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Sully-sur-Loire, a medieval castle visited by (among others) Joan of Arc, Louis XIV


Life and Literature of The Middle Ages Sully-sur-Loire, a medieval castle visited by (among others) Joan of Arc, Louis XIV Giotto Madonna and child – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Sully-sur-Loire, a medieval castle visited by (among others) Joan of Arc, Louis XIV

Life and Literature of The Middle Ages
Sully-sur-Loire, a medieval castle visited by
(among others) Joan of Arc, Louis XIV
Giotto Madonna and child
Notre-Dame church in Orleans, France
Middle Ages
  • Middle Ages/Medieval Period 476 to 1453 C.E.
    Also known as the Dark Ages
  • "Middle Age invented by Italian scholars in the
    early 15th Century. Until this time it was
    believed there had been two periods in history,
    that of Ancient times and that of the period
    later referred to as the "Dark Age.
  • Renaissance means rebirth
  • The humanistic revival of classical art,
    architecture, literature, and learning that
    originated in Italy in the 14th century and later
    spread throughout Europe.
  • The period of this revival, roughly the 14th
    through the 16th century, marking the transition
    from medieval to modern times.

Medieval Period in a Historical Nutshell
  • Rome attacked in 476 C.E.
  • The beginning of the Middle Ages is often called
    the "Dark Ages
  • Fall of Greece and Rome
  • Life in Europe during the Middle Ages was very
  • Very few people could read or write and nobody
    expected conditions to improve.
  • Only hope strong belief in Christianity heaven
    would be better than life on earth.
  • In contrast
  • The Muslims in the Middle East and North Africa
    studied and improved on the works of the ancient
  • Civilization flourished in sub-Saharan Africa,
    China, India, and the Americas.
  • Great change by about 1450
  • Columbus America
  • literacy spread
  • scientists made great discoveries
  • artists created work that still inspires us
  • The Renaissance is the beginning of modern

Middle Ages General Timeline
1095-1291C.E. Crusades
With the Fall of Rome..
  • Barbarian tribes were seeping into Britain and
    Western European lands
  • Emperors became more like kings
  • Feudalism involuntary peasant labor on lands not
    their own personal bonds and personal law
    beginning to replace impersonal law common to
    large expanses of territory
  • Medieval Guilds
  • the Catholic Church, would provide spiritual and
    moral direction, as well as leadership and
    material support, during the darkest times of the
    early Medieval period.

Barbarian was originally a term applied to any
foreigner, one not sharing a recognized culture
or degree of polish with the speaker or writer
employing the term. The word derives from the
Greek, and expresses with mocking duplication
("bar-bar") alleged attempts by outsiders to
speak a "real" language.
Key Concepts of the Middle Ages
  • War
  • Religion

  • Feudalism system of loyalties and protections
    during the Middle Ages. As the Roman Empire
    crumbled, emperors granted land to nobles in
    exchange for their loyalty. These lands
    eventually developed into manors. A manor is the
    land owned by a noble and everything on it. A
    typical manor consisted of a castle, small
    village, and farmland.
  • During the Middle Ages, peasants could no longer
    count on the Roman army to protect them. German,
    Viking and Magyar tribes overran homes and farms
    throughout Europe.
  • Serfs would often have to work three or four days
    a week for the lord as rent. They would spend the
    rest of their week growing crops to feed their
    families. Other serfs worked as sharecroppers. A
    sharecropper would be required to turn over most
    of what he grew in order to be able to live on
    the land.
  • Key facts about feudal society
  • The absence of a strong central authority of
  • Economy based on agriculture, with limited money
  • The strength of the Church Church had the right
    to a share (tithe) of society's output as well as
    substantial landholdings. In return, the church
    was obligated with specific authority and
    responsibility for moral and material welfare.

The Church
  • Christianity became the universal faith of almost
    all of the people of Europe.
  • The Church was often the only way to get an
  • It also allowed poor people to escape a dreary
    life and possibly rise to power.
  • Religious workers are called clergy.
  • In the Middle Ages, the Pope ruled the Christian
    Church. Other clergy included bishops, priests,
    nuns, and monks.
  • Monks men who lived in monasteries, or small
    communities of religious workers.
  • devoted their lives to prayer
  • Monasteries produced many well-educated men
    prepared to serve as administrators for
    uneducated kings and lords.
  • Monks were responsible for keeping the Greek and
    Latin classical cultures alive. Monks copied
    books by hand in an era before the printing
    press. Though few in number, monks played a
    significant role in the Middle Ages.

