The European Middle Ages • The European Middle ages lasted from about 500-1500 after the decline of the Roman Empire. • Germanic groups invading the western half of the Roman Empire.
The European Middle Ages Reasons for the rise of the Middle Ages • Downfall of the Roman Empire • Disruption of Trade – merchants faced invasion from both land and sea. • Downfall of Cities – the fall of the Roman Empire and the disruption of trade caused the abandonment of cities. • Population Shifts – Many people as they fled the cities retreated to the countryside and rural areas.
The Decline of Learning • Many of the Germanic invaders could not read or write. • This caused the level of learning to decrease significantly in Europe. • Knowledge of Greek and Roman cultures along with their advances in the sciences, art, and literature was mostly forgotten.
Christianity takes hold • Many Germanic peoples converted to Christianity influenced by their rulers. • These conditions lead to an increased importance of the Church in daily lives. • Monasteries - religious communities called monasteries were built at this time. Christian men called monks gave up all their private possessions. They became servants of God. Women took on this lifestyle as well, they lived in communities called convents.
Rise of Feudalism • The feudal system was implemented mostly to help the wealthy control the land and citizens under their rule. • The feudal system was based on mutual obligations. • Lord – landowner, granted land called a fief. • Vassal – the person receiving the land. • Knights – mounted armored warriors, pledged to defend their lords’ land in exchange for fiefs. • Serf (Peasants) – were at the bottom rung of the social hierarchy and toiled the land for minimal housing and protection. They could not leave where they were born but they were not slaves.
Rise of Feudalism Manor – the lord’s estate, the lord provide the serfs with housing, strips of farmland, and protection form bandits. In return, the serfs tended the lord’s lands, and cared for his animals.
Questions • On a separate sheet of paper, answer the following questions. • When did the Middle Ages take place? • What were the reasons for the onset of the Middle Ages? Which do you think was the most important? Explain. • Draw a diagram of the feudalism social hierarchy. Visit the following site, http://www.learner.org/interactives/middleages/feudal.html 4. What were some of the myths people held about health? 5. Research one of the feudal classes, what were two interesting pieces of information you discovered about them? 6. Visit the following site, http://anticap.files.wordpress.com/2010/01/serf.jpg, What are two observations you can make about feudalism by viewing the picture?