Transforming Roman World

Transforming the Roman World
(The Dark Ages)
World History I
New Germanic Kingdoms
• After the fall of Rome, Europe entered a period
known as the Middle Ages.
– Early Middle Ages, also known as the “Dark Ages,” lasted
from approximately 500 AD – 1000 AD.
• By 500, the Western Roman Empire was replaced by
a number of states ruled by German kings.
– Only the kingdom of the Franks will prove long-lasting.
– Over time, the Germans and Romans began to
intermarry and create a new society.
• The family (and extended family) was very important to the
The role of the Church
• The church was very important in the development
of the European civilization.
– By the 4th century, the Roman Catholic Church had
developed a system of organization.
– The pope was the leader of the church.
• Under the pope was a group of bishops, who ruled a group of
• Each local Catholic church was led by a priest.
– In the 6th century, Gregory I strengthened the papacy
(the office of the pope) and the Roman Catholic Church.
The role of the Church, cont.
• The growth of the Catholic Church was helped by
– Monk - man who separates himself from ordinary
society to pursue a life of total dedication to God.
• Monks provided education, hospitality, medical care to those
in their communities.
• Missionaries, monks who worked to convert nonChristians to Catholicism, helped spread Christianity
throughout Europe.
– By 1050, most of the western Europeans were Catholics.
• Women also began dedicating their lives to God, becoming
Charlemagne & the Carolingians
• Clovis, leader of the Franks, united many Barbarian
– Clovis also converted to Christianity to gain support of
Europe’s Catholics.
• In 768, Charlemagne became leader of the Franks.
– He was a fierce leader, strong statesman, and devoted
• Charlemagne greatly expanded the Frankish kingdom and
created the Carolingian Empire, controlling much of West and
Central Europe.
• He became the world’s most powerful Christian ruler.
Charlemagne & the Carolingians, cont.
• In 800, Charlemagne was given a new title
by the Pope – Emperor of the Romans.
• Charlemagne believed in an enduring
Roman Empire.
– This period is known to historians as
the “Holy Roman Empire.”
• Charlemagne promoted learning in
his kingdom.
– His efforts led to new interest in classic
Latin, Greek, and Roman works.
– Most of the Roman works we still have
today exist because they were copied
by Carolingian monks.