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Early Middle Ages ca. 750 1000


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Title: Early Middle Ages ca. 750 1000

Early Middle Ages ca. 750 - 1000
Rise of the Christian West
  • Dark Ages
  • Germanic invasions
  • Christian kingdoms replace Roman Empire
  • Separation from Eastern Empire Byzantium
  • Rise in importance of the papacy and monasticism
  • Threat of Islam
  • Development of Feudalism

Cultural Synthesis of Western Europes Middle
  • A. Judaeo-Christian Tradition
  • B. Greco-Roman (CLASSICAL) Culture
  • C. Germanic Culture
  • Merging of customs, laws, literature, art,

Transition in Western Europe Roman Empire to
Early Middle Ages
  • A. Decline of urban life depopulation roads
    in disrepair
  • B. From money-trade economy to
  • C. From centralized empire to political
    fragmentation and feudalism
  • D. From villa/estate (producing cash crops for
    urban markets) to manor (for self-sufficient
    manor and village)
  • From large scale slave labor of estates to labor
    of serfs and peasants on manor
  • Literacy almost wiped out
  • Science and technology at a standstill
  • Catholic Church becomes dominant institution
  • Extreme violence and insecurity

Germanic Tribes
  • Know through Roman historians, archaelogical
    records later accounts
  • Peoples sharing common material culture, language
    and mythology
  • Homeland - Northern Germany and southern
  • Indo-European language
  • Non-literate no written records
  • Small, independent settlements, with
    economy strongly based on the keeping of
  • Southward movement begun 600 to 300
  • Romans called all tribes by common name of
  • War, trade relations, military alliances, and
    cultural exchanges with Rome

Germanic Tribes
  • East Germanic tribes settled east of the Elbe
  • Ostrogoths East Goths, Vandals and Burgundians
  • Western Germanic tribes
  • Visigoths West Goths, Saxons, Franks and
  • Clans basis for social organization
  • families joined in kinship groups
  • Led by a chieftan served as priest, main
    judge and war leader
  • Warfare palyed a central role in the society
    - based on heroic ideals
  • Most clans lived primarily agricultural lifestyle
  • Women
  • Could own property and received a share
    of husbands wealth upon marriage
  • Responsible for pottery and textile production
    and household
  • Brewed the alcoholic beverages
  • Cared for the sick and injured through knowledge
    of herb lore
  • Men allowed to take more than one wife

Germanic Invasions
  • The Germanic invasions of the 4th and 5th
    centuries opened the European phase of western

Germanic Invasions
  • Settled in France, Italy, Spain, British Isles
  • Reasons for Germanic migration/invasion of Roman
  • Pressure from invading Asian peoples
  • Population growth
  • Climate change
  • Invited to defend Roman territory
  • Foederati
  • Wandering tribes began staking out permanent
  • Powerful leaders sought to expand outwards
  • Germanic peoples were often quick to assimilate
    into foreign cultures
  • Desired to become Roman
  • Merged with other cultures

Germanic Invasions
  • Ostrogoths pushed to the west by the invasion of
    the Huns - Attila
  • 378 Visigoths defeated a Roman army in the
    Battle of Adrianople
  • 401 Alaric led Visigoths across the Alps and into
  • Looted Rome
  • Vandals occupied Spain in 409 and crossed Straits
    of Gibralter and conquered North Africa 429
  • 455 Vandals sacked Rome
  • Odoacer king of the Ostrogoths moved his people
  • 476 - Deposed last Roman emperor - boy Emperor
    Romulus Augustulus
  • Theodoric the Ostrogoth King of Italy
  • Thoroughly Romanized ruler in 6th century
  • An able Goth wants to be like a Roman. Only a
    poor Roman would want to be like a Goth.

Germanic Kingdoms
Christian Conversion
  • Processs of assimilation, conversion by
    missionaries and forced conversions
  • Conversion of leader meant conversion of tribe
  • Arianism - outside of mainstream Christianity
  • The Ostrogoths, Visigoths, and Vandals were
    Christianized while still outside of the Empire
  • Converted to Arianism
  • The Franks converted directly from paganism to
  • Missionary journeys
  • Anglo-Saxon and Frankish missionaries and
    warriors undertook the conversion of their Saxon

  • Originated in the Near East
  • Monks desired to live simple lives devoted to
    worship of God
  • Places to concentrate on spiritual growth
  • Monasticisms appeal
  • Increasing worldliness of Church
  • Purist way to salvation
  • Abbots and abbesses monastic leaders
  • Benedict of Nursia (480-547)
  • Established basis for Western monasticism
  • Benedictine "Rule" 529
  • Guide monks nuns in their communal lives
  • All monks vowed to follow abbots authority
  • Carefully defined cycleof daily prayers, lessons
    and communal worship
  • Required to work

