How can we help?

You can also find more resources in our Help Center.

37 terms

Middle Ages Vocab

STUDY
PLAY
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
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
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)]
Scism
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