Knights - TeacherWeb

Europe in
The Middle Ages
The middle Ages lasted from about 500 A.D. to 1500 A.D.
The Early Middle Ages
500 A.D. to 1000 A.D. - The Early Middle Ages
 Also called The Dark Ages
 The Roman Empire was split into two parts: the
Eastern Roman Empire and the Western Roman
 After being invaded by various Germanic tribes
or barbarians (uncivilized people) the last
Roman emperor was ousted in 476 A.D. and the
Western Roman Empire fell into ruin.
 It was called the Dark Ages because it was a time
when civilization seemed to be going backwardsideas of Greece and Rome were lost, learning
and progress stopped, populations declined.
 The Christian Church was the only thing
holding the Empire together and it needed help.
 It asked a German king for help- Charlemagne,
or Charles the Great, King of the Franks and in
Rome on Christmas Day in the year 800 A.D. he
was crowned emperor of the Romans.
 Charlemagne extended the empire, promoted
education by starting schools and monasteriesreligious institutions where men lived together
and devoted themselves to religion. These men
were called monks, and they studied and copied
texts from ancient times, thus preserving ideas of
ancient Greece and Rome.
 Charlemagne protected and spread the Christian
faith, promoted art, trade, improved farming
methods, and set up a system of law and order
 He also set up a system of government which
became known as feudalism which lasted for the
next 400 years.
1000 A.D. to 1250 A.D. - The High Middle Ages
 In 1066 A.D., on October 14th, the Battle of
Hastings took place.
 William of Normandy, a French duke, attacked the
English by crossing the English Channel a few weeks
before, hoping to conquer all of England.
 William dominated with his chevaliers, soldiers and
knights on horseback, archers on the ground with
crossbows and arrows to protect the men on
 King Harold of England was defeated and William
was crowned King of England. He became known as
William the Conqueror.
 As a result of the Battle of Hastings, feudalism began
in England.
 After the battle, the women of Bayeux, France
embroidered a piece of line cloth over 200 ft. long
and about 20 inches wide depicting the battle, arms,
costumes and manners of the Normans. It is called
the Bayeux Tapestry.
 The Crusades were a series of holy wars fought
between the years 1099 to 1291 A.D.
 The purpose of The Crusades was to take back the
Holy Land of Jerusalem that was taken by the Turks,
a Muslim group.
 People joined The Crusades for many reasons: it was
their Christian duty, they liked adventure and war,
fought to get out of prison, to get wealthy.
 The First Crusade in 1099 was a success but the rest
were not and in 1291 the Christians lost the final
battle and went home.
 The Crusades were important because the Europeans
set up major trade systems with the Middle East after
experiencing their foods, clothing and ideas.
 Feudalism was going strong during this time.
Feudalism was a system of government, a way of life,
and a distinctive kind of society.
 It was based upon grants between lords and vassals.
A vassal was the person who received the grant
(usually land) or fief, in exchange for loyalty and
military service.
 It provided protection and a way to settle disputes,
but feudalism did not provide schools, hospitals, fire
protection or other governmental services that we
have today.
 Knights were trained warriors who fought on
horseback with swords and lances.
 Most nobles lived on manors, which were large
farms or estates on their fief. The noble became the
lord of the manor and was responsible for governing
 Peasants were the backbone and muscle of the
manor. All peasants were either freemen or serfs.
 Serfs owed his labor to the lord and were not free to
leave the manor without permission.
 A manor was self-sufficient meaning that everything
that was needed for life was produced on the manor,
for example, fields of grain, wheat or rye, cattle were
raised for meat and milk, and forests provided game
for hunting.
 In 1215, nobles in England forced King John to sign
the Magna Carta which limited the king’s power and
gave more rights to the nobles. (King John never
kept his promises, however.)
KING- granted
land (fief) in
return for
loyalty and
Lords/Noblesvassals received
land and when
they gave some of
it away they
became a lord in
Knights- armed men given to
king in military service
Freemen- owned or rented land from a
Serfs- owed labor to the lord
Other Interesting Facts
 Education- only boys were educated by priests or
 Boys learned to read and write in Latin. Discipline
was very strict.
 Medieval knights swore to uphold a code of chivalrya promise to uphold Christianity, to defend women
and to protect the poor and weak.
 A boy started his way to knighthood at the age of
seven when he became a page in the household of a
lord. He learned to ride a horse, received religious
training, taught manners, hunting, dancing and
possibly to read and write.
 At 12 or 13 a page would become a squire and
would assist knights and looked after and learned
about the armor and weapons. They would follow a
knight into battle.
 There was a religious ceremony when a squire
became a knight. They swore to uphold the ideals of
chivalry- loyalty, courage, truth, and above all honor.
 Falconry became a popular sport. Falconry is the
training of birds of prey, such as a falcon or Harris’
hawk, to hunt down other birds and small prey
animals on the ground. The bird would be trained to
return with the captured prey in return for raw meat.
 Hunting was also popular and was done by the
nobles and their ladies. Hounds or hunting dogs
would be used to flesh out prey. The hunt would be
followed by a great feast.
 The lord lived in the most important house on the
manor and if it was a powerful lord they would live
in a castle. Castles were designed for protection and
were usually built on a hill top or hard to reach
 Heraldry is the art or study of designing and
granting coats of arms. It began as badges of
recognition and symbols were painted on knights
shields. Then it became a way to differentiate knights
on battlefields and tournaments. Coats of arms are
handed down from father to son.
1250 A.D. to 1500 A.D. - The Late Middle Ages
 This period is categorized by The Plague or Black
 It hit England in 1348 and refer to an epidemic of
bubonic plague that comes from fleas living on rats
and humans.
 By 1351 it had killed over one-third of Europe’s