  • Monasteries used to spread Christianity
  • Located in Gaul, Italy Spain in 4th cen
  • Patrick Ireland (d. 461)
  • Romanized Britain
  • Sent as slave to Ireland age 16
  • Founded monastries throughout Ireland
  • Irish monks spread faith to England Europe
  • Augustine Sent to Britain by Gregory In 597
  • Monasteries kept learning alive
  • Kept Classical texts during Dark Ages
  • Creation of illuminated manuscripts
  • Monastic movement gained power wealth

Power of the Popes
  • Church fills authority void
  • Develops complex hierarchy
  • Archbishops rule large urban centers
  • Pope Latin for father
  • Bishops of Rome began to claim earthly and
    spiritual authority
  • Popes involved in politics since 4th century
  • 375 Pope Damasus I claimed that the pope held
    supreme teaching authority in Christendom based
    on Petrine Doctrine
  • Petrine Doctrine of Papal Supremacy
  • Used Biblical writings to justify leadership
  • Peter First Bishop of Rome
  • Christ gave keys of heaven to Peter and described
    as the rock on which the church would be built
  • Pope Leo I "the Great" (440-461)
  • the Roman bishops ("popes") became predominant

Pope Gregory I ("the Great")
  • Pope, 590-604
  • Greatly increased the power of the papacy
  • First member of a monastic order to rise to the
  • Supported the Benedictine order to
    institutionalize the Church
  • Centralized churchs administration
  • First pope to rule as the secular head of
    lands surrrounding Rome
  • Took over administration of Rome
  • Reorganized papal estates
  • Outmaneuvered the Lombard dukes who threatened to
    overun Roman territories
  • Settled disputes inside and outside of Italy
  • Sent out missionaries - Britain
  • Introduced concepts of penance and purgatory
  • Diolgues
  • Liturgical reforms

Bringing Order with Laws
  • The Rule of Law
  • Traditionally, laws had constituted the customs
    of the past
  • Not written down put preserved orally
  • Administered by assemblies of people
  • Determining the truth
  • Compurgation attest to the character of the
  • Ordeal appeal to supernatural forces
  • Legal Codes
  • Laws began to be codified in the 5th century
  • Incorporate principles of Roman law with Germanic
  • Wergeld
  • Tried to regulate vengeance
  • Intricate system of compensation
  • Fines for everything

Anglo-Saxon England
  • Angles and Saxons
  • Germanic peoples - settled in 4th 5th cens.
  • Merged with that of the indigenous Celtic
    speaking Britons
  • Historic King Arthur defeats Anglo-Saxons
  • Last Roman legions leave 407
  • Converted to Christianity in the 7th cen.
  • The first Archbishop of Canterbury, Augustine,
    took office in 597
  • Ethelbert of Kentfirst Anglo-Saxon king baptised
    in 601
  • Moasteries flourished across England
  • Several powerful competing Kingdoms by 8th Cen.
  • Northumbria, Mercia, Wessex
  • 793 first Viking attack at Lindisfarne

Anglo-Saxon England Forwarding Learning
  • The Venerable Bede (672?-735)
  • English monastic scholar
  • Interpreted the classics for contemporary culture
  • Wrote in Latin
  • Nature of Things geography and astronomy
  • Ecclesiastical History of the English People
  • History of Anglo-Saxon England to 731
  • Wrote history of whole people and helped
    establish unity
  • Careful to be factual
  • Adopted BC/AD dating system of Dionysius Exiguus

Anglo-Saxon England
  • Governing the Kingdoms
  • Anglo-Saxon kingdoms developed law codes that
    combined wergeld with Roman law
  • Common law preserves the customs of the people
  • Witan circle of wise men
  • Powerful court of the king who gave advice and
  • Could be very influential
  • Royal Offices
  • Kingdom divided into shires
  • Representatives of the king appointed to govern
  • Aristocratic earls wielded great power

Alfred the Great King
  • King of Wessex from 871 to 899
  • Defended against the Danish Vikings
  • Reorganized military to defend against invaders
  • Createed first English navy
  • Treaty of 886 divides England between Anglo-Saxon
    and Danish King Guthrum
  • Danelaw
  • First to declare hinmslef King of the
  • Created unified kingdom

Alfred the Great Scholar
  • Promoted literature and the arts
  • Studied Latin, collected books and invited
    scholars to his court
  • Encourage study of Anglo-Saxon history
  • Translations
  • Helped to spread learning to many by translating
    works in Old English
  • Boethius Consolation of Philosophy
  • Dialogues of Gregory
  • Bedes Ecclesiastical History of the English
  • The Proverbs of Alfred sayings attributed to

