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 Empire 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 horseback. 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 it. 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 military service Lords/Noblesvassals received land and when they gave some of it away they became a lord in return Knights- armed men given to king in military service Freemen- owned or rented land from a lord Serfs- owed labor to the lord Other Interesting Facts Education- only boys were educated by priests or monks. 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 places. 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 Death. 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 population.