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The Middle Ages


Fyrd the army Ivory diptych Carolingian, c. 800 Carolingian Art 800 CE 950 CE subjects: religion and revival of Roman Empire style/forms: ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: The Middle Ages

The Middle Ages
The Middle Ages
Rome falls and the Classical Era closes. The
Middle Ages lasts c. 1000 years. The Renaissance
ushers in the age of modernity.
c.410 ? mid 400s fall of Rome
Renaissance ? Modernity
mid 400s ? 14th cent.
The Middle Ages Art Synthesis
  • From the fall of Rome to the Renaissance ? c.
    410 c. 1350.
  • Includes Dark Ages ? c. 400 600, a misnomer,
    but learning and culture did decline.
  • Primary paradigm ? synthesis of three strands ?
    Celto-Germanic values, Classical values, and
  • Viewed as a turbulent middle time between the
    Classical Age and the Renaissance (beginning of

Alaric the Goth ? sacked Rome 410 CE
Europe 476 CE
The Middle Ages
A Useful Paradigm Synthesis
Celto-Germanic Values
from the
Classical Values Greece Rome
Early Middle Ages
shows the synthesis
of the three strands.
Look for inclusions and connections.
Brief Outline of Early Middle Ages Art
  • Early Medieval Art ? c. 375 CE 1000 CE
  • The Migration Period in Europe Barbaric Art ?
    c. 375 CE 750 CE
  • The Anglo-Saxons
  • The Visigoths
  • The Franks
  • The Ostrogoths
  • The Lombards
  • The Burgundians
  • Hiberno-Saxon Art
  • Carolingian Art - 750 CE 900 CE
  • Ottonian Art - 900 CE 1002 CE
  • Romanesque Art - c. 1000 CE c.1150 CE

Megalith Turoe Stone
Associated with the supernatural, power, and
other possible symbolism, this turoe stone,
exhibits early Celtic elements of art. Note the
swirls. As time passes, this type of decoration
becomes increasingly complex.
1.2 meters high, Celtic prehistoric rock carving
Celtic Pagan Art
Measures 14 high, 28 in diameter, and weighs
twenty pounds.
Probably used in ceremonies and possibly ritual
In the Gundestrop Cauldron, note Celtic pagan
gods surrounding exterior. Interior features
battle scenes and possible sacrifice. Excellent
example of Celto-Germanic metalworking without
Christian influences. (c. 2nd century BCE)
The Art of Warfare
The Battersea Shield , c. 1st century CE, also
expresses the Celtic swirls, as does the lower
shield. In time, the swirls will generate Celtic
knotwork and spirals.
c.350 500 CE, 77.7cm long ceremonial shield
Europe 526 CE
The Latest in Warrior Fashion
Examples of torcs and arm rings. Typically worn
by Celts in battle and celebration. Usually made
of gold, the larger and thicker the torc, the
more status accorded to wearer.
Everyday Art
The back of a mirror, a clasp, and a purse lid
show the craftsmanship and Celtic influence in
these Anglo-Saxon pieces. The purse lid shows
zoomorphic influence and cloisonne.
Christian Synthesis
The Lindisfarne Gospels and the Book of Kells
show the synthesis of Celto-Germanic art and
Christianity. Illuminated manuscripts rank among
the most impressive and important artifacts of
the Early Middle Ages. From the Book of Kells,
c. 800 AD
  • King Oswald of Northumbria asked monks from Iona
    to found a monastery at Lindisfarne.
  • Corman, the first monk to arrive, reported
    Anglo-Saxons barbarous and resistant to
  • 664 CE ? Cuthbert becomes a prior at Lindisfarne.
  • 667 CE ? Cuthbert retreats to the Inner Farne as
    a hermit.
  • 685 CE ? Cuthbert recalled to assume bishopric of
  • 687 CE ? Cuthbert dies elevated in 698.
  • Lindisfarne gospels and carved coffin created for
    this event.

St. Cuthbert
  • 793 CE ? Vikings ransack monastery.
  • Afterwards, Cuthbert congregation fled to Norham
    with his relics.
  • 883 ? traveled to Chester-le-street, sixty miles
    south of Lindisfarne.
  • 995 they traveled to Ripon in 995 and to Durham
    in 1083.
  • 1104 ? Cuthbert's tomb examined body seen to be

  • Cuthberts relics were placed in the new Norman
    Cathedral at Durham.
  • 12th century ? Monks from Durham later went back
    to the Holy Island.
  • 1537 ? The priory, like most other monasteries in
    England, was dissolved by Henry VIII.

Cuthberts pectoral cross
St. Luke, Lindisfarne Gospels
Text from Lindisfarne Gospel
Lindisfarne Brew House
Small coracle (boat of Roman origin) used by
monks to cross Irish Sea traveling to Britain for
missionary service.
Page from Lindisfarne Gospels illuminated
Alfred the Great
  • Alfred the Great ? born 849 fifth and youngest
    son of King Ethelwulf.
  • Age of four ? taken to Rome and confirmed by Pope
    Leo IV.
  • 871 ? Alfred succeeded AEthelred I as king of
  • MeanwhileViking invaders occupied north and east
    of England Wessex also under attack.
  • 878 ? Danish army led by Guthrum forced Alfred
    into hiding in the marshes of Athelney in
  • 878 ? Alfred's counter-offensive produced a
    victory at Edington, Wiltshire.
  • Treaty of Wedmore? Guthrum withdrew to East
    Anglia. However, Alfred forced to accept Danes as
    rulers of East Anglia and much of Mercia.
  • 885 ? Alfred repelled another invasion and in 886
    captured London.

