Feudalism, and
O The attacks from the barbaric tribes
weakened the empire fatally.
O Many historians now believe that Christianity
may have also weakened the defenses of
the empire.
O In the Roman way of life, emperors, governors,
and administrators stood far above the people
and Roman religion provided little spiritual
compensation for a low rank in the world. The
Christian faith offered something better: the
message that all persons are potentially equal in
the eyes of God and may hope for a better
afterlife through salvation. As the Western
Empire came under constant attack, the
increasing number of Christians may have been
less eager to fight to preserve the old system.
O The triumph of Christianity within the Roman
Empire was one of the most remarkable
cultural revolutions in history—all the more
extraordinary because it’s values were
opposed to those of classical thought, which
sought the good life in the present world.
Carpe diem, “Seize the day” was the
standard Roman motto. Classical values
were failing to reach the disadvantaged, the
subjugated, the losers.
O Christianity was born into a world alive with
religious fervor. Christians were striving to lead
lives of pure morals and would welcome
everyone, commoner and intellectual alike, into
God’s kingdom.
O Martyrs testified for their faith with their lives.
Within the church, some theologians took
positions that the established leaders rejected
and denounced. A world of debate and
interpretation of Christian thought flowed from
the pens of the scholars known as the Fathers of
the church.
Characteristics of
O This new religion hardly looked “religious.”
Christians had no temples or other holy places,
no priests, no ordinary sacrifices, no oracles, no
visible gods, no initiations, they made no
pilgrimages, would not venerate (worship,
revere) the emperor. It is no wonder that some
pagans accused Christians of being atheists
who undermined traditional society.
O Christians maintained that prophecies in the
Bible (Old Testament) had foretold the coming of
Jesus as the Messiah.
Characteristics of
O All the first Christians had been Jews, but
they parted company with Jewish tradition
by insisting that Jesus’ life, sacrificial death,
and his resurrection all meant that God’s
community had become open to everyone,
on absolutely equal terms.
Judaism and the Empire
O In 6 A.D., Augustus made Judea a Roman
Province. Rome still allowed Jews to
practice their religion but treated them
cruelly. Many Jews strengthened their hope
that a Messiah would help them regain their
freedom. Believing that God would
intervene on their behalf, some Jews took
matters into their own hands.
Judaism and the Empire
O In 66 A.D., Jerusalem burst into rebellion.
This great Jewish War as the Romans called
it lasted until 70 when the Romans under
the Emperor Titus demolished the Temple,
except a remnant of the Western Wall,
where Jews were allowed to pray once a
Jewish Factions
O Back up to the time of Christ : Three principle
factions (groups) arose in Jewish society each
stressing the part of Jewish tradition it
considered the most essential for the survival of
the Jews as God’s people.
O The Sadducees were composed of the landed
aristocracy and high priests in Jewish society.
They were religious conservatives who rejected
belief in the afterlife and in angels because they
did not find such teaching in the five books of
Moses (The Torah).
Jewish Factions
O The Pharisees were composed of pious
middle-class laypersons who taught the
resurrection of the dead, believed in angels,
and accepted gentile converts. Historians
call the modern rabbis the spiritual heirs of
the Pharisees due to their organization of
legal traditions into a book called the
Mishnah. This book evolved into the
Talmud, or general body of Jewish tradition.
Jewish Factions
O The Essenes were austere priests who settled at
Qumran, fifteen miles into the desert east of
Jerusalem. They protested against the
leadership of the Temple by high priests whom
they considered corrupt and unworthy. The
Essenes are most famous as the authors of the
Dead Sea Scrolls. These scrolls have given
historians an extraordinary view of the
apocalyptic beliefs and strict practices of this
faction that was active from 150 B.C. until 70
The Origins of Christianity
O Scholarly investigation of Jesus is difficult. He seems
to have been a charismatic Jewish teacher, yet he
wrote nothing that we know of. His existence and
execution by the Romans are confirmed by such first
and second-century historians as Tacitus.
