Chapter 13: Middle Ages in Europe. The Middle Ages – def. medieval period in Europe lasting from 500 – 1500 A.D. Taking place as a result of the gradual decline of the Roman Empire Primary unifying force in Western Europe = Roman Catholic Church (THE church). The Middle Ages. How?
1. Classical heritage of Rome – Roman culture still important, even though in decline – giving way to Germanic culture
2. Christian Beliefs – most of Western Europe, including more Germanic Tribes
3. Customs of Germanic Tribes – ex: oral tradition of song and language, no written language, violence and warfare
1. Disruption of Trade – frequent invasions caused trade to break down, causing a decline in cities and a lack of money in Western Europe
2. Downfall of Cities – cities were abandoned, lack of leadership
3. Population Shifts – people left cities for rural areas
4. Decline of Learning – invaders couldn’t read or write, Roman culture in decline, knowledge of Greek nearly disappeared, only literate people = monks/priests
5. Loss of a Common Language – different dialects of Latin gave rise to Romance languages
1. Roman authority declined, while church authority grew
2. Monasteries preserved Greco-Roman cultural achievements – monks were the few who could read and write = literate
3. Missionaries carried Christianity and Latin alphabet to Germanic tribes.
4. Clovis converted the Franks to Christianity
5. Pope Leo III anointed Charlemagne as the Holy Roman Emperor in 800 A.D.
6. Parish priests served religious and social needs of the people
1. Invaders destroyed Roman ability to protect people of Western Europe
2. people, in response to this lack of protection, entered into feudal agreements with land-holding lords who promised them protection
-had its own rigid class structure and self-sufficient economy