The Development of Feudalism in Western Europe Notes

The Development of Feudalism in Western Europe Notes
This nickname was given to the Middle Ages. Dark Ages
The period known as “The Middle Ages” is characterized by trade, land ownership, strong
central govt. or no religion? Explain your selection. The Feudal system and the control
of the church (which held a large amount of land)
Who would most likely have said, “If you give me your loyalty, I will give you land and
protection.”? A vassal or a lord
What was a knight’s most important training? There is debate for the correct answer
here—so think of what their main purpose was in the Feudalism activity. Although they
were trained in chivalry, their most important training was for fighting.
Serf were peasants who were not allowed to marry without permission from the
lord/can’t leave the land.
What do these medieval items have in common? They were all used in military strategy
or where examples of military technology.
o Stone Wall
o Moat
o Knight’s armor
In the feudal system an individual’s social status was generally determined by what? birth
What does the word feudalism mean? The economic and political system that developed
in Europe during the Middle Ages
Which city was added to the empire by Charlemagne by 814? Rome
On which river is Tours located? Loire
Which island was added by Charlemagne by 814? Corsica
What physical feature did Charlemagne cross to enter Italy? The Alps
The Role of the Church in Medieval Europe
Members of which group believed that God had given them the right to rule? monarchy
These actions are examples of what process? Strengthening the power of the church
o Outlawing the selling of church positions
o Prohibiting kings from appointing priests
o Excommunicating Holy Roman emperor Henry IV
Which of these is NOT true of the Roman Catholic church during the Middle Ages?
o Church leaders helped govern western Europe.
o Each parish had its own pope.
o The church owned valuable land and property.
o Daily life in village revolved around the church.
The Roman Catholic Church during the Middle Ages in Europe can be best described as a
church that:
o Favored separation of church and state
o Avoided involvement in social and educational matters
o Was a strong force that divided many people
o Was a stabilizing influence during a period of weak central gov’t
In Europe during the Middle Ages, the force that provided unification and stability was the
“All things were under its domain….Its powers were such that no one could hope to escape its
scrutiny.” What European institution during the Middle Ages was best described in this
statement? church
What were the Holy Wars called? The Crusades
Which statement best describes the result of the Crusades?
o Europeans maintained a lasting control over much of the Middle East.
o Islamic influence dominated Europe.
o Europeans developed tolerance of non-Christian religions.
o Trade between Europe and the Middle East was expanded.
What were two indirect results of the Crusades? Trade and Commerce increased, and the
feudal system was weakened.
The Crusades have been called “history’s most successful failure.” Which statement best
explains this expression?
o The Crusades did not achieve their original goals, but they brought many
desirable changes to Europe.
o Although the Crusades captured the Holy Land, they were unable to bring about
democratic reform.
o The Crusades helped bring about the Fall of the Roman Empire.
o The Crusades prevented the Turks from capturing Constantinople for many centuries,
In Europe, a long term effect of the Crusades was an increased demand for goods from the
Who would have been most likely to make the following statement? pilgrim
I am traveling to Jerusalem to show God how sorry I am for having sinned. I hope we have a safe
Medieval paintings often told the story of Christ’s life. What does this suggest about people at
that time? Most people did not read. Stories were told in paintings and stained glass
windows as teaching tools.
The art, music, and philosophy of the medieval period in Europe generally dealt with religious
Life in Medieval Towns
In Medieval Europe, what type of person might have spoken these words?
I believe we all have a spark of godly intelligence, that we must live in agreement
with nature, and that we must develop good character.
a. a stoic
b. an ecologist
c. a scientist
d. a priest
Where were towns in medieval Europe often located, and why?
Towns were often located next to rivers, which made trade easier.
What contributed to the growth of towns in medieval Europe?
Improved farming methods and the revival of trade with the east contributed to the
growth of towns.
What can guilds be compared to today? How?
- Answers may vary.
As merchants made money, many joined town councils. Which of the following
statements best describes the situation that resulted?
a. Many merchants were Jews.
b. Many merchants gained political power.
c. Many merchants created guilds.
d. Many merchants sold exotic goods.
If you were a customer who bought shoes from a cobbler, how might a guild help you?
a. by making sure prices remained very low.
b. by making sure cobblers were treated fairly.
c. by making sure cobblers made good shoes.
d. by making sure work conditions were good.
