Chapter 11

Chapter 11
Patterns of Medieval Life
• Issues regarding periodization:
–How long did the Middle Ages
–When did it start and end?
–From whose view is the period
in the “middle”?
Rome’s Three Heirs
• Byzantium
• Islam
• Latin Christendom
• Byzantium: Greek
• Islam: Arabic
• Latin Christendom: Latin
•Latin Christendom
Three Traditions
• 1. Classical: Greco-Roman
• 2. Judeo-Christian
• 3. Germanic
•Germanic Tribes
Germanic-Roman Relations
• The Germans were
barbarians in Roman eyes,
but they were not therefore
Germanic Invasions
• 406 Vandals invaded Gaul, Spain, and
North Africa.
• 410 Rome was sacked by Visigoths.
• 455 Rome was sacked by Vandals.
• 476 Western Roman emperor was deposed
by Germanic tribes.
• c.500 Anglo-Saxon tribes invaded England.
(Fiero 244)
Early Christian World and the Barbarian
Invasions, ca. 500
Success of German Invasions
• How did the Germans triumph so
--The Roman armies were depleted.
--The Romans were not zealous about
defending themselves.
• The Germanic conquests accelerated a
process of urban decay that was already
well advanced.
• Values of the Germanic warring culture,
such as the bond of fealty, and the practice
of rewarding warriors with land or spoils of
battle, would become fundamental to
medieval feudalism.
(Fiero 244)
•The Huns, 451
• The End of the Western Empire,
476 (After the barbarian king of Italy
Odoacer disposed the last Emperor
Romulus Augustulus)
Germanic Kingdoms
•Germanic Literature
• About 700
• Originated
among the
• Old English
Beowulf: Plot Summary
• See
•Germanic Art
• The art of Germanic peoples is characterized as
abstract, stylized and highly decorative.
• Other characteristics include:
- use of gold and gems
- non-figurative
- geometric designs - flat, two-dimensional
- organic, interlaced, intertwined shapes filling
the spaces
- Horror vacui - literally fear of empty space,
open spaces in designs are filled
(Eucharistic cup)
Ardagh Chalice, c. 800-899 AD, silver, silver
gilt, enamel. Found in 1847 by a small boy
digging for potatos.
(Eucharistic plate)
Serpentine paten with fish. Mount: court of
Charles the Bald (second half of the 9th century).
Serpentine, gold, glass and gems.
• Charlemagne and the
Carolingian Renaissance
Rise of the Carolingian Empire
• 717 Clovis (Merovingian): founder of the Frankish
State, first Christian king of the Franks
• 717-751 The Carolingians (Charles, Pepin, and
Carloman) shared power with the Merovingian
• 751 Pepin became king of the Franks
• 768 Charlemagne succeeded Pepin
• 800 Charlemagne was crowned Holy Roman
• 814 Charlemagne died
• Father of France: united the kingdom
• Goal of reforms: to revive the Roman
• The Carolingian Renaissance
– the Latin form of “Charles” is
– viewed classical learning as the
foundation of Christian wisdom
Carolingian Renaissance
• Charlemagne set up a “palace
school” at Aachen.
• Medieval education:
--trivium (grammar, rhetoric, dialectic)
--quadrivium (arithmetic, geometry,
music, astronomy)
Church at Aachen
Charlemagne’s Church at
• Crowned by Pope Leo III in 800
–Claimed to be the direct heir of
Caesar Augustus
–A major step in the developing
self-awareness of western
European civilization
The Empire of Charlemagne, 814
The Collapse
• 10th century
• Viking raids
• Civil wars: the growing power
of local lords
843 CE
• St. Matthew, from the Gospel Book of Charlemagne,
c.800-10. This illumination, probably originating at
Charles' court in Aachen, shows the classicizing side of the
Carolingian Renaissance: the evangelist's portrait closely
follows Roman portraiture. In the representation below
from the Gospel Book of Archbishop Ebbo, c. 816-35, the
portrait - here, St. Mark - has transformed the Roman
model in a distinctively Carolingian way. The lines create a
sense of energy and movement rather than of calm or
balance. The evangelist is no longer the Roman sage
setting down his wisdom but the inspired holy man looking
away from his book to the heaven from which comes his
animating, disturbing inspiration.