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Medieval Literature
  • Beowulf is the oldest surviving epic poem in what
    is identifiable as a form of the English
    language. (The oldest surviving text in English
    is Caedmon's hymn of creation.) The precise date
    of the manuscript is debated, but most estimates
    place it close to AD 1000.
  • The story came to England at a time when the
    Germanic peoples were still part of the same
    cultural sphere and spoke what really were just
    dialects of the same language.
  • It is known only from a single manuscript, kept
    in the British Library. The manuscript suffered
    some irreversible damage in a fire in 1731.
  • The manuscript was written in Old English. Some
    Old English words and sounds closely resemble
    modern English. Today most readers read a
    version of the poem translated into modern

  • Beowulf is an Anglo-Saxon epic poem which relates
    the adventures of Beowulf, a Scandinavian hero
    who saves the Danes from the seemingly invincible
    monster Grendel and, later, from Grendel's
  • He then returns to his own country, Geatland, and
    dies in old age in a vivid fight against a
    dragon. The poem is about encountering the
    monstrous, defeating it, and then having to live
    on in the exhausted aftermath.

Map The Geography of Beowulf
  • As a Professor of Anglo-Saxon at Oxford
    University, J.R.R. Tolkien probably taught
    Beowulf every year of his working life
  • His scholarly paper, Beowulf The Monsters and
    the Critics brought studies of the poem to the
    forefront of the academic world
  • Tolkien's imagined world of Arda owes something
    of it's creation to Beowulf Beowulf is among my
    most valued sources (Letters, no.25).
  • Tolkien used Beowulf in creating his own works
    and adopting the good vs. evil archetype. Just
    as our modern English language is based on the
    ancient English, Tolkien used Old English words
    in his creation of names.
  • Tolkien included almost 50 Anglo-Saxon words or
    phrases from Beowulf in his works.

The Canterbury Tales
  • Englishman Geoffrey Chaucer wrote The Canterbury
    Tales, a collection of stories in a frame story,
    between 1387 and 1400.
  • Story about of a group of thirty people who
    travel as pilgrims to Canterbury (England). The
    pilgrims, who come from all layers of society,
    tell stories to each other to kill time while
    they travel to Canterbury.
  • Chaucer intended that each pilgrim should tell
    two tales on the way to Canterbury and two tales
    on the way back. He never finished his enormous
    project and even the completed tales were not
    finally revised. Scholars are uncertain about the
    order of the tales. As the printing press had yet
    to be invented when Chaucer wrote his works, The
    Canterbury Tales has been passed down in several
    handwritten manuscripts.
  • The Canterbury Tales is written in Middle English.

Canterbury Tales
  • 1    Whan that Aprill with his shoures soote    
      When April with its sweet-smelling showers
  • 2   The droghte of March hath perced to the
    roote,        Has pierced the drought of March to
    the root,
  • And bathed every veyne in swich licour       And
    bathed every vein (of the plants) in such liquid
  • Of which vertu engendred is the flour    By the
    power of which the flower is created
  •   Whan Zephirus eek with his sweete
    breeth   When the West Wind also with its sweet
  • Inspired hath in every holt and heeth   In every
    holt and heath, has breathed life into
  • The tendre croppes, and the yonge sonne       The
    tender crops, and the young sun
  • Hath in the Ram his half cours yronne,      Has
    run its half course in Aries,
  • And smale foweles maken melodye,       And small
    fowls make melody,

10     That slepen al the nyght with open ye    
     Those that sleep all the night with open
eyes 11     (So priketh hem Nature in hir
corages),           (So Nature incites them in
their hearts), 12   Thanne longen folk to goon on
pilgrimages,            Then folk long to go on
pilgrimages, 13 And palmeres for to seken
straunge strondes,           And professional
pilgrims (long) to seek foreign shores, 14    To
ferne halwes, kowthe in sondry londes To (go to)
distant shrines, known in various lands 15  And
specially from every shires ende      And
specially from every shire's end 16   Of Engelond
to Caunterbury they wende,        Of England to
Canterbury they travel, 17  The hooly blisful
martir for to seke,         To seek the holy
blessed martyr, 18   That hem hath holpen whan
that they were seeke.                Who helped
them when they were sick.
The Canterbury Tales
  • Chaucer began work on The Canterbury Tales about
  • and intended for each of his thirty pilgrims to
    tell four tales, two while traveling to
    Canterbury and two while traveling from
  • However, only twenty-three pilgrims received a
    story before Chaucer's death in 1400.
  • Chaucer's Tales gained mass popularity the early
    fifteenth century.

