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Feudalism in Europe. Invasions of Western Europe. The period from 500 to 1500 CE in western Europe is known as the “middle ages.” In the 5 th century, Germanic invaders overran the western half of the Roman Empire.

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invasions of western europe
Invasions of Western Europe
  • The period from 500 to 1500 CE in western Europe is known as the “middle ages.”
  • In the 5th century, Germanic invaders overran the western half of the Roman Empire.
  • Europe developed an agricultural economy with a decentralized political order in which political authority was invested in local and regional governments.
invasions of western europe1
Invasions of Western Europe
  • After the fall of the Roman Empire in the west in 476 B.C.E. Germanic people gradually displaced Roman authority.
  • The Visigoths conquered Spain, the Ostrogoths and then the Lombards dominated Italy.
  • The Burgundians settled in southern and western Gaul.
  • The Burgundians were the most powerfully influential of the Germanic groups.
  • They developed an agricultural-based decentralized society which shifted the center of gravity from Italy to France.
invasions of western europe2
Invasions of Western Europe
  • The Germanic invaders who stormed Rome could not read or write.
  • Level of learning sank.
  • Few people were literate except priests and church officials.
  • Knowledge of Greek was almost lost.
  • As German-speaking people mixed with the Roman population, Latin changed.
  • Different dialects developed as new words and phrases became part of everyday speech.
  • By the 800’s, French, Spanish and other Roman languages had evolved from Latin.
  • The development of various languages mirrored the continued breakup of a once-unified empire.
germanic kingdoms emerge
Germanic Kingdoms Emerge
  • In the years between 400 and 600 small Germanic kingdoms replaced Roman provinces.
  • The borders of those kingdoms changed often with war.
  • During this time of political chaos, the church provided order and security.
germanic kingdoms emerge1
Germanic Kingdoms Emerge
  • Family ties and personal loyalty, rather than citizenship in a public state, held Germanic society together.
  • Germanic peoples lived in small communities that were governed by unwritten rulers and traditions.
  • Every Germanic chief led a band of warriors who had pledged their loyalty to him.
  • Germanic warriors felt no obligation to a king they did not know.
  • Also, they would not obey an official sent to collect taxes.
germanic kingdoms emerge2
Germanic Kingdoms Emerge
  • In the Roman province of Gaul (France and Switzerland), a Germanic people called the Franks held power.
  • The leader of the Franks, Clovis, brought Christianity to the region.
  • When he converted, the Church in Rome welcomed his conversion.
  • By 511, Clovis had united the Franks into one kingdom.
germanic peoples adopt christianity
Germanic Peoples Adopt Christianity
  • By 600, the Church, with the help of Frankish rulers, had converted many Germanic peoples.
  • These new converts settled in Rome’s former lands.
  • Missionaries also spread Christianity.
  • To adapt to rural conditions the Church built religious communities called monasteries.
  • Christian men called monks gave up their possessions and devoted their lives to God in these monasteries.
germanic peoples adopt christianity1
Germanic Peoples Adopt Christianity
  • Around 520, an Italian monk named Benedict wrote a book describing the strict, practical rules for monasteries.
  • Benedict’s sister, Scholastica, headed a convent and adapted the same rule for women.
  • Poverty, chastity, and obedience became prime virtues for monks and their religious sisters.
  • Monasteries also became Europe’s best-educated communities.
  • Monks opened schools, maintained libraries, and copied books.
papal power spreads under gregory
Papal Power Spreads Under Gregory
  • In 590, Gregory I, also called Gregory the Great became Pope.
  • As head of the church in Rome, Gregory broadened the authority of the pope’s office, beyond its spiritual role.
  • Under Gregory, the papacy became political ruler and the pope’s palace was the center of Roman government.
  • Gregory used church money to raise armies, repair roads, and help the poor.
  • According to Gregory, the region from Italy to England and from Spain to Germany fell under his responsibility.
