Unit 2: Regional Civilizations: 302 – 1630 By A.D. 500, the Roman

Unit 2: Regional Civilizations: 302 – 1630
By A.D. 500, the Roman Empire had fallen apart. Historians call the 1,000 years following the
fall of Rome the Middle Ages. These years are in the middle between the fall of Rome and the
rebirth of learning in Europe in the 1500s.
In this unit you will learn about the lives of serfs, peasants, and knights. You will visit a castle
of the Middle Ages, learn about Gothic architecture, and go on the Crusades. You will meet
Muhammad and journey to Ghana and Mali. Then you will sail back to India to meet Buddha,
follow Genghis Khan into China, and travel into Japan.
Chapters in Unit 2
Chapter 10: The High and Late Middle Ages: 1050–1500 224
Chapter 11: The Byzantine Empire, Russia, and Eastern Europe: 500–1547 248
Chapter 12: Africa and the Spread of Islam 570–1596 270
Chapter 13: The Spread of Civilization in East and Southeast Asia: 320 to 1630 294
Chapter 10: The High and Late Middle Ages: 1050 – 1500
After the Roman Empire fell, the Germanic tribes made war on one another for many years.
During this time, the monks and nuns of the Roman Catholic Church tried to keep learning
alive. Some members of the church also tried to take control of the Holy Land. In this chapter,
you will join the Crusades and travel to Palestine. Then you will return to your castle and the
manor and learn about the life of a serf, a peasant, a page, a squire, a knight, a vassal, and a
lord. While doing this, you will learn about feudalism.
Goals for Learning
To explain the role of the Roman Catholic Church in the Middle Ages in Europe and recognize
the causes and effects of the Crusades
To describe European feudalism
To describe life on a manor
To describe improvements in culture during the Middle Ages
The Crusades
Map Skills: In A.D. 1095, the Europeans of the western world began a series of military
journeys called the Crusades. They traveled to Palestine, which they called the Holy Land
because Jesus had lived there. But by 1095, people of the Muslim faith lived in Palestine. The
Europeans thought that God wanted them to rescue the Holy Land from the Muslims. For
almost 200 years, European Christians went on the Crusades to win back Palestine.
Trace the routes these Christian warriors took, then answer the following questions:
1. From what countries did the four biggest Crusades begin?
2. On which crusade did Europeans go by land from Constantinople to Jerusalem?
3. Which crusade went to the Holy Land by a water route only?
4. In which crusade did the English take part?
5. Why do you think that each of these four Crusades took so long?
Reading Strategy: Predicting
As you read a text, you can make predictions about what will happen next. It helps to preview
the text and think about what you already know about the topic. As you make predictions, keep
these things in mind.
Make your best guess about what happens next.
Use what you know to predict what will be next.
Check your predictions. As you learn more information, you may find you need to change your
Key Vocabulary Words
Lesson 1
Holy Land: Palestine; the area where Jesus of Nazareth lived
Pilgrim: A person who travels to visit a holy place
Muslim: A follower of Islam, the religion that Muhammad founded in Arabia in the seventh
Schism: A permanent separation
Crusade: Any of the military journeys taken by Christians to win the Holy Land from the
Lesson 2
Feudalism: A political and military system based on the holding of land
Lord: A king or a noble who gave land to someone else
Vassal: A person who received land from a king or noble
Fief: The land and peasants who farmed it, which a lord gave to a vassal
Page: A young noble who learned certain behaviors to become a knight
Squire: A 15-year-old page who learned how to ride a horse and use weapons to become a
Knighted: To be made a knight
Lesson 3
Manor: The part of a fief that peasants farm to support the lord’s family
Blacksmith: A person who works with iron and makes tools and weapons
Serf: A peasant who was bound to the land and whose life was controlled by the lord of the
Moat: A dug-out area filled with water that circles a castle
Drawbridge: A bridge that can be raised or lowered over a moat
Courtyard: A large open area inside the castle walls
Joust: A contest between two knights carrying lances and riding horses
Lesson 4
Bishop: A priest who is in charge of other priests and a number of churches
Romanesque: A style of building that was like what the Romans built with thick walls and
Gothic: A style of architecture with thin walls, pointed arches, many windows, and flying
Parliament: The English council or lawmaking assembly
Lesson 1: The Church During the Middle Ages
To identify the Benedictines
To explain why Christian pilgrims traveled to Palestine
To describe those who joined the Crusades
The Roman Empire fell apart in A.D. 476. Soon Europe broke up into hundreds of small
governments. But the Church remained strong. Its officials did things that the Roman
government had done before. For example, the church set up courts and collected taxes.