O For details we must sift the writings of early converts,
such as Saul of Tarsus (Paul), who did not know
Jesus, or the authors of the Gospels (Matthew, Mark,
Luke, and John), which focus on Jesus’ power over
evil forces, his message of hope and moral demands,
his miracles, and his radical inclusiveness.
The Origins of Christianity
O Ancient writers had little interest in
presenting his biography in
chronological order or probing his
inner life. We know almost nothing of
his career as a youth and young adult
apart from his being raised a Jew in
Galilee, thus it is impossible to write a
biography of Jesus.
Jesus as a Teacher
O As his followers recalled his career, Jesus was
born of a virgin named Mary who was betrothed
but not yet married to a man named Joseph. At
around age thirty, Jesus went to John the
Baptist, and outspoken prophet, to be baptized.
Soon afterward John was imprisoned and Jesus
began to preach. Jesus declared that when God
rules the poor, the meek, the pure in heart, the
peacemakers, and the justice seekers will be
honored. He also taught that prayer and piety
were matters of personal commitment, not
public gestures to win society’s acclaim.
Jesus’ Death
O Christian writers state that the high priests in Jerusalem
accused Jesus of blasphemy, pretending to be the Messiah
and king, and refusing to pay taxes to the Roman emperor.
The Roman governor, Pontius Pilate, apparently feared that a
riot, led by Jesus’ enemies was about to break out at the
Passover. He washed his hands to make himself innocent of
Jesus’ blood and handed him over to the crowd who chose to
have him crucified.
O Jesus’ followers believed that he was raised from the dead
three days later and ascended into heaven after promising to
return one day and establish his kingdom. Soon after the
ascension, Jesus’ apostles began to preach Jesus’ message
throughout Judea, win converts, and establish churches for
worship, fellowship, and instruction.
The Spread of Christianity
O Paul and His Mission (Paul: Roman, Saul:
O Saul of Tarsus (southern Turkey), a Pharisee,
became a leader in persecuting Jews who had
become Christians. About 33 B.C., on his way to
Damascus he saw a vision of the resurrected
Jesus who asked him to explain his hatred of
Christians. As a result of this vision, Saul
converted to Christianity and believed that he
was the “chosen instrument” to bring the
message of Christ to the Gentiles.
The Spread of Christianity
O He is better known as the apostle Paul. He
became the best known of all the early Christian
teachers. His letters gave specific guidance to
the congregations he founded; they were later
collected and now make up much of the New
Testament. Paul taught Christians to regard
themselves as citizens of heaven and to live in
humility and love. Paul is acknowledged as the
second founder of Christianity. He was executed
in Rome in 62 A.D.
O The Romans asked that reverence be shown on
official occasions to the traditional gods (of
Rome) and to the deceased and god like
emperors. Romans saw this as public patriotism
not blasphemy as the Christians did. Christians
refused to do this. Rome either lacked interest
in the Christians or mercilessly persecuted them.
O The first serious persecutions took place under
Nero in 64 A.D. He blamed Christians for
starting a vast fire that ravaged Rome. Many
were put to death as scapegoats for the fire.
O From 303-313 A.D. persecution intensified. The
emperor Diocletian and his successors, tried to
eliminate Christianity completely. Many were put
to death but the persecution only strengthened
the commitment and devotion of the church
members. The persecution also created a list of
venerated martyrs that led to the creation of
these individuals as ‘saints’ that became an
integral part of Christianity ever after. “The
blood of the martyr became the seed of the
Reasons for the Spread of
O Followers of the “mystery cults” found Christian
beliefs and practices familiar enough to convert
easily to the new faith. The doctrine allowed
women to worship with men, taught that all men
were equal under God, and showed how the
common man could achieve a better life in the
next world. The persecutions united them
together and the courage that they faced death
impressed even their bitterest enemies. The
church was eventually officially recognized by
Rome in 311 A.D.
