Nation states in the high middle ages and early renaissance
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Nation States In the High Middle Ages and Early Renaissance. Some Caveats…. These states will all develop at different times for different reasons This is a general concept that honestly covers the time period from about 1100 – 1800 – well past what we will do in this class.

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Nation States In the High Middle Ages and Early Renaissance

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Nation states in the high middle ages and early renaissance

Nation States In the High Middle Ages and Early Renaissance

Some caveats

Some Caveats…

  • These states will all develop at different times for different reasons

  • This is a general concept that honestly covers the time period from about 1100 – 1800 – well past what we will do in this class.

  • We are going to focus on a few major states

    • England

    • France

    • Spain

    • Netherlands

    • Russia

    • Italian Papal States

Keys to the development of the modern state

Keys to the Development of the Modern State

  • Fight with the Catholic Church leads to trust in monarchy (England, France, Dutch)

  • Large Scale Wars Cause a Need for Large Scale Armies (England, France, Russia, Spain

  • Wealth and Development = larger state (Dutch)

  • Crusades leads to a need for more centralized state (England, France, Spain)

  • Infrastructure improvement (All five)

Problems with the catholic church

Problems with the Catholic Church…

  • Lay Investiture –

  • The Papacy

    • Pope was as much a political office as king or duke in the Middle Ages

    • Popes would often come from rich families that had already paid for them to become cardinals.

    • Typically competing families would attempt to become popes – Italian and French being most prominent.

    • Popes were often times plagued with…problems.

Problem popes

Problem Popes

  • 955-964 – Pope John XII – gave land to mistress, murdered several people, was murdered by man who caught him in bed with his wife

  • 1032-1048 – Pope Benedict IX – Pope at appx. 20 y.o., orgies, out of wedlock births, SOLD papacy to uncle when bored.

  • 1277-1280 – Nicholas III – gave land and power to family

  • 1294-1303 – Pope Boniface VIII – centralized personal authority, sent troops to attack nobles and take land away

  • 1305-1314 – Pope Clement V – nepotism again, eliminated Knights Templar

  • 1492 – 1503 – Pope Alexander VI (Roderic Borgia) – corrupt, had 4-5 children, used them to gain wealth and power. Cesare and Lucretia.

Western schism of 1378

Western Schism of 1378

  • Pope Urban VI was elected to appease Italians after decades of French domination

  • Urban was harsh and alienated French Cardinals – accused them of not being pius (they weren’t)

  • Cardinals created their own anti-pope – Clement VII – and sought to rival Rome.

  • Catholicism split by pope in Avignon, France and Rome.

How did it end

How did it end?

  • Two rival papacies continued until 1414 when

  • Both rival groups agreed to meet at Savona, but eventually left and abandoned both of these popes.

  • Met a Pisa and elected…wait for it…a THIRD pope Alexander V, who was succeeded by John XIII.

  • Eventually two Roman popes resigned and at Council of Constance a new pope was elected, Martin V. Avignon papacy didn’t end until 1429.

England and france

England and France

  • Are inexorably tied together because of their common land ownership and fights over it…

  • Centralization of the state necessary because of the 100 years war.

  • 1337-1453 – not continuous a series of wars that have been put together by historians

  • House of Valois and Plantagenet's attempting to take over French Throne



  • William of Normandy- 1066

    • Prior to William – England was a true backwater nation

    • William “the conqueror” took over England at the Battle of Hastings – he was from France (Normandy)

    • Doomsday Book

    • Reformed English feudal system and built up castles and army.

England leading up to the war

England leading up to the war…

  • Since Norman conquest – England had owned land in France – William of Normandy

  • William’s grandson, Henry II married Eleanor of Aquitaine – who encouraged her sons to revolt against him. Kill Thomas Beckett – Arch. Of Canterbury

    • Took over Ireland, Parts of Scotland

  • They lose but Richard still becomes king.

  • In 1189-1199 – Richard I in charge but goes to crusades (homosexuality?)

