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The Medieval Period 1066-1485 and Arthurian Legends. Land and The Feudal System. William “the Conquerer ” and the Normans invade and take over Anglo-Saxon lands -- Feudalism began

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land and the feudal system
Land and The Feudal System
  • William “the Conquerer” and the Normans invade and take over Anglo-Saxon lands -- Feudalism began
  • Feudalism: no one owned land independently but only as a vassal of an overlord who in turn owed allegiance either to some great noble or to the king.
  • Inventory of all property (land, animals, etc.) in “Domesday Book” to avoid disputes

Answer Question #1

the medieval church
The Medieval Church
  • Society had a common set of beliefs – all united under the Church
  • Language of the Church = Latin, which became the language of the educated (all religious members were educated)
  • No separation of Church and State – all people were loyal to the King and the Church
  • Church prospered by teaching, writing, translating, copying and distributing literature about the church

Answer Question #2

medieval life
Medieval Life
  • Most people lived in the country and were attached to a feudal manor –
    • worked on lands or with herds of the lord of the manor to whom they owed their allegiance
  • Production of wool led to merchant class
    • Merchants developed “gilds” which regulated prices and standards for various professions

Answer Question #3

creation of arthurian tales
Creation of Arthurian Tales
  • Tales were created to fill a psychological need for stability, roots, and mystique for the people
  • They provided entertainment & moral ideals
  • Also, most importantly, for the new Norman ruler, King Henry II

Answer Question #4

involvement of king henry ii
Involvement of King Henry II
  • When King Henry II assumed the throne, he wanted to prove a non-existent link with England’s historical roots
  • He traced his roots back to Arthur and they solidified the connection by naming his first son Arthur
  • Thus, he provided a successor to the legend, but young Arthur died

Answer Question #5

the history of king arthur
The History of King Arthur
  • King Arthur was said to have been a great Saxon king from the 6th century who was a Christian
  • He unified the tribal kingdoms & led his people against the invading Saxons
  • He IS an historical figure who had fighting success, but maybe not an actual king
  • He was born around 470 and died around 550 somewhere in the Southwest of England

Answer Question #6

the grave of king arthur
The Grave of King Arthur
  • King Henry II needed proof of Arthur’s death and in 1190 at Glastonbury Abbey an engraved slab of stone & a sword were found
  • Nine feet deeper a coffin with a skeleton of a tall man with a damaged skull was found as well as a skeleton of Guenivere.
  • By re-entombing the skeletons Arthur “now officially belonged to the Norman rulers”

Answer Question #7

arthurian romances
Arthurian Romances
  • Definition: a group of Medieval tales in prose and verse concerning King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table
  • Court known for its prowess and culture, peace & stability

Answer Question #8

arthurian romances1
Arthurian Romances
  • Fact or Fiction?
    • Through storytelling that mixed mythological, legendary, and romantic elements Arthur has become largely fictitious
    • There is little, if any, real evidence from his day

Answer Question #9

arthurian legends elements
Arthurian Legends: Elements
  • Courtly Love
    • Lover’s willingness to serve his lady, no matter what feats of bravery and endurance he might be required to perform
    • Knights were expected to abide by the “rules of courtly love”

Answer Question #10

arthurian legends elements1
Arthurian Legends: Elements
  • Chivalry
    • Kings & Lords had groups of loyal knights ready to serve them and protect them
    • Knights had to be: physically strong, experienced horsemen, and well trained in the use of weapons
    • After the threat of invasion diminished, the moral qualities of the Knights changed

Answer Question #11

arthurian legends elements2
Arthurian Legends: Elements
  • Chivalry, cont.
    • The moral qualities of Knights were:
      • absolutely loyal to the Lord
      • dutiful in defending those weaker than themselves
      • they always had to fight fair
      • always show courage
      • swear to defend all women against unfair oppression and uphold their honor in every circumstance
      • believe in glory of a good name
      • had to make good on his word
      • be unfailingly polite and courteous

Answer Question #12

arthurian legends elements3
Arthurian Legends: Elements
  • Themes & Motifs to watch for:
    • Courtly love
    • Danger of disguise
    • Woman as downfall
    • Chivalry
    • Brutal Violence
    • Human nature vs. human beliefs/codes
    • Mystical occurrences

Answer Question #13