Reasons for the Spread of
An Emperor becomes the
Church’s Patron
O In 312, Constantine was battling
a rival for supremacy in Italy. The
night before the Battle of Milvian
Bridge, he had a dream. In the
dream he was told to decorate
the shields of his men with the
Greek letters chi and ro (the first
two letters of the Greek word for
Christ) and was told “In this sign
you shall conquer.” He followed
the instructions in the dream and
did win the battle and thereafter
recognized divine power in the
name of Christ.
Reasons for the Spread of
O He called for and held a conference at Milan and
from that meeting issued the Edict of Milan
which legalized Christianity. He also ordered the
return of any and all confiscated goods to
O During his reign, Christianity grew from a
persecuted sect to the most favored sect in the
O Just before his death, Constantine was baptized.
The emperor Theodosius made Christianity the
official religion, and prohibited all pagan cults.
Christianity and Roman
O Constantine and his successors gave more and
more privileges to the church. Christians
became exempt from some civil service duties;
1-churches could own property and 2- enjoyed
exemptions from some taxes.(Some taxes
enriching the church) 3- Bishops were also
allowed to judge the legal (not religion) disputes
of the members of their congregations.(This is
becoming a problem) Constantine repealed the
laws of Augustus that regulated marriage and
punished celibacy—a lifestyle now tolerated
more easily because celibacy in priests was
seen as a virtue.
Battles Within Christianity
O Usually the Christian community did not bother
to define matters of dogma or discipline until
disputes threatened its internal unity. The losers
in these disputes, if they did not amend their
beliefs, were regarded as heretics, meaning
those who had made a wrong choice.
O Heresies caused the early church to redefine its
positions. Out of the turmoil and disagreement,
the Church emerged stronger even though
sincerely held opinions were suppressed.
Battles Within Christianity
O Orthodox theologians of the second century
defined the canon of sacred writings to
include the modern bible (Old and New
Testaments). The church also declared that
the era of divine inspiration had come to an
end. All truths needed for salvation were
complete with the work of St. John, and no
new revelations were needed.
The Government of the
O During the first century, the terms deacon,
bishop, and elder appear in church
language. During the second century, the
bishop became the elected leader of a
group of elders (later called priests) and of
deacons (both men and women) who
became responsible for collecting donations
and managing the church’s material affairs.
The Government of the
O Bishops gained the right to 1- appoint priests, 2-
define doctrine, 3- maintain discipline, and 4oversee morals. In the west, the number of
bishops remained small and so obtained power
over fairly large areas.
O Bishops in Rome, Alexandria (Egypt), and
Antioch (Holy Land) became the most influential
due to the large Christian communities living in
those cities. The Bishop of Rome became the
head of the western church. The name for a
bishop was papa or father, but eventually only
the Bishop of Rome was called papa or pope.
O In 311 A.D., a priest from Alexandria named
Arius began to teach that Jesus was not coequal
with God the Father but had been created by
him. The teachings raised troubles throughout
the Roman Empire. To restore peace,
Constantine(Emperor) summoned a council of
the church to meet at Nicaea in Asia Minor, May
O The council condemned Arius in the Nicene
Creed which declared that Jesus was coeternal
with the Father and of one substance with God.
Arius was exiled.
The Fathers of the Church
O Some of the most influential leaders of the early
church lived in the late 300s A.D.
O Ambrose (340-397) was the Bishop of Milan
(Northern Italy). His most important doctrine was
that the Church must be independent of the emperor
and that bishops should have the right to chastise
O In 390 Ambrose excommunicated the emperor
Theodosius for massacring the rebellious citizens of
Thessalonica and forced him to do public penance.
Theodosius later admitted his guilt and repented.
O Popes of later centuries who struggled with leaders of
nations owed much of their power to Ambrose.
Jerome and Augustine
O Jerome (340-420) was a learned priest who translated the
Old and New Testaments into Latin. This version of the
Bible is called the Vulgate version. This Latin version
became the most widely used during the Middle Ages.
