101_Early Medieval Europe (Week 8) RECORDING

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Medieval Europe:

Medieval Europe 6 th c to 13 th c.


Terms! Feudal – a system in which a balance of obligations and protections ensure domestic stability. Those lower down the social hierarchy have more obligations than those above. Franks – one of many Germanic tribes which fill the vacuum left by the retreating, collapsing Western Roman Empire; settle in Modern Day France, Italy, Switzerland Viking – one name given to the group of Scandinavian raiders who pillaged Europe from the 8 th c. to the 11 th c. CE Serf – an unfree peasant who, while technically not a slave, is bound to the land and feudal lord for his or her entire life. Serfs make up the majority of rural peasantry in Europe

Roman Collapse (5th – 6th c.):

Roman Collapse (5 th – 6 th c.)

Collapse or Slide?:

Collapse or Slide? Roman Empire large, already divided politically, culturally Emperor Constantine Establishes Christianity as official religion Establishes Christian orthodoxy Germanic tribes initially immigrants interested in becoming Roman citizens EX: Goths, led by Alaric I, were on religious pilgrimage to Rome Sack Rome ~400 CE Later “Germanic” invaders mimic Roman society, military Roads, titles, military EX: Ostragothic tribes try to recreate Roman Empire with Germanic flair but attacked by Byzantines

Food for Thought:

Food for Thought Goths, Visigoths in Italy and Spain emulate Roman systems Thoroughly Romanized, Christianized Re-establish Romanesque order & policies by 6 th c. CE Eastern Roman Empire still strong Did not ‘disappear’ like Western (Latin) Roman rump state Sees Germanic occupation of Rome differently Weakened Goth, Visigoth states leave door open to more successful German tribes Franks, Saxons & Angles (and Jutes)

Germanic Emulation:

Germanic Emulation Frankish Germans settle in m/d France Composed of clans Merovingians Carolingians Set up fortified ‘villas’ Emulate Roman admin of France Sponsor, support church Monasteries Bishoprics Diocese Wage war v. Pagans, infidels

Early Medieval Leadership:

Early Medieval Leadership Warrior Kings must lead into battles Loyalty through force of arms Strongest Franks in 6 th c. CE = Merovingians Conquest of additional territories prove might, generosity ‘nobles’ given right to govern lands in King’s name Kings who let others lead battles risk losing loyalty What happens when there is no more land to conquer? What if there are no more enemies to be had?

Keeping the Peace:

Keeping the Peace Kingship Military defeats foes Prevents invasion Puts down heresy, treason Eliminates opposition Collects taxes, rents The “Stick” of early Medieval European politics The Church Monasteries preserve knowledge Centers of learning, especially for elites Wins “hearts and minds” through religious teachings, dogma Provides unifying identity Provides royal legitimacy The “Carrot” of early Medieval European politics

Europe & Christendom:

Europe & Christendom Roman Christianity slow to penetrate robust Germanic societies Competition: “heretical” Christian sects (Arians) Pagan religions Orthodox Roman Christianity not fully adopted until well into Medieval era (~11 th c. CE) Need for adaptation Two-way street Christianity adopts many Pagan holidays, veneer Pagans adopt symbols and rhetoric to counter Christianity

Religious Symbols:

Religious Symbols Christian symbolism Pagan Symbolism


Synchronicity Christian festivals, Holy Days coincided with Jewish festival, Holy Days before 4 th c. CE Adopted, coopted Roman holidays & celebrations Ex: 12 days of Christmas = Saturnalia (12 day end-of-year celebration) Other holidays drawn directly from Northern European pagan holidays, traditions Ex: All Hallows Eve = Samhain Cultural adaptation synthesizes Roman Christendom with Germanic Christendom/Paganism Tyr’s Day, Woden’s Day, Thor’s Day, Freia’s Day + Saturn Day, Sun Day, Moon Day

New Dynasty:

New Dynasty Merovingian kings become less able to command armies Religious piety focuses kings on developing Christianity within Frankish lands So-called “Long Haired Kings” Carolingians become de facto rulers of Frankish lands “Mayor of the Palace” becomes commander in chief New threat demands radical action by 732 CE Carolingians led by Charles Martel (“The Hammer”) Technological innovation saves the day

Muslim Invasions:

Muslim Invasions Muslim armies invade, control Spain by 711 CE Muslim expansion into France 730 CE

Battle of Poitiers (Tours) 732 CE:

Battle of Poitiers (Tours) 732 CE Frankish troops led by Charles Martel Utilize new military hardware for advantage in battle Stirrup Heavy Cavalry as shock troops Physics! Defeat of Muslim invaders prevents any serious attempt by Muslims to take Europe Pope promises Frankish crown to Carolingians (eventually) Merovingian authority eroded through bloodless coup d’etats Most cloistered in Monasteries


