Middle English Period(1066-1485)
By Jesse B., Jessica P., Sofi R., and Jen D.
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The Invasion of England 1066
- On January 5, 1066 King Edward of England died after ruling his country for 23 years. Since King Edward had no heirs and only distant relatives a three way rivalry for the crown started. Harold Godwinson was one of the contenders being the second most powerful man in England and Edward’s advisor. Edward also wanted Harold to take the throne at his death but William the Duke of Normandy also wanted the English Throne. He believed he should inherit the throne because he was blood related to Edward, since he was a distant cousin. William also said that King Edward did not want Harold to take the throne because Edward had anointed William to inherit it.
The Invasion of England 1066 Cont…
- The last contender for the throne was Harald Hadrada who was already the king of Norway. He argued that Edward gave the rights of kingship to Harald’s father if Edward should have died and since he was the heir he should inherit the throne.
- Harald Hadrada attacked England first but Harold Godwinson was there with England’ finest soldiers. Harold was able to hold them off and eventually defeat Hadrada’s Viking army but he had no time to rest for as soon as he defeated them he heard word that William had landed in southern England.
- Harold hastily went south with his army to prepare for battle but it proved that William and his troops were too much. Harold was killed in battle and William was declared king of England on Christmas day 1066.
The First Crusade 1095-1099
- The First Crusade was launched by Pope Urban II. The intentions were to conquer the city of Jerusalem and rid the Christians in the East of Muslim rule. This was considered a “Holy War” and the pope said that anyone who died on this crusade would go directly to heaven. Some people who volunteered actually wanted to free Jerusalem of Muslim rule and others went just so there sins could be forgiven in the eyes of God. People from many countries marched for Jerusalem and in 1099 it was conquered.
The Second Crusade 1147-1149
- The Second Crusade was launched when County of Edessa fell by Pope Eugene III. County of Edessa was a state that the the crusaders established after the first crusade. Louis VII of France and Conrad III of Germany were to lead the crusade. They each brought there own army from there country and marched towards Jerusalem separately. On there way there both armies were ambushed by Seljuk Turks killing many of the crusaders. In 1148 Conrad and Louis made it to Jerusalem with some of there army. They decided to have a siege on the city of Damascus but the city proved to be too strongly fortified. Defeated, what was left of the army retreated.
- The knights templar are the most well known military order of the crusades always being recognized with there red cross symbol on there chest. They were made to be shortly after the first crusade. There job was to make it a safe journey for people who want to make a pilgrimage to the city of Jerusalem. There organization only survived from donations from people and when the crusades turned out to be failures the fame collapsed along with financial support
The Third Crusade lasted from 1189 to 1192 and is also known as the Kings’ Crusade. It was an attempt by the European leaders to re-conquer the Holy Lands of Saladin. Henry II of England and Phillip II of France joined together to lead a Crusade against the Egyptian and Syrian forces of Saladin. King Henry died in 1189, which left Richard I in command of the English. Frederick I Barbarossa, the Holy Roman Emperor, led a massive army across Anatolia, but died from drowning before reaching the Holy Land therefore many of his troops were discouraged and went home. On September 2, 1192, King Richard and Saladin signed a treaty in which Jerusalem would remain under Muslim control, but unarmed Christians would be allowed to visit the city. This failure would lead to a Fourth Crusade six years later.
The Black Death was one of the earliest pandemics in history. It is sometimes known as the Bubonic plague. It lasted from 1347 to 1350. It ravaged cities causing widespread hysteria and death, killing over one third of the population of Europe. This massive loss in population affected all aspects of society, including trade, the church, music and art. As a result of death in the church, written language was almost lost and whole churches were abandoned.
Signing of the Magna Carta
The Magna Carta was signed in 1215. It is one of the most influential documents in English history. It was not intended to be a lasting statement of legal principle, rather a practical solution to a political crisis. It prevented the King from the use of tyrannical behavior and required the King to renounce certain rights and respect certain legal procedures, as well as accept that his will could be bound by law. All of the clauses of the Magna Carta, except for three, have now become obsolete, though its reinterpretation throughout the centuries has guaranteed its status and longevity.