This facsimile is the first reproduction ever
made of this manuscript, considered a prime
authority for the text of The Canterbury Tales.
  • all of humanity moves through its pages.
  • Presents humor, at once friendly and satirical.

Canterbury Tales
  • A rich, tapestry of medieval social life
  • combining elements of all classes, from nobles to
    workers, from priests and nuns to drunkards and
  • When The Canterbury Tales were written
  • Christianity was the dominant social force
    throughout western Europe, including England.
  • In 1388, while Chaucer was working on the tales,
    a change occurred in the way that Christianity
    was perceived and practiced when John Wycliffe,
    an English reformer,
  • released a version of the Bible translated into
    English. For the first time, people from the
    lower classes, who had not been educated in
    Latin, could read the Bible themselves instead of
    having its word interpreted to them by members of
    the clergy.

Canterbury Tales
  • The General Prologue consists of character
    sketches of each member of the group that is
    going to Canterbury, as described by Chaucer, who
    is also a character in his own novel. Any other
    characters in The Canterbury Tales are created by
    one of the pilgrims, in stories within the novel.
    Therefore, these lesser characters are so
    numerous, that it is counter-productive to give
    them a character sketch.
  • Since the General Prologue and the main
    characters overlap almost completely, the
    character summaries will be combined with the
    General Prologue, but elaborated on by use of
    other parts of the text.
  • Chaucer He is a character in his own novel, and
    he writes in the first person as an outside
    observer traveling with the pilgrims on their way
    to Canterbury.

Canterbury Tales- some of the characters
  • The Knight a warrior who relies on the code of
    chivalry. Represents the romanticized standards
    of the feudal system
  • The Prioress A nun, named Madame Eglantine. She
    makes every effort to be refined and elegant, and
    she cannot bear to see any harm come to any of
    Gods lesser creatures, like mice. However, when
    it is her turn to tell a story, hers is violent
    and full of blood and sorrow.
  • The Merchant The merchant is obsessed with his
    wealth, and talks about money constantly.
  • The Wife of Bath A well-traveled middle-aged
    woman who has been married five times, not
    counting other lovers she did not marry. She has
    a large amount of knowledge from experience, and
    when she questions the authority of the bible,
    she does it with a very good background from
    which to debate it.
  • Poor Priest lived truly poor and in the service
    of God. An example of how a traditional priest
    should live in Chaucers time, following the life
    of Christ.
  • The Miller a large and strong man, and is one of
    the best at telling vulgar stories.
  • The Pardoner A clergyman who is outwardly
    corrupt. His main motivating factor was money,
    and so if the sinner had the gold, the Pardoner
    would favor the sinner and help pardon him.

Canterbury Tales The Retraction
  • Chaucer concludes his tales with praise to Jesus
    Christ. "Now preye I to hem alle that herkne thai
    litel tretys or / rede, that if ther be any thyng
    in it that liketh hem, that / therof they thanken
    oure Lord Jesu Crist, of whom procedeth / al wit
    and al goodnesse" (Chaucer's Retraction, l.1-4).
  • He adds that if anyone does not understand these
    tales, then it is due to his ignorance and not
    his intention, which was to fully capture the
    goodness of Christ in tale. He requests pardon
    from Christ for any problems there may be with
    the text.
  • He hopes to be granted mercy and kindness so that
    he may ascend to heaven at his time and concludes
    the long tales of Canterbury with this final
    line "So that I may been oon of / hem at the day
    of doome that shulle be saved. Qui cum patre,
    cetera." Chaucer's Retraction, l.29-30

King Arthurian Legend
  • Arthurian legend has become the mirror of the
    ideal of medieval knighthood and chivalry.
  • Was the illegitimate son of Uther Pendragon, king
    of Britain
  • Became king of Britain by successfully
    withdrawing a sword from a stone.
  • Possessed the miraculous sword Excalibur , given
    to him by the mysterious Lady of the Lake .
  • Arthur's enemies sister Morgan le Fay and his
    nephew Mordred. Morgan le Fay was usually
    represented as an evil sorceress, scheming to win
    Arthur's throne for herself.
  • Mordred (or Modred) was variously Arthur's nephew
    or his son by his sister Morgawse.
  • He seized Arthur's throne during the king's
  • Later he was slain in battle by Arthur, but not
    before he had fatally wounded the king.
  • Most invincible knights in Arthur's realm Sir
    Tristram and Sir Launcelot of the Lake.
  • Sir Gawain, Arthur's nephew, who appeared
    variously as the ideal of knightly courtesy and
    as the bitter enemy of Launcelot.
  • After 1225 no significant medieval Arthurian
    literature was produced on the Continent.
  • In England, however, the legend continued to
    flourish. Sir Gawain and the Green Knight
    (c.1370), one of the best Middle English
    romances, embodies the ideal of chivalric
  • The last important medieval work dealing with the
    Arthurian legend is the Morte d'Arthur of Sir
    Thomas Malory , whose tales have become the
    source for most subsequent Arthurian material.