Charlemagne Grandson of Charles Martel Almost constant war with neighbors Named “Roman Emperor” by Church on Christmas Day 800 CE Protector of Papal territory Patron of learning


Charlemagne Capital at Aachen ( Aix-la-Chapelle ) Imitate Roman palaces, villas Romanesque baths (healing properties) Rebuild Roman roads Ease of movement (troops, goods) Patronage of monasteries Monasteries become centers of preservation, learning Always trying to learn to read Slept with tablet under his pillow

Carolingian Conquests:

Carolingian Conquests

Holy Roman Empire:

Holy Roman Empire Germanic kingdom established by Charlemagne (Charles the Great) Not truly Roman – Germanic emulation of faded Roman greatness Near-constant warfare proves Carolingians have the right to rule Lombards in Italy Saxons, Bohemians in m/d Germany Gascons , Basques in Pyranes Muslims in Iberia Song of Roland Reconquista Spreads Christianity by the sword Massacre at Verden ; 4500 Pagan German rebels were slaughtered for rejecting Christianity & Charlemagne’s rule

Class Questions:

Class Questions What do you think is the purpose of the Pope crowning Charlemagne as “Emperor”? Wasn’t there already a Roman Emperor by 800 CE? What do you think of Charlemagne’s spreading of Christianity? Why does it matter so much for him to have completely Christianized subjects? How does Charlemagne exemplify the “Warrior King” ethos of early- to mid-Medieval Europe? What are the downsides to warrior kings?

A Question of Religion:

A Question of Religion Piety: To many Christians in the 9 th c CE, Christianity was as integral to your identity and belief systems as eating and drinking are to survival Do not underestimate the seriousness with which Medieval people took religious messages of Obligation Punishment (by God) or Favor (of God) Loyalty to doctrine (of Church) Politics: Though Christianity was relatively slow to spread in Europe, the unity of the Church & its power to sanction or rebuke Kings is very real Political convenience, marriage, & alliances all rested upon shared cultural & religious beliefs

Franks & The Church:

Franks & The Church Frankish lords, kings patronize local churches & monasteries Churches eager to accept pious donations System becomes a quid quo pro Patrons pay Monks to pray for their souls Central church also becomes powerful in its own right Education of nobility Ownership of land Safeguarding Relics Collection of Tithes Crops Troops

The Good:

The Good Monasteries become centers of learning and preservation for European societies Some Greek & Latin learning Philosophy, medicine, mathematics, astronomy, etc. Provide education for well-connected individuals A life of servitude Network of communication & diplomacy Monks & priests often acted as intermediaries between Christian Europeans Missionaries helped expand Christian realms Pilgrimage routes

The Bad:

The Bad Central church (Rome) becomes incredibly rich Some diocese and monasteries also become rich in their own right Able to field armies Some church officials become: Corrupt Politically manipulative Scam artists (‘relics’) [Late medieval/Early Renaissance] Indulgences

Class Questions:

Class Questions Consider the Monastic life in medieval Europe…. What might the downside of monastic riches be? Even relatively uncorrupt monasteries had gold, jewel-encrusted objects What might the downside of relics be? In a world where superstition, religious belief, magic are believed to be real

The Ugly:

The Ugly Monasteries become targets of Norse raiders Slaves Gold Relics = magic Religious differences sometimes become cause for raids Pagan v. Christian Lindesfarne in British Isles


Northmen Scandinavian raiders use uniquely designed ships to afford them mobility & flexibility in raiding towns Rivers & open ocean “Viking” name imposed by outsiders Pagans, heretics, Northmen , Norse, Rus Viking Age – 793 to 1066 Scandinavian exploration, trade, settlement & warfare

Viking Age:

Viking Age Vikings utilize “Sunstone”  to navigate in the often-cloudy Northern Atlantic Vikings sought more than conquest & prisoners Tax evasion New lands Freedom from tyranny Settle in Ireland, Russia, North America, France European advancements & stability challenge, end Viking raids in favor of coopting Ex: Norsemen invited to settle on West coast of France become “Normandy”

Stability & A New, Christian Europe:

Stability & A New, Christian Europe By end of 11 th c. CE, all serious Pagan challengers eliminated Feudal society allows land to produce wealth Wealth used to prosecute wars, enrich kingdoms Stability affords new problems Wayward warriors The power of kings vs. nobility disease

Food for Thought:

Food for Thought What made Christianization in Europe so slow? Cultural/Heritage Appeal/ Foreigness What made Christianity attractive over time? Stability Legitimacy Marriage (?)


HOMEWORK! Read Chapter 8 (Continuity & Change in Europe & West Asia) REVIEW Chap 1 – 8 Don’t forget .PPT lectures! Sources! Additional resources to help understand Medieval Europe Midterm!

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