but during this
period, planted seeds for the future, which
included the founding of the Cluniac order.
• Monasteries Contribute to an Ordered World
– Cluniac Reform
• Spiritual reformers wanted to take away the influence that the
nobles and kings had on the monasteries.
Chapter 7
• With the division of Charlemagne’s empire
among his descendants, the empire was
left vulnerable to the invasions of Vikings,
Magyars, and Muslims, whose conquests
in Carolingian territory negatively impacted
the church, centralized authority, and
stimulated learning.
– The Carolingian empire started to break up
because the missi dominici staged numerous
local revolts when Charlemagne died.
Order Interrupted: Vikings and
Other Invaders
• Competing for the Realm: Charlemagne’s
– Treaty of Verdun
• The Treaty of Verdun,
confirmed the division
of the Carolingian empire.
– New Invaders
• The Magyars
(now known as Hungarians)
Chapter 7
• “The Wrath of the Northmen”: Scandinavian Life
and Values
• The Vikings, who were a major wave of invaders, along with
the Moslems, and Magyars. Which would shake the
Carolingian empire.
– Viking Ships
• Vikings had many innovative ships, and great navigation
• The ships were propelled by oars, sported a substantial keel,
and they used a steering oar (rudder) for control.
• The Vikings used sails on their ships. They were able to fight
a stronger battle, because they weren’t wasting energy in
propelling the vessel.
Order Interrupted: Vikings and
Other Invaders
• Viking Travels and Conquests
– Western Explorations
• The only parts not affected by the Vikings would be India and
– European Settlements
• An Age of Invasions: Assessing the Legacy
• The Vikings society resembled early Germanic society, but
tended to be more violent.
– Vikings Convert
• The Scandinavians eventually converted to Christianity.
Chapter 7
• A new social order, founded upon
Carolingian ideals, linked all people from
the peasantry to the king in a contractual
system of mutual obligation
• Life in the Manorial Village
– Village life
• The village was the center of the peasant
community. It’s where they held meetings,
festivals, and wedding ceremonies.
Manors and Feudal Ties: Order
Emerging from Chaos
• Noble Warriors: Feudal Obligations Among
the Elite
• Medieval Manorialism and Feudalism were based
on a hierarchy of mutual obligations.
• The essence of the feudal relationship was the
linking of loyal military service with the possession
of land that would support that service.
– Lords and Vassals
• Vassal - In the feudal system, a noble who binds
himself to his lord in return for maintenance.
Chapter 7
• Peasants and Lords: Mutual Obligations on the
Medieval Manor
– Manor Layout
• Included in this manor system was pasture,
woodlands, and ponds as well as agricultural
• The peasants who lived on the medieval manor
worked the land in long narrow strips.
Chapter 7
– Serf’s Obligations
• The medieval serf was not a slave, but was bound
to the land, forbidden to leave it without
• The obligations of serfs to the lords included: up to
three days a week of work on the lords land, a
portion of the cloth and garden vegetables
produced by the woman, erect buildings, and dig
ditches at the lord’s command.
Manors and Feudal Ties: Order
Emerging from Chaos
– Feudal Complexities
• As feudal society became more complex the concept of the
liege lord, to whom ultimate obedience was owed,
• Merriment, Marriage, and Medicine: A Noble’s
– Marriage Ties
• Marriage vows became more important thanks to the urging
of Louis the Pious (Charlemagne’s son). It was only
acceptable for a wife to produce offspring.
– Medicine
• Consisted of primarily herbs
Critical Question Group
How did Christian Anglo-Saxon Kings govern? What were the
traditions and institutions that they relied on?
How did the division of Charlemagne’s Kingdom among his
grandsons create changes in the once-unified Empire?
What characteristics did the Scandinavians share with earlier
Germanic peoples?
How did Vikings interact with the peoples they encountered in
their travels and conquests?
What were the benefits of the feudal system for medieval society?
What were the disadvantages?
Five Groups
Each group will answer their assigned critical question
Based on sources from class text book and at least 2 academic journals
Present their findings to class next time we meet