By the year 1050, Western Europe had settled down. For years, Germanic tribes had fought
wars. Now farming and trade expanded again. We call the years from 1050 to about 1500 the
late Middle Ages. The word medieval refers to this period between ancient and modern times.
What Did Religious Groups Do?
Some Christian men left the world behind and became monks. Some Christian women also
gave up material things and became nuns. Both monks and nuns joined together in religious
groups to serve God.
The monks lived and worked in monasteries; the nuns lived in convents. In the early sixth
century, a monk named Benedict wrote a rule for monks and nuns. They promised never to
marry, never to own property, and never to disobey the head of the monastery or convent.
The Benedictines spent their lives praying and working. Some took care of the sick and the
homeless. Some learned new things about farming and taught the farmers who lived nearby.
Some welcomed travelers. (They had no place else to stay because there were no hotels at this
time.) Religious groups also supplied teachers to the new towns that were springing up.
As a result, the Third Crusade began. It
Reading Strategy: Predicting
Read the title of the next section. What do you think the people of the church did to advance
Holy Land
Palestine; the area where Jesus of Nazareth lived
A person who travels to visit a holy place
A follower of the religion that Muhammad founded in Arabia in the 7th century
Reading Strategy: Predicting
Think about your prediction. What details can you now add to make your prediction more
How Did the Church Keep Learning Alive?
Monks and nuns copied books from the past by hand. No one in Europe had invented a
machine to copy words. They decorated these books with bright colors and pictures. Over time,
the largest monasteries and convents became centers of learning. They kept alive the learning
from ancient Greek and Rome.
Where Did Christian Pilgrims Go?
During the Middle Ages, Christians called Palestine the Holy Land because Jesus of Nazareth
had lived there. Many Christians traveled there to see places that Jesus had visited. We call
such a trip a pilgrimage. People who go on a pilgrimage are pilgrims.
In the 7th century, Muslims conquered Palestine. (The Muslims were members of a religion
founded by a man named Muhammad.) For nearly 400 years, the Muslims let Christian
pilgrims visit the Holy Land. Then another group of Muslims took control of Palestine.
According to some reports, this group killed Christians and destroyed churches.
What Caused the Leadership Crisis in the Christian Churches?
At about the same time, the Christian church faced a leadership crisis. For many centuries the
Christian church had been divided into the Western and Eastern Churches. In the West, in the
city of Rome, the pope was the leader of the Roman Catholic Church. There was a different
leader in the East, nearly 900 miles away, in the city of Constantinople. Here, the patriarch was
the leader of the Greek Orthodox Church. The two churches developed different beliefs and
practices. Latin, not Greek, was the language of the Roman Catholic Church. Unlike the Roman
Catholic Church, the Greek Orthodox Church allowed priests to marry. (Orthodox refers to
religious groups who follow well-known customs and traditions.)
A permanent separation
Any of the military journeys taken by Christians to win the Holy Land from the Muslims
There were differences in the celebration of holy days. The pope asserted that he alone was
leader of all Christians. In 1054, religious differences led to a schism, or permanent separation,
between the Greek Orthodox and the Roman Catholic Church. This is known as the Great
Schism of 1054.
What Were the Crusades?
In 1095, Pope Urban II, the head of the Roman Catholic Church, called for a crusade, or war,
against the Muslims. He wanted to free Palestine from their control. The pope promised heaven
to those who died on the crusade. Historians believe that about 5,000 men on horseback, and
25,000 foot soldiers, fought in this First Crusade. A large number of common people also
joined the crusade. We call all these people crusaders.
Why Did People Volunteer for the Crusades?
Many people became crusaders. Some felt that they were following God’s orders. Others
wanted adventure. Still others wanted to escape hard work at home. Kings and nobles joined
the Crusades to get more power. The pope encouraged them to do this by forgiving their debts
and by letting them pay fewer taxes.
