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History Chapter 5 Europe in the Middle Ages

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Knight
A man who received honor and land in exchange for serving a lord as a soldier. A knight was expected to be loyal to the lord who knighted him. His lord was loyal to a more powerful lord or king. Knights and lords protected the less powerful people loyal to them. This system held society together.
Medieval Period and Middle Ages
Medieval period means referring to the Middle Ages. Middle Ages means the years between ancient and modern times. The Middle Ages was between ancient and modern times. The Medieval period was the time of knights in shiny armor, lords and ladies, and castles and cathedrals. Historians usually say that ancient times lasted until about A..D. 500 and that modern times started about 1,500. The period in the middle is also called the medieval period.
Lords and Manors
A large estate, often including farms and a village, ruled by a lord. The lord of the manor was typically a vassal of a king or of a more powerful lord. The manor was part of his fief. Most manors were far from towns, villagers, and other manors. Therefore, they had to be self-sufficient, or able to supply their own needs. Food, clothing, and other things needed by the people who lived on the manor were made there. A lord depended on the wealth his manor provided. He ruled over his manor-and the poor people who lived there. He made the rules and acted as judge. He decided who would oversee the farming and other daily work. And he collected taxes from the peasants who lived on the manor.
Serf
A farm worker considered part of the manor on which he or she worked. Most peasants were also serfs. When a noble was given a manor as part of his fief, its serfs became his. They could not leave the manor, or even get married, without his permission. Although serfs were tied to manors, they were not quite slaves. A successful serf could save money to buy his freedom and his own plot of land. A serf who escaped to a city and lived there for a year and a day without being caught also became free. Most serfs, however, remained serfs their whole lives.
Clergy
People with authority to perform religious services. The Church took fiefs from lords in exchange for services performed by a clergy.
Feudalism
A system in which land was owned by kings or lords but held by vassals in return for their loyalty. The system that developed was called feudalism. Under feudalism, land was owned by kings or lords but held by vassals in return for their loyalty. By about 1000, feudalism as the way of life throughout Western Europe. It would last for hundreds of years. In medieval Europe, power belonged to those who controlled the land. These landowners were nobles, such as barons and princes. They gave a share of land, called a fief to each of their vassals, who promised to follow the land owner's law and to fight for him. A vassal could also be a lord.
Excommunication
Expelling someone from the Church. People who did not obey the Church were threatened with being excommunicated. Excommunication was a very serious threat. Few people would associate with someone who had been excommunicated. High Church officials were advisors to kings and lords. The ever-present threat of excommunication gave Church officials great influence in political matters.
Guilds and Apprentices
A medieval organization of crafts workers or tradespeople. In many towns and cities, the merchants, traders, and crafts workers began to form associates called guilds. Thus there was a guild of weavers, a guild of grocers, a guild of shoemakers, and so on. Guilds set prices and prevented outsiders from selling goods in town. They set standards for the quality of their goods. Guild members paid dues. This money was used to help needy members or to support the families of members who have died. It took a long time to become a member of a guild. Between the of about 8 and 14, a boy who wanted to learn a certain trade became an apprentice. An apprentice is an unpaid person training in a craft or trade. He lived and worked in the home of a master of that trade for as long as seven years. Then he could become a journeyman, or salaried worker. In time, if guild officials judged that the journeyman's work met their standards, he could join the guild.
Chivalry
Chivalry is the code of honorable conduct of knights. Stories, poems, and songs about chivalry were very popular.
Troubadour
A troubadour was a traveling poet and musician of the Middle Ages. Throughout Western Europe, troubadours went from place to place singing about the brave deeds performed by knights to win the love of a beautiful and worthy woman.
Holy Land
The Holy Land is Jerusalem and parts of the surrounding area where Jesus lived and taught. The Holy Land was a small region on the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea known in ancient times as Judea, today part of Israel and the West Bank.
Crusades
Crusades are a series of military expeditions launched by Christian Europeans to win the Holy Land back from Muslim control. The Church launched eight military expeditions, called the Crusades, to capture the Holy Land. The word comes from crux, the latin word for cross. People who carried the Christian cross into battle against the non-Christian enemy were called crusaders.
Jerusalem
Jerusalem is in the Holy Land, regarded as sacred by Christians, Muslims, and Jews. Since about A.D. 200, European Christians had been traveling to Jerusalem, a city in the Holy Land regarded as sacred by Christians, Muslims, and Jews.