O Augustine (354-430) became the most important of the
Church Fathers. He was the leading figure in the
development of church theology. He is one of the authors
of the idea of predestination. He taught that sin
descended from Adam into every human being, and doing
good works could not guarantee salvation which was a gift
of god alone. He profoundly influenced teachings on
morality and marriage. He urged all Christians to a life of
celibacy and banned sex before marriage.
Jerome and Augustine
O He wrote one of the worlds first great
autobiographies called Confessions. In his
book The City of God, Augustine tried to
show that there was an order to history and
that God’s hand was directing people to
their destiny. This book was the greatest
work of philosophy in early Christendom.
The Rise of the
Middle Ages
Invasions Triggered Changes
O Repeated barbarian invasions and constant warfare
sparked new trends. A series of changes altered the
government, economy, and culture of Europe. Trade
was disrupted; businesses collapsed; money became
scarce. Established cities began to deteriorate. This
led to a population shift in Europe. As the centers of
trade and government collapsed, nobles retreated to
the rural areas. Roman cities were left without strong
leadership. Other city dwellers retreated to the
countryside as well. During this time, the concept of
government changed. People’s loyalty changed from
loyalty to the government to loyalty to a single leader.
Invasions Triggered
O In this new civilization in the west, there
were no:
O 1-great cities
O 2- no commerce
O 3- no industry
O 4- no strong central governments
O 5- no universities.
O Society was simple.
Assimilation and Synthesis
O The shattering of the Roman world and its
lifestyle by the barbarian invasions released
the forces of creative energy. Adding Celtic
and Teutonic elements to Roman Christianity
enriched the culture of Western Europe.
Assimilation and Synthesis
O The encounter of Latin-Christian civilization
with the barbarians resulted in a double
process of assimilation and synthesis. In
assimilation, one culture conquers and
absorbs the other. In many areas and in
many aspects of culture, Latin culture
absorbed barbarian; in others, the barbarian
absorbed the Latin. In other respects a true
synthesis between the two was attained.
Assimilation and Synthesis
O Accompanying the process of assimilation
and synthesis was a shift northward from
the Mediterranean of the centers of culture.
Also, the Mediterranean world became
divided into three areas: 1-Western, 2Byzantine, and 3- Islamic. The northern
fringe areas of Greco-Roman civilization
would become the heartland of the new
Western civilization.
The Bible Translated Into
O The conversion of the Germanic barbarians
to Christianity began before they invaded.
Their conversion began with Ulfilia, the son
of Christian parents who lived in the land of
the Goths. His parents had been captured
by the Goths so he grew up a Gothic
speaking Christian. He became a bishop in
341 A.D.
The Bible Translated Into
O Ulfilia brought the Arian version of
Christianity to the Goths and translated the
Bible into their language. From this, Arian
Christianity spread to the Visigoths, Vandals,
and Ostrogoth's. One result of this
conversion was to create in many kingdoms
a tension between Arian Germans and
Catholic Romans that would hamper the
achievement of a peaceful synthesis.
German Church believe in different things.
The Bible Translated Into
O Two other European groups converted to Christianity:
the Franks in Gaul and the Anglo-Saxons in England.
Before these two groups controlled Northern Europe,
the Celts were the dominant ethnic group. The Celts
(Caesar’s group that he conquered, and have been
absorbed since then.) migrated from their central
European homeland around 5000 B.C. From around
400 B.C. to 100 B.C. they dominated Northern
Europe. They were gradually conquered, killed, or
expelled from their territories by the Latin Romans
from the south and the Teutons, from the north. After
Caesar’s conquest of Gaul, they retained
independent control of Britain and Ireland.
O The Anglo-Saxons originally dwelt along the
coast of the North Sea, from the present
nations of the Netherlands to Denmark.
They began their conquest of Britain shortly
after 410 A.D. The conquest was completed
by 600 A.D. The Angles (English) were the
only Teutonic people who chose to
exterminate, rather than to rule or
assimilate, the province they conquered.
O The Franks were the most successful of the invading
Teutonic peoples. This diverse group of tribes was
formed some time in the 3rd century A.D. Early on
there was very little political unity among the Franks.