How were Jews mistreated in medieval Europe?
Because of hostility, Jews found it hard to earn a living by farming, and sometimes
they were the victims of violence. Rulers took their property at will.
Compare/Contrast the life of girls during medieval times versus today.
Medieval girls: educated at home
Modern girls: educated at school
Learned how to run a home
Married young
marry 18 or older
Had children at young age
Wealthy – painted or read music
Answers will vary.
How did the lack of medical advancement and technology affect life in medieval towns?
Unhealthy living conditions and lack of understanding of how diseases spread caused
many illnesses and deaths.
How has leisure and entertainment changed over the years?
Answers will vary.
Poor living conditions, crowded homes, spread of diseases, lack of medical treatment and
medical knowledge during Medieval Europe led one to believe which of the following?
The life span of an individual was not as long as it is today.
The life span of an individual was longer than it is today.
Families lived comfortably and worried about nothing.
The majority of children grew up to become an adult.
Looking at the picture that I will display on the board, choose an object that represents the
topic in the box and sketch it in the box.
Trade and Commerce
Balance scale
Homes and Households
Disease and Medical Treatment
Flask with leeches
Crime and Punishment
Leisure and Entertainment
Political Developments in England
What changes did the Magna Carta bring about in English government?
A king could no longer collect special taxes without the consent of the barons and church officials. “No
free man” could be jailed except by the lawful judgment of his peers or by the law of the land. It also
introduced the idea that not even the king was above the law.
How did these political developments in England contribute to the decline of feudalism in Europe?
These political changes strengthened royal authority at the expense of nobles and strengthened the rights
of common people. The Magna Carta limited the power of English monarchs; Henry II’s legal reforms
strengthened common law, judges; and Edward I’s Model Parliament gave a voice to common people.
What does Magna Carta mean?
a. Great Charter
b. Important deed
c. Freedom for all
d. Rule of the chosen
What was the name of the Document that King John was forced to sign limiting the power of the King?
a. Declaration of Independence
b. Parliamentary procedures
c. Constitution
d. Magna Carta
A widow, on the death of her husband, may have her marriage portion and inheritance without difficulty…. She
may remain in her husband’s house for forty days after her husband’s death, within which time her dower
(property from a marriage) shall be assigned to her.
No widow shall be compelled (forced) to marry, so long as she wishes to live without a husband; provided she
does not marry without consent.
What right did a woman have after her husband died?
a. to live in his home until her death
b. to inherit all of his possessions
c. to make all her own decisions
d. to live in his house for forty days.
If a widow wished to remarry, she was required to:
a. request permission
b. enter a convent
c. give up her inheritance
d. leave her husband’s home.
The Bubonic Plague
Many workers died during the plague. How did their deaths affect those who remained?
a) They were able to demand better pay and more rights.
b) They were forced to return to a feudal economy.
c) They could no longer live in cities, so they moved to farms.
d) They were able to buy their own businesses and get rich.
How did the bubonic plague spread from Asia to Europe?
a. Trade routes on land
b. Around the northern coast of Africa
c. Across the Black Sea and the Mediterranean Sea
d. It never entered Europe.
The mortality in Siena began in May. It was a cruel and horrible thing; and I do not know where to begin to tell of
the cruelty and the pitiless ways. It seemed that almost everyone became stupefied by seeing the pain. And it is
impossible for the human tongue to recount the awful truth. Indeed, one who did not see such horribleness can
be called blessed. And the victims died almost immediately. They would swell beneath the armpits and in their
groin and fall over while talking. Father abandoned child, wife, husband, one brother another; for this illness
seemed to strike through breath and sight. And so they died. And none could be found to bury the dead for
money or friendship. Members of a household brought their dead to a ditch as best they could without priests,
without divine offices. Nor did the death bell sound. And in many places in Siena great pits were dug and piled
deep with the multitude of dead. And they died by the hundreds, both day and night and all were thrown in those
ditches and covered with earth. And as soon as those ditches were filled, more were dug. And I Agnolo di
Tura…buried my five children with my own hands…And so many died that all believed it was the end of the
-- Agnolo di Tura 1347
Why would the author of the above document state in line four—“Indeed, one who did not see such
horribleness can be called blessed.”
a. He felt like the plaque helped the over-populated areas.
b. He felt like the doctors should have done more for those who survived.
c. The author felt it was a blessing when people died and did not have to witness the horrors and death
caused from the plaque.
d. He felt that Siena was the best place for people to live.