Pilgrims
A pilgrim is a person who journeys to a sacred place. Nobles and peasants alike made the long and difficult journey. They wanted to visit the places written about in the Bible.
Nation
A nation is a community of people that shares territory and a government. Larger kingdoms turn into nations. A common language and culture also often unite the people of a nation. The process of combining smaller communities into a single nation with a national identity and a national government is called nation building.
Magna Carta
The "Great Charter," in which the king's power over his nobles was limited, agreed to by King John of England in 1215. John was forced to place the royal seal on the document, and it became law. Called the Magna Carta, or the "Great Charter," it limited the kings power. The king could no longer jail any freeman without just cause, and he could not raise taxes without consulting his Great Council of lords and clergy.
Model Parliament
The Model Parliament is a council of lords, clergy, and common people that advised the English king on government matters. The Great Council later became the Model Parliament, which included common people as well as lords and clergy. Eventually, the Model Parliament evolved into a powerful legislature, or law-making assembly. As it gained power, Parliament also helped unify England.
Hundred Years' War
The Hundred Years' War was a series of conflicts between England and France, 1337-1453. Despite the growth of nations, Western Europe was not at peace. Now, instead of nobles fighting each other, the emerging nations went to war.
Collapse of Roman Empire
The Middle Ages began with the collapse of the Roman Empire in Western Europe. For centuries, the Roman Empire had provided order and stability in the region. It had spread its culture, the Latin language, and Christianity across the continent. Over time, however, the Roman Empire grew weak. It suffered economic and social troubles. Worse, the Roman Empire also suffered from invasions by peoples from the north. In wave after wave, the invaders destroyed Roman towns and cut off trade routes. They claimed parts of the empire for themselves. Because these peoples kept their own language and laws, they broke the bonds that had held the Roman Empire together. By about A.D. 500, the Roman Empire in Western Europe had completely collapsed. It was replaced by a patchwork of small kingdoms. Reading and writing were in danger of disappearing from Europe because many of the invading groups could not do either.
Charlemagne and the Rule of Charlemagne
One of the invading groups was the Franks. They claimed the area called Gaul, which is now France. In fact, the name France comes from the word Franks. In 768, a skilled military leader named Charlemagne became king of the Franks. At the time, many small kingdoms of Western Europe were often at war with one another. Charlemagne expanded his kingdom by conquering these weaker kingdoms. Soon, he ruled an empire that stretched across most of Western Europe. Charlemagne ruled his empire for nearly 50 years. During that time he worked hard to keep Western Europe united. He established schools throughout the land to promote learning and culture. He spread the Christian religion. He issued money and improved the economy. Western Europe had not been so prosperous or so united since the time of the Roman Empire. After Charlemagne's death, the empire was divided among his three sons. They fought one another, weakening the empire. Other groups also attacked the weakened empire. Perhaps the fiercest attacks were made by the Vikings.
Franks
One of the invading groups was the Franks. They claimed the area called Gaul, which is now France. In fact, the name France comes from the word Franks. In 768, a skilled military leader named Charlemagne became king of the Franks.
Vikings
The Vikings came from the far north of Europe-present-day Denmark, Sweden, and Norway. They were skilled sailors and tough warriors. Their attacks began around A.D. 800 and continued for about 300 years. Relying on surprise, the Vikings burned and looted European towns. But they also reopened trade routes to Mediterranean lands and beyond. And they settled in other parts of northern Europe, mixing with the local populations. Even so, the Vikings did not unite these lands into a lasting empire.
Feudal Duties and Vassals
Lords promised to treat their vassals with honor. In addition, the chief duty of lords was to protect their vassals and their lands. If a vassal with young children died, for example, the lord became the children's protector. The lord also asked his vassals' advice before making laws or going to war. Vassals were expected to raise and lead armies that would fight for their lord. Many of these vassals were knights-professional horse soldiers who led other men into battle. Vassals also appeared at the lord's court when commanded to do so. And they paid taxes, often in the form of crops, to their lords.
Manor System
Feudalism was the way medieval Europeans organized power and government. Manorialism was the way they organized their economy. This system was based on the manor, a large estate that included farm fields, pastures, and often an entire village. It also included a large house, called a manor house, where the lord, or ruler, of the manor lived.