Sir Gawain The Green Knight (ca 1370)
  • This poem tells the story of Gawain, a knight and
    member of King Arthurs Round Table
  • A perfect example of the idealism and romanticism
    of chivalry
  • Plot Overview
  • During a New Years Eve feast at King Arthurs
    court, a strange figure, referred to only as the
    Green Knight, pays the court an unexpected visit.
  • challenges the groups leader or any other brave
    representative to a game The Green Knight says
    that he will allow whomever accepts the challenge
    to strike him with his own axe, on the condition
    that the challenger find him in exactly one year
    to receive a blow in return.
  • Arthur hesitates to respond, but when the Green
    Knight mocks Arthurs silence, the king steps
    forward to take the challenge.

Dante Alighieri- The Divine Comedy (written from
1306 to 1321)
  • The Divine Comedy, by Dante Alighieri, is
    comprised of 3 works
  • Inferno
  • Purgatorio
  • Paradiso
  • Inferno the most widely read section
  • Dante describes a journey through Hell from the
    entrance at the lowest and less harsh level.
  • His companion for the travel is Virgil, a mentor
    and protector. Constructed as a huge funnel with
    nine descending circular ledges
  • Dantes Hell carefully categorizes sinners
    according to the nature of their sins.
  • Those who recognize and repudiate their sins are
    given a change to purify themselves in
    Purgatorio, the second of three segments in the
    poem. Therefore, Dante feels Hell is a necessary,
    painful first step of any mans spiritual
  • The Divine Comedy is in no way a comedic literary
  • Dante himself simply called this work "Comedy."
    because the poem is a optimistic process from
    Hell toward Heaven, or from worse to better.

Dantes Life
  • Born in Florence, Italy, in 1265. His family was
    considered part of the lesser nobility
  • The death of one of his childhood friends a
    turning point in his life.
  • At the age of nine, Dante was introduced to
    Beatrice Portinari in 1274. According to studies
    by Boccacio, her death in 1290 propelled him to
    begin an intensive study in the philosophical
    works of Boethius, Cicero, and Aristotle.
  • Beatrice is alluded to in several of his other
    works but specifically The Divine Comedy where
    she is commemorated as the ideal lady who guides
    him to redemption in Paradiso.
  • Dante became increasingly involved with politics.
    He was elected as one of the six offices of
    president of the Florentine Guilds in 1300.
  • After a coup in 1313, Dante fled Florence and
    lost hope of ever returning. He remained in
    Verona and a year later moved to Revenna where he
    died in 1321.
  • Although Dante is most famous for his poem The
    Divine Comedy, he also wrote some other highly
    influential works. These include a collection of
    early poems published in La Vita Nuova (c. 1293
    The New Life). Written in commemoration of
    Beatrices death, The New Life was a new,
    innovative approach to love poetry and equates
    love with a mystical and spiritual revelation.

Structure of Inferno
  • As part of this work, Dante put real-life and
    mythological figures in the Inferno based on what
    he saw were their sins, making this work a
    political and social commentary
  • He organized the work into Cantos, or short
    chapters, much like Homers uses books in
    creating The Odyssey
  • The sinners in the nine circles of hell are
    guilty of one of three types of sin
  • Incontinence losing control of natural appetites
    and desires
  • Brutishness attraction to things which repulse
    the healthy soul
  • Malice / Vice abuse of reason, a human's most
    god-like quality

Structure of Inferno- Some Examples
Canto Region Sin People Punishment
Canto 12 Circle 7 Violent Against neighbors fellow men murderers, war makers Alexander the Great Attila the Hun Submerged in hot blood, Guarded by centaurs, who shoot any soul which attempts to rise
Canto 26-27 subcircle 8  Evil counselors Ulysses/ Odysseus Concealed in flames
Canto 34 Round 3 Traitors to lords and benefactors those who set out to destroy the rightful God Judas, Brutus, Cassius At the center of the Earth, completely submerged in ice. The three ultimate traitors are held in Lucifer's three mouths. Lucifer's three wings send forth freezing blasts of impotence, ignorance and hatred.
Salvador Dalis Work inspired by Inferno
  • Canto 26-27 Evil counselors
  • Ulysses

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Middle Ages General Timeline
Medieval Movie Clip
King Arthur Clip