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Middle Ages

the medieval period. An era in European history that resulted from the decline of the Roman Empire. Lasted from 500-1500


a Germanic people originating in Gaul, modern-day France and Switzerland


worldly; not pertaining to church matters or religion; temporal

Carolingian Dynasty

a family that ruled the Franks from 751 to 987. Founded by Pepin the Short.


landowner. granted land to vassals in exchange for loyalty, military protection, and other services


land granted by lords


the receiver of a fief


mounted horseman who pledged to defend their lords' lands in exchange for fiefs


people who could not lawfully leave the place where they were born. (not slaves, could not be bought or sold) Lords provided them with housing, farmland, and protection from bandits.


the lord's estate. The basic economic arrangement of the Middle Ages. Usually covered a few square miles of land, and included a Church and workshops.


Church tax. One-tenth of a peasant's income owed to the village priest


religious officials, such as priests, given authority to conduct religious services. Also included bishops and priests.


important religious ceremonies. They pave the way for achieving salvation.

canon law

Church law that all medieval Christians were subject to. Penalties for disobeying included excommunication or interdict.


banishment of an individual from the Church. This denied the subject salvation and freed their vassals from service.


A lord and all his vassals, including peasants, could not have religious services performed on their lands, which they believed would doom them to Hell

Holy Roman Empire

developed from the German-Italian empire Otto I created. It was the strongest state in Europe until 1100.

lay investiture

a ceremony in which kings and nobles appointed Church officials.

Germanic Culture

Importance of loyalty to family and to chiefs
Small populations
No writing; they had oral tradition
Women only did house hold duties
no centralized government; tribes


the collective body of Christians throughout the world and history

Treaty of Verdun

signed in 843, the treaty divided the Carolingian Empire into three sections, which led to the eventual destruction of charlemagne's empire. It marked the end of a centralized kingdom with a strong ruler.

Clovis the Frank

who: a leader of the Franks
what: He united the Franks into one kingdom
when: 496
where: Gaul
why: converted all of France, lays foundation for Christianity in barbarian tribes. His unification of the Frankish kingdom and the Church started a relationship between the two forces.


a Frankish dynasty founded by Clovis I that reigned in Gaul and Germany from about 500 to 750

Charles Martel

who: the grand domo
what: He defeated the Muslim armies in the battle of Tours. He also began the use of mounted cavalry, which developed into knights.
when: 732
where: Merovingian Empire
why: If he didn't win the battle of Tours, it is possible that Islam would have spread through Europe.

Gregory the Great

who: a pope
what: Strengthened the papacy, adding to both its spiritual and political influence. He gained control of Italian lands from the Lombards.
when: 590
where: Rome
why: He introduced the idea of the pope and other clergy have secular duties and powers, such as helping the poor, raising armies, and repairing roads.


the family that ruled the Franks in Gaul from 751 to 987 in the Carolingian Dynasty. This began when Pepin was declared king. They lost power after the Treaty of Verdun.

Pepin the Short

Charles Martel's son who became king. After being kinged by the pope, he began the Carolingian dynasy.


who: emperor
what: He was crowned Roman emperor by the pope. He went on to regain much of Western Europe. He supported education.
when: 800
where: Western Europe
why: He united the Franks, the Churhc, and Roman heritage.

major domo

a mayor of the palace became most powerful person in kingdom. The mayor of the palace had charge of the royal household and estates and unoficcialy commanded the armies and made policies.


a way of life in which men and women withdraw from the rest of the world in order to devote themselves to their faith. The goal was to renounce wordly things and pursue spiritual growth. New members were given a trial period. They would then take vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience.

The Holy Roman Empire

started in 962 when Pope John XII crowned Otto I as emperor of Central Europe; was the largest and almost only example of centralized government during the Renaissance; example of the Pope's superiority over civil rulers (the POPE IS IN CHARGE)


Sea going Scandinavian raiders who devastated coastal areas of Europe. From the 8th to the 11trh century. Cross Atlantic to Iceland to Greenland to North American.

End of Viking attacks

1. Vikings accepted Christianity
2. warmed climates allowed Scandinavians to farm for larger portions of the year
3. developement of feudalism


barbarian people who migrated into southern Europe, and in the early 10th century ad occupied Hungary, from where their horsemen raided into France, Italy, Germany, and even Spain

Order of Feudalism

GOD- kings- vassals (nobles and church officials)- knights- serfs

3 main roles in feudalism

1. work (serfs)
2. fight (nobles/vassals/knights)
3. pray (church officials)


the major political system of the Middle Ages


the major economic system of the Middle Ages, An economic system based on the manor and lands including a village and surrounding acreage which were administered by a lord. It developed during the Middle Ages to increase agricultural production.

Contributions of monastaries

provided hospitality to travelers
preserved and copied manuscripts (ex. Book of Kels)
opened schools


the vikings alphabet

Otto the Great

who: German king
what: He was crowned emperor of Italy and Germany by the pope.
when: 962
where: Germany and Italy
why: He won the support of the Church and used it to increase his power.

Pope Gregory VII

who: pope
what: He dedicated himself to the reform of the Church and banned lay investiture, which led to problems with the political leaders.
when: 1075
where: Western Europe
why: He eventually exommunicated King Henry and temporarily won the Church the upper hand


Henry begged for Gregory's forgiveness here.

Concordat of Worms

A compromise between the king and the Pope that started that the church alone could grant a bishop his ring and staff (church power) but his power could be vetoed by the king

Frederick I (Barbarossa)

First ruler to call his lands the Holy Roman Empire; strong personality; repeatedly invaded Italy; the Lombard League formed against him; he lost and made peace w/ the pope. He was defeated at Legnano.

Lombard Leage

a leage of merchant footsoldiers

Battle of Legnano

Lombard League vs. Frederick's army of mounted knights; the italian foot soldiers w/ crossbows defeated feudal knights for the first time in history
when: 1176
where: Lombard

Venerable Bede

who:English monk
what: wrote a history of England; one of the best historical works of the early middle ages. introduced BC and AD
when: 673
where: England
why: His work is considered the chief source of information about English history from the first centuries of the Christian era up until 729.

Pope Benedict

the founder of monasticism in what had been the western half of the Roman Empire and established Benedictine rule in the 6th century; paralleled the development of Basil's rules in the Byzantine Empire
who: monk
when: 6th century
where: Western Europe


the pope who in 800 crowned Charlemagne emperor of the Romans (750-816)

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