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system that described economic and political relations between landlords and their peasant laborers during the Middle Ages; involved a hierarchy of reciprocal obligations that exchanged labor or rents for access to land.

Town Charter

a legal document listing the privileges of the towns people; people ruled themselves with the charter


A bishop's church.


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


A community in which monks lead lives devoted to religion.

Gothic Style

type of European architecture that developed in the Middle Ages, characterized by west fronts with ornate portals, geometric relationships, flying buttresses, and ribbed vaulting

Romanesque Style

Massive walls, stone arches, and exterior decoration/sculpture. Borrowed Roman architectural aesthetic features.

Abbot Suger

served as regent of France, abbot of Saint-Denis and was responsible for its rebuilding. Began the Gothic Architecture.

Abbey of St. Denis

Was rebuilt by Abbot Suger

Ribbed vaults

Lighter and stronger than barrel vaults.

Barrel vaults

long rounded ceilings found in romanesque churches. These ceilings needed huge pillars and thick walls to hold them up. Windows were small and set back, they let in little light

Bernard of Clairvaux

Protested against cathedrals, said that the Church clothed the cathedrals with gold yet ignored the naked.

Flying buttress

supports that helped hold up church walls from the outside, allowing for much higher ceilings and an interior that had no columns

Cathedral Chapter

the group of people who were responsible to gather and record finances, hire workers and keep records of the cathedral building process and progress

Post and lintel

a structure consisting of vertical beams (posts) supporting a horizontal beam (lintel)

Groin vault

formed at the point at which 2 barrel vaults intersect at right angles

Romanesque Period

Period during 11th and 12th centuries in western Europe, characterized by influence and interpretation of Roman architecture.

Gothic Period

12th to 14th centuries, characterized by Gothic style architecture.

Ribbed Groin Vault

Allowed for efficient channeling of weight in Medieval Churches


Area of France around Paris. Area ruled directly by the King of France.

Sancta Camisia

Relic said to have been worn by the Virgin Mary.


A series of barrel vaults


the passage (walkway) around the apse in a church or around the central space in a central-plan church


the central area of a church

Side Aisle

smaller aisles to the side of the nave


either of the two side parts of a cross-shaped church that are at an angle of 90 degrees to the main part


the space in a cruciform church formed by the intersection of the nave and the transept


The area of the church between a transept and main apse. it is the area where the service is sung and clergy may stand, and the main or high altar is located.


A recess, usually semicircular, in the wall of a Roman basilica or at the east end of a church.

Radiating Chapel

semicircular chapel cutout of the wall of a church, usually for relic display


the second story of a church, placed over the side aisles and below the clerestory


The topmost zone of a wall with windows in a basilica extending above the aisle roofs. Provides direct light into the central interior space (the nave).

Flying Buttress

a buttress that stands apart from the main structure and connected to it by an arch


in church architecture, the pillar or center post supporting the lintel in the middle of the doorway.


horizontal beam above the doorway


Relief/semicircular zone above the lintel of the main portal that depicts Jesus scenes


Earliest settlers of Assisi


The noble class.


Later conquered Umbrians


Common folk


Farm laborers, merchants, craftsmen. Like a serf, except had freedom.

Pietro Bernardone

Saint Francis' father

Pica Bernardone

Saint Francis' mother


Buying/selling of church offices

Poor Clares

an order of nuns in the Roman Catholic Church. It was the second Franciscan order to be established

Third Order

An order of Franciscan friars.


A male member of the Roman Catholic order; religious man who lived in poverty performing religious services; survived on the charity of others. From the Italian word for "brother"


a beggar/ depending upon alms for a living; practicing begging

Canticle of All Creatures

Francis' praise of creation


A Christian religious sect that has dualistic and gnostic elements.


biography of a saint that is worshiping or idealizing


Marks resembling the wounds on the crucified body of Christ


Charging interest on loans (church didn't allow it.)


This member of a guild could own his own shop and tools, as well as employ Journeymen and Apprentices.


Young person learning a trade from a master


apprentices became this, worked for wages for other masters, became masters, expected to produce a masterpiece

Eleanor of Aquitaine

Wife of Henry II


Author of Metamorphoses, Ars amatoria, and Remedia amoris


a medieval tale in eight-syllable verse. Humorous, often bawdy, it frequently satirizes women and the clergy. Adaptations of it appear in several of Geoffrey Chaucer's tales, including those of the Miller, the Reeve, the Friar, the Summoner, and the Merchant


Narrative poem, usually about adventure or romance, sung to popular melodies, made up of several stanzas that do not repeat in form or follow a set pattern


description that appeals to the senses (sight, sound, smell, touch, taste)


The attribution of human characteristics to inanimate objects or abstract notions


Something that stands for something else, especially a material object used to represent something else.