  • Leaves John I in charge

Plantagenet kingdom under henry and eleanor

Plantagenet Kingdom under Henry and Eleanor

The terrible plantagenet s

The Terrible Plantagenet's

  • Richard captured by Duke of Austria - ransomed

  • John I – revolted after Richard and ruled in his stead during crusades – allied with Philip II of France

  • Lost Normandy, forced to sign Magna Carta

  • Richard set free with ransom – reunited with brother John – attacked Philip II rest of life.

  • Died by crossbowman in meaningless death

Lead up to war

Lead up to war…

  • Plantagenet's spent next 100 years fighting over Scotland and France (Edward Longshanks, William Wallace and Robert the Bruce)

  • Ardent anti-semites.

  • Henry III loses a series of conflicts in 1220’s and forced to sign treaty that makes English barons of France on French soil. Oops.

  • Later Edward III (the Black) claims French throne when Charles IV leaves no heir to Capetian throne.

The war itself

The War Itself

  • Phase I – The War of Breton Succession – English won much land / power – Battle of Cercy (Plantagenet's sort of end in 1399)

  • Phase II – Henry V (Lancasterian line) invades – wins at Agincourt – 40% of French nobility lost here – by 1429 looked like French going to lose

  • Phase III – Joan of Arc and Battle of Orleans, sold to English and tried as heretic burned at stake.

  • However…Charles VII becomes king afterwards and starts Valois dynasty

Nation states in the high middle ages and early renaissance


So what about france

So…what about France?

  • After Carolingians (Charlemagne) end – get first true French (not Frankish) king in Hugh Capet (elected).

    • Made Paris center of French life and gov’t

  • “France” a very general term until 100 years war. Most of power actually in “English” hands after William of Normandy united areas

  • Attempt by Louis VII (the younger) to gain power by marrying Alienor of Acquitaine for dukeship. Divorced because 2 daughters.

  • Married Henry II – renamed Eleanor…

Height of capatians

Height of Capatians

  • Louis XIII – part of Albigensian Crusades (Gnostic version of Christianity) – Count of Toulouse

  • Louis IX – “Saint Louis”

    • Helped fund Crusades – 7th and 8th

    • Founded Anjou and Bourbon Dynasties

      • Anjou ruled Naples, Sicily, and Hungary

      • Bourbon – succeeded as final French line.

  • Grandson Philip IV – established Estates General and allied with Scots

End of capatian line leads to hundred years war

End of Capatian Line leads to Hundred Years War

  • Philip IV had three sons and one daughter – Isabella.

  • None of the sons produced an heir and when the last son Charles IV died, sister Isabella claimed that her son should be king.

  • Claim rejected and then since Isabella was married to Edward III the Blackheart helped lead to war over crown succession.

  • Transition to the Valois Dynasty

Russia the mongols screw it all up

Russia – The Mongols Screw It All Up

  • Russia

    • Ruik Dynasty – 860’s

    • Boyars made subservient

    • Kiev Centered – Vladamir I and Yaroslav the Wise

  • Mongolian Invasions

    • Began under Genghis

    • By 1238 Mongols under Batu Khan subjugated Rus’.

    • Destroyed Kiev by 1240 – burned to ground

    • Age of “Tartar” Rule

Life under the mongols

Life under the Mongols

  • “Golden Horde”

  • Mongols conquered and then…left

  • Wanted tribute and loyalty

  • Raided on regular basis, but then left to princes self government.

Expulsion of mongols rise of moscow

Expulsion of Mongols – Rise of Moscow

  • By 1400’s openly challenging Mongol rule.

