Medieval Notes

Middle Ages 1066-1485
I. Feudalism
i. Brought over by the Normans
ii. Hierarchy system like a pyramid. God represented by the pope at
the top of it.
iii. Below the pope was the king. He was a vassal- a person under
protection of a feudal lord to whom he owes homage to.
1. . He would grant part of his lands to barons in return for
economic or military allegiance.
iv. Barons could then give their land to a lord, and so forth all the way
down to serfs, who could not leave the land or the lord.
v. Permeated into life, art and literature.
vi. Duties.
1. Liege lord: makes oath to protect vassal
2. Vassal: oath of loyalty and gives military service
3. Money:
a. Relief: paid to your loge lord
b. Ransom: Paid if anyone was taken in battle
c. Scutage: money for a mercenary to take your place
in battle.
4. Had to get lords permission for daughter to marry, and you
paid a fee if you wanted to choose whom she married
vii. Problems with feudalism
1. Civil war
2. Struggle between king and barons. Barons had more people
sworn to them. People who had sworn to the baron didn’t
have to swear to the king.
i. Grounded in feudalism idea of loyalty.
ii. Complex. Strict code of honor.
iii. Road to becoming a knight
1. Must be high born.
2. At 7 years of age you were sent to another lord to be a
page. (Ran errands, dressed the lord, learned good manners,
reading, writing, singing, dancing, religion, and fighting)
3. At 13 years old you became a squire. An apprentice to a
knight. You were taught to fight and follow the knight into
battle and die if needed.
4. Between 18 and 21 you were deemed ready and knighted.
iv. Expectations of a knight.
1. Brave
2. Honorable
3. Uphold the honor of women
4. Protect the weak.
a. Sworn moral and behavioral code governing knights. System of ideals and
social codes
b. Remain loyal to overlord
c. Never attack an unarmed man
d. Adore a particular lady (didn’t have to be wife) way to gain selfimprovement through it
e. Qualities
i. Honor, courage, gallantry, chastity, generosity, and loyalty
f. Became basis for all gentlemanly behavior of today.
g. Concept for upper-class
h. Religion plays a big part of it.
Courtly Love
a. Nonsexual
b. Wear a ladies color into battle or tournament
c. Glorify her in words
d. Lady was always pure and out of reach
e. Provided drama and gossip for the court
i. Ex. King Arthur, Guinever and Lancelot
f. Women were the liege lord Knights were the vassals
a. Had no political rights
b. Subservient to men
c. Father or husband’s social status determined how and what kind of respect
she got from the community.
d. Role: childbearing, housework, and fieldwork.
e. Big women were attractive, skinny women were not. If you were big, it
meant you had money, and did not have to work the field.
f. Perceived value was based on lands a woman brought to the marriage in
her dowry.
a. Group of people who knew secrets to making things. Had a monopoly on
specific products.
b. Set up standards, regulated prices
c. Set up apprentices, Lots of child abuse
d. Social organization
e. Extremely powerful
VII. 1066-1099
a. Norman Invasion
i. King Edward the confessor dies without an heir to the throne in
1. He founded the abbey of Westminster
ii. Competition for the throne
1. Harold the Earl of Wessex was crowned the next day.
2. William of Normandy.
a. Claimed that Edward had promised the throne to
b. Illegitimate son of a Norman duke and a cousin to
Edward the confessor.
c. He had papal approval to invade England.
iii. Battle of Hastings
1. Oct. 1066
2. Harold and his brothers are killed.
3. William takes the throne.
iv. William as king.
1. Combined Norman and Anglo-Saxon elements.
2. Took land away from most Anglo-Saxon Barons and gave
it to Norman Barons and knights who supported and helped
him. As a result they all remained barons of both England
and France.
3. Contributions
a. Doomsday book 1086
i. An inventory of merely every piece of
property in England. Land cattle and
ii. For the first time people are taxed based on
what they owned.
4. Laws
a. Eye for an eye
i. Rape-castrated
ii. Murder- hung, drawn, burned or exiled
iii. Trial by combat
a. 1119 Knights templar
i. Religious order that protected pilgrims on their way to the holy
a. 1170 Thomas a Becket Murdered
i. A Norman who became a chancellor (prime minister) under Henry
II and then Archbishop of Canterbury (head of the church in
ii. Wore a horse shirt as a penance for his sins.
iii. Extremely powerful.
iv. Appointed because He was a friend of Henry and Henry thought
that he would help him with the pope. Henry’s plan backfired and
Becket sided with the Pope on everything.
v. In December of 1170 Henry II said to his court “will no one rid me
of this turbulent priest” four of his knights took him seriously and
hacked him to death with their swords in his own cathedral (sword
blows to the head)
vi. Effects of his murder.
1. Public outcry made him a martyr.
2. Rome and England-rocky relationship
3. Corruption by clergymen that the state could do nothing
4. He became a saint. (Pilgrimage of Canterbury Tales.)
b. Medieval church
i. Cultural unity
ii. Church center of learning
iii. Monasteries were libraries and publishers
iv. Language (Latin) was the international language of educated
v. Pope was the king of all kings.
c. 1171 Henry II invades Ireland and begins 800 years of British domination.
a. 1211 Genghis Khan invades China
b. Magna Carta
i. Signed in 1215 by king John
ii. Forced to sign by English Barons
iii. A defeat for papal power
iv. No rights for common people
v. Became basis for English constitutional law
vi. Trial by jury
vii. Legislative taxation (no taxation without representation)
c. 1232 Pope Gregory IX starts the inquisition
a. 1250 1st commoners allowed in British Parliament
b. 1270 Crusades end
c. 1296 Edward I invades Scotland and declares himself king.
a. 1343 Geoffrey Chaucer Born
b. 1337 Hundred years war
i. Between England and France
ii. Started because of dubious claims to the French throne by Edward
iii. Unsuccessful for England
iv. Post WAR (1453)
1. English are best represented by Yeomen (green-clad)
a. Nucleus of army.
b. Longbows. Could fly high and pierce armor.
c. Small landowners. Dominant force
2. Feudalism and Chivalry fade away.
c. 1348 Black Death
i. Bubonic plague traveled through trade routes.
ii. Highly contagious spread by fleas on rats.
iii. Symptoms
1. Cough
sores under arms and groin area (huge)
vomit blood
2. Within 1 to 2 1/2 days after 1st symptom you die
Population falls 1/3. 35-45% 4mil people before
People felt that they had done something wrong. A sinful country.
Ring around the roses: a game that came from the plague. People
avoided plague by avoiding smelling someone who was infected
Labor shortages- gives lower class leverage against upper and
middle class.
Leads to freedom for serfs and the end of feudalism
XIII. 1350-1399
a. 1362. English used to open parliament
b. 1381 Peasants revolt
c. 1399 King Richard III deposed
XIV. 1400-1485
a. 1431 Joan of Arch burned
b. 1455-1485 War of the Roses
i. Between the house of York and the house of Lancaster
ii. House of York badge was a white rose. House of Lancaster badge
was a red rose.
iii. Dispute because each felt that someone from their family should be
on the throne.
c. 1485 Henry VII (1st Tudor) crowned king.