Advertisement Upgrade to remove ads

Middle Ages

Period in European history from the fall of Rome until the Renaissance (500-1500)

Germanic Peoples

tribes from Scandinavia who settled in Western Europe

Pope Gregory I

Pope (c.590) who used the revenues of the Roman Church to raise armies, repair roads, and send missionaries to the French and English


a group within a Germanic trive which claimed a common ancestor


a war band who fought for a Germanic king

Comites or Counts

companions of a Germanic king who fought for him and shared his food


Swearing personal loyalty to a political or military leader


"tillers" who worked the land in return for protection. Some were free, some not

swearing worth

it defined the social, political and military position of a person. The more important the person, the higher this was


"man Gold" Payment to a man's family and lord if accidentally killed or injured


form of trial by water or fire in which God decided guilt


essential peice of equipment that made the knight on horseback effective


Germanic tribe that settled in Gaul (france) and Switzerland

Battle of Chalons (Catalunian Fields)

Franks, Burgundians, and the Romans defeated the Huns (451)


Frankish king who ruled North-Central France by 486


wife of Clovis who urged him to become a Christian

Bishop Remigius

he baptised Clovis and his warriors in 496

Merovingian Kings

royal family of Clovis, weak rulers

Mayor of the Palace

royal official who ruled for the weak Merovingian kings

Charles Martel "The Hammer"

Mayor of the Palace who united the Franks (714-718)

Battle of Tours (Politiers) October 10, 732

Charles Martel defeated a Muslim invasion of France

Pepin the Short

Mayor of the Palace who was elected king of the Franks by an assemble of nobles

Stephen II

pope who annointed Pepin King of the Franks (754)

Childeric III

Last Merovingian king, sent to a monastery by Pepin the Short

Donation of Pepin

forged document which claimed to give all of Italy to the Pope to rule


Charles the Great, united Frankland and worked to Christianize Europe


a yearly tour by Charlemagne of all his possessions


border provinces given to loyal counts who had extra troops and responsibilities


300 local divisions of Frankland, ruled by the counts

misi dominici

"messengers of the Lord", they carried Charlemagne's orders to the counts and the stewards


Barbarian tribe in north Germany with which Charlemagne fought a 30 year guerilla war to froce their conversion to Christianity

Alcuin of York

British scholar who set up Charlemagne's palace school

Carolingian Miniscule Script

form of writing developed by Carolingian scholars

Pope Leo III

crowned Charlemagne Emperor of the West on December 25, 800


capital of Charlemagne's empire


religious communities where men gave up their possessions and followed rules to serve God


religious communities where women gave up their possessions and followed rules to serve God

St. Benedict

Monk who wrote the rules for the monasteries

St. Scholastica

Sister of St. Benedict, she became the first nun of the Benedictine order

Treaty of Verdun (843)

divided the lands ruled by Charlemagne among the three of his grandsons

Charles the Bald

Grandson of Charlemagne who inherited the West Saxon kingdom

Louis the German

grandson of Charlemagne who inherited the East Saxon kingdom


grandson of Charlemagne who inherited the Middle Kingdom and became Holy Roman Emperor


Muslim raiders and invaders who struck Europe through Italy and Spain (c. 600-1060)


horse riding nomads who swept through eastern and western Europe until 950s

Otto I

German king who stopped the Magyar invasions of Europe at the Battle of Lechfeld in August. 955


Norsemen (northmen) who sailed from Scandinavia and raided western Europe (775-1050s)


broad war ax introduced to western Europe by the Vikings


Chain mail armour


a viking clinger-built ship

the siege of Europe

period from 800-1050 during which Europe was attacked and invaded by the Saracens, Magyars, and Vikings


system of governing and landholding that emerged in Europe between 850 and 950


local landowner granted land from a superior


the land granted to a lord


a mounted horseman who provided fighting service for a lord


mounted horsemen who pledged to defend their lord's land in exchange for fiefs


the economic system which provided food and protection for people in the early medieval period


people who were bound to the land on which they lived and farmed


land owned by the lord and worked by the serfs. the produce went to feed the lord, his family, and his vassals

common fields

lands worked by the serfs. The produce was used to pay the taxes and feed the serfs


gardens that belonged to the peasants


the farm or estate on which the lord, his vassals, and his serfs lived

common pasture

common area for grazing animals


churhc tax of 1/10 of the income paid by the serfs and free peasants


complex code of conduct bu which knights were expected to obey


a noble boy of 7-12 years old, learning to become a knight


a noble boy 13-20 years old, learning to become a knight by serving a knight


a ceremony at which a young man was made a knight


mock battles in which knights fought each other individually or in groups to win large ransoms from defeated knights


type of warfare in which a castle was surrounded and attacked until it surrendered


device that used twisted rope to hurl objects at a castle


device that used a counter-weight to hurl objects toward a castle

song of roland

a medieval epic poem about a group of French knights serving Charlemagne


travelling poet-musicians who composed verses and songs about courtly behavior and love

Eleanor of Aquitaine

duchess who was queen of France and later queen of England. Her court was famed for its "courtly love" poetry

Gelasius I

Pope (492-496), he established that the 2 powers of the church and state should be equal, but independent in their own spheres of operation


a body of officials who perform religious services

regular clergy

Church officials who obey a rule (code): monks or nuns

secular clergy

Church officials who work with lay members: archbishops, bishops, and priests


one of 7 ceremonies in which God's grace is transmitted to the people

canon law

the body of laws governing the religious practices of a Christian church

Otto (I) the Great

King of Germany and Holy Roman Emperor. He strengthened the powers of the bishops and abbots in Germany in order to weaken the power of the nobles and helped strengthen the power of the papacy