The Role of Noblewomen
Women of the noble classes also played an important part in feudal society. Like the men in her family, a noblewoman went to other noble families for training. Then, she took her place as lady of the household. She managed the household, performed necessary medical tasks, and supervised servants. When the husband or father was away fighting, she often served as "lord of the manor, " making important decisions.
Gothic Cathedrals and the Church
Most Gothic cathedrals were built in Western Europe between 1100 and 1400. Gothic refers to the style of architecture. A cathedral was the church of a bishop, an important leader of the Roman Catholic Church. During the Middle Ages, nearly all people in Western Europe were Roman Catholic. The Roman Catholic Church had so much influence that it was known simply as "the Church."
The Church in Everyday Life
The medieval Church touched nearly all aspects of life. Think of any major event-birth of a child, a serious illness, a marriage, or a death. During the Middle Ages, the clergy were almost always in attendance to offer a blessing or to perform a service. The clergy helped people follow Church rules about how to live. They also listened when people came to church to confess their sins. In the name of God, the clergy then forgave them for the wrongs to which they had confessed.
Monasteries and Convents
Some religious men felt that they should dedicate their lives to God by living together in religious communities called monasteries. Religious women, called nuns, lived in similar communities called converts. This form of religious life is called monasticism. These religious communities developed better ways of growing crops and tending livestock. In this way, the Church helped improve the economy of the Middle Ages, which was based mostly on farming. Monks and nuns also looked after the sick and set up schools. Monks were more educated than more people. Because they copied books from ancient times, they preserved knowledge that otherwise would have been lost. Convents gave women a rare opportunity to become educated.
Scholasticism
Some Christian scholars studied ancient Greek texts that said people should use reason to discover truth. However, the Church taught many ideas must be accepted on faith. These medieval scholars worked out a system that tried to resolve the two philosophies. Called scholasticism, it used reason to support Christian beliefs.
The Revival of Trade
As people felt safer, the began to travel more and learn more about distant places. The crusaders brought many desirable goods back from Asia. Europeans began to demand such things as spices and cloth that they could get only from Africa and Asia. Ancient trade routes came into use again. European merchants traveled abroad to buy and sell valued goods.
The Growth of Towns
At first, local goods were traded in the markets of small villages. As trade grew, so did these markets. Some developed into major trade fairs. Traders also gathered at convenient places for travelers, such as river crossings and along highways. They chose important monasteries and fortified places built by nobles. Before long, towns developed in these locations, too. As trade grew, so did Europe's medieval towns and cities. The possibility of a better life and freedom from serfdom drew many people from the surrounding countryside to the new, growing towns. The growth of these towns' population further increased their prosperity and trade.
The Rise of a Middle Class
Town life was not at all like form or manor life. Towns and cities were not self-sufficient. Instead, their economies were based on the exchange of money for goods and services. a new class of people developed, made up of merchants, traders, and crafts workers. In status, it was between nobles and pheasants, and so it was called the middle class.
Overcrowding and Disease
Medieval towns and cities were extremely crowded. Their lack of sanitation, or procedures for keeping the town clean, bred disease, and the overcrowded conditions meant that disease spread quickly. One disease, the bubonic plague, wiped out one third of Europe's population between 1347 and 1351. Called the Black Death, it was spread by fleas living on the rats that thrived in the unsanitary towns.
The Rise of the Seljuk Turks
For centuries, Jerusalem had been controlled by Arab Muslims who generally welcomed Christian pilgrims. Then, in the 1,000s, the Seljuk Turks took control of the Holy Land. The Muslim group sometimes attacked the Christian pilgrims from Europe. Then they closed the pilgrimage routes to Jerusalem. At the same time, the Turks were also conquering much of the Byzantine Empire. The Byzantine emperor in Constantinople asked Pope Urban II to send knights to defend his Christian empire. The pope agreed and called on the people of Europe to fight the Muslim Turks.
Pope Urban II
Pope Urban II was the Christian pope. He called the people of Europe to war. The purpose of this war was to capture the Holy Land because the Holy Land was controlled by the Muslims and the Christians must win it back. The Byzantine emperor in Constantinople asked Pope Urban II to send knights to defend his Christian empire. The pope agreed and called on the people of Europe to fight the Muslim Turks. Why did Pope Urban II agree to organize a war against the Muslim Turks? Mainly, he wanted the Holy Land to be under the control of Christians. He wanted Christian pilgrims to be able to visit Jerusalem and other religious sites. But he also had other reasons. The pope thought a crusade would unite Europeans against a common enemy-the Muslim Turks-and they would stop fighting among themselves. He also hoped to gain power and prestige for himself and the Church. Some Europeans had other reasons for encouraging the Crusades. They wanted to control not only the Holy Land but also key trade routes between Africa, Asia, and Europe.