For almost 200 years—from 1096 to 1291—European crusaders went to the Holy Land. They
fought four big Crusades and many small ones. But they did not get control of the Holy Land.
In 1291, the Muslims conquered Acre, the last Christian city. After that, the Muslims controlled
Palestine until modern times.
What Were the Results of the Crusades?
The Crusades did not win control of the Holy Land for Christians. However, the pope and
European kings ended up with more power. Also, because Europe began to trade with the
Middle East, Europeans could buy things like sugar, lemons, and spices. The crusaders also
learned about Arab art, architecture, medicine, and mathematics. The Crusades brought other
changes too. During the Crusades, Europeans traveled to Palestine, which was far away from
their homeland. When they returned home, their small villages in Europe seemed less
interesting. They wanted to see more faraway lands. Many people began to explore Africa,
Asia, and America.
Many bad things happened during the Crusades, too. Christians began to kill Jews simply
because they were not Christians. During the 200 years of the Crusades, Muslims killed
thousands of Christians, and Christians killed thousands of Muslims. In fact, some European
Christians killed eastern Christians simply because they dressed like the Muslims. Before the
Crusades, most Muslims had accepted Christians. After all the killing and violence, they
thought Christians were uncivilized. They viewed the Christians as enemies.
Saladin: 1138–1193
Saladin was a Muslim leader. He became the ruler of Egypt and Syria. Saladin built schools
and mosques there. He was so brave and honorable that even crusaders admired him.
For years, the crusaders held Palestine. Saladin wanted those Muslim lands back. He united
Muslims against the crusaders. His forces captured Jerusalem in 1187. Then they took back
most of Palestine.
As a result, the Third Crusade began. It ended Saladin’s two-year siege of the crusaders at
Acre. But they never won back Jerusalem. Finally, Saladin and crusade leader Richard the
Lion-hearted met. Their truce let Christian pilgrims visit Jerusalem.
Lesson 1 Review
On a sheet of paper, write the answer to each question. Use complete sentences.
1. According to Benedict, how were monks and nuns supposed to live?
2. Why did monks and nuns copy books?
3. What was the Holy Land?
4. Why did Pope Urban II start the First Crusade?
5. Describe one good and one bad outcome of the Crusades.
What do you think?
Were the Crusades good or bad for the people of Europe and the Middle East? Explain your
Lesson 2: Feudalism
To explain why the feudal system started
To describe what it took to become a knight
A political and military system based on holding land
A king or a noble who gave land to someone
A noble who received land from a king or noble
The land and peasants to farm it
A young noble who learned to become a knight
A 15-year-old page who learned to ride a horse and use weapons to become a knight
The Roman Empire had laws to govern people and armies to protect them. But during the
Middle Ages, there was no one power in Europe. A new political and military system arose.
We call this system feudalism. It was based on the holding of land.
How Did Feudalism Work?
Under the feudal system, the king owned all the land. But he needed loyal nobles to serve him.
How could he win their loyalty? He could give them land. The nobles could then give land to
other people and ask for their loyalty.
What Were the Titles of the Nobles?
We call the powerful kings and nobles who gave land lords. We call the nobles who received
land vassals. When lords gave land, they did so in a special ceremony. The vassal knelt down
before the lord and promised loyalty. He would serve the lord and help him in battle.
In return, the lord gave the vassal a fief, or piece of land, and peasants to farm it. To protect his
fief, each vassal needed his own soldiers. He had much land, but little money. He offered land
to men who agreed to be his vassals. The lords and vassals kept dividing the land into smaller
and smaller pieces.
How Many Years Did Someone Train to Become a Knight?
The Middle Ages was a time of thousands of small wars. Knights, or soldiers who fought for a
lord, did most of the fighting. Only the son of a noble could become a knight. A young noble
started training to be a knight by first becoming a page. He learned religion, manners,
obedience, and loyalty. When he was about 15 years old, the page became a squire. Then he
learned to ride a horse and use weapons. At age 21, most squires became knights.
Armor of the Middle Ages
During the Middle Ages, knights, lords, and even kings rode to their many battles in armor.
