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 Germans. 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 churches. • 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 monks. – 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 nuns. Charlemagne & the Carolingians • Clovis, leader of the Franks, united many Barbarian tribes. – 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 Christian. • 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.