Middle Ages

Middle Ages
1. Personal Needs
2. Copy homework into agenda
3. Study guide into Middle Ages section
4. Make A K-W-L Chart on the Middle Ages
– K – what I know or think I know?
– W – what I would like to know or learn more
– L – what I have learned?
• As you watch the video…be prepared to create
a personalized definition
• What was the Middle Ages?
• Also, please add to your K-W-L chart as
• Working with your people…Create a
personalized definition of…………….
• What was the Middle Ages?
• Answer this question using a minimum of
three to five supporting details to back up the
thesis statement.
• Today you will introduced to the many topics you will
learn about from the Middle Ages. To assist in the
organization of these topics, you will design a
timeline of the Middle Ages.
• Use notebook paper, you may need more than one
piece of paper…..I suggest 2, but who knows.
• Begin with the date of A.D. 476 and go to A.D. 1453
• You and the person sitting beside you, will move
about the class learning about them. Read the brief
captions, as well as, analyzing the many visuals.
• On your timeline write the following…..
– Name of Topic…..Example – Pax Romana
– Date of Topic…….Example – 27 B.C. to 180 A.D.
– Explanation………Example – Roman Peace,
prosperity, and accomplishments which flourish
in the modern world: toilets, baths, etc.
Collapse of An Empire
• As the Roman Empire collapsed in the 5th century (400’s
AD), Europeans under Roman authority soon felt the
• Eventually, there was no central government to maintain
roads, public buildings, or water systems.
• Barbarians took over the territory and set up small
• Roman roads, once the connections for communication and
trade, were no longer safe to travel.
• Most towns and cities in Western Europe shrank or were
totally abandoned.
• Without trade, people in towns had no work. They drifted
to the countryside for housing, food and protection.
Middle Ages
• The period of history between the fall of the
Roman Empire and the beginning of the modern
world is called the Middle Ages, or Medieval era –
476 AD – 1450 AD.
• During this time, many of the advances and
inventions of the ancient world were lost.
• Without a strong central government, many
Europeans turned to military leaders called Lords
and to the Christian Church (Roman Catholic
Church) – led by the Pope - for leadership and
Dark Ages
• Trade and education declined during the early
Middle Ages.
• The population of towns also declined when serfs
moved to villages near lords’ castles.
• Consequently, kings also became weaker as countries
were divided into areas controlled by the feudal
• Wars often broke out between lords who wanted to
add new lands to their estates.
• These conditions spread fear and confusion among
the people of Western Europe.
• This period, sometimes knows as the “Dark Ages”,
lasted from 500 A.D. to 1000 A.D.
• Among the most famous military leaders was the Frankish
King Charlemagne.
• In the 700s, Charlemagne, or Charles the Great, worked to
bring political order to Western Europe (France & Germany).
• This great warrior not only fought to increase the size of his
kingdom, he also worked to improve the life for those who
lived there.
• On Christmas Day in 800 AD, the Pope (leader of the Roman
Catholic Church), crowned Charlemagne as the Holy Roman
• During Charlemagne’s rule, education improved, government
became stronger, and Christianity spread.
• Charlemagne died in 814 AD.
• In 843 AD, Charlemagne’s grandsons divided the Holy Roman
Empire into separate kingdoms.
• Western Europe was once again divided into disorderly
kingdoms without a strong political leader.
The Role of Christianity
• Throughout Western Europe in Medieval times,
each community was centered around a church,
playing a powerful role in nearly everyone’s
personal life.
• The church offered religious services, established
orphanages, and helped care for the poor, sick,
and elderly.
• Most Europeans were baptized, married, and
buried by the Catholic Church.
• They also hosted feasts, festivals, and other
celebrations. As communities grew, their
members often donated money and labor to
build new and larger churches.
Dedicated to God
• Monks were men who devoted their time to
praying and studying in communities called
• They preserved Greek and Roman knowledge by
hand-copying illuminated manuscripts.
• Later, the Church also founded the first
universities in Europe, teaching the ancient world
and God.
• Nuns were women who prayed, sewed, taught
young girls, cared for the poor, and also copied
and decorated books in convents.
Power of the Church
• If a Lord refused to obey the commands of the
Church, the Pope might punish him with
excommunication, or being kicked out of the
Church. All the churches on his land would be
closed, and neither he, his family, nor anyone
within his territory could be baptized, married,
or buried with the Church’s blessings = going
to Hell!
• The Pope insisted he had the supreme
authority over all Christian lands, causing
arguments and even wars between kings and
the Pope.
