heresy

an opinion different from accepted belief; the denial of an idea that is generally held sacred

feudalism

a political and military system based on the granting of land in return for loyalty, military assistance and services.

vassal

person granted land in return for services

fief

grant of land from a lord to a vassal

primogeniture

inheritance of a fief only by the oldest son

manor

economic unit of the Middle Ages consisting of a large estate with manor house, fields and a village

domain

portion of manor the lord kept for his own use

serf

(Middle Ages) a person who is bound to the land and owned by the feudal lord

chivalry

code of conduct for knights

sacrament

a special Christian ceremony in which participants received graces from God

monasticism

system of monasteries and convents in which Christians withdrew from the world to lead a life of prayer, fasting and self-denial

abbot

head of a monastery

canon law

church law

interdict

church's punishment of an entire region by withholding some sacrament

tithe

church tax representing one tenth of a person's income collected from all Christians

simony

purchase of a church office or job

inquisition

church's efforts to eliminate heresy

curia

advisors to the pope

cardinals

most important members of the curia, they elected the popes

St. Francis of Assisi

founder of a preaching order of monks

Domesday book

A record of all the property and holdings in England commissioned by William the Conqueror in 1066 so he could determine the extent of his lands and wealth

knight

a mounted warrior

monastery

self-contained community for people who have taken religious vows

crusader

A Christian soldier who fought to free the Holy Land from Muslim Turks in the Middle Ages. The word means "carrier of the cross"

rune

any character from an ancient Germanic alphabet used in Scandinavia from the 3rd century to the Middle Ages

saga

Scandinavian myth; any legend; long heroic narrative

fjord

a long narrow inlet of the sea between steep cliffs

drakken

ships used by the Vikings to raid and plunder villages; were intimidating; could hold lots of men

epic

a long narrative poem telling of a hero's deeds

frank

a member of the ancient Germanic peoples who spread from the Rhine into the Roman Empire in the 4th century

Norse

the northern family of Germanic languages that are spoken in Scandinavia and Iceland

excommunication

the act of banishing a member of the Church from the communion of believers and the privileges of the Church

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