What started the bubonic plaque?
a. Fleas from Rats
b. Infected cattle
c. Flu
d. Drought
After the …pestilence (disease) many buildings of all sizes in every city fell into total ruin for want of inhabitants.
Likewise, many villages and hamlets were deserted, with no house remaining in them, because everyone who had
lived there was dead, and indeed many of these villages were never inhabited again. In the following winter there
was such a lack of workers in all areas of activity that it was thought that there had hardly ever been such a shortage
before; for a man’s farm animals and other livestock wandered about without a shepherd and all his possessions
were left unguarded. And as a result all essentials were so expensive that something which had previously cost 1d
(pence or penny) was now worth 4d or 5d.
Historian Henry Knighton, c. 1388
What happened to many villages after the Black Death?
a. They were burned down.
b. Everyone who lived there had died.
c. Many people were unemployed.
d. They recovered quickly.
What happened to farm animals during the Black Death?
a. They were taken in by the government.
b. They wandered about with no one to care for them.
c. They died in their barns.
d. They died before the humans did.
How did the outbreak of plague in the 14th Century contribute to the decline of feudalism in Europe?
After the plague, power shifted from nobles to common people because the workers who remained could
demand higher pay and more rights. Many serfs abandoned feudal manors and moved to towns and
cities, seeking better opportunities. This weakened both the manor system and feudal lords.
The Hundred Years’ War
Why were the English able to defeat the French in early battles, such as the one at Crecy?
The English army relied on archers armed with longbows. Arrows fired from longbows flew farther faster,
and more accurately than those fired from French crossbows.
Joan of Arc was accused of being which of the following?
a. Murderer
b. Witch
c. Thief
d. Traitor
What was Joan of Arc’s punishment?
a. She was beheaded.
b. She faced a firing squad.
c. She was burned at the stake.
d. She died in prison.
How did the war contribute to the decline of feudalism?
The war shifted power from lords to monarchs and common people. Military technology used in the war
made knights and castles less useful. Also, a new feeling of nationalism helped to shift power away from
lords toward kings.
Both the plague and the Hundred Years’ War had what effect?
a. They weakened the central governments of European nations.
b. They led to a shift in power from feudal lords to common people and monarchs.
c. They led to an increase in trade with countries in Asia.
d. They encouraged the development of capitalism in European nations.
Review Questions
The term feudalism means __________.
a. feuds between aristocratic families that had become a social norm.
b. a political and social order that was highly centralized.
c. the king's power being completely overthrown by the local lords.
d. a term that has fallen out of favor among historians.
Mountains and Rivers shaped European culture by:
a. separating cultures from one another
b. leading to devastating weather
c. allowing one group to dominate
d. inspiring artists.
The Development of Feudalism in Western Europe
Monarch – The monarchs were the top of the feudal society and were very strong.
Lord – In the feudal system, people pledged their loyalty to a lord.
Knight – Knights were warriors under this system.
Peasants – Most people during the Middle Ages were peasants, and they were the lower class
under this system.
Fiefs – These were land grants under this system.
Manors – These were large estates under this system.
Moats – These were developed to protect the manors during this time.
Roman Catholic Church – The church owned a great deal of land under this system.
Nobles – Upper society during this time period and afterwards
Nobles – Vassals or nobles were relied upon by the monarchs to provide enough knights and soldiers.
Lords – Monarchs were feudal lords. When a monarch gave a fief to a lord, the lord became his vassals.
Nobles and Peasants
Complete the Venn diagram to compare and contrast the lives of nobles and peasants on a feudal
manor. In the overlapping parts of the ovals, write or draw three ways these groups were
similar. In each of the other parts of the ovals, draw or write three ways they were different.
Most privileged life
Member of nobility
Given manor(s) to run
Lived in grander structures
Had to manage and defend
his land and people who
worked it
Appt official to ensure work
was being done
Acted as judges – power to
fine and punish
Held posts in king’s gov’t
Sent knights into warfare
Leisure activity: hunting,
hawking, feasting, dancing,
board games, and reading
Most lived
on manors
once a
Legally classified as
free or unfree
Worked the land of the
nobles or some other
skilled work
Paid taxes to the lord
Had to give portions of
their grain to the lord
Lived in small houses
with 1-2 rooms with
little furniture or
other possessions
Answer the following questions:
What were Charlemagne’s greatest accomplishments? How was he helped by the Catholic
Charlemagne unified nearly all the Christian lands of Europe into a single empire.