  • This ideas of a church kingdom, ruled by a pope, would be a central theme of the Middle Ages.
germanic kingdoms emerge3
Germanic Kingdoms Emerge
  • The Franks controlled the largest and strongest of Europe’s kingdoms.
  • By 700, a mayor of the royal household and estates became more powerful than the king.
  • Charles Martel extended the Franks’ reign and defeated Muslim raiders from Spain.
  • Charles Martel’s victory against Muslim raiders made him a Christian hero.
charlemagne becomes emperor
Charlemagne Becomes Emperor
  • Martel’s descendants established the Carolingian Dynasty which ruled from 751 to 987.
  • Charles, who was known as Charlemagne, or Charles the Great, ruled the kingdom.
  • Charlemagne conquered new lands to the south and east and spread Christianity in the process.
  • Charlemagne reunited western Europe for the first time since the Roman Empire.
  • In 800, Charlemagne crushed an attack on the pope, so Pope Leo III crowned him emperor.
the beginnings of feudalism
The Beginnings of Feudalism
  • Charlemagne limited power of the nobles.
  • He sent out royal agents to make sure powerful landholders governed counties fairly.
  • He kept a close watch on management of huge estates.
  • He opened a palace school and ordered monasteries to open schools to train future monks and priests.
  • The central authority broke down which led to a new system of governing and landholding called feudalism.
invaders attack western europe
Invaders Attack Western Europe
  • After Charlemagne’s death, internal disunity and external invasions brought an end to the Carolingian empire.
  • Charlemagne’s heir, his son Louis, had three sons who fought and divided the empire into three kingdoms.
  • From 800 to 1000 invasions destroyed the Carolingian Empire.
invaders attack western europe1
Invaders Attack Western Europe
  • The Vikings who came from Scandinavia (Denmark, Norway, and Sweden) were a Germanic people who worshipped warlike gods.
  • Viking ships held 300 warriors who took turns rowing the ship’s 72 oars.
  • Viking ships could travel in creeks that were three feet deep.
  • Vikings were warriors, traders, farmers and explorers.
  • They traveled to not only western Europe, but also Russia, Constantinople and even the north Atlantic.
  • As the Vikings accepted Christianity, they stopped raiding monasteries.
  • As a result of a warming trend in Scandinavia, more Vikings resorted to farming.
invaders attack western europe2
Invaders Attack Western Europe
  • The Magyars, a group of nomadic peoples from what is now Hungary, invaded western Europe in the late 800’s.
  • The Muslims, from their stronghold in North Africa, attacked what is now Italy and Spain.
  • The invasions by Vikings, Magyars, and Muslims caused widespread disorder and suffering.
the establishment of regional authorities
The Establishment of Regional Authorities
  • The Carolingian empire was no match for the Muslims, Magyars, and Vikings.
  • In England, smaller kingdoms established by the Angles and the Saxons were led by King Alfred to conquer Danish kingdoms on the north of the island.
  • In Germany, King Otto of Saxony led the right against the Magyar invasion, forming the basis for German identity, and even earning the title of Holy Roman Emperor
  • France devolved into a region of small principalities run by counts and other subordinates of the decaying Carolingian rulers.
  • The Vikings established their own settlements in northern France.
  • The end of the invasions and the establishment of a stable, decentralized political order laid the foundation for social, economic, and cultural development in western Europe.
feudalism in western europe
Feudalism in Western Europe
  • The feudal system was based on rights and obligations.
  • In exchange for military protection and other services, a lord or landowner granted land called a fief.
  • The person receiving a fief was called a vassal.
  • The structure of feudal society was much like a pyramid.
    • King
    • Vassals – wealthy landowners
    • Knights – horsemen who defended their lords’ lands in exchange for fiefs.
    • Landless peasants who worked fields.
  • Serfs, not fully free nor fully slave, cultivated land owned by the lords in exchange for protection and small plots of land to cultivate.
  • Serfs usually had the right to work land pass it along to their offspring as long as they fulfilled their obligations to the landlords.
