Western Christendom Rebuilding in the Wake of Roman Collapse Pages 434-438 By Rebecca Delacruz-Gunderson, Adam Iyob, Fran Querdasi, and Chloe McNutt
Post-Rome in Western Europe • Post-Roman Empire, Europe had become disconnected with the rest of the world because of lack of trade with outside civilizations • Centralized rule diminished, as did vibrant urban areas • Large population reductions due to disease and warfare • Overall population shift from the Mediterranean region to northwestern Europe • Small kingships rose as the idea of a large empire faded away • Although Rome, itself, had died, many Roman ideas, especially those regarding the military, lived on through the Germanic peoples
Post-Rome in Western Europe (Part II) • German rulers used some Roman laws and ideas even after the roman empire had collapsed. • Some new rulers (such as Charlemagne 768-814) changed everything about their country and kept nothing of the Roman culture. • Others (for example, Otto I of Saxton 936-973) renewed the Roman rule, and brought back some of their laws and traditions. • Although Otto I was much less successful that Charlemagne, Otto’s efforts show the “appeal of the classical world” even though things seemed to be moving towards a Germanic and Roman blend of political strategies.
Western Europe vs. The Church • Feudalism emerged • independent states were controlled by landowning lords • Serfs: had more freedom than slaves, received their lord’s protection in exchange for work and payment • this emerged due to the instability of the region- these communities where the lower class was protected by the upper were safest • The Roman Catholic Church • had structure (popes, bishops, priests, monasteries) • took over political, administrative, education and welfare functions
How the Church Gained Followers • Became very wealthy • Outright coercion (not often) • Social example: -rulers converted and got increased legitimacy and power -wanted to be associated with literate and civilized Roman Empire • Church accommodated and absorbed many older cultural practices
Church and Local Rulers • Cooperated -rulers gave protection and encouraged conversion -church gave religious legitimacy • Competed -rival centers of power in Europe