  • Battle of Kulikovo Fields – Prince Dmitry of Moscow wins fame

  • Grandson Ivan III spread out by conquest and agreements

  • Moscow grows by 3x in size

  • 1453 – Constantinople Falls to Muslims – Russians see selves as “New Rome”

Ivan iii

Ivan III

  • Officially kicked Tatars out – built new Manor system that functioned to create cavalry

  • Afterward consolidates power

  • Proclaims self “Tsar” or Caesar in Russian

  • Powerful expansion but no real connection to Western Europe

  • Cultural dead period

Ivan iv the terrible

Ivan IV – The Terrible

  • First TRULY centralized autocratic ruler

  • Forced boyars to completely cave to his will – killed or exiled dissenters

  • Livonian War a failure

  • Expanded Khazaks, Astrakhans, and Siberia

  • Massacre of Novogord – 1570 – crippled empire and Crimean Tartars invaded.

Time of troubles

Time of Troubles

  • Ivan the Terrible’s death led to this period because of childless son Feodor dying.

  • Invasion and war commenced in and out of government.

  • Eventually ended by Michael Romanov coming to power

  • Romanovs will rule until 1918

    • Peter the Great

    • Catherine the Great

Holy roman empire

Holy Roman Empire

  • Neither Holy (started by Church as an homage to Charlemagne for supporting the church – not papal lands at all)

  • Nor Roman (Primarily German, named so to harken back to Roman age)

  • Nor an Empire (a collection of individual principalities and states – not really a unified state)

Early formation

Early Formation

  • In 800 Charlemagne named Emperor of the Romans – some credit this as start of empire.

  • After his descendent died in 911 (Louis the Child) some of the barons stopped accepting automatic Carolingian dynastic rule.

  • Conrad of Franconia “elected” by a group of states as the Rex Francorum Orientalum

  • No permanent capital city – traveled around (Kaiserpfalz) to deal with affairs

Otto the i

Otto the I

  • Elected king in 936 AD at Aachen

  • Came to aid of Adelaide in 951 AD – widowed queen of Italy

  • By 955 AD Otto led to decisive victory over the Magyars at the Battle of Lechfeld.

  • By 962 pope John XII officially crowns him emperor

  • Three expeditions to preserve Italian conquests – One to reinstate John XIII as pope

  • Historical beginning of the HRE

Lay investiture

Lay Investiture

  • Kings employed bishops in a set of basic administrative duties

  • Pope wanted them to be chosen by him, kings had traditionally had say

  • Pope Gregory attempted to do so

  • Henry IV repudiated it and got his bishops to excommunicate pope

  • Pope excommunicates Henry

  • Walk to Canossa

  • Concordat of Worms – 1122

  • Weakened Emperor

Hohenstaufen dynasty


  • Established ministerialia (non-service men) with land – becomes knights

  • Reorganizes law to establish – rule of law (Landfrieden)

  • Reorganizes economic fortunes around explosion of cities (Munich, Freiberg)

  • Frederick Barbarosa I – reemphasized “Romaness” of divine rights – lists areas he controlled

More of hohenstaufen

By 1190 – spread eastward. Christianized Prussians with Teutonic Knights

Frederick goes on Third Crusade – drowns

Pope gets concerned by 1208 that HRE was trying to claim Sicily. Pope installs “anti-king”

Frederick II grants dukes “ownership” of land

Weakens power of Emperor – doesn’t return for a while

More of Hohenstaufen



  • After Frederick’s death no one could get elected. 1250-1273

  • Ends with election of Rudolph I

  • After the end of the interregnum, throughout the 1300’s HRE transitions to a monetary value system replacing land and vassals (happening all over Europe)

Golden bull of 1356

Golden Bull of 1356

  • This bull (proclamation) stated that from now on the Empire would have permanent electors that were hereditary. In addition the Emperor must get the majority of the electors votes.

  • Kurfürsten – permanent set of prince-electors

  • Slowly land was transferred to princes from Reichsput (Empire lands)

  • Basis of power shifts to Emperors own personal land

Reichsreform 1400 s

Reichsreform (1400’s)

  • Series of changes to government structure that established “constitutional” reform

  • Imperial Court Established

  • Reichstag created as an Imperial Diet (body of officials)

  • Created by 1512 the Imperial Circles – regional territories used for taxation, courts, and duchy ownership

Charles v hapsburg

Charles V - Hapsburg

  • Because of Succession rules in Spain – Charles V became ruler in 1516.