Each group or tribe was ruled by its own chieftain and
pursued its own course of migration and settlement.
Some tribes remained east of the Rhine River in an
area known as “Franconia.” Others crossed the Rhine
and settled in the empire where they entered into an
alliance with the Romans. Around 410 A.D., other
Franks crossed the river, refused and alliance, and
penetrated deep into Belgium to set up their own
kingdom. This was the beginning of the Merovingian
The Dark Ages
O These years were stark in every dimension.
Mediaeval man’s first goal was survival.
There were famines and plagues that
repeatedly thinned the population. The
church remained as the only unifying force
for the people of Europe.
The Time Period of the
Middle-Ages 500-1500 A.D.
O The decline of Rome and the barbarian
invasions created three basic problems for
European man, and created solutions for these
problems: 1) Keeping his religious faith.
Solution: establishment of the Mediaeval
O 2) Restoring law and order to society. Solution:
the gradual growth of the Feudal System.
O 3) Making a living. Solution: establishment of
the Manorial System.
Major Kingdoms out of the
O Two of the groups of peoples of Europe
organized into powerful kingdoms: AngloSaxons in Britain and the Franks in Gaul.
These two kingdoms converted directly to
Catholicism. Different that the Germans.
O The Kingdom of the Franks
O The Franks helped raise the Papacy to
The Merovingian Kingdom
481-751 A.D.
O This kingdom, initiated by Clovis I, presided over the synthesis
of Roman and Germanic societies. Clovis was descended from
the chieftain known as Merovech (Merovingian named for him)
the king of the Salians. Clovis’ great accomplishment was the
political unification of nearly the whole of Gaul. (Under his rule)
One of the reasons Clovis succeeded in becoming sole ruler of
Gaul was that he killed all his relatives who might challenge
him. Clovis converted to Roman Christianity in 496 A.D. He
was the first German king to become a Roman Catholic. This
step facilitated his conquests and made possible the peaceful
assimilation of the diverse peoples he ruled. His conversion is
considered a decisive event in European history. Later,
Catholic bishops wanted his help against other Germanic
peoples (Ostrogoth's, Visigoths, and Burundians were all Arian
Christians). His capital was at Paris.
Decline of the Merovingian's
Clovis died in 511 A.D. Upon his death, his kingdom was divided
among his four sons: Chlodomer, Childebert I, ClotherI, and
Theuderic. History calls these men the “Do-nothing Kings.”
LOSERS THEY DON’T DO ANYTHING!!!! These men and their heirs
were unable to conceive of the kingdom as anything but a private
family estate. They divided and redivided their lands among their
heirs. To resolve disputes over land, the Merovingian's relied
primarily on violence. Eventually the Frankish kingdom was
divided into three separate kingdoms. In fighting, constant chaos!
O In each kingdom, power gradually fell to the chief official known as
the mayor of the palace. The mayor’s official duties were to 1manage the palaces and estates, 2-receive the taxes and 3-to lead
the army in war. He was also able to 4- distribute land as he saw
fit. Those who fought under him looked upon him as the real
leader of the state. THE DAY TO DAY OPERATIONS.
Decline of the
O A man by the name of Pepin of Landen was the
Mayor of the Palace for Chlodomer. He was the first
of the Carolingians. Pepin II of Heristal is given credit
for really beginning the Carolingian Dynasty. He was
a Mayor who already administered the eastern lands
of the kingdom and then gained control over the
western lands in 687, unifying the whole kingdom of
Gaul under his administration. He retained the title
of Mayor but exercised the powers of King. He ruled
from 687-714 during which time he subjugated
rebellious counts. He is called the second founder of
the Frankish Kingdom. Exercised the powers of the
Charles Martel “The
Hammer” 714-741 A.D.