Pope Leo III helped him by giving him the blessing of the church (the church was a
central part of society) and crowning him Holy Roman Emperor in 800 CE.
2. Why was there a need for order after the death of Charlemagne in 814?
The rulers who came after Charlemagne failed to defend the empire against
invasions. In addition, Europe was threatened by Muslims, Magyars, and Vikings in
the 9th and 10th Centuries.
Think about which individuals or groups in our society are most similar to the various social classes
in European Feudal society. List those modern groups/individuals next to each level of feudal
society, and draw symbols to represent them. Then list some of their similarities and differences.
Classes in
Kept order and
protection to
their vassals.
Groups in Our
For managing and
defending their
manors and acting as
Fought for their own
lords in times of war
and supplied soldiers
Also appointed
Mounted soldiers in
feudal system and
were expected to be
loyal to their church
and lord, to be fair,
and to protect the
Why was William the
Conqueror considered such an
important monarch?
S- rulers/leaders
D- President
answers to other
After his victory at the
Battle of Hastings in
1066, William brought
the idea of feudalism to
S- manage the land,
appt officials to
ensure things are done
D- no “nobility” in
USA, don’t life on
manors, no protection
(like moats) around
homes, don’t act as
What was the role of
noblewomen in the feudal
Responsible for raising
and training their children
and sometimes the
children of other noble
families. They were also
responsible for overseeing
their households.
S- trained to protect
 What was the code of
(fight); some USA
consider it a way of
set of rules of behavior
that all knights were
D – USA doesn’t have
expected to live by
to go through so many  What stages did a boy go
steps, don’t help
through to become a
women in every way
possible, don’t have to
Training for knighthood –
perform in tournaments
page, squire, knight
Most worked at
raising crops and
tending livestock
Similarities and
between these
two groups
Some worked as
shoemakers, and
Paid taxes to the
S – work land or jobs,
pay taxes to gov’t
D – USA all free;
houses varies in size,
free to many whom we
wanted, can move up
or down the social
How were the lives of male
and female peasants
In addition to working in
the fields, peasant women
had to care for their
families and homes.
The Role of the Church in Medieval Europe
Label and explain the system of rank in the Roman Catholic Church.
5. Pope
4. Cardinals
3. Archbishops
2. Bishops
1. Priests
The Chart lists seven sacraments of the Roman Catholic Church. Write the correct term to the
right of its definition.
Holy Orders
Extreme unction
_________Sacraments _______________________Definitions________________________________
Formal declaration of belief in God
Blessing given to someone in danger of dying
Entry into the church
Consecration of bread and wine
A man becomes a priest
Confession of sins
A formal union blessed by the church
Life in Medieval Towns
In this chapter, you have read about various aspects of daily life in medieval towns. These
aspects can be divided into three categories: economic, political, and social. Fill in the blank
spaces in the web below to show more details about these three categories of daily life.
What was produced?
Food, clothing, household
items, specialized goods
such as woolens, glass, and
How were goods
How did towns become
charter or had
violent revolt
Who held power in
Trade routes
Merchant fairs
What did people do
for fun?
What were the
common homes like?
What were health
conditions like?
Much disease
and death
Increasingly held by
merchants and
Decline of Feudalism notes
Perhaps the most important factor in the decline of feudalism was common people gaining more power. In the
cause-and-effect chart below, fill in four cases that led to the effect of common people having more power.
After the plague and
the Hundred Years’
War, fewer workers
were available, so
those who remained
had more power.
Nobles lost power as
kings no longer need
them to supply
soldiers, and common
people gained power
as nobles’ power
New military
technology made
nobles’ castles
less useful.
Barons forced
King John to sign
the Magna Carta,
which identified
Many important events, such as the bubonic plague, took place in England in the 12th through 15th Centuries.
Choose three key historical events from this period to put on the spectrum below. Order the three events from
the one you believe is least significant to the one you believe is most significant. Label each event, explain why put
these events in the order you did, and create a simple drawing to represent it.
Least significant
Most significant event
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