Peter the Hermit and the People's Crusade
Peter, a small man who wore monk's robes, gathered an "army" of common people. They set out in 1096. When they got to Constantinople, the Byzantine emperor advised them to wait for help from an army of knights from Europe. Peter agreed, but his followers rebelled. His soldiers attacked the Turks, who easily defeated them. Only a small part of his army survived.
Saladin and the Later Crusades
The Second Crusade had little success. Then a strong Arab Muslim leader rose to power. He was known to the Europeans as Saladin. By 1187, Saladin had retaken Jerusalem. King Richard I of England tried to persuade Saladin to return the Holy City to the Christians. Saladin refused. Even so, Saladin negotiated a treaty with King Richard. He agreed to reopen Jerusalem to Christian pilgrims.
Increased Trade
The European ships that carried crusaders and their supplies to the Holy Land returned with rugs, glass, jewelry, and spices. Soon, these goods were in great demand in Europe. Thus, the crusaders helped receive trade, which in turn led to the growth of towns and cities. The crusades also encouraged the use of money in Europe. For much of the Middle Ages, most people bartered, or traded goods for other goods or for land or protection. But the crusaders went far from home, where they needed to buy supplies. In that case, it was easier to use money than it was to barter.
New Ideas
Returning crusaders also brought new ideas and technology back to Europe. The crusaders helped increase European knowledge. Europeans learned how to make better ships and maps-skills that would help them become worldwide explorers.
William of Normandy and Changes in England
By the 1200's England was already well on its way to becoming a unified nation. In 1066, William of Normandy, a duke from France, had conquered England in what came to be called the Norman Conquest. As king of England, William the Conqueror was a strong ruler who made sure to keep more power than his nobles. The kings followed who followed William-especially Henry I and Henry II-further increased the power of the king. Of course, the nobles began to resent this power. King John, a son of Henry II, would soon face their anger.
King John Angers the Nobles
When John became king of England in 1199, he quickly moved to increase his wealth and power. He taxed people heavily. He jailed his enemies unjustly and without trial. Even the most powerful nobles were hurt by John's unfair actions. John also angered Church leaders and clergymen. He seized Church property and tried to block the pope's choice for the chief bishop of England. When the bishop took office, he supported the nobles who opposed the king's actions.
Joan of Arc's Victory
The Hundred Years' War dragged on, fought by one king after another. England won most of the battles, but the French continued to fight. However, the tide turned in 1429 when a peasant girl called Joan of Ark took charge of the French forces at the battle of Orleans. French troops at OrLeans greeted her with hope and curiosity. Under Joan's command, the French defeated the English at Orleans. She then lead her forces to victory in other battles. In 1430, Joan was taken prisoner by allies of the English. England tried Joan for witchcraft. She was convicted and burned at the stake. The French saw Joan of Arc as a martyr, and her death inspired them to many victories. By 1453, the English had been driven from most of France. With the English troops in retreat, France was on its way to becoming a strong and united nation.
Henry VIII
Henry VIII was the Tudor monarchs of England and he was very powerful. Yet Henry VIII consulted with Parliament on important issues.
What were the Crusades? What was their main goal? Who was involved?
The Crusades is a series of military expeditions launched by Christian Europeans to win the Holy Land back from Muslim control. The Church launched eight military expeditions called the Crusades, to capture the Holy Land. The word comes from crux, the latin word for cross. People who carried the Christian cross into battle against the non-Christian enemy were called crusaders.
Who was Charlemagne? What did he do for Europe?
One of the invading groups was the Franks. They claimed the area called Gaul, which is now France. In fact, the name France comes from the word Franks. In 768, a skilled military leader named Charlemagne became king of the Franks. At the time, many small kingdoms of Western Europe were often at war with one another. Charlemagne expanded his kingdom by conquering these weaker kingdoms. Soon, he ruled an empire that stretched across most of Western Europe. Charlemagne ruled his empire for nearly 50 years. During that time he worked hard to keep Western Europe united. He established schools throughout the land to promote learning and culture. He spread the Christian religion. He issued money and improved the economy. Western Europe had not been so prosperous or so united since the time of the Roman Empire. After Charlemagne's death, the empire was divided among his three sons. They fought one another, weakening the empire. Other groups also attacked the weakened empire. Perhaps the fiercest attacks were made by the Vikings.
