The Norman Conquest • The Battle of Hastings in 1066 • King Harold of England was beaten by William of Normandy • Normans were of Viking and French ancestry • Full take-over, not just a temporary invasion
Norman Invasion cont. • The dual realms of England and Normandy became the most powerful force in Europe. • Melding of the Norman and Anglo-Saxon cultures
Land and the Feudal System • Anglo-Saxon land was taken away and given to those who fought for William the Conqueror. • No land was owned independently. • Chain of loyalties, with rent paid primarily in military service to the overlord or king.
The Doomsday Book • William had this book inventory all of the land holdings in England and their claims. • Taxes were now based on property, whereas before they were equal for all.
The Medieval Church • The Medieval Church helped to create one homogenous society with a common culture and set of beliefs. • Latin, the language of the church, became the language of the educated. • Religious men were still predominant in collecting and writing manuscripts.
Medieval Life • Most people lived in the country on a feudal manor where they worked their own fields and the lands of the lord of the manor to whom they owed allegiance. • Farming changed to herding as English wool from sheep became popular.
Growth of Cities • Due to herding, cottages became mills. • Towns in the north expanded due to the production of wool. • A new merchant class grew. • Guilds were created to assure fair wages.
English Law • Common Law • Common to the whole country and all its people rather than to certain classes of people • Developed as society developed • Law of Primogeniture • Firstborn son inherits his father’s titles, estates, lands, etc.
Medieval Law cont. • Ordeals • People’s innocence or guilt was settled by giving them tasks. If they were successful, they were judged innocent. • The pope found this law “irrational” in 1215 • Magna Carta • Limited the king’s taxing powers and foreshadowed the right of trial by jury.
The Crusades • The first crusade was in 1095, proclaimed by Pope Urban II, to rescue Jerusalem from the Turks. • Several more followed. • All ended poorly in a tangle of raiding, looting and power politics. • Through these travels Europeans were exposed to eastern mathematics and medicine. • Chivalry as an ideal.
The Hundred Years’ War • England never fully relinquished its lands to the Normans, thus resulting in a series of wars ranging from 1337 to 1453. • English longbows were the weapon that most impacted their efficiency.
The Wars of the Roses • The Black Death killed 1/3 of the population in 1348. • Scarcity of labor but burdensome taxes • Peasants revolted • Civil war between the House of York, whose emblem was the white rose, vs. the house of Lancaster whose emblem was a red rose.
Medieval Literature • Medieval romances consisted of tales of chivalry. • Autobiography • Travel writing • Devotional writing (lives of the saints)
Folk Poetry and Drama • The ballad • Songs sung at alehouses and around firesides • Rarely written down • Flourished during the 14th and 15th centurires but not published until the 18th century • Miracle Plays based on the lives of saints • Morality Plays • Virtues and vices
Geoffrey Chaucer1340? - 1400 • Born into an upper, middle-class family • He was a court favorite and served as a soldier, fighting in France • Held many diplomatic positions throughout his life. • One of his most important contributions was bringing the English language to literature.
The Canterbury Tales • The tale brings together characters from all classes. • Each character shares a tale on the way to a pilgrimage in Canterbury. • Ideally Chaucer had intended to have each character tell two tales on the way and two more on the way home, but he died before this was accomplished.
Chaucer cont. • The Canterbury Tales provides our best picture of life in 14th century England • Chaucer shows a profound understanding of human motivation • Written in poetry rather than prose • Easy, informal vocabulary