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T h e A m e r i c a n U n i v e r s i t y o f R o m e HST 201 - Survey of Western Civilization I

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Title: T h e A m e r i c a n U n i v e r s i t y o f R o m e HST 201 - Survey of Western Civilization I


1
T h e A m e r i c a n U n i v e r s i t y o f
R o m e HST 201 - Survey of Western
Civilization I
Session 15 Polities of the Middle Ages Some
trajectories amidst a diverse political
scenario Parallel worlds rural and urban
settings in the MA
2
Biz E I
Carolingian
expansion, coexistence multi-religious society
500
sunni/shia schism
Justinian
800
fundamentalism
CORDOBA Cultural hub
Constantinople falls
1000
fundamentalism
Ottoman Empire
1200
Trebizond
1400
1918
3
Carolingian evolution Europe
On the cultural front
On the political front
The new countries Diverse political trajectories

Monasteries monasticism Cordoba (Arist.
before F) Monasteries knowledge Universities
4
Carolingian evolution Europe
On the political front
800
CH
Short lived but not collapse
1000
Rhine Italy
F R A N C E
1200
E N G L A N D
HRE GERMANY Northern Italy
Pope Italian princes republics
1400
5
3
2
1
Three political trajectories, new formations born
from the last attempt of unifying Europe and from
the decentralized system of property created in
the feudalist system. Hierarchical MONARCH gt
VASSALS-FEUDAL LORDS gt PEASANTS Traders
cities?
6
Case 1 Kingdom of France, Duke of Burgundy
Duchy of Aquitaine
7
Case 2 HRE, the electoral princes and the
election of emperor
8
Case 3 England and the parliamentarian
monarchy 1215 Magna Carta council of Lords
later, Parliament TB citing Strayer The Magna
Carta made arbitrary government difficult, but
did not make centralized government
impossible. While the Magna Carta surged after
the vain attempts of John to conquer back the
French lands (after his defeats), it allowed a
concerted effort with Edward I to expand
England's power in Wales, Scotland and France.
9
Politics Economy
Parallel worlds?
Land property system in a land of Roman and
barbarians
Mediterranean links and commerce
Overall private property Their mixture (their
dialectic), origins of C Countryside
Cities Agrarian
Urban Agriculture Trade
Feudalism Oligarchies
monarchies plutocracies Oath of
Allegiance Charters
Technological advances in both
10
Feudalism gt Decentralized political
system (leading then to centralization as states
evolve) gt Power relations based on oath of
allegiance (mutual defense) tax contract gt
leads to confrontation monarchy vs.
nobility (with their different aims and
powers) gt Property system based on small-scale
tenure system. Ascendance of the Lord based on
defense and protection.
11
gt Fits the European system of war-driven
societies gt In the political process (and adding
to war as a central factor), come the Crusades,
that help the monarchs establish some sense of
unity and power gt In economic terms, the
Crusades reopen trade routes to the East and
allow further development of urban life gt Feudal
state much institutional and political
instability
12
  • gt Society moved from a world of tribes and
    chiefdoms - in which rights of property were
    mainly defined through membership of a kin-group
    - to a society in which lordship over all land
    and men was increasingly assumed by state rulers.
  • gt A situation typical in an intermediate period
    and normal among the barbarian tribes that were
    settling the old lands of the Roman empire, where
    Roman peoples where still cultivating and owing
    the lands.
  • gt The so-called feudal state of the Middle Ages
    was an institution that represented a limited
    territorialization of power, wherein a king's
    ability to govern and rule his kingdom depended
    to a large extent on the cooperation of his
    vassals (p. 65, Elias 1982, 16-17).

13
  • Elias (1982, 16-17), the feudal state or kingdom
    was characterized by an inherent social and
    spatial tension. With only a rudimentary
    administrative structure available to govern
    their kingdom, the rulers of medieval states were
    dependent upon the personal relationships that
    existed between a king and his vassals in order
    to exert any jurisdiction over the vast majority
    of their territories. In effect, such control was
    largely derived from the social bond between two
    individuals rather than being based upon an
    objective and absolute ordering of space and
    territory. (p. 66)
  • There is no more striking a demonstration of this
    process than the dramatic collapse of the
    Frankish kingdom in the early Middle Ages, when
    the extended kingdom of Charlemagne disintegrated
    into a 'mosaic of autonomous duchies and
    principalities. (p.66)

14
From Craft specialization, the reorganization of
production relations and state formation. Thomas
C. Patterson. 2005. Journal of Social
Archaeology 5, 307. During the transition from
feudalism to capitalism, feudal lords who, in
practice if not in theory, supported the ideal of
a self-sufficient natural economy were pitted
against serfs, peasants and artisans, on the one
hand, and merchant capitalists who sought
increasing control of local and regional markets,
on the other. Marx (18637/1977 87795) outlined
the dialectics of class struggle in England
during the transition. The serfs succeeded in
breaking the bonds of servitude by the end of the
fourteenth century, becoming a class of free
peasant proprietors. The lesser feudal lords no
longer able to appropriate goods and services
from their former serfs dissolved by the end of
the fifteenth century (continues)
15
() and the group of former retainers, who never
had direct access to the means of production and
who lacked the ability to appropriate surplus
from the direct producers, were recast as a
proletariat. In the sixteenth century, the great
feudal lords used coercion, laws and taxes to
expropriate the resources they held in common and
to force the peasants, formerly in possession of
their means of subsistence and production, into
growing dependence on the market and on
production for exchange. This was accompanied by
social differentiation in the rural communities,
the simultaneous appearance of capitalist farmers
who produced for the market and a rural
proletariat whose members lacked the means of
subsistence and were forced to hire themselves
out as agricultural laborers. Relationship
between Feudalism and the rise of national
monarchies? (the relationship of feudalism and
early capitalism)?
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