The Middle Ages: 1066 – 1485 Mr. Hudgens English 12CP
The End of Anglo-Saxon England • In October of 1066, Duke William of Normandy defeated the last of the Anglo-Saxon kings (King Harold) at the battle of Hastings. • Thus began the Norman (French) conquest of England. • Aside from having a bunch of Frenchies running things, England would be introduced to a new social system: Feudalism.
Kings, ruling large areas of land by “divine right” needed a system to keep control of their holdings. Similar to the “comitatus” of the Anglo-Saxon era, Feudal kings relied on their “lords” to help rule their lands. These lords would be given “fiefs” to manage in the name of the king Feudal Social System…
I Scratch Your Back… • In turn, the lord was expected to pay homage and fealty to the king. • Part of this would be providing troops for the king if the need arose. If the king could collect enough “shield money” than a standing army could be formed. • Some of these fiefdoms would, over time, become rather large and the lords would find themselves with the same problem as their kings.
Knights, etc. • To keep order within the fiefdom, the feudal lords would often enlist the service of a class of warriors called knights. • These knights would operate within a system of formalities called “chivalry” • Knights were honor bound to adhere to the code of chivalry in order to maintain their social status.
To fear God and maintain His Church To serve the liege lord in valor and faith To protect the weak and defenseless To give succor to widows and orphans To refrain from the wanton giving of offence To live by honor and for glory To despise pecuniary reward To fight for the welfare of all To obey those placed in authority To guard the honor of fellow knights To eschew unfairness, meanness and deceit To keep faith At all times to speak the truth To persevere to the end in any enterprise begun To respect the honor of women Never to refuse a challenge from an equal Never to turn the back upon a foe The Code of Chivalry
One of the ideals of chivalry was the concept of courtly love. Knights could be said to better themselves by actively pursuing and adoring a woman This adoration was supposed to be nonsexual. I said, “supposed to be.” According to the church, the ideal Christian was to remain celibate…even in marriage. Knights would often devote themselves to a woman publicly and wear colors that represented her. This was nice and everything, but it did women very little actual good. Chivalry and Courtly Love
The Rights of Medieval Women • This one’s easy. • There aren’t any. • Seriously. • Next slide, please.
Women’s Lot… • Almost 90% of women lived as farmers during the Middle Ages and would have lived very short, very harsh lives. • They were expected to serve their husbands. • If they worked outside the home, they could expect less pay for their work…shocking • Women were typically barred from the trade guilds. • Women could not: • Marry by choice • Divorce • Could not own property unless they were a widow • Could not inherit land if a brother existed • Could not own a business without special permission
So What Could They Do? • Have babies. • Producing males was of utmost importance. • Sadly, upwards of 20% of all women would die in childbirth doing just that. • Join a nunnery. • Some did it for God • Others did it as an escape. • They could earn rather high regard as nuns, largely due to their chastity • Apprenticeship • Women could apprentice • Often led to sexual abuse by their “master” or even to prostitution • Small Business • Women could run a small business out of her home selling her weaving, etc. • Medicine • Women couldn’t practice “medicine” per se, but some were very skilled midwives, etc. • Unfortunately, by the end of the Middle Ages, many of them were being burnt as witches
The Medieval Church • The Christian integration we saw during the Anglo-Saxon period would fully bloom in Medieval England. • During this time period (1095 – 1270), flexing its newfound might, the Christian church would launch a series of crusades to Christianize the heathen. • When Christians talk about heathens, they usually mean Muslims.
The Crusades • 1st Crusade • Launched in 1095 by Pope Urban II • Captured Jerusalem in 1099. • It was a great success for some: Jews and Muslims were massacred; women were raped. • 2nd Crusade • Launched in 1144 and was quickly defeated • 3rd Crusade • 1187. Yeah, they lost, too.
More Crusades • 4th Crusade • 1202…again, they fight over Jerusalem and lose • Children’s Crusade • Children, yes, children marching against the Muslims. • Of the 40K present most were killed or sold into slavery • 5th Crusade • 1217; Failed • 6th Crusade • 1221; Partial success • Regained partial control of Jerusalem (split with Muslims) for ~20 uneasy years • 7th Crusade • 1248; Failed
Yet More Crusades • 8th Crusade • 1270; Failed • 9th Crusade • 1271; Failed • There were various other Crusades to various parts of Europe and the Middle East. Most were largely unsuccessful. • The long term impact is debatable, but usually a couple of results stand out: • Long lasting ill will and resentment of Western Christians by Muslims in the Middle East who still view them as politically motivated acts of western aggression, which it probably was • Increased trade to the Middle East • Mixing of cultures
What’s the Point? • The point is that even after the Great Schism in 1054, ALL western Christians—even the Kings of Europe—were under the auspices the Christian (Catholic) Church and the Pope in Rome. • That means the Pope was heavily influential and could pretty much do whatever he liked. • But that doesn’t mean the kings liked it…especially, King Henry II of England.