Armor changed as weapons and ways of fighting changed.
In 1066, when William the Conqueror invaded England, his knights wore simple cone-shaped
helmets and suits of mail. To make this mail, an iron worker heated and then hammered out a
small iron bar. When it was long and thin, he wound it around another rod. Next, he cut rings
from the thinned iron. Finally, he linked them together so that they overlapped, or partly
covered, one another. He spent many months making a complete mail suit. It looked like a
mesh suit of iron.
The knights wore padded coats underneath the mail. Because the sun makes metal hot, the
knights often wore a loose-fitting cloth coat over their mail suit.
By the 1200s, knights wore a helmet that covered their face. As time passed, they began to
protect their whole body with armor. A breast plate protected their chest. Other pieces of armor
protected their shoulders, hands, and legs. The knight wore spurs on his armored heels. He used
these spiked wheels to make his horse obey.
On his clothes, each knight painted his coat of arms. This was a design in the shape of a shield.
Each man wore a different coat of arms. It showed everyone who he was. Some coats of arms
were simple. Others contained trees, birds, and animals.
Reading Strategy: Predicting
Based on what you just read about the training of a knight, what do you predict will be
expected of him?
To be made a knight
What Did Lords Expect from Their Knights?
A lord knighted a squire, or made him a knight, in a special ceremony. The lord commanded
the new knight to be brave, polite, and loyal. The knight promised to defend the church, be
loyal to the lord, protect the weak, and be polite to women.
Each knight had to be strong. He wore heavy armor and carried a lance, or steel-tipped spear; a
two-edged sword; a dagger, or sharp-pointed knife; and a broad ax called a battle ax. His armor
and weapons could weigh as much as 100 pounds.
Every knight hoped to become a lord and have a great amount of land to give to vassals some
day. However, many knights never became lords. They spent their entire lives fighting one war
after another.
Lesson 2 Review
On a sheet of paper, use the words from the Word Bank to complete each sentence correctly.
Word Bank
1. The _____ of the Middle Ages was a political and military system based on the holding of
2. A _____ gave land to a vassal and asked for his loyalty.
3. A _____ is the name of the land the vassal received.
4. A _____, or poor farmer, worked the land.
5. A _____ was a soldier who was loyal to a noble and fought for him.
What do you think?
What would be one good thing and one bad thing about being a knight?
Lesson 3: The Manor
To explain changes in farming
To explain why nobles built castles and what life was like in them
The part of a fief that peasants farm to support the lord’s family
A person who works with iron and makes tools and weapons
A peasant who was bound to the land and whose life was controlled by the lord of the
The whole feudal system was based on the control of land. A manor was that part of the fief
that peasants farmed to support a lord’s family.
What Made the Manor Self-Sufficient?
A manor was self-sufficient because the people who lived on it grew, raised, or made nearly
everything that they needed without help. They made clothing from the wool of the sheep they
raised. They cut wood for building from the manor’s forests. They grew or raised all the food
they ate. The blacksmith worked with iron to make tools and weapons. The lord of the manor
bought only a few things—like salt and iron—from the outside world.
Who Were Serfs?
About 90 percent of the people who lived during the Middle Ages were peasants. A few
peasants were free, but most were serfs. They had to stay on the manor on which they had been
born. A serf’s life was controlled by the lord of the manor.
Serfs worked on the manor farms from early in the morning until late at night. They did the
farmwork, cut wood, and built fences. Women serfs worked in the fields, cooked, made
clothing, and cared for the house. About 60 percent of what each serf raised went to the lord of
the manor and to the church.
A dug-out area filled with water that circles a castle
A bridge that can be raised or lowered over a moat
Reading Strategy: Predicting
How do you think these improvements in farming affected the farmers in the Middle Ages?
What Improved Farming?
During the Middle Ages, farming changed because of five inventions: the three-field system,
the horseshoe, a better plow, the waterwheel, and the windmill.
Under the three-field system, a lord left one-third of his fields unplanted each year. This
allowed the soil to rest. Then the field produced more food when the serfs planted it a year
later. Up to this time, people had used the slow-moving ox to do heavy work. With horseshoes,
they could plow with the faster-moving horse.