  • Serfs’ duties included working the lords’ land, planting and harvesting, returning a portion of the bounty from their own crops, s well as weaving, milling, building, sewing, or brewing s the lord required.
the knight
The Knight
  • By the 1100’s, a code of behavior began to arise.
  • High ideals guided warriors’ actions.
  • Knights were expected to display courage in battle and loyalty to their lord.
  • The Code of Chivalry was a complex set of ideals that demanded a knight fight bravely in defense of three masters, i.e. his feudal lord, his heavenly lord, and his chosen lady.
  • Many songs and poems were written about a knight’s love for his lady.
  • Troubadours were traveling poet-musicians who traveled to castles and courts of Europe.
social classes in western europe
Social Classes in Western Europe
  • Social classes were well defined.
    • Those who fought: nobles and knights
    • Those who prayed – men and women of the Church
    • Those who worked – peasants
  • In Europe, the vast majority of the people were peasants.
  • Most peasants were serfs, people who could not lawfully leave the place where they were born.
the manor system
The Manor System
  • The manor was the lord’s estate.
  • The manor system was an economic system.
  • The manor system rested on a set of rights and obligations between lord and serfs.
  • The lord provided serfs with housing, farmland and protection from bandits.
  • In return, serfs tended the lord’s lands, cared for his animals, and performed other tasks.
  • Peasant women shared in the farm work with their husbands.
  • Local small markets for goods and services not easily manufactured on the manors developed around regional monasteries and cathedrals.
  • A manor covered only a few squares miles of land.
  • The manor was a self-sufficient community.
  • The serfs and peasants produced everything they needed for daily life.
the economy of early and medieval europe
The Economy of Early and Medieval Europe
  • By the early middle ages in western Europe, Trade had slowed with the disintegration of cities and transportation infrastructure, and with repeated invasions of the Germanic peoples, the Muslims, the Magyars, and the Vikings.
  • By the tenth century CE, political stability, led to a renewed trading relationship with the eastern hemisphere.
the economy of early and medieval europe1
The Economy of Early and Medieval Europe
  • The advent of the moldboard plow, the construction of watermills, and the development of a useful horse collar, allowed cultivators to put more land to use and to experiment with new crops and crop rotation systems.
  • There was sufficient agricultural surplus to support life on the manor and small local communities but not enough surplus to support large urban centers.
  • Local markets and peddlers traded from settlement to settlement, bringing goods from the east to the small markets of western Europe.
  • By 1000 C.E. new crops such as hard durum rice, spinach, eggplants, lemons, oranges, and melons all made their way west to Europe.
the economy of early and medieval europe2
The Economy of Early and Medieval Europe
  • In the North Sea and Baltic Sea, maritime trade continued to grow.
  • The Norsemen, descendents of earlier Viking invaders, established ports from Russia to Ireland.
  • These ports linked Europe with the borders of the Islamic world.
  • Silver traded from the Abbasid empire for European honey, fish, and furs, was the principal source of minted coins in early medieval Europe.
the economy of early and medieval europe3
The Economy of Early and Medieval Europe

The adoption of Roman Christianity, finalized by the conversion of the Frankish king, Clovis, ensured western Europe would inherit crucial cultural elements from Rome, including language and institution. The Franks and the Roman church found benefits to both church and state through their relationship. For the Franks, close connections to the church provided an educated workforce for their bureaucracy and legitimacy for their growing empire. For the Church, the Franks, especially Charlemagne, helped to convert reluctant pagans, especially the Lombards and Saxons, to Roman Christianity.

the papcy
The Papcy

Strong papal leadership also contributed to the growth and power of Roman Christianity. The Great Schism of East and West in 1054 permanently forged separate identities for the Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox churches. Pope Gregory I ensured the survival of the Roman Catholic church and the city Rome by: (1) consistently asserting papal primacy—the idea that the Bishop of Rome was also the ultimate authority in the Christian church, (2) emphasizing the sacraments, especially penance and thus the need for an educated clergy, (3) promoting an active missionary movement especially in England, France, and Germany, and (4) promoting monasticism as a way to serve God and church.