• Beginnings of a common western European
• 871-899: King Alfred the Great unified
Anglo-Saxon England, modeling closely on
Carolingian example.
• 10th century: the Saxon kings of Germany
(East Francia) built authority on conquests
into the Slavic lands.
(1) military
(2) Political
grant of and
(manors) to the lord
• King
• Vassals 附庸
– Duke 公
– Marquis 侯
– Earl / Count 伯
– Viscount 子
– Baron 男
– Knight
• Squire (a knight’s helper)
• Serfs
• The rise of medieval towns
→the rise of the middle class
→ the decline of feudalism
• The Song of Roland
• The Bayeux Tapestry
12th Century illumination showing Charlemagne in the legendary aspect that he
achieved during the Middle Ages, especially through texts such as the Song of
Roland. Here Charlemagne and Roland prepare to fight the Muslims in Spain.
The Song of Roland
• The Norman Conquest
• Vikings (from Scandinavia)
→ Northmen or Normans
→ Normandy in France
• 1066
The Norman Conquest
William of Normandy
defeated the AngloSaxon Duke Harold
and became king of
The Bayeux Tapestry
• The Bayeux Tapestry is history as written
by the winners. William of Normandy (in
northern France) crosses the English
Channel and triumphs at the Battle of
Hastings in 1066, becoming William the
Conqueror, King of England.
A charge by the Norman Cavalry on the
Saxon shield wall.
The Saxon shield wall that William and his men
found so hard to break down.
To show his men that he in fact was still alive, he raised
his mask and rode along his bedraggled line so that his
men could see his face.
Halley's Comet, which appeared in 1066, was widely held to be a portent of the disaster
that was to befall Harold. The stamp from St. Helena shows an enlarged view of the
image of the comet on the tapestry.
• The Norman Conquest marked the transfer
of power in England from Anglo-Saxon
rulers to Norman noblemen who were
already vassals of the king of France.
• The Normans brought feudalism to England.
(Fiero 255)
• The Christian Crusades
(the 11th – 13th centuries)
The Major Crusades, 1096-1204
• The Crusades were military
expeditions sent by the
Christians between the 11th and
the 14th centuries to recapture
the Holy Land (Palestine) from
the Muslims.
• Causes:
(1) the Seljuk Turks refused
to let Christian pilgrims visit
the Holy Land
(2) the request of the
Byzantine emperor
The First Crusade
Mobilized by Pope Urban II
Captured Jerusalem in 1099.
Divided the Holy Land into four kingdoms
(Antioch, Edessa, Jerusalem and Tripoli)
and ruled for 60 years.
The Fourth Crusade
• 1202-1204
• The crusaders and the Venetian merchants
captured and looted the Christian city of
• No attempt was made to free the Holy Land
or fight the Muslims.
The Children’s Crusade
• 1212
• A shepherd boy called Stephen led about
30,000 French children on a “crusade.”
• The captains of their ships tricked the
children by pretending to take them to the
Holy Land free. The children were taken to
North Africa and sold to the Muslims as
slaves. (Living World History, Vol. II)
• (1) Revival of trade between East and West.
(The greatest economic gains went to the
Italian maritime republics in of Venice and
• (2) Feudal lords established greater
authority, leading to the rise of nation-states.
• (3) The crusades promoted cultural
exchange between western Europe and the
Islamic world. (Arabic translations of Greek
texts and Islamic literature poured into
• (4) The decline of the Byzantine empire.
•Medieval Romance
and Courtly Love
“To love was to suffer.”
(Fiero 260)
•The End