Holy Roman Empire

an empire established in Europe in the 10th century, consisting mainly of lands in what is now Germany and Italy

lay investiture

the appointment if religious officials by kings or nobles

Gregory VII

Pope (1073-1085) who banned lay investiture in 1075

Henry IV

Holy Roman Emperor who supported lay investiture and was twice excommunicated by Pope Gregory VII


Italian town were Holy Roman Emperor Henry IV did penance in 1077, standing three days bare-headed in the snow, in order to reverse his excommunication by Pope Gregory VII

Concordat of Worms

compromise in 1122 by which the Church alone could appoint a bishop, but the emperor could veto the appointment

Frederick (I) "Barbararossa"

Holy Roman Emperor (1155-1190). Dominated the German princes and 6 times invaded Italy to control the northern Italian cities

Battle of Leganto

Vistory by an Italian army of mostly foot soldiers over the mounted knights of Frederick I in 1177

Frederick II

Holy Roman Emperor (1220-1250), tried to revive the empire of Charlemagne and was frequently at war with the papal states. Was twice excommunicated by the Pope.


problem in the medieval Church caused by officials having more than one office


problem in the Church caused by positions being sold in the Church

lay investiture

problem in the medieval Church caused by kings and bishops appointing bishops

Pope Leo IX

Pope (1049-1054) who started the reform movement in the medieval Church


the clerks and advisers to the pope who served as the bureaucracy of the Church


tax of 10% of the yearly income of every Christian family, paid to the Church


Churchmen who took vows but lived in the world by begging and preaching


a Catholic religious order founded by Saint Dominic in the early 13th century in France, famed as scholars and teachers


Members of Catholic religious orders that follow a body of regulations known as "The Rule of St. Francis", famed as missionaries and preachers


early medieval architecture style characterized by round arches and barrel vaults


High and Late medieval architecture style characterized by pointed arches, flying buttresses, and ribbed vaults


the "story panel" above the door of a medieval church, often about the Last Judgement

Alexius Comnenus I

Byzantine emperor from 1081-1118 whose request for help against the Muslims atarted the Crusades

Urban II

Pope (1088-1099) who started the Crusades by his preaching to the Council of Clermont in 1095


one of several "holy wars" to gain control of the "Holy Land" (1095-1291)

Frist Crusade (1096-1099)

Successfully captured Jerusalem and created the 5 "crusader states"

Second Crusade (1147-1149)

organized to recapture Edessa or to capture Damascus

Third Crusade (1189-1191)

called to recapture Jerusalem


sultan in Egypt, he recaptured Jerusalem in 1187

Richard the Lion-hearted

King of England who led the Third Crusade and made a treaty with Saladin

Fourth Crusade (1202-1204)

Crusaders who attacked and looted Constantinople instead of invading Egypt

Children's Crusade

possibly fictitious attempts by the children of France and Germany to conquer Jerusalem


800 year long (710-1492) conflict of drive the Muslims out of Spain


Church court held to suppress heresy, especially active in Spain

three-field system

a system of farming developed in medieval Europe in which farmland was divided into three fields of equal size and each of these was planted with a winter crop, a spring crop, and one field left unplanted.


the field left unplanted in the three-field system


an organization of individuals in the same business or occupation working to improve the economic and social conditions of its members

merchant guilds

merchants banded together to control the number of goods being traded, to keep prices up and for security

craft guilds

artisans and craftspeople who banded together to set standards for quality, set wages and working conditions, and to create a system of ecucating new members


a young person who was learning a trade or occupation


a trained craftsman or merchant who worked with other owners to pretect their trade


a shop or business owner who worked with other owners to pretect their trade

commercial revolution

the expansion of trade and businessthat transformed European economies and changed life


great international markets held in some medieval towns during certain seasons of the year

bills of exchange

established exchange rates between different coinage systems

letters of credit

written aggreements between merchants for the deposit and delivery of large amounts of money


sin of lending money to another Christian for interest


teh wall that surrounded a town


those who lived within the protection of the wall


area below or outside the protection of the town wall


a letter of permission from a king given to a town allowing it to govern itself and to make its own laws

liberal arts

education for a "free man" usually a churchman


"the three roads": grammar, rhetoric, and logic


"the four raods", arithmetic, geomoetry, astronaomy, and music


a group of scholars: teachers and students


students who had completed the trivium


students who had completed teh quadtrivium and had passed a disputation


method of formal debate using reason ,logic, and faith


one-voiced music such as Gregorian Chants

troubadours or minnesingers

travelling composers and musicians


the everyday language of a people in a country or region


fables or "beast tales" in which animals act as humans

Chansons ed Geste

romantic or heroic epics called "Songs of Deeds"

courtly love

stories and acts of idealized romantic conduct which allowed noble women to have some control over their lives

morality plays

plays about how life should be lived

miracle plays

plays about the lives of saints

mystery plays

plays about events from the Bible

Dante Aligheri

Italian poet (1265-1321) who wrote The Divine Comedy which describes his journy through Hell, Purgatory, and Paradise

See More

Please allow access to your computer’s microphone to use Voice Recording.

Having trouble? Click here for help.

We can’t access your microphone!

Click the icon above to update your browser permissions above and try again


Reload the page to try again!


Press Cmd-0 to reset your zoom

Press Ctrl-0 to reset your zoom

It looks like your browser might be zoomed in or out. Your browser needs to be zoomed to a normal size to record audio.

Please upgrade Flash or install Chrome
to use Voice Recording.

For more help, see our troubleshooting page.

Your microphone is muted

For help fixing this issue, see this FAQ.

Star this term

You can study starred terms together

NEW! Voice Recording