With a better plow, a tool used to dig up soil before planting seeds, serfs could farm the heavy
soil of northern Europe. The newly invented waterwheel used the power of running water to
make more power. With this new power, serfs could grind grain, like wheat, into flour.
Windmills, invented in Holland around 1170, used wind power for the same purpose.
How Did Better Farming Change the Population?
Because of these new inventions, farmers began to grow their crops in better ways. This meant
that they produced more food. More food meant that the population grew. In 300 years—from
1000 to 1300—the number of people living in Western Europe got three times as big. Because
they had more food than they needed, some people had time to do other things. This led to a
rebirth of learning.
Why Did Nobles Build Castles?
Many nobles lived in huge stone castles to protect themselves from their enemies. Most castles
had high walls. A moat, or dug-out area filled with water, made a circle around the castle. To
enter the castle, visitors crossed the moat by using a drawbridge. The people inside the castle
lowered and raised it over the moat.
The nobles often built their castles on hilltops or by river bends. This made the castle easier to
protect and defend. Some castles were big enough to include the noble’s house and his
household—all the people who lived and worked inside the castle. The fields and the homes of
the serfs were outside the castle walls. In times of war, they moved inside the walls for
A large open area inside the castle walls
A contest between two knights carrying lances and riding horses
Inside the castle walls was a large open area called a courtyard. In good weather, the lord held
his court there. The courtyard also contained many small buildings and sheds: the blacksmith’s
workshop; the bakery; the kitchen; the stable for the knight’s horses; and rooms to store
weapons and extra food. An attack against the castle could last many months. The lord of the
manor had to store plenty of weapons and food.
What Was Life Like in a Castle?
Castles were dark, damp, and cold. Their tiny windows let in little light. Straw covered the
floor of the dining area. The straw was usually dirty because the lord and his household threw
garbage on the floor for the dogs to eat! The serfs cooked the food in the courtyard. It was often
cold by the time the lord and his family ate it.
But not everything was dull in a castle. During the long winter nights, the lord and his guests
drank and sang. They played board games like chess and backgammon. In better weather, the
nobles held tournaments, or contests between knights. In these tournaments, two knights in
armor would joust. They would carry lances and ride horses toward each other at full speed.
Each would try to knock the other off his horse!
Reading Strategy: Predicting
Before you read this section, predict what life in a castle was like.
Writing About History
Imagine that you live on a feudal manor. Be the lord or lady of the manor, a peasant, a serf, a
page, or a knight. In your notebook, write about your daily life.
Then and Now
Chess, the Game of Kings
Have you ever played chess? It was a popular game in the Middle Ages, too. Even then, it was
centuries old. Like silk and spices, it came to Europe from the East. It was played in Asia as
early as 550 B.C. The Arabs brought it to Spain in the 700s.
Chess pieces changed during the Middle Ages to reflect life at that time. Kings, queens,
knights, and bishops moved around the board. There were even foot-soldiers (pawns) and
castles (rooks). As in medieval warfare, pawns had the least value. In the language of the game,
players “capture?? pieces, such as castles. The object of the game is to capture your opponent’s
king. Playing chess is indeed like looking back into the Middle Ages.
Lesson 3 Review
On a sheet of paper, write the letter of the answer that correctly completes each sentence.
1. Most of the peasants were _____.
A serfs
B free
C knights
D slaves
2. Serfs gave _____ percent of what they raised to the lord of the manor and to the church.
A 30
B 60
C 90
D 100
3. Farming improved during the Middle Ages because of the invention of the _____.
A three-field system
B waterwheel
C horseshoe
D all of the above
4. A _____, which was a dug-out area filled with water, made a circle around a castle.
A manor
B fief
C moat
D drawbridge
5. Castles were _____.
A dark
B damp
C cold
D all of the above
What do you think?
How does having more food lead to more time to learn?
Lesson 4: Culture in the Middle Ages
Reading Strategy: Predicting
Preview the lesson title. Predict what you will learn about culture in the Middle Ages.
To identify changes in education, art, architecture, literature, and law
To describe the influence of the Church in each area of culture
A priest who is in charge of other priests and a number of churches
When the Roman Empire fell, education stopped. But then monasteries opened schools to
prepare boys to become monks or priests. From about 1000 to 1100, bishops set up schools in
their cathedrals. Bishops are priests who are in charge of other priests and a number of
churches. A cathedral is the church where the bishop is the main priest. These cathedral schools
were located in towns that later became centers of learning.