Why was the "Church" so powerful in the Middle Ages?
During the Middle Ages, life was short and hard for most people. They were comforted by the Christian belief that they would enjoy the rewards of heaven after death if they lived according to Church teachings. The Church also held that if people didn't obey those rules, they would be punished after death. The promise of reward combined with the threat of punishment made most people follow the teachings of the Church. The Church also had great economic power. It gained great wealth by collecting taxes. It also took fiefs from lords in exchange for services performed by clergy. In fact, the Church was the single largest owner of land in Europe during the Middle Ages. The combination of religious and economic power enabled the Church to take on many of the roles that government performs today. It even made laws and set up courts to enforce them. People who did not obey the Church were threatened with being excommunicated. Excommunication was a very serious threat. Few people would associate with someone who had been excommunicated. High Church officials were advisors to kings and lords. The ever-present threat of excommunication gave Church officials great influence in political matters. The Church used its authority to limit feudal warfare. It declared periods of truce, or temporary peace. That was one reason warfare began to decline during the 1100s.
What was Feudalism? Was it successful? Would you want to see it in the 21st century?
A system in which land was owned by kings or lords but held by vassals in return for their loyalty. The system that developed was called feudalism. Under feudalism, land was owned by kings or lords but held by vassals in return for their loyalty. By about 1000, feudalism was the way of life throughout Western Europe. It would last for hundreds of years. In medieval Europe, power belonged to those who controlled the land. These landowners were nobles, such as barons and princes. They gave a share of land, called a fief to each of their vassals, who promised to follow the land owner's law and to fight for him. A vassal could also be a lord. No, I don't want to see Feudalism in the 21st century because I don't want to be stuck to a manor and I like my house. Also serfs are peasants and peasants are kind of like slaves.
What role did the "Church" play in Medieval times? Why and how did it do this?
Most Gothic cathedrals were built in Western Europe between 1100 and 1400. Gothic refers to the style of architecture. A cathedral was the church of a bishop, an important leader of the Roman Catholic Church. During the Middle Ages, Nearly all people in Western Europe were Roman Catholic. The Roman Catholic Church had so much influence that it was known simply as "the Church." The medieval Church touched nearly all aspects of life. Think of any major event-birth of a child, a serious illness, a marriage, or a death. During the Middle Ages, the clergy were almost always in attendance to offer a blessing or to perform a service. The clergy helped people follow Church rules about how to live. They also listened when people came to church to confess their sins. In the name of God, the clergy then forgave them for the wrongs to which they had confessed. During the Middle Ages, life was short and hard for most people. They were comforted by the Christian belief that they would enjoy the rewards of heaven after death if they lived according to Church teachings. The Church also held that if people didn't obey those rules, they would be punished after death. The promise of reward combined with the threat of punishment made most people follow the teachings of the Church. The Church also had great economic power. It gained great wealth by collecting taxes. It also took fiefs from lords in exchange for services performed by clergy. In fact, the Church was the single largest owner of land in Europe during the Middle Ages. The combination of religious and economic power enabled the Church to take on many of the roles that government performs today. It even made laws and set up courts to enforce them. People who did not obey the Church were threatened with being excommunicated. Excommunication was a very serious threat. Few people would associate with someone who had been excommunicated. High Church officials were advisors to kings and lords. The ever-present threat of excommunication gave Church officials great influence in political matters. The Church used its authority to limit feudal warfare. It declared periods of truce, or temporary peace. That was one reason warfare began to decline during the 1100s.
What were the Crusades? What did they accomplish? Do you believe they were a benefit or a curse? Why?
The Crusades is a series of military expeditions launched by Christian Europeans to win the Holy Land back from Muslim control. The Church launched eight military expeditions called the Crusades, to capture the Holy Land. The word comes from crux, the latin word for cross. People who carried the Christian cross into battle against the non-Christian enemy were called crusaders. I think that the Crusades helped Europe because they helped to win Jerusalem back and they helped increase trade. People who carried the Christian cross into battle against the non-Christian enemy were called crusaders. Returning crusaders also brought new ideas and technology back to Europe. The crusaders helped increase European knowledge. Europeans learned how to make better ships and maps-skills that would help them become worldwide explorers.