War of the Roses
For thirty years, a bitter struggle for the English throne was waged between two branches on the same family, the House of York and the House of Lancaster, both descended from Edward lll. Each house was represented by a rose, which is why it is known as the War of the Roses. The first fight broke out in May of 1455. The War of the Roses ended when Henry Tudor, a Lancastrian, defeated King Richard III, a Yorkist at the battle of Bosworth Field on 22 August 1485. After the battle, Henry Tudor became King Henry Vll of England and Wales. Henry Vll (representing the Lancaster family) married Elizabeth of York (representing the York family). This marriage united the two families. Henry created the Tudor rose, containing both the White Rose of York and the Red Rose of Lancaster. It symbolized the end of a struggle between York and Lancaster.
- Many of the famous poems and books looked back upon in great respect were published in the Middle English period. Major writers of this age was Geoffrey Chaucer, William Langland, John Gawer, Robery Henryson and The Pearl Poet, these men were the known as the Ricardian Poets.Geoffrey Chaucer born 1344 and died in approx. 1400, his birth date is unknown. He was the son of a wine merchant and he had a very active public life. He fought in the hundred years war and in 1374 he was appointed to Controller of Customs. During those 12 years he wrote "Troilus and Criseyde" and "The Canterbury Tales" which contained 84 manscripts.The Pearl Poet, this was a name given to a man named Pearl who was an author of poetry and was a contemporary of Geoffrey Chauar, John Gower and Will Langland. The founf poems were "Sir Gawain and the Green Knight", "Patience", "Cleanness" and "Saint Erkenwald. The poemss are only proven to exist from a single surviving manuscript, now held in the British Library. His poetry is conversant with learning, shows an interest in technica; vocabulary about hunting and the court, the landscape of his region and has an interest in poverty as a Christian virtue. His poems were educational and honourably mentioned.
- Popular Ballads, became present in the Middle English Period. The ballads were originally songs intended for interpreting a dance, but the narrative element gradually became more important and the ballad became what it still stands for: a song that tells a story. They deal for the most part upper-class individuals and families and are hence aristocratic rather then democratic in tone. The popular balads almost all belong to the late Middle Ages; the literary ballads began to be written in the late 18th century as the result of the romantic revival of interest in the Middle Ages. Some of the many ballads of that time were Edward, The Three Ravens, The Twa Corbres and Sir Patrick Spens.William Langland was an English poet, who was famous for his remarkable 14th century poem "Piers the Plowman". This poem was in the time of Edward VI, who considered worthy of being printed especially with the poem indicating a desire for reformation in religion. This became such a successful and still effects today with the Piers Plowan, 3 different versions all using either A, B or C which people still use today to identify methods of poems through the poets.
- The Pearl Poet, this was a name given to a man named Pearl who was an author of poetry and was a contemporary of Geoffrey Chauar, John Gower and Will Langland. The found poems were "Sir Gawain and the Green Knight", "Patience", "Cleanness" and "Saint Erkenwald. The poem are only proven to exist from a single surviving manuscript, now held in the British Library. His poetry is conversant with learning, shows an interest in technical vocabulary about hunting and the court, the landscape of his region and has an interest in poverty as a Christian virtue. His poems were educational and honourably mentioned.
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- “Middle English literature is a southern, Gallic Literature stressing love and tenderness as much as strength and courage, and possessing a gaiety and delicacy seldom found in Old English.”
- The warrior (old epic) is replaced by the knight (romance) in this era of literature.
- In the Middle Ages the Knight was seen as a figure of justice and virtue. It replaced the basic Warrior in most written work at this time. Why? Because a knight has such much more class. Always having to follow a set of virtues.
- The virtues included:* Mercy (Towards the poor and oppressed. They were supposed to be harsh with evil-doers.)* Humility* Honor* Sacrifice* Fear of God* Faithfulness* Courage* Utmost graciousness and courtesy to ladies