  • Through Grandfather Maxmillion I had claims to Germanic territory.

  • In 1519 elected as HRE – faced revolts in Netherlands, Peasant revolt in HRE, Martin Luther and Lutheranism, expansion into New World via Spain.

  • Would reign until 1556 and retired

  • Gave HRE to brother, Spain to son.



  • Tribal communities conquered by Romans and Raided by Vikings for generations

  • Originally part of the Holy Roman Empire via Otto the Great

  • Divided into several small counties until the Duke of Burgundy in 1453 – started Dutch nationalism

  • Gained great wealth by expanding trading networks and defeating Hanseatic League

Charles v hapsburg1

Charles V - Hapsburg

  • Born in Ghent – a son of the Dutch area was forced to put down multiple revolts

  • By 1515 he left to become king of Spain and the HRE.

  • Sent Spanish viceroys to rule in Netherlands.

  • After Martin Luther / John Calvin, many Dutch princes converted to Protestantism

  • Leads to William of Orange declaring a revolt and an 80 year long revolution.

  • Becomes a religious war fueled by money.

  • Gain independence in 1648 but only northern sections.

Commercial revolution

Commercial Revolution

  • The shift from a feudal economic system to a system of trading, banking, and commerce.

  • This was started because of a whole host of factors.

  • Changed the economic climate dramatically in Europe

  • Gave rise to new groups (Hanseatic League) established new trading areas (China / Middle East) and created powerful new nations (Spain / Netherlands)



  • Crusades – exposed Europeans to new items and ideas

  • Hundred Years War / Reformation – created national identities and tied them to wealth and power

  • Marco Polo – His travels book inspires curiosity about Asia and Africa

  • Black Plague – killed ¼ - ½ of Europe. Led to the enclosure movement

  • Age of Discovery – Starting in late 1400’s with new routes to Asia and you know…Columbus

  • 1453 – Ottoman Turks take over Constantinople – cut off Europe from Asia

  • Had no silver left to trade with Far East for goods

  • Technological innovations in sailing

What did it look like

What did it look like?

  • After fall of Rome, “Money” became minimally existent.

  • After Black Death and Crusades we see a return to money and trade.

  • Banks established, and not just by Jews (mostly Italian)

  • Stock Exchanges will be created in Antwerp, London, and Paris.

  • Insurance created to manage risk of trade and travel.

  • Joint Stock Trading companies created.

Inflation and enclosure

Inflation and Enclosure

  • Spain gained huge amounts of silver and gold – caused inflation in the prices

    • Black death causes under population – allows tenant farmers to demand more for work.

    • Aristocrats used to paying little for work, forced to sell land or suffer inflation big time.

  • Enclosure movement

    • Closed off “common land”

    • Helped with agriculture - hurt small farmers.

    • Many forced to move to city.

Hanseatic league

Hanseatic League

  • Commercial and defensive agreement among merchant guilds in Northern Europe

  • Dominated sea trade in Baltic and North Seas from 1200’s – 1500’s.

  • Able to keep monopoly like control on goods within cities.

  • Got into wars with Dutch over trading rights in 1438 and by 1441 lost exclusive trading rights in area.

  • Slowly destroyed by expansion of banks, new trading companies and Dutch War

Major economic theories

Major Economic Theories

  • Mercantilism – goal of nations to gain as much gold and silver as possible by creating an imbalance of trade with colonies

    • Richer a nation = more powerful

  • Free Trade – Private ownership of the means of production. Developed late in era – also known as capitalism



  • The Renaissance could have begun 100-200 years earlier if not for the Hundred Years War and Crusades

  • Trade started getting ramped up….

  • ….then trade was shut down because of the Black Death

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