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Empires and Borderlands: The Early Middle Ages, 750-1050


Empires and Borderlands: The Early Middle Ages, 750-1050 The West CHAPTER 8 The Leadership of Charlemagne Established an empire covering most of western Europe ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Empires and Borderlands: The Early Middle Ages, 750-1050

Empires and Borderlands The Early Middle Ages,
  • The West

The Leadership of Charlemagne
  • Established an empire covering most of western
  • Coronation as Roman emperor, 800 conscious
    imitation of antiquity exchanged protection of
    papacy, in return for divine sanction of rule
  • Government was personal, rather than institutional

The Carolingian Renaissance
  • Need for governmental efficiency and propagation
    of Christianity
  • Intensification of study of Latin and classical
  • Alcuin of York (ca. 732-804) headed the palace
    school at Aachen
  • Europe became the geographical and cultural heart
    of a new civilization

The Division of Western Europe
  • Charlemagnes rule depended on personal ability
  • Frankish custom dictated equal division of
    property between sons
  • 843 Treaty of Verdun divided the Frankish empire
  • Political fragmentation and vulnerability

The Polytheist Invaders
  • Magyars - nomadic people from central Asia
  • Vikings - seaborne raiders from Denmark, Norway
    and Sweden
  • Lasting Viking influence, in British Isles and
    along North Atlantic coast of France
  • Establishment of centralized monarchies, in
    Hungary and Scandinavia, as well as conversion to
    Christianity, ended raids, by eleventh century

Lords and Vassals
  • Personal, reciprocal relationship between a lord
    and a vassal formed basis of authority
  • In exchange for obedience and military service, a
    vassal received protection and, often, land (a
    fief) - feudalism
  • Lordship implied property rights, and political
    and legal jurisdiction
  • In theory, a hierarchy of feudal authority
    descended from the king

Feudal Kingship
  • Feudal kingship combined the personal authority
    of lordship with the legal authority of the king
  • Development of notions of sacred kingship - kings
    represented God on earth
  • Separation of the idea of kingship and the
    kingdom from the mortal person of the king

After the Carolingians The West European
  • Saxon (Ottonian) dynasty in East Francia
  • Otto I (936-973) was crowned emperor in 962 -
    foundation of the Holy Roman Empire
  • Capetian dynasty in West Francia
  • Intertwining of church and monarchy
  • Norman conquest of England
  • Linkage of England with French affairs

The Common People
  • Agricultural Revolution, in eleventh century,
    led to better nutrition, greater population and
    more stable community life
  • Manor system bound serfs to the land, in exchange
    for protection
  • Revival of cities, fueled by population increase,
    led to demands for urban autonomy
  • Cities began to become important cultural and
    economic centers again

The Spread of Christianity in the Latin West
  • Conversion usually began with a monarch or chief
  • Institution of bishoprics to teach and enforce
    uniform Christianity
  • Role of saints as patrons and protectors
  • Latin language and liturgy helped to forge a
    common cultural identity in western Europe

The Reform of Christianity in the Latin West
  • Political pressure and immense wealth of church
    led to corruption
  • Drive for reform emerged from monasteries - the
    Cluniac movement
  • Reform aimed to enforce clerical celibacy, and to
    eliminate simony and lay investiture

  • Economic and cultural revival, under the
    Macedonian dynasty (867-1056)
  • New alliances with converted Slavs
  • Continuing decline in relations with western
    Europe and the papacy
  • Decay of the imperial army, due to land seizures
    by aristocracy - only free landholders could be

The Borderlands in Eastern Europe
  • New kingdoms and cultural identities began to
    emerge ca. 1000
  • Bulgaria Orthodox Christianity and Slavonic
  • Kievan Russia Orthodox Christianity and Slavonic
  • Poland Catholic Christianity and Latin liturgy

The Abbasid Caliphate
  • Reinforced division between Shiite and Sunni
  • Acceptance of all Muslims, regardless of
    ethnicity, fostered a distinct Islamic identity
    and civilization
  • Abbasid caliph held military and economic power,
    but was not responsible for public infrastructure
  • Arabic translations preserved classical learning
    lost in Europe

Islamic Civilization in Europe
  • Settlement of Sicily and Spain, from North Africa
  • Formed a borderland of intense cultural and
    commercial interaction - Arabic learning filtered
    into western Europe
  • Caliphate of Córdoba - a golden age of
    literature, science and architecture

Legends of the Borderlands
  • Song of Roland (ca. 1100)
  • Digenes Akritas (tenth century)
  • The Poem of El Cid (twelfth century)
  • Legends that expressed values of valor and
  • The borderlands produced a class of professional
    warriors who enriched themselves, in the
    perpetual conflict between Islam and Christendom

An Emerging Unity in the Latin West
  • Lasting distinction between western and eastern
  • Emergent cultural and religious unity of western
  • Decline of Byzantium and fragmentation of Islam
    into competing caliphates
  • Emergence, in west, of bonds of vassalage, an
    improved agricultural economy, and revived cities
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