Alfred the Great
  • To combat further invasions, Alfred reorganized
    the fyrd, created a ring of fortified strongholds
    around his kingdom, and built a fleet to
    reinforce his defenses. This earned him the
    reputation of father of the English Navy.
  • Alfred promoted education and learning,
    encouraging production of the Anglo-Saxon
    Chronicle personally translated Latin texts into
    Anglo-Saxon including the works of Gregory the
    Great and Bede.
  • 899 ? Alfred died in October and was buried in

The Alfred Jewel is about 2 ½ long. Inscribed
AELFRED MEC HEHT GEWYRCAN - Alfred ordered me to
be made - in Mercian dialect. Cloisonne enamel
under rock crystal, surrounded by gold filigree.
Anglo Saxon Chronicle
A.D. 430. This year Patricius was sent from Pope
Celestinus to preach baptism to the Scots. A.D.
435. This year the Goths sacked the city of Rome
and never since have the Romans reigned in
Britain. This was about eleven hundred and ten
winters after it was built. They reigned
altogether in Britain four hundred and seventy
winters since Gaius Julius first sought that
land. A.D. 443. This year sent the Britons over
sea to Rome, and begged assistance against the
Picts but they had none, for the Romans were at
war with Atilla, king of the Huns. Then sent they
to the Angles, and requested the same from the
nobles of that nation.
Alfred, medieval rendering
Chess piece, c. Alfreds reign
Alfred coin of the realm
Anglo Saxon Chronicle
A.D. 449. This year Marcian and Valentinian
assumed the empire, and reigned seven winters. In
their days Hengest and Horsa, invited by
Wurtgern, king of the Britons to his assistance,
first of all to support the Britons, but they
afterwards fought against them. The king directed
them to fight against the Picts and they did so
and obtained the victory wheresoever they came.
They then sent to the Angles, and desired them to
send more assistance. They described the
worthlessness of the Britons, and the richness of
the land. Then came the men from three powers
of Germany the Old Saxons, the Angles, and the
Saxon soldiers medieval rendering
Anglo Saxon Chronicle
A.D. 793. This year came dreadful fore-warnings
over the land of the Northumbrians, terrifying
the people most woefully these were immense
sheets of light rushing through the air, and
whirlwinds, and fiery, dragons flying across the
firmament. These tremendous tokens were soon
followed by a great famine and not long after,
on the sixth day before the ides of January in
the same year, the harrowing inroads of heathen
men made lamentable havoc in the church of God in
Holy-island, by rapine and slaughter.
Venerable Bede d.735
Alfred the Great King of England 871-899
Germanic tribes
  • Merovingians? 451 CE, Aetius called upon
    Germanic allies on Roman soil to help defend
    against Hun invasion.
  • The Salian Franks (a clan) responded, the
    Ripuarians (another Frankish clan) fought on both
    sides because some lived outside the shrinking
    periphery of the Empire.
  • Merovech (somewhat legendary mythical) King
    of the Franks at this time.
  • 486 ? Clovis consolidated Frankish kingdoms in
    Gaul and the Rhineland.
  • Clovis victory ended Roman control in region of
  • Later Clovis converted to the Church, forgoing
    the Arianism of other Germanic peoples.
  • Conversion increased his status with the Pope.
  • 507 ? Battle of Vouille Clovis, helped by
    Burgundy, defeated Visigoths, expanding realm to
    Pyrenees mountains.

Europe 600 CE
Germanic tribes
  • Merovingians adhered to Germanic practice of
    dividing lands among sons.
  • Frequent division, reunification, and redivision
    of land often resulted in murder and warfare
    within leading families.
  • 511 ? Clovis dies. Realm divided among four
  • For next two centuries, kingship shared among his

Merovingian dragon
Visigothic Eagle, 6th century, broach
Germanic tribes
  • Mayor of the Palace ? chief officer for each
  • 8th century on ? Mayor of the Palace wielded real
    power in kingdom, laying foundation for
    Carolingian dynasty.

Fyrd the army
Ivory diptych Carolingian, c. 800
Carolingian Art
  • Carolingian Art ? 800 CE 950 CE
  • subjects religion and revival of Roman Empire
  • style/forms conscious formal links created
    between Roman Empire and the new Frankish
    Empire classicizing but without real
    understanding of the underling principles
  • key concepts conscious attempt to revive,
    recreate the western Roman Empire
  • Manuscripts
  • St. Matthew from the Gospel Book of Charlemagne
  • St. Matthew from the Ebbo Gospels
  • Nervous, agitated spirited line

Carolingian Gospels
St. Matthew Gospel Book of
Charlemagne 800-810 CE
Statue of Charlemagne
Carolingian Gospels
St. Matthew Ebbo Gospel 816-835 CE
Statue of Charlemagne
Carolus Magnus
  • Frankish Mayors of the Palace ? represents a new
    aristocracy a class of warriors. Wealth
    attained from land. Decline of urban culture and
    life urban culture does not revive until the
    12th century.
  • CHARLEMAGNE ? b.742 d.814 ruled 771 814.
    Reigned 43 years.
  • Reign based on harmony developed among three
    elements the Roman past, Germanic values, and
    Christianity. This is the full expression of the
  • Charlemagne devoted life to blending these three
    elements provided foundation upon which European
    society would develop.
  • Frankish society ? 3 classes 1) peasants those
    who work
  • 2) nobility those who fight
  • 3) clergy those who pray

Better life. More food, little real nourishment.
Lived in larger houses, but castles just as cold
as a peasants hut. Most were illiterate and
crude. Time spent fighting. Religious beliefs
similar to peasants.
Most educated of classes. Only people to
understand Christianity and had access to Bible.
Held a monopoly on knowledge, religious beliefs,
and religious practice.
2. Nobility
1. Clergy
3. Peasants
Harsh, brutal life. Poor diet, malnourished.
Illiterate, a few were devout Christians.