Pepin’s son Charles helped his
father bully the nobles. Upon the
death of his father, Charles
became the Mayor. He was said
to be the best knight in all of
Europe. He was ruthless,
ambitious, and successful. He
exercised all of the powers of a
king. He created an army of
mounted warriors. These warriors
were very effective du to the
introduction of the stirrup. This
simple device totally changed the
face of warfare. His army also
pursued a “scorched earth” policy
when fighting
Charles Martel “The
Hammer” 714-741 A.D.
Charles Martel (Christian Hero)
stopped the Muslim invasion of
Spain and also defeated the
Moors at the Battle of Tours. He
became a Christian hero. Martel
looked beyond military power to
take control of religious and
cultural institutions. One such
action was lay investiture.
Charles Martel gave church
offices to supporters. These
offices were later ratified by the
Pope. These men were loyal to
Martel and eventually the king
and not necessarily the Pope.
Martel also encouraged Christian
missionaries to convert the newly
conquered people and break
them from their old customs.
Pepin III (The Short) 741-761
Pepin continued the policies of his
father. The continued support of the
military aristocrats and the new
sympathy of the ecclesiastical
hierarchy enabled Pepin to effect a
major change in government.
In 751 (things will change) Frankish
nobles declared the last Merovingian
King, Childeric III, was not truly a king
and also declared Pepin the Short as
their legitimate sovereign. Pepin sent a
delegation to the Pope asking about
the legitimacy of the change and was
told by Pope Zacharias “It is better that
he who possesses power be called
King than he who has none.”
Pepin III (The Short) 741-761
O In 754, Rome was threatened with attack by the Lombard's, a
Germanic tribe who had been harassing Italy. Pope Stephen II
crossed the Alps and went to Pepin’s court and anointed his
head with oil and declared him “King by the grace of God.”
O This act gave legitimacy to the rule of Pepin and his heirs. In
return, Pepin came to the aid of the Pope twice and defeated
the Lombard's. After the defeat of the Lombard's, Pepin
confirmed papal possession of Rome and its surrounding area.
This act became known as the Donation of Pepin and
established the Papal States. It also tied the Franks to the
Catholic Church and the Church to Western Europe rather than
the Byzantine Empire. Pepin also wisely did away with the
office of Mayor of the Palace.
The Carolingian Empire
The Frankish empire was already
strong when Charles the Great or
Charlemagne (Son of Pepin) He
looks like Charles Martel! became
its king. Charlemagne’s
grandfather, Charles Martel had
defeated the Arabs in a battle at
Tours in 732, His father Pepin the
Short had elevated the family role
in government from that of mayor
of the palace to king of the
Franks. The Frankish kings
established a large empire in the
former Roman province of Gaul,
and extended their control beyond
the Rhine River. Charlemagne
was crowned king by Pope Leo III
in 800. This act marked the peak
of church-state cooperation.
The Carolingian Empire
O Charlemagne was a large man who
delighted in physical exercise particularly
hunting, riding, bathing, and swimming. He
was more remarkable because of his
intellectual curiosity, and respect for
intellectuals and the intellectual life. He
could not read and write however. He spoke
and understood Latin, and comprehended
The Carolingian Empire
O His main ambition was to bring all the German peoples
together into one Christian Empire. He fought over fifty
campaigns to do just that. At the Pope’s request he fought
four times in Italy against the Lombard's and against factions
that opposed the Pope. He suppressed the Bavarians( South
Germany) and overcame the Saxons after 33 years of fighting.
After defeating them in battle, Charlemagne expected/
demanded conversion to Christianity. Charlemagne
threatened to behead them and did on occasion if they did not
convert. He ordered the beheading of 4500 Saxons at Verdun.
He gave the death sentence to those who broke religious laws
such as 1-eating meat during Lent, 2- pretending to be
baptized, 3- and cremating the dead.
O Charlemagne had a complicated marriage. He had a total of
four wives and six concubines. Only one son outlived him
Louis the Pious.
The Carolingian Empire
O Charlemagne ordered Alcuin to prepare a new version of the
Bible to serve as the common religious text throughout the
empire and the western church.
