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Medieval Period (1066-1485) Beginnings. 1066 Battle of Hastings/Norman Conquest Normans are the Scandinavian pirates who had obtained land in northwest France. Led by William, Duke of Normandy (William the Conqueror) Defeated the Anglo-Saxons led by Harold

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medieval period 1066 1485 beginnings

Medieval Period (1066-1485)Beginnings

1066 Battle of Hastings/Norman Conquest

Normans are the Scandinavian pirates who had obtained land in northwest France.

Led by William, Duke of Normandy (William the Conqueror)

Defeated the Anglo-Saxons led by Harold

William becomes King William I of England

Society underwent great changes

Domesday Book (1086: a record of all land ownership in England for taxing purposes

First centralized government

The language became a blend of Anglo-Saxon and French

structure of medieval england
Structure of Medieval England
  • Class System (Early Medieval Period)
  • A person was born into a certain class & spent entire life in that same caste no matter how he/she worked


Lesser lords/Knights/Soldiers



Feudalism: Became the European social, economic, and political system

    • Land owned by William I and divided among nobleman/barons
      • No single man was given too much land: land=power
    • Lesser lords (knights/soldiers) would pledge their wealth and services to overlords. In return, the overlord would provide the use of the land
    • Serfs/peasants were bound to the land
      • Attached to a feudal manor which would be run by knights
      • Thought they were obligated due to religious duties
    • First all feudal manors were farms, but gradually they became ranches for herding sheep
      • Many became millers because of wool production
  • Women were expected to be subservient to their men
    • Women’s social status determined by father
    • Peasant women characterized by rounds of childbearing, housework, and field labor
the code of chivalry
The Code of Chivalry
  • Chivalry: A code of honor, manners, and bravery
  • Feudalism and knighthood brought chivalry to England
  • All knights aspired to be…
    • Honorable
    • Courteous
    • Generous
    • Brave
    • Skillful in battle
    • Respectful to women
    • Helpful to the weak
  • It was this Romantic ideal that affected the literature of the time
    • By 1300’s chivalry was dead, but it was still valued by influential writers
  • The use of gunpowder and the development of the long bow brought an end to knighthood
development of cities
Development of Cities
  • By the 1300’s, cities had become bustling centers of trade
    • Led to the decline of feudal powers
    • Middle class developed as a new trade/merchant class forms in cities
the medieval church
The Medieval Church
  • Roman Catholic Church
    • Everyone was Roman Catholic
    • Infighting between regular clergy and the secular clergy
      • Secular clergy recognized need to reform due to overwhelming corruption
  • The church was the chief center of learning
    • Church controlled libraries, publishing, schools
    • Latin was the language of the church, therefore the language of all educated persons
  • Crusades (began 1095)
    • Military expeditions undertaken by knights (via the Pope)to recapture Jerusalem from the Turks (Muslims)
    • Knights returning brought back knowledge of Arabic numerals, algebra and Arab medicine, which was much more advanced than European
medieval monarchies
Medieval Monarchies
  • Norman Empire began to decline near the end of the 12th century
    • 1204 France defeats Normans and drives them from N. France
  • Eight House of Plantagenet kings
    • Henry II (1154-1189)
      • Desire to control Catholic church led to the murder of Thomas a’ Becket, Archbishop of Canterbury
    • Richard I “The Lion-hearted” (1189-1199)
      • Fought in the crusades, absent for majority of reign
      • Known as the model of a true knight
    • John (1199-1216)
      • Weak king
      • In 1215, forced to sign the Magna Carta by his barons
        • Formal apology & could not raise taxes without the barons’ consent

Three House of Lancaster kings (1399-1461)

    • Henry IV, Henry V, Henry VI
    • Continued the Hundred Years War (with France)
      • Fought in attempt for England to keep lost French lands (Normandy)
  • War of the Roses (1455-1485)
    • Civil War between the royal houses of Lancaster and York
      • Symbol of Lancaster was red rose
      • Symbol of York was white rose
    • Richard Plantagenet, the 3rd Duke of York, deposed Henry VI for losses sustained in Hundred Years War
    • In 1461, Henry VI defeated by Edward IV and Yorks take control

Three House of York kings (1461-1485)

    • Edward V “The uncrowned king” (1483)
      • Only 12 years old when he becomes king
    • Richard III
      • Edward’s uncle. Has Edward and his brother locked in the Tower of London so he could become king
    • Richard III defeated by Henry Tudor, Duke of Richmond, at the Battle of Bosworth Field
      • Henry VII crowned king of England which ushers in the era of the Tudor monarchy
        • Considered the end of the Medieval Period
the black death
The Black Death
  • 1348-1349 outbreak decimates 1/3 of England’s population
  • Spread by fleas on rats
  • Promoted by the despicably dirty city conditions
the medieval language
The Medieval Language
  • 1066 in crucial date because from that date on, French was the language of the ruling classes
    • Latin was the language of the church and all the formal manuscripts
  • Change for Old English to Middle English is difficult to explain
    • With the Norman conquest came changes in spelling, grammar, and vocabulary
    • 10,000 French words added to the language
  • Approximately 1450 standard English emerged
medieval literature
Medieval Literature
  • Different types of literature
    • Allegory: the use of extended metaphor, symbol, or personification to communicate a hidden meaning
    • Miracle Play (aka Mystery Play): Developed by the church to instruct the illiterate masses in the scriptures and the extraordinary power exhibited by saints
    • Morality Play: Allegorical dramas to teach the masses lessons
    • Romance: Tales of chivalric adventure, in verse or prose, which blend chivalry, love, magic, and marvels, Sir Gawain
    • Satire: Work in verse or prose aiming to expose and, sometimes correct, personal, social, or spiritual follies or vices. Canterbury Tales