Kingdom of the Franks
  • Most important of the Germanic states during the
    early Middle Ages
  • 4th and 5th centuries gradually pushed the Romans
    out of Gaul
  • Clovis (481-511)
  • 486 Defeated last remnants of the Roman forces
  • Made himself king of the Franks
  • Married a Christian woman named Clothile
  • Converted to Christianity after defeating rival
  • Developed close relationship with Pope
  • Established the Merovingian Dynasty
  • Do-Nothing kings - successors of Clovis
  • Mayor of the Palace - Real power
  • Passed from father to son
  • Governed the Franks beginning of the 8th cen.
  • Led to Carolingian Dynasty
  • Charles Martel (714-741) Battle of Tours
  • Pipin the Short (741-768)

Charlemagne and the Carolingians A New
European Empire
  • Charlemagne - King of the Franks, 768814
  • First ruler of a united Western Europe since the
    fall of the Roman Empire
  • Today regarded as the founding father of both
    France and Germany
  • Foreign conquests and internal reforms,
    Charlemagne helped define Western Europe
  • Carolingian Renaissance - a revival of the arts
    and education in the West
  • Strengthened the power of the papacy and
    became its protector
  • Einhard The Life of Charlemagne
  • Son of Frankish King Pippin the Short
  • Realm already covered most of western central
  • Co-ruled with his brother Carloman until the
    latter's death in 771

Charlemagnes Empire
  • Engaged in almost constant battle throughout his
  • Defeated the Saxons to the East, Brittany in the
    West, the Lombards in Italy, and the Sarcens in
  • Spanish Mark Frontier between Muslim
    Christian Europe
  • Forcibly converted each area to Christianity
  • Negotiated with Byzantium and Islam
  • Irene Byzantine empress
  • Harun al-Rashid Abbasid caliph in Baghdad

Charlemagne Papacy
  • Close relationship with popes
  • In 772, assisted Pope Hadrian I when threatened
    by invaders
  • The pope granted him the title patrician
  • 799, Pope Leo III had been mistreated by the
  • Charlemagne intervened
  • 800 - Charlemagnes Coronation
  • Crowned by Leo III

Carolingian Renaissance
  • Era of Intellectual Rebirth
  • Promotion of learning scholarship
  • Gathered scholars from across Europe at Aachen
    Alcuin from England
  • Created a liberal arts curriculum
  • Charlemagne greatly valued education
  • Could read speak Latin understand Greek
  • Could not master writing
  • Correcting Texts
  • Created standardized versions of text
  • Adoption of a standard written Latin script
  • Carolingian Script or Miniscule
  • Establishing Schools
  • 789 Decreed that every monastery must maintain
    a school to teach reading writing

Competing for the Realm Charlemagnes Descendents
  • Succeeded by Son, Louis the Pious (814 840)
  • Civil war at Louis death between three sons
  • Oath of Strasbourg
  • Treaty of Verdun
  • Divides Europe into three states
  • Modern day France Germany

Expansion of Monasteries
  • Monasteries become very popular by late 7th
    century throughout Europe and Anglo-Saxon England
  • Opportunity for social mobility
  • Women leadership roles as abbess
  • Sole areas of scholarly activity
  • Copying and preserving texts and learning
  • Monks often only educated people in society
  • Libraries for ancient manuscripts
  • Cluniac Reform Movement
  • 910 - Insisted on independence from local
    political control
  • Subordinate only to abbot of Cluny and Pope
  • Increased papal authority
  • Movement established more than 200 monasteries

Illuminated Manuscript
  • Main outlet for artistic energies during Middle
  • Beautifully illustrated Bibles and prayer books
    with painstakingly created images on pages
  • Book of Hours
  • Monks laboriously copy sacred texts - scriptorium
  • Illuminated manuscript - Latin
  • Illuminare" meaning to lighten or brighten
  • Manus meaning hand, "scriptus" meaning
  • Books were written and decorated on parchment
  • Processed animal skins prepared cut
    to size for pages

Illuminated Manuscript
  • Scribe would write with a reed or feather quill
  • Main body to the text was usually written in
    black or brown ink
  • Rubrics in red served as instructional guides to
  • Illuminator worked separately from the scribe
  • Repertoire of visual motifs to illustrate stories
  • Scenes of daily life from the Middle Ages
  • Decorated letters embellished with geometric,
    foliate and zoomorphic designs
  • Margins of page often adorned with decorated
  • Complete books known as codexes