O Pepin, Charlemagne, and their descendants promoted learning
within their domains in what is now called the Carolingian
Renaissance. At Charlemagne’s capital at Aachen (German) or
Aix-la-Chapelle (French) Charlemagne promoted learning. He
invited learned men from all over Europe to join him at his
palace. The most notable one of these was an English Scholar
Alcuin. He taught 1-religion, 2-Latin, 3- music, 4- literature,
and 5- arithmetic. He encouraged churches and monastery’s
to found schools. Alcuin’s famous maxim was: “Ye lads whose
age is fit for learning, learn! The years go by like running water,
waste not the teachable days in idleness.”
The Carolingian Empire
O Charlemagne ordered Alcuin to prepare a new version of
the Bible to serve as the common religious text
throughout the empire and the western church.
O Monks labored to make hand written copies of Latin
books and illuminating them with beautiful artwork.
Unfortunately, literate persons in one part of Europe had
great difficulty recognizing or reading a text written in
another part. The widespread decline in education had
left few persons who could read at all. Poorly educated
priests could not properly perform the liturgy, on which
God’s blessings on the community were though to
depend; and variations in religious rituals were also
growing. Both situations weakened the unity of the
Church as well as the state.
The Carolingian Empire
O Around the year 800, monks at the monastery of
Corbie and Tours devised a new type of formal
literary writing using lowercase letters. This
writing was called Carolingian miniscule.
(Punctuation: Helps to see where sentences
begin and end) Previous to this development,
texts used all capital letters and that made
reading difficult. Now capital letters were used
to show the beginning of sentences and smaller
letters for the text. Our modern printing is based
on this innovation. This script eventually spread
across the continent of Europe.
The Carolingian Empire
O Carolingian scholars also perfected a
distinctive language known as medieval
Latin. This language allowed travelers,
administrators, and scholars to make
themselves understood in all parts of
Europe; it continued to serve this function
until the modern era. Al the modern
languages of Europe developed under the
strong influence of these scholars’ Latin.
Death of the Empire of
O At his death, Charlemagne left a united and
apparently strong empire to his only surviving
son Louis the Pious. Louis was a deeply
religious man who was well educated but not a
soldier. He did not gain the respect or loyalty of
the warrior aristocracy on whom he depended
for soldiers. He even lost control of his own
family and his own sons tried to kill him.
O After his death, his three surviving sons divided
the kingdom by agreeing to the Treaty of Verdun
in 843. Lothair became king of the middle
Death of the Empire of
O His two other brothers Charles and Louis
allied themselves together against Lothair.
Charles (The Bald) ruled the western
kingdom (France) and Louis ruled the
eastern kingdom (Germany). When Lothair
died, the middle kingdom was divided
between Louis and Charles.
O Charles and Louis were also very weak
kings. This weakness opened the door for
barbarian invasions
Three Positives from the
Carolingian Kingdom:
O 1- It established the foundations for the
modern nations of France and Germany.
O 2- It kept alive the idea of a universal church
and a universal state.
O 3- It placed the Catholic Church on a solid
footing as a secular power in the political life
of Europe.
O Invasions of the Northmen (North), Muslims, and Magyars(
Russian Steps/ Vikings) They go all over the rivers- they are
used as highways.
In the ninth century, Europe was assaulted by these
three groups. For both Western and Eastern Europe, the
migration and raids of the Vikings (Danes, Norwegians, and
Swedes) or Northmen, altered the political map during a long
period from the mid-eighth to the early tenth century. In 900,
Rollo the Viking forced Charles the Simple King of France, to
give him the territory in Northern France that came to be
known as Normandy (WWII). The Muslims invaded Europe
from the south and took Sicily and raided Italy. The Magyars
were skilled horsemen who took control of the Danube River
Valley. They later converted to Christianity.
O Feudalism developed out of the chaos of the
ninth century and endured until the 13th century.
It concerned the rights, powers, and lifestyle of
the military elite. It was a political and military
system based on the holding of land. Its
agreements rested on solemn promises and the
principle of honor between a king and his vassal.
