Middle Ages Vocab

38 terms by 14mcase

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vassals

lesser lords who pledged their service and loyalty to a greater lord -- in a military capacity

Fief

an estate; from a few acres to hundreds of square miles; also included the peasants that worked the land

Knight

a mounted warrior who had great prestige in the Middle Ages; they dominated warfare in Europe

Chivalry

a code that knights adopted in the late Middle Ages; requiring them to be brave, loyal and true to their word; they had to fight fairly in battle

Troubadours

wandering poets; their love songs focused on cherishing and protecting women

Manor

lord's estate

Serf

peasants on a manor; they were bound to the land; they were not slaves who could be bought and sold—still they were not free

Secular

worldly; associated with the world

Sacraments

the sacred rituals of the Church

Canon Law

the Church's own body of laws; this law applied to religious teachings, the behavior of the clergy, and even marriages and morals

Excommunication

the most severe penalty for refusing to obey Church laws; if you were excommunicated - could not be buried on sacred ground and could not receive the sacraments

Interdict

popes consider this to be their "spiritual weapon"; what you faced if you violated Church laws; which excluded an entire town, region, or kingdom from participating in most sacraments and from receiving Christian burial

Tithe

a tax equal to a tenth of one's income; this idea existed in ancient religions before Christianity; used to help the poor

Anti-Semitism

prejudice and hostility against Jews

Charter

written document that set out the rights and privileges of the town -- in return for the charter, merchants paid the lord or the king a large sum of money or a yearly fee or both

Capital

money for investments, spurred the growth of banking houses; banking houses were needed when merchants pooled their money together to finance big projects that would have been impossible for individual traders

Usury

lending money at interest

Guilds

business associations that dominated medieval towns; they passed laws, levied taxes, built protective walls for the city, etc. Each guild represented workers in one occupation such as weavers, bakers, brewers, sword makers, etc.

Apprentice

a trainee in a particular trade; a long process that youngsters went through to obtain membership in a guild (around 7 or 8 yrs. of age)

Wergild

a fine, the amount paid by the wrongdoer to the family of the person he or she had injured or killed; translates as "money for a man"

Ordeal

a means of determining guilt in Germanic law; it was based on the idea of divine intervention; all involved a physical trial of some sort for example using red hot irons

Bishopric

also called diocese; a group of parishes headed by a bishop --- his area of authority is called this

Monk

a man who separates himself from ordinary human society in order to pursue a life of total dedication to God

Abbot

head of a monastery

Monasticism

the practice of living the life of a monk

Missionaries

people sent out to carry a religious message; also focuses on converting non-Christians to Christianity

Nun

a female who dedicates her life to God; avoids the things of the world

Abbesses

head of a convent

Scriptoria

writing rooms where monks copied the works of early Christianity, such as the Bible, but also the works of Latin classical authors

Feudalism

a political system and a social system where by a powerful lord would offer "protection" in return for "service"

Feudal Contract

an unwritten set of rules that determined the relationship between a lord and his vassal - the major obligation was to perform military service (40 days a year)

Tournaments

contest where knights could fight; useful in helping knights train for war

Common Law

laws that were common to the whole kingdom --- this began to replace law codes that varied from place to place

Magna Carta

a written document that gave recognition to the relationship between king and vassals

Estates

another term for "classes" of people [the clergy (first estate), nobles (second estate), townspeople & peasants (third estate)]

Schism

a separation between the two branches of Christianity

Crusades

military expeditions to gain (regain) the Holy Land from the Muslims (from 11th to the 13th centuries)

Infidels

unbelievers - referring to the Muslims

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