What Did Students Study?
Classes at cathedral schools lasted 10 hours a day. In addition to religion, they studied seven
subjects: Latin; rhetoric (speaking and writing correctly); arithmetic; geometry; astronomy;
logic (figuring things out); and music. The teachers often beat lazy students. As years passed,
the number of subjects increased. This led to the first universities.
What Did Art Teach the People?
Artists and artisans during the Middle Ages built beautiful churches and cathedrals. They made
beautiful windows out of colored glass. They carved life-like statues and created colorful wall
paintings to show the life of Jesus, the saints, and people from the Bible. Most people did not
know how to read or write. They learned about Christianity from these windows and statues
and paintings.
A style of building that was like what the Romans built with thick walls and arches
A style of architecture with thin walls, pointed arches, many windows, and flying
What Is Gothic Architecture?
Until about 1100, most churches looked like Roman buildings. We call this style of architecture
Romanesque. The churches had rounded arches. To hold up the heavy roof, the builders built
thick walls with narrow openings for windows. Because of this, Romanesque churches were
dark and gloomy.
Around 1200, church builders began building in a new style. We call it Gothic. Narrow, heavy
ribs of stone supported the roof. To keep these thin walls from collapsing, the builders used
flying buttresses. The buttresses held up the thin walls. Finally, they used pointed arches, which
drew the eyes upward.
Artists and artisans built hundreds of churches and cathedrals in the Gothic style. Some were so
large that builders worked on them for many years. For example, the beautiful cathedral of
Notre Dame in Paris took 150 years to finish. It can hold 9,000 people.
What Was Literature Like in the Middle Ages?
People wrote two kinds of literature in the Middle Ages. Some wrote in Latin. Others wrote in
the language of the common people.
The Latin works included important writings on Christianity. Thomas Aquinas wrote a book
called Summa Theologica. In it, he explained that faith and reason are both gifts from God. He
tried to bring the two together. He helped to keep alive much of the learning of the ancient
The English council or lawmaking assembly
Reading Strategy: Predicting
Predict what trials might have been like at this time in history.
Some people wrote stories in the language of the common people. They usually retold an old
story. People had passed these stories down in song. Storytellers had told them long before
anyone wrote them down.
One well-known story was the Song of Roland. It is the oldest and greatest French medieval
poem. The Nibelungenlied puts together several German legends. The first great work in
English is Beowulf. Like the two other stories, it tells about the heroic deeds of a warrior.
What Changes Took Place in Law?
Important developments in law took place during the Middle Ages. Henry II, an English king
who ruled from 1154 to 1189, introduced the use of the jury in English courts.
The English jury was a group of 12 people who helped the judge. The jury asked questions to
discover the truth. Then it could decide whether a person accused of doing something wrong
was guilty or innocent. Today, we call this a grand jury.
If the jury thought that a crime might have been committed, a judge held a trial with another
jury. This jury examined all the information and the facts in court. The jury decided if the
person had done wrong. Today, we call this a petit jury.
What Is a Parliament?
During the Middle Ages, kings began to ask nobles for ideas about government. Soon councils
of nobles and church leaders formed in most of Western Europe. The English called their
council, or lawmaking assembly, Parliament. The French called their council the Estates
General. Nobles organized assemblies in other countries during the Middle Ages, but these
rarely lasted.
Lesson 4 Review
On a sheet of paper, write the answer to each question. Use complete sentences.
1. What were the seven subjects studied in the cathedral schools of the Middle Ages?
2. How did church buildings help the people of the Middle Ages learn about their faith?
3. What are two differences between Romanesque and Gothic architecture?
4. What is one thing that is the same about the Song of Roland, the Nibelungenlied, and
5. What changes did Henry II introduce into English law during the Middle Ages?
What do you think?
Would you have liked going to school during the Middle Ages? Explain your answer.
History in Your Life
Learning the Latin Language
Why could educated people from different lands understand each other during the early Middle
Ages? They spoke Latin. It was the international language of Europe. Knowledge from the past
was written in Latin. Any new learning or information, such as a law, would also be in Latin.