The Church Persecutes
• Jewish communities lived under discrimination and
persecution in Europe. They were forbidden to own
land. They could only work in certain professions.
Christians often blamed Jews when disease or natural
disasters struck.
• However, Jewish communities remained intact and
preserved their traditions. Jewish scholars continued
to make contributions to learning for all Europeans.
• Muslim communities in Spain were eventually driven
out by the 1490’s. Muslim armies – called Moors –
conquered Spain and Portugal in the 700’s AD, and
ruled 800 years.
• Despite fighting, Moors brought new discoveries and
also helped preserved the ancient Greek and Roman
• During the Middle Ages, almost all the
land was owned by powerful nobles –
lords, kings, and high church officials.
• The central government was not very
strong. The nobles sometimes even
controlled the kings and constantly
fought among themselves for land and
power. To protect their lands and
position, nobles developed a system
known as feudalism.
• Feudalism was a system of political ties in which
the nobles, such as kings, gave out land to less
powerful nobles, such as knights.
• In return for the land, the noble, called a vassal,
made a vow to provide various services to the
• The most important was to furnish his lord with
knights, foot soldiers, and arms for battle.
• The parcel of land granted to a vassal by his lord
was called a fief (feef). The center of the fief was
the manor, which consisted of a large house or
castle, surrounding farmland, villages, and a
• A fief might also include several other manors or
castles to the fief-owner’s vassals
• On a manor, common people – peasants lived and farmed, but they did not own the
land they lived on. In exchange for their lord’s
protection, the peasants contributed their
labor and a certain amount of food they
• Some peasants, known as serfs, actually
belonged to the fief on which they lived. They
were not slaves, but they were not free to
leave the land without the permission of the
lord. This system, in which the lord received
food and work in exchange for his protection,
is known as manorialism.
Medieval Life
• Castle Life – The manor houses or castles may
have been large, but they were built for
defense & protection not comfort. They ere
cold, damp, dark and smoky – infested with
lice and pests – and most castles did not have
indoor plumbing.
• Peasant Life – Peasants lived outside the
castle walls in small dwellings, often on dirt
floors, straw roofs as mattresses – and animals
inside the homes. They worked 2-3 days for
their lord, the rest of the week they farmed
their own small plots. Work stopped only for
religious festivals.
Late Middle Ages
• By the 11th century (1000s AD), life began
• More food was available, raiding was not
as prevalent, people moved back into
towns or formed new ones, the
population increased, and businesses
• To protect business owners and trades
people, a guild was created. Guilds
protected workers’ rights, set wages and
prices, and settled disputes.
Magna Carta
• The rulers of Western Europe also struggled for
power with members of the nobility.
• In England, the Barons – or nobles- rebelled
against King John of England.
• In 1215 AD, the nobles forced the English king to
sign a document called the Magna Carta, or
Great Charter.
• This document limited the king’s power and gave
nobles a larger role in the government.
• The Magna Carta was the “first” constitution
(rules and laws of the land) since the Roman
Republic – and later influenced the U.S.
• Pope Urban II was fed up with the fighting of the
nobles; wanted more power and money.
• In 1095 AD, he called for Christians to reclaim
control of the Holy Land (Middle East) from the
Muslims in what became known as …The
Crusades – a series of military expeditions in the
11th, 12th, and 13th centuries – 1095 to 1291.
• The long distances traveled by the Crusaders
opened up trade routes, connecting Western
Europeans with people of southwestern Asia and
North Africa.
• It also increased trade, improved maps, brought
more spices and goods to the people. Feudalism
decreased and forced nobles to increase wages
for peasants.
Black Death
• Re-opening the trade routes of the ancient
Romans inadvertently caused great destruction.
• In 1347, an epidemic of Bubonic Plague hit
• This plague, known as the Black Death, started in
Asia (origin of the trade routes). Caravans and
trading ships carried it to port cities on the
Mediterranean Sea. The Plague quickly spread to
the rest of Europe by 1349.
• The Black Death was carried by fleas that
infected both rats and humans. Rats did not die
from the plague. Instead, they served as hosts,
or carriers, for the disease.
• Historians estimate that this plague killed one
out of every three persons in Europe.
Hundred Year’s War
• English Kings and French Kings are
competing over who is the rightful ruler
of France.
• A.D. 1328 to A.D. 1453
• A French peasant girl named Joan of Arc
rallied the French forces – forcing the
English to leave France alone.