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Middle Ages. Chapter 8.1-2. Pope Gregory the Great. Lombards attacking from North 600 AD: Invaders swept across Europe Towns emptied, trade stopped, learning ceased. Early Middle Ages. 500-1000 AD Europe relatively backward region Cut off from advanced civilizations in ME, China, India

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middle ages

Middle Ages

Chapter 8.1-2

pope gregory the great
Pope Gregory the Great
  • Lombards attacking from North
  • 600 AD: Invaders swept across Europe
  • Towns emptied, trade stopped, learning ceased
early middle ages
Early Middle Ages
  • 500-1000 AD
  • Europe relatively backward region
  • Cut off from advanced civilizations in ME, China, India
  • Slowly, new Europe emerged
    • Greco-Roman, Germanic, Christian traditions
    • Called “medieval civilization” from Latin “middle age”
  • Europe: small continent
    • Huge impact on modern world
    • 500-1000: Frontier land- sparsely populated, undeveloped area on outskirts of civilization
    • Dense forests
    • Rich earth for farming
    • Mineral resources
    • Fishing
    • Rivers
germanic kingdoms
Germanic Kingdoms
  • Farmers and herders
  • No cities, written laws
  • Lived in small communities
  • Unwritten customs
  • Elected kings who sent them into war
the franks
The Franks
  • 400-700
  • Germanic tribes carved W Europe into kingdoms
    • Strongest
  • Clovis conquered former Roman province of Gaul
  • Frankish customs
  • Converted to Christianity
europe and muslims
Europe and Muslims
  • New power in Mediterranean
  • Religion of Islam
  • Arabia: 622 AD
  • Built huge empire
  • Overran Christian lands from Palestine to North Africa to Spain
  • Battle of Tours: 722
    • Christian Frankish warriors rallied to defend France
    • Won battle
  • Muslims source of anxiety- viewed with hostility
  • In time would learn from Muslims- their education exceeded Europeans
  • 800 AD
  • Grandson of Charles Martel
  • Built empire from France, Germany and part of Italy
  • AKA Charles the Great
  • Loved battle
    • Spent most of 46-year reign fighting
    • Muslims in Spain, Saxons in north, Avars and Slavs in east, Lombars in Italy
    • Reunited much of old Roman empire
christian emperor
Christian Emperor
  • 800
  • Pope Leo III called for Charlemagne to help with rebellious nobles in Rome
  • Frankish armies crushed rebellion
  • Christmas day: pope showed gratitude by placing crown on Charlemagne’s head
    • Emperor of Romans
  • Significance: Christian pope crowned a German king successor to roman emperors
    • Laid groundwork for power struggle between Roman Catholic popes and German emperors
    • Outraged Eastern Roman emperor
    • Widened split between east and west
spread of christianity
Spread of Christianity
  • Charlemagne worked with Church to spread Christianity to conquered people
  • Appointed powerful nobles to rule regions
  • Gave them land
  • Officials called missi dominici to check on rulers
  • Wanted “second Rome”
  • Revived Latin learning
  • Learning was in decline
  • Rare if a person could read or write
  • Charlemagne could only read, but not write
  • Need for keeping accurate records
  • School at Aachen
    • Curriculum- formal course of study
after charlemagne
After Charlemagne
  • Died 814
  • Empire fell apart
  • Heirs battled for power
  • 843: Treaty of Verdun- split empire into 3 regions
  • Legacy:
    • Extended Christian civilization
    • Blended German, Roman, Christian traditions
    • Strong efficient government
    • Became example for later rulers
more invasion
More Invasion
  • Muslims still posed threat
    • Conquered Sicily
    • 900: Struggle in Middle East refocused attention of Muslims
  • 896: Maygars settled Hungary
    • Overran E Europe , Germany, France and Italy
    • After 50 years, driven back to Hungary
  • Came from Scandinavia
  • 900s: looted and burned communities along coasts and rivers in Europe
  • Traders and explorers
  • Opened trade routes
  • 1000: Leif Erikson set up colony in N America
  • Count William inherited rich land of Flanders
  • Nobles gathered to pledge loyalty to new lord
  • Knelt before him and took an oath of loyalty
  • Count touched them with small rod
  • Granted noble a parcel of land including towns, castles and people
  • Ceremonies like this took place across Europe during Middle Ages
  • Vows were part of political and social system
  • People needed protection from invasion
  • New system evolved
  • Feudalism: loosely organized system of rule in which powerful local lords divided landholdings among lesser lords called vassals
  • Feudal Contract: Lord granted vassal a fief (estate)
    • Ranged from a few acres to hundreds of square miles
    • Included land, peasants to work the land, and any towns or buildings
    • Lord promised to protect vassal
    • Vassal promised to be loyal
  • Everyone had a place in feudal society
  • Monarch—powerful lords—dukes and counts—vassals—vassals—peasants
  • One man could be vassal and lord—vassal to a more powerful lord above him, and lord to a less powerful vassal below him
  • Some vassals had fiefs from more than one lord—could be problematic
    • To solve, often would have a liege lord-1st loyalty
world of nobles
World of Nobles
  • Warfare was way of life
  • Rival lords battled constantly
  • Nobles boys trained for future occupation as a knight—mounted warrior.
  • 7 years old: sent away to castle of father’s lord
    • Learned to:
      • ride and fight
      • keep armor and weapons in good condition
  • When training was finished, became a knight
  • Knelt before elder knight, bowed head
  • Knight struck young man with hand or flat side of sword and dubbed him a knight
  • Feudal warfare decreased in 1100s
  • Tournaments (mock battles) came into fashion
  • Lord would invite all knights from area to enter contests of fighting skill
  • As dangerous as real battles
  • Powerful lords fortified homes to withstand attack
  • Wooden tower, ringed by fence, surrounded by moat
  • Gradually became larger, grander
  • Wars centered on taking castles
  • Attackers would starve defenders or tunnel under walls
  • Active role in society
  • Lady of the manor took over husband’s duties
  • Supervised vassals, managed house, performed ag, medical tasks, sometimes went to war
  • Land passed to elder son
  • Daughters sent for training
    • Spinning, weaving, supervise servants, read and write
  • Knights adopted code of conduct
    • Called chivalry
    • Required bravery, loyalty, true to word
    • Fight fairly in war
      • No attacking until both sides had armor on
      • Release captured knight on his promise to pay his ransom
    • Women protected, cherished
    • Troubadours- wandering poets
      • Love songs praised women
      • Shaped Western ideas of romantic love
  • Manor: lord’s estate
  • Included one or more villages and surrounding lands
  • Peasants made up majority of pop, lived and worked on manor
  • Most were serfs:
    • Slaves that could not be bought and sold, but not free, couldn’t leave
  • Work: farming, repair roads, bridges, fences
  • Paid a fee to lord to marry, inherit acres or use mill
  • Payments due at Christmas, Easter
    • Grain, honey, eggs, chickens


  • Right to farm acres for themselves
  • Protection from warfare
  • Guaranteed food, housing, land
self sufficient
  • Manor was self-sufficient
  • Peasants produced almost everything they needed
  • No schooling, knowledge of outside world
  • Harsh life, long hours
  • Black bread, vegetables (seldom ate meat)
    • Poached at risk of punishment
  • Family and any animals they had slept together
  • Disease took toll- few lived beyond 35
  • Celebrated festivals, marriages, dancing, sports