A vassal is a free person who put himself under
the protection of a lord for whom he rendered
loyal military aid. Both the lord and the vassal
came from the upper echelons of society.
Feudal arrangements did not include the serfs
and the poorer freemen.
Vassalage was an honorable
personal bond between the lord
and his man. An act of homage
established the relationship. In
this simple ceremony, the
prospective vassal placed his
hands within those of his lord and
swore to become his man. He
might also swear fealty on the
Gospels or a saint’s relic. The
joining of hands was the central
act in the ceremony of homage.
O A vassal could not refuse military
service, but if the lord asked for
more than the customary time
(40 days and nights)
A vassal could not refuse military service, but if the lord asked for
more than the customary time (40 days and nights)
O the vassal could demand compensation known as Scutage or
shield money, or simply return home. The lord could demand
financial aids such as 1- paying the ransom if the lord was
captured and 2-paying for the knighting of his eldest son or the 3marriage of his eldest daughter. Only a 4- jury of his peers (his
fellow vassals) could judge a vassal.
O The Lord owed his vassal military protection and material support.
1- He had to come to the vassal’s aid when requested, 2- repel
invaders from his vassals land, and help a 3-vassal being sued in
another’s court, 4- act as guardian for the minor children of
deceased vassals, and to 5- try and find a suitable husband for the
vassals daughters. Because a lord often had no cash revenues for
making monetary compensations, he would often distribute land
as a form of payment for allegiance.
Prospective knights were rigidly
trained. At age 7 they served as a
Page (Messenger) to a knight or
noble. At age 14 they served as a
squire to a knight and began to
learn weaponry and fighting styles
and techniques. At age 21 they
were knighted and given the title
of “Sir” by the lord in a ceremony
known as The Accolade. The lord
would lay the flat of the knights
sword on the prospective knight’s
shoulder and say, “In the name of
God, St. Michael, and St. George,
be valiant.” That’s it! Probably
English accolade ceremony.
O Knights were expected to follow the Code of Chivalry
which encompassed the ideals toward which all
knights should work. They were:
Be brave in battle
Fight fairly
Keep promises
Defend the church
Treat women of noble birth in a courteous manner
Be loyal to your king
Protect women and children
Be generous
O Cowardly knights who disregarded the code
faced public shame. Their armor was 1stripped off, their 2-shield was cracked, their
3-spurs were cut off, their 4- sword was
broken over their head, 5-they were thrown
into a coffin and dragged to their church
where the priest would chant a mock funeral
The Fief
O The lords gift of land to his vassal was called a
fief. The lord granted the fief to his vassal in a
special ceremony called investiture. (Creating a
new Nobel, new lord) As a symbol of the land
the vassal was receiving, the lord gave to his
vassal a clod of earth or a branch. At the
vassal’s death, disability, or refusal to serve his
lord, the fief at once returned to the lord who
granted it. Gradually the fief became hereditary
because the lord found it useful to grant the fief
to the adult son of the dead vassal because the
son could serve in his father’s place at once.
Social Classes
Status determined a person’s power and
prestige. Nobles and knights were those who fought.
Men and women of the church were those who prayed.
Peasants and Serfs were those who worked.
O The Feudal Hierarchy:
O King: All land belonged to him
O Royal Vassals: Dukes and Counts who received land
from the king. LESSER LORDS/ not related to the
O Lesser lords: Received portions of land
O Knights: Fiefs were very small.
O The manor system (Manoralism) was the basic
economic arrangement of the middle ages. It
involved the services and obligations of the
Peasant class. The wealth of the Feudal lords
came from the labor of the peasants who lived
on and worked the land.(Farming) A manor was
the lord’s estate and was directed by him.
It included:
The Castle
The Village
The surrounding lands
O Demesne lands: lands that the lord held for his
own crops and profits. Serfs worked this land.
Serf’s lands
Land held in common.
The manor became a self-sufficient economic
The manor had three officials:
1-the Steward
These men managed the lord’s manor.

Christianity, Feudalism, and Manoralism