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Medieval Times/Middle Ages


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Title: Medieval Times/Middle Ages

Medieval Times/Middle Ages
  • A Background for Geoffrey Chaucers Canterbury

Medieval Period 1100-1500 AD
  • William the Conqueror, Duke of Normandy (France),
    claimed English throne.
  • 1066 Battle of Hastings
  • William won against Harold

Medieval Period 1100-1500 AD
  • Domesday Book (1086) 1st land survey
  • SERFS Servants to Norman Lords
  • Owed obedience, work, taxes
  • Three languages
  • French ruling class
  • Latin Catholic Church and law
  • Anglo-Saxon (Middle English) common people and
    old nobility

Medieval Life
  • Catholic Church was central to life
  • Bells announced work, meals, rest, mass
  • Community life and meetings, refuge
  • Inspired, sponsored artistic achievement and
  • Divine Comedy (1321) by Dante
  • Universities and manuscripts
  • Gothic cathedrals were architectural marvels
  • Like heaven on earth
  • Notre Dame

Medieval Literature
  • Oral tradition
  • Shared songs and stories
  • Topics included
  • Sermons and lives of saints
  • Ballads and carols
  • Sir Thomas Malory
  • The Death of Arthur and Camelot
  • William Caxton invents movable printing press.

Medieval Corruption
  • Selling of indulgences
  • Letter from the Pope
  • Reduced or canceled time in hell, purgatory
  • Selling of religious office
  • Richest bidder got religious office
  • Uneducated, illiterate, immoral clergy
  • John Wycliffe anti-corruption crusader
  • Kings should rule country and church in state
  • Translates Bible from Latin to English
  • Sows seeds of Protestant Reformation in 16th

The Four Humors
  • Humors bodily fluids tied to the four elements.
  • Excess of one produced physical, mental
  • Example ruddy complexion and self-confidence
    suggested an excess of blood.
  • Sanguine of the color of blood still used
    today, describes a cheerfully optimistic person.

The Four Humors
Humor Element Physical Quality Temper Related Adj.
Yellow bile Fire Hot, dry Angry, stubborn Choleric
Black bile Earth Cold, dry Thoughtful, gloomy Melancholic
Blood Air Hot, moist Courageous hopeful Sanguine
Phlegm Water Cold, moist Dull, plodding Phlegmatic
Geoffrey Chaucer 1343-1400
  • Son of wealthy merchant
  • Page to Countess of Ulster at 13 yrs
  • Well-educated and well-travelled
  • Versed in English, French, Latin, Italian
  • 1360 Taken prisoner in France
  • Ransomed by Edward III
  • Placed in Edward IIIs personal service

Geoffrey Chaucer
  • 1372 Kings business in Italy
  • Met, read famous Italian writers and works
  • 1374 1382 Works as customs controller
  • 1386 Member of parliament
  • Various royal appointments by Richard II

The Canterbury Tales
  • Series of narrative poems about everyday people
    in Medieval England
  • A true cross section of the all ranges of society
    (not royalty) post-Black Plague
  • Detailed, lifelike portrayal
  • Written as people talked and lived back then
  • First major English work
  • Grounded in history, mythology, science,
    psychology, theology, and business

Groups of People in 14th Century England
  • Feudal System Knight, Squire, Yeoman, Franklin,
    Plowman, Miller, Reeve
  • Religious People Prioress, Monk, Friar, Cleric,
    Parson, Summoner, Pardoner
  • Middle Class Merchant, Sergeant at the Law,
    Tradesman, Cook, Skipper, Doctor, Wife of Bath,
    Manciple, Host

Major Changes in Society
  • Social Changes
  • Loss of feudal centrality of power
  • Black Death
  • Rising middle class
  • Widening trade opportunities new jobs
  • Religious Changes
  • Loss of influence Pope Clement Vs move of
    Papacy to France
  • Rise in educated populace, loss of intellectual
  • Move towards stories reflecting real life

The Canterbury Tales
  • WHEN? Early spring
  • WHAT? Pilgrimage to the shrine of St. Thomas à
    Becket, archbishop and martyr

The Canterbury Tales
  • WHERE? From Southwark (London) at Tabard Inn to
    Canterbury, 55 miles on horseback
  • WHO? 30 pilgrims host Harry Bailly
  • WHY? To pass the time, each traveler tells 2
    stories on the way there and 2 on the way back.
    At stake, a free meal for the best story.

Middle English
  • English post-Norman conquest (1066)
  • Combines Anglo-Saxon words with French and Latin
  • Lost complicated A-S word endings
  • No silent e used as its own syllable
  • Unusual writing choice most texts in French and
    Latin, read by intellectual royals suggests
    written for the people

The Prologue Lines 1-18
  • In Middle English
  • Whan that aprill with his shoures soote
  • The droghte of march hath perced to the roote,
  • And bathed every veyne in swich licour
  • Of which vertu engendred is the flour

Listen to Middle English
  • In Modern English
  • When fair April with his showers sweet,
  • Has pierced the drought of March to the root's
  • And bathed each vein in liquid of such power,
  • Its strength creates the newly springing flower

ey Terms
  • Pilgrim Traveler (for religious purposes)
  • Prologue Introduction or preface
  • Illumination Decorated letter with pictures or
    designs (lights up a page)
  • Physiognomy Pseudo-science which believes that
    physical features accurately tell a personality.