But Latin was a foreign language. It was different than what students spoke every day. In
English, you say, “I know?? but “he knows.?? The -s is a verb ending. In Latin, there is a
different ending for each person— I, he, we, you, they. Other kinds of words, such as nouns and
adjectives, also have endings. Take, for example, the words boys, ball, big, and hit. In Latin,
endings would tell if the sentence meant:
The big boys hit the ball or The big ball hit the boys.
Latin was the key to knowledge. Grammar schools, therefore, became very important.
Document-Based Reading
A Crusader’s Letter
Thousands of people joined the First Crusade in 1096. Many were princes and nobles. Much of
what we know about the Crusades comes from letters. This letter is from Stephen, count of
Blois in France. His wife, Adele, was the daughter of William the Conqueror.
Count Stephen to Adele, his…wife, to his dear children, and to all his vassals of all ranks—his
greeting and blessing:
You may be very sure, dearest, that the messenger whom I sent to you left me before Antioch
safe and unharmed and, through God’s grace, in the greatest prosperity. And already at that
time, together with all the chosen army of Christ…, we had been continuously advancing for
twenty-three weeks toward the home of our Lord Jesus. You may know for certain, my
beloved, that of gold, silver, and many other kinds of riches, I now have twice as much as you,
my love, supposed me to have when I left you. For all our princes, with the common consent of
the whole army, though against my own wishes, have made me, up to the present time, the
leader, chief, and director of their whole expedition.
You have…heard that after the capture of the city of Nicaea we fought a great battle with the
Turks and, by God’s aid, conquered them. Next we conquered for the Lord all Romania…
We besieged it [Antioch] and had many conflicts there with the Turks. Seven times we fought
with the citizens of Antioch and with the troops coming to their aid; we rushed to meet them
and we fought with the fiercest courage under the leadership of Christ; and in all these seven
battles, by the aid of the Lord God, we conquered, and…killed…[many] of them. In those
battles, indeed, and in very many attacks made upon the city, many of our followers were
killed, and their souls were borne to the joys of paradise…
I can write to you only a few, dearest, of the many things which we have done. Although I am
not able to tell you all that is in my mind, I trust that all is going well with you, and urge you to
watch over your possessions and to treat as you ought your children and your vassals. You will
certainly see me as soon as I can possibly return to you. Farewell.
Document-Based Questions
1. What is the “army of Christ???
2. When Stephen sent the messenger to Adele, how long had he been away?
3. What honor did the other nobles give Stephen?
4. Name two cities where Stephen fought in battles.
5. Reread the advice Stephen gave Adele. What can you tell about her duties at home?
Spotlight Story: Unlucky King John and the Magna Carta
In all of English history, there has been only one King John. He was so unpopular that no other
English king has used the name. John was not just unpopular. He was unlucky too.
John’s older brother was Richard I, the Lionhearted. Richard was a well-loved hero. While he
was on the Third Crusade, John tried to make himself king. When Richard came home in 1199,
he banished his brother from England.
After Richard died in 1199, John became king. He was actually able and clever, but things
never went right. The French beat him in a war. That defeat cost him money and influence. He
lost English lands in France, too. Next, John had a serious disagreement with the pope. The
pope cut him off from the Church. John had to agree to be the pope’s vassal.
Then the king demanded more services from his vassals. He placed new taxes on the Church.
Both the nobles and church leaders got angry at John. Many members from both groups felt
that the king had too much power. By the spring of 1215, there was a war going on inside
England. Some nobles backed John. Some wanted to get rid of him. A large army marched
toward London.
To avoid losing his throne, John gave the rebel leaders new rights. The event took place on
June 15, 1215, in a large open field called Runnymede. The leaders and churchmen met King
John. They told him the terms that they wanted him to sign, and John agreed to them. Then he
put his royal seal on the document that Church leaders had written.
The paper that King John signed is called the Magna Carta, or Great Charter. It gave specific
rights to the feudal nobles and to the towns. It also promised church leaders some freedoms.
Most importantly, the Magna Carta meant that even the king had to obey the law.