Thomas a Becket • By the Pope’s appointment, Thomas a Becket was the Archbishop of Canterbury • He was an argumentative cuss (like Henry) and often sided with the Pope against King Henry II. • King Henry was annoyed by this and one day wished aloud, “Gee, I wish someone would kill that son-of-a-Bishop.”
So they did… • Actually, he supposedly insulted his court and then said, “Who will rid me of this meddlesome priest?” • I guess when you’re a king, people take you seriously, so four knights broke into his church, and split his skull with their swords.
Be Careful What You Wish For • Becket’s murder was wildly unpopular. • Not long after, miracles were reported at Becket’s grave and various other sites. • The martyr was quickly canonized and was revered for most of the Middle Ages. • King Henry would be forced to repent and walk through the streets of Canterbury while being flogged by 80 monks.
So What? • Geoffrey Chaucer’s Medieval masterpiece, The Canterbury Tales, is essentially the story of a pilgrimage to Becket’s tomb. • His tomb was a popular pilgrimage destination when most people were expected to make a pilgrimage. • In one year in the 15th century, over 100,000 people made the pilgrimage to Canterbury.
Why is Chaucer Such a Big Deal? • Before Chaucer came along, most serious writing was done in Latin or French. • With a few notable exceptions, Chaucer was the first English poet to successfully utilize the vernacular Middle English. • This, coupled with his ability to capture depth of character while sustaining a strict attention to meter and rhyme, places him securely with the likes of Shakespeare.
Further Development of English • Chaucer’s Middle English (1 of 5 common languages in England at the time) was the dominant form of English from the Norman invasion through the 15th century. • Middle English is certainly a descendent of Old English, but bears little resemblance to it. • Most traces of the old Germanic words and inflection are gone, instead replaced by the Norman. • This partially explains why modern English has so many words representing the same idea. • An example of M.E. is to the right
The English of Chaucer Whan that Aprill with his shoures sooteThe droghte of March hath perced to the roote,And bathed every veyne in swich licourOf which vertu engendred is the flour;Whan Zephirus eek with his sweete breethInspired hath in every holt and heethThe tendre croppes, and the yonge sonneHath in the Ram his halve cours yronne,And smale foweles maken melodye,That slepen al the nyght with open ye(So priketh hem Nature in hir corages);Thanne longen folk to goon on pilgrimages,And palmeres for to seken straunge strondes,To ferne halwes, kowthe in sondry londes;.
Canterbury Prologue, Cont’d… And specially from every shires ende Of engelond to caunterbury they wende The hooly blisful martir for to seke That hem hath holpen whan that they were seeke. Bifil that in that seson on a day, In southwerk at the tabard as I lay Redy to wenden on my pilgrymage To caunterbury with ful devout corage, At nyght was come into that hostelrye Wel nyne and twenty in a compaignye, Of sondry folk, by aventure yfalle In felaweshipe, and pilgrimes were they alle, That toward caunterbury wolden ryde. The chambres and the stables weren wyde, And wel we weren esed atte beste.
Canterbury Tales should be seen as an “estate satire” • There were three “estates” in the Middle Ages. • The Church • The Nobility • The peasantry • Women had their own “estates” • Maiden (virgin) • Wife • Widow
Estate Satire • Toward the end of the Middle Ages, the larger social estates were breaking down. • The mercantile class was emerging at this time. (Urban middle class) • The intellectual class was also developing. This was an offshoot of the church estate. However, the members of this new estate studied literature and were trained writers. They were not connected with the church.
Estate Satire • Chaucer was interested in criticising the various established estates and the emerging ones. No one was safe from his wit or critique.
Literary Devices Used by Chaucer • Characterization • Irony • Couplets • Imagery • Metaphors • Allusions • Personification
The 7 Deadly Sins Two types of sin: 1. Venial – relatively minor 2. Mortal – in danger of eternal damnation unless forgiven through contrition and confession The 7 Deadly Sins are mortal sins!!!!
7 Deadly Sins • Lust • Gluttony • Greed • Sloth • Wrath • Envy • Pride
The 7 Deadly Sins were balance by the 7 Holy Virtues • Chastity • Temperance • Charity • Diligence • Patience • Kindness • Humility
A word about physiognomy • A fun, but rather dubious way to determine a person’s character • Still, it was widely popular in Chaucer’s day. • We need to pay attention to the physical details Chaucer gives us about each character.
What’s this got to do with Chaucer? • By looking at what qualities Chaucer gives to each character, we can determine how to judge that character. • Be careful, though, Chaucer can insult with a smile.
The Black Death – • Raged in England from 1348-1350 • No one knew what caused it. Some doctors thought a “miasma” started it. • Symptoms included • Bulbos • High fever • Vomiting • Muscular pains
Black Death – Last Slide • Victims died in 2-4 days • 30 to 40% of England’s 5 to 6 million people died during this two year period. • Black death continued to break out in smaller waves for years afterward. • The result in England was a labor shortage which caused a break down of the estates.