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Western Europe in the early
Middle Ages
The End of the Roman Empire
• The Germans lived in
tribes led by chieftains
in military system called
the Comitatus
• In 476 with a German as
emperor the Western
Empire ends, beginning
the Middle Ages
(Medieval in Latin)
• With the end of the
Western Roman Empire
the people of Europe
enter into a “Dark Ages”
The German chieftain,
Odoacer, became emperor in
Western Europe in the Early Middle Ages
The Franks
•Under Clovis the Franks
conquer all of Gaul
•Clovis will divide the
land he conquerors into
smaller parts that will be
ruled by counts or dukes
•He will combine German
laws with the Roman
legal system
Clovis and Catholicism
•After winning a battle in
which he almost lost,
Clovis vowed to convert
to Catholicism
•Clovis will be baptized
by the pope and will fight
Arian Christian tribes
•After his death, the
Frankish Empire will be
run by his relatives who
lose power to Mayors of
the Palace
The Carolingians
•Charles Martel, “The Hammer,” stops the Muslim
invasion of Europe at the Battle of Tours in Spain
•He will support St. Boniface’s missionary work
among the Germans
•Under his leadership most Germans convert from
Arianism to Catholicism
Pepin the Short
• Pepin ended the rule of the
• With the pope’s support he will
be crowned King of the Franks
• In return he defends the pope
from the Lombards and gives
the pope land
• The Donation of Pepin creates
the Papal States
Expands the Frankish Empire
to its greatest size
• He fights wars against:
1. The Lombards
2. The Saxons for over 30
3. The Muslims in Spain
creating the Spanish March;
“The Song of Roland”
comes from this campaign
Ruling the Holy Roman Empire
•To run the empire Charlemagne
divides the land up into counties
run by counts who are to protect
the land from their manors
• To ensure that his orders were
being followed and that there
was justice in his empire
Charlemagne created the Missi
Dominici (the King’s
• One nobleman and one bishop
traveled the empire and made
sure justice was met and the
borders were safe from invasion
•Charlemagne will
be crowned Holy
Roman Emperor
by Pope Leo III
increases the
power of the pope
and demands that
a tax be paid
annually to the
church (10% of
one’s income = a
The Carolingian Renaissance
•Charlemagne built
churches and monasteries
which will be centers of
•Alcuin of York will be hired
to run a school for the
children of nobles at
Alcuin of York
•Given many libraries had
been destroyed due to war
Charlemagne will order the
monks to make copies of
books, especially of the
ancient Greeks and
Charlemagne’s Rise to Power
• Germanic people
God himself has made
me king.
• Conquered modern
France and Germany
• Clovis– first King of all
FRANKS, converted to
Christianity in 481
• Gave church 10% tax,
called a tithe
• Used Missi Dominici to
kept order in his kingdom
• Made Aachen a center of
• Kingdom divided into
three parts after
Charlemagne’s death
• Division weakened
empire’s unity
• Vikings, Magyars, and
Muslims invaded
Crowned HOLY ROMAN EMPEROR by the Pope
He prevented Muslims from
expanding into Europe.
He brutally put down a Saxon revolt and forced
them to convert to Catholicism
I crown you
Holy Roman
• Lifestyle was based on the sea. Vikings were pirates. To go “a-viking” meant
to go on an overseas adventure. Men and women wore long hair. Married
women were respected.
• Government: tribal units ruled by jarls
• Values: Culture of war --> blood feuds were common
• Education was not important
• Religion: worshipped many gods by crop and animal sacrifices
• Raided coastal villages throughout Europe, plundering, killing, burning and
taking possessions.
• Lack of FARMLAND so needed to move!
• Europe was weak after Charlemagne’s empire fell apart.
• Viking longships and weaponry intimidated people of Europe.
• Vikings were experienced sailors, traders and explorers.
We can not
stop the
Viking raids
without a
• Viking power of intimidation kept Europe in a state of terror.
• Europeans looked to local lords to protect them.
• These raids contributed to the development of feudalism.
• Viking culture influenced some aspects of life in Europe.
Flag of Norway
Flag of Denmark
What religion do
the Vikings
eventually convert
Flag of Iceland
Flag of England
Flag of Sweden
Flag of Scotland
City flag of Philadelphia
People of which country
founded Philadelphia?
Suggested Routes of the Vikings
Believed Migration
of Vikings in
2005 CE
Divided the empire among his three sons
Was Charlemagne’s son
A wise and just ruler who issued many laws
Created a large empire
First Frankish king to be anointed by Pope
Helped the Pope become the ruler of the Italian Peninsula
Known as “the Hammer”
Led the Franks to victory at the Battle of Tours
Eventually brought all Franks under one rule
Was a good general and able king
In the Early Middle Ages
Papal States