At first, the Magna Carta protected mainly the rights of nobles. Gradually these rights were
extended. Finally, every Englishman would claim them. English settlers brought these ideas to
1. Why has there only been one King John in English history?
2. What caused John’s disagreement with his brother Richard?
3. What actions made leaders angry with John?
4. What is the most important principle in the Magna Carta?
5. How has the importance of the Magna Carta changed since 1215?
Chapter 10 SUMMARY
After 1050, Western Europe was again at peace. Farming and trade began to grow again.
The Catholic Church was important in the Middle Ages. Monks and nuns were members of
religious groups. Some cared for the sick or studied farming methods. Others taught students
and supplied places for travelers to stay. The Catholic Church kept learning alive.
Christian pilgrims visited Palestine, or the Holy Land. In about 1095, one group of Muslims
stopped pilgrimages. The pope then called for a holy war, or crusade, to regain control of
Europeans fought four major Crusades between 1096 and 1291. Both nobles and common
people were crusaders. In the end, Muslims kept control of Palestine.
The Crusades had three results. These included increased trade with the Middle East and
curiosity about distant lands. Unfortunately, they were also the beginning of harsh treatment
toward Jews and Orthodox Christians.
Feudalism began in Europe in the Middle Ages because there was no central government. It
was based on an exchange of a lord’s land for a vassal’s service.
Knights were medieval soldiers who came from noble families. They trained for knighthood
first as pages and then as squires.
Feudal manors were self-sufficient. Most people were peasants; some were serfs who could not
leave the land.
Five inventions changed farming. They were the three-field system, the horseshoe, an
improved plow, the waterwheel, and the windmill. With better crops and more food, the
population of Europe grew larger.
Nobles built strong castles for protection. Sometimes knights practiced their skills in
tournaments on castle grounds.
In the Middle Ages, boys began attending school in monasteries and cathedral schools. Classes
were conducted in Latin.
Early medieval churches were Romanesque. They had thick walls with rounded arches. The
later Gothic style had pointed arches and tall, thin walls. The stained glass windows taught
people religious stories.
There were two kinds of medieval literature. Religious works were written in Latin and
traditional stories in local languages.
English law introduced the jury system and Parliament.
Chapter 10 REVIEW
On a sheet of paper, use the words from the Word Bank to complete each sentence correctly.
Word Bank
1. The land given to a vassal by his lord is a _____.
2. A _____ was a young nobleman training to be a knight.
3. A _____ was a peasant bound to the land on which he or she was born.
4. Nuns live in a _____.
5. A _____ visited the Holy Land to see the place where Jesus had lived.
6. A _____ is a steel-tipped spear.
7. A _____ is a dug-out place filled with water that circles a castle.
8. A _____ is a self-sufficient area of land on which the peasants grew or raised almost
everything that the lord and they needed.
9. A _____ is a king or noble who gives land to someone else in return for loyalty.
10. A _____ is a soldier who gives loyalty to his lord.
On a sheet of paper, write the letter of the answer that correctly completes each sentence.
11. The military journeys to the Holy Land that lasted for nearly 200 years are the _____.
A Muslims
B Vassals
C Crusades
D Romanesque
12. _____ was a political and military system used in the Middle Ages that was based on the
holding of land.
A Gothic
B Feudalism
C Monastery
D Buttress
13. Gothic architecture had _____.
A pointed arches
B thin walls
C flying buttresses
D all of the above
14. Many castles had _____.
A courtyards
B moats
C drawbridges
D all of the above
15. The oldest and greatest French medieval poem is the _____.
A Song of Roland
B Nibelungenlied
C Beowulf
D none of the above
On a sheet of paper, write the answer to each question. Use complete sentences.
16. What is one good thing and one bad thing that resulted from the Crusades?
17. What was feudalism?
18. What did the church have to do with education, art, and architecture during the Middle
Critical Thinking
On a sheet of paper, write your response to each question. Use complete sentences.
19. Why do you think the people living on manors welcomed travelers, actors, and musicians?
Describe how this tells about what life was like living on a manor.
20. If you were a crusader, what reasons would you give for being one? List at least three
Test-Taking Tip: After you have completed a test, reread each question and answer. Ask
yourself: Have I answered the question that I was asked? Have I answered it completely?