A comparison using comparative terms such as "like" or "as"


An implied comparison, without using "like" or "as"


Poet comes from this word, means maker or creator.


Thomas Aquinas' view, which he adapted from Aristotle. Holds that we are two things: form and matter. The soul is the "form" of the body. Both the soul and the body are good; the soul is not simply a good thing "trapped" inside of a bad body.


Repetition of initial consonant sounds

Bob & Wheel

End rhyme form of the poem Gawain and the Green Knight


An audible pause or break within a line of poetry.


Five Pointed Star: 5 senses, 5 finger, 5 wounds of Christ, 5 joys of Mary, 5 virtues (generosity, fellowship, charity, chastity, courtesy)

Geoffrey Chaucer

author of the Miller's Tale

Senex amans

Stock character: Old man who married a woman who is way too young for him.






Jolly (also pretty)


The everyday speech of the people (as distinguished from literary language)


something presented at a time when it could not have existed or occurred

Pageant wagon

Stage that is wheeled around, used in professional staging

Craft Guild

Group of tradesmen or craftsmen engaged in the same occupation joined together.

Merchant Guild

Association of traders who basically ran the town. Not allowed to get rich on your own.


Scenic structure used in medieval drama to indicate the locale or scene of the action; areas inside the church used for performing liturgical drama


the neutral acting area of a stage, could assume the scenic identity of the mansion that was being used

Hell's Mouth

In plays, this was the entrance to hell. Usually highly decorated.


Stage machinery of the medieval theatre. The secrets were managed by the Master of Secrets. Special effects, and special stage elements.


Single-voiced music without accompaniment


Music arranged in parts for several voices or instruments


One note for one syllable.


Multiple notes for one syllable.


The notational signs (notes) of the Middles Ages that were used for writing down plainsong or chant.

Hildegard of Bingen

Abbess of a religious house in Western Germany; one of first important women composers and contributor to Gregorian chant.

Magnus Liber Organi

Big Book of Religious Music

Proper of the Mass

The sections of the Mass that are sung to texts that vary each feast day.


originally a canon at the Notre Dame cathedral, became a priest, and was affiliated with the monastery of St. Victor. As a poet, he wrote a paraphrase of the first eight books of the Bible in verse and several shorter works. Contributed to the Magnus Liber Organi et Graduali


Magnus liber organi et graduali refers to him as a master. Used discant clausulae on pieces in the Organi et Graduali by replacing old-fashioned pieces in it written by Leoninus with newer, discant style music

Guillaume de Machaut

Great French poet and composer. One of the most important composers


Lord, Have Mercy


Glory to God in the Highest


I believe in one God


Holy, holy, holy Lord God of Hosts

Agnus Dei

Lamb of God


adult male voice between baritone and alto. Held the chant line


The top voice of a four-voice texture. (soprano)

Contratenor altus

Alto, between superius and tenor.

Contratenor bassus

Below the tenor, bass voice, lowest.


Author of Prologion


Teacher at the University of Bologna who taught Roman law


Scholar of canon law (Church law)


Latin word for guild. "Guild of Students"


First part of liberal arts studies. 3 parts: grammar, rhetoric, and logic.


Second part of liberal arts studies. 4 parts: arithmetic, astronomy, geometry, music.

Active Life

Rationally informed activity that arises from human nature and is intent upon some external goal.

Contemplative Life

Rationally informed activity that arises from human nature and is intent upon knowledge for its own sake.

Expanding mind

Increasing knowledge expands interests.

Contracting mind

Current interests limit the scope of future knowledge.


The speaker is part of the fictional creation, invented for the author's particular purposes in a given literary work.


A narrative that serves as an extended metaphor.

University of Bologna

First university. It was a school of law.

University of Paris

One of the first universities. Abelard informally founded it.

Guibert of Nogent

A Monk's Confession


On a Divers Arts, The Treatise of Theophilus


The Life of St. Francis

Gregario Dati

The Diary of Gregario Dati

Marie de France

Bisclavret and Laustic


The De Institutione Musica

Isidore of Seville

The Etymologiarum


Life of Anselm

Christine de Pisan

The Book of the City of Ladies

Romance of the Rose

Medieval French poem styled as an allegorical dream vision


Muslim scholar who strongly influenced medieval Christian scholars with his writings on Aristotle

Order of Preachers

1220, Dominicans, stressed preaching and education. Instrumental in the formation of medieval universities

St. Dominic

He established an order which combined the rule of poverty and the practice of mendicancy with careful study and informed preaching. (1170-1221)

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