Illuminated Manuscript
  • Journeys to visit holy shrines
  • View religious relic owned by the abbey or tomb
    of saintly person
  • Saint's bone, blood of Christ, fragment of the
    cross, or other religious artifact
  • Regarded as a sacred obligation trial of one's
  • Travel was dangerous, expensive time-consuming
  • A returning pilgrim was called a palmer
  • Prime source of revenue for monasteries
  • Buy an insignia which proved they had visited a
    particular shrine
  • Pilgrimage centers built hotels to lodge pilgrims
  • Popular destinations for pilgrimage
  • Canterbury Cathedral Glastonbury Abbey in
    England, sites in Holy Land and Rome
  • Chaucers Canterbury Tales

Europe Faces New Invaders
  • Magyars
  • Raided from East
  • Settled in Hungary
  • Islamic armies
  • Moors in Spain
  • Sicily other
  • islands
  • Vikings
  • Scandanavea
  • Norway, Denmark,
  • Sweden, Finland
  • Raided, traded and
  • settled (7931066 )

The Vikings Travels, Settlements Conquests
  • Viking Age 7931066
  • Norsemen - originated in Scandinavia
  • Viking Ships
  • Longship - warfare and exploration
  • Knarr - merchant vessel with great cargo
  • Raided the coasts of the British Isles, France
    and other parts of Europe
  • Monastery at Lindisfarne, England 793
  • Colonized the coasts and rivers of Europe
  • England, Ireland, Scotland, Normandy,Russia,
    Spain, Iceland, Greenland,
  • Newfoundland first in New World
  • Danelaw England
  • York Dublin founded by Vikings
  • Vast trading network
  • Spain and the Mediterranean to the south,
    Kiev and Baghdad to the East
  • Ended with the Battle of Stamford Bridge in 1066

Viking Life and Values
  • Germanic people who sought glory in heroic deeds
  • Violent people with a passion for revenge
  • Berserkers - literally "bear shirts," were the
    most feared of the Vikings.
  • Worked themselves into a frenzy before battle and
    fought on, regardless of pain.
  • Women
  • Older women and widows could hold positions of
    considerable prestige in society
  • Women also held religious power, both as symbols
    in myth and as priestesses.

Norse Mythology
  • Norse sagas and Old Norse literature tell us
    about their religion through tales of
    mythological heroes
  • Large number of gods and goddesses, giants and
    dwarves, Valkyries, elves and a variety of
    spirits who were believed to play a role in
    nearly every aspect of life and death
  • In Valhalla, great hall of Odin in the
    afterworld, fallen warriors were rewarded with
    all the meat and drink they wanted they could
    do eternal battle for ever
  • To assure their comfort in the afterlife, the
    dead were buried with the possessions that they
    had used in life
  • Odin, Thor and Freya - lent names to Wednesday,
    Thursday and Friday.

Manors and Feudal Ties Order Emerging from Chaos
  • Everyone in society expected to live within a
    hierarchy that ordered nature, the church and
  • Feudalism - System of mutual contractual
  • As early as 8th century nobles began to develop
    mutual contracts
  • Peasants turned to the landowners, often called
    lords, to protect them from invaders
  • System based on loyalty to superior
  • The country was not governed by the king but by
    individual lords, or barons
  • administered their own estates
  • dispensed their own justice
  • minted their own money
  • levied taxes and tolls
  • demanded military service from vassals

Noble Warriors Feudal Obligations among the
  • Lord - a noble who owned land
  • Vassal - a person who was granted land by the
  • Land was known as a fief
  • Public oath of fealty called "homage"
  • Vassal's Obligations
  • Required to attend the lord at his court
  • Help administer justice
  • Contribute money if needed
  • Must answer a summons to battle
  • Must feed and house the lord and his company
    when they traveled across his land
  • Lord's Obligations
  • Obliged to protect the vassal
  • Give military aid
  • Guard his children

Noble Warriors Feudal Obligations among the
  • Feudal Complexities
  • Noblemen could be both vassal and lord at same
  • Serve different lords for different fiefs
  • Potential for divided loyalties
  • Concept of Liege Lord
  • Undisputed loyalty
  • Usually reserved for kings

Peasants and Lords Mutual Obligations on the
Medieval manor
  • Manor - economic and social units of life in the
    early Middle Ages
  • A typical manor consisted of a castle, small
    village, and farmland
  • Villages consisted of from 10-60 families living
    in rough huts on dirt floors, with no chimneys or
  • The fields divided into strips
  • 1/3 for the lord of the manor
  • church, and serfs receive remainder
  • Serfs Obligations
  • Also known as Villeins
  • Serf was bound to a lord and land for life
  • Provide free labor, food and service to lord
  • Could own no property
  • Needed the lord's permission to marry
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