Chapter 12 The Making of Europe and the World of the Byzantine Empire. The New Kingdoms of the Old Western Empire
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1. The Visigoths only weakly controlled Spain, having generated no loyalty to the crown. Consequently, when confronted by a Muslim invasion in 711, the Visigoths were easily defeated. A request for aid from Muslims in North Africa by one of the disaffected groups in Spain resulted in an invading force of only 12,000 men but once they came, the Muslims would not leave. By 718 the Muslim victory was complete.
2. Like the Visigoths in Spain, the OstrogothicKingdom of Italy was weak, lasting solely through the force of the personality of Theodoric (493-526). Although he ruled as a king, he was considered to be only a regent by the rulers of Constantinople. Byzantine armies of Justinian (527-565) conquered Italy between 535 and 554, driving the Ostrogoths from the land. The Byzantine victory was short lived as German Lombards from the north invaded Italy in 568 and conquered the northern and central regions of the peninsula. The Byzantines, however, were able to retain control of the area around Ravenna that served as the capital of the Italian lands still under Byzantine sovereignty.
3. The Visigoths and Ostrogoths had helped to destroy the Western Roman Empire but their ascendancy would not last long. On the other hand, the Frankish Kingdom would grow stronger over time. In part, this was accomplished due to the conversion of Clovis (481-511) around 500 to Christianity and the subsequent support of the bishops of Gaul and the pope. Clovis also extended his domain as far as the Pyrenees Mountains and made Paris his headquarters. The sons of Clovis conquered both the Burgundians in eastern Gaul and the Ostrogoths north of the Alps.
4. Roman abandonment of Britain in the fifth century opened the opportunity for the Angles and Saxons, a Germanic people from Denmark and northern Germany. They met resistance from the Celts who managed to retain control of the western Briton lands. The Germans eventually carved out small kingdoms throughout the island. Christian missionaries ultimately would convert the German invaders.
5. In 533-34 the forces of the Byzantine emperor Justinian gained North Africa as the emperor pursued an eventually unsuccessful attempt to reunite the Roman Empire.
1. Why were the various barbarian powers unable to maintain control over their conquered territories?
2. How important was the relationship struck by Clovis with Christianity?
The New Kingdoms of the Old Western Empire
1. Extending diagonally across northern Italy were the Papal States that were gained by the papacy when a Frankish army of King Pipin (751-768) defeated the Lombards. Significantly, the Franks would provide the Church with a dependable western ally to replace the Byzantines who had previously protected Rome from the Lombards.
2. In 773 the Lombards in northern Italy were again defeated, this time by the forces of Charlemagne (768-814). The victory established Charlemagne's control over the north of Italy.
3. Charlemagne invaded northern Spain in 778 to take advantage of feuds among the Muslims. Ultimately, the Franks drove the Muslims back to the Ebro River. Between the Ebro and the Pyrenees, he established and fortified the Spanish March as a bulwark against Muslim Spain.
4. Charlemagne's army expanded Frankish control into Bavaria in 788 and in 804 into Saxony after stubborn resistance and several campaigns. In both instances Christianity was extended as the German tribal leaders and their followers were converted, at least nominally.
5. With the eastern frontier under continual threat by the Avars, Asiatic nomads related to the Huns, and the Slavs, Charlemagne mounted six campaigns that almost eliminated the Avars. A military province in the valley of the Danube was set up to guard against any future activity from the eastern nomads. Called East Mark, it later was named Austrasia.
6. Aachen, centrally located in the north, was to be Charlemagne's new capital. The site was selected for its hot springs. The plan was to make the new city as glorious as Constantinople and Ravenna. It never matched the dreams and was abandoned after Charlemagne's death (814). Nevertheless, Charlemagne did succeed in establishing a palace school here. Among the learned men brought to Aachen was the English scholar Alcuin from York in Northumbria. Through the school and Alcuin, classic learning was kept alive.
7. In part, the empire collapsed after Charlemagne's death because it had become too large and unmanageable.
8. The death of Charlemagne in 814 brought to power his weak son Louis the Pious (814-840) who could not control the Frankish aristocrats. Louis's death in 840 resulted in his three sons fighting over their inheritances. Finally, they agreed to the Treaty of Verdun (843) that divided the Empire into three parts: Charles the Bald (840-877) received the west Frankish lands (the core of modern France); Lothar (840-855) the "Middle Kingdoms" extending from the North Sea to Italy; and Louis the German (840-876) the eastern lands (the core of modern Germany). Almost immediately, the "Middle Kingdom" broke up into petty principalities over which the other two kings fought.
1. How was Charlemagne able to create and maintain such a vast empire?
2. Why were the successors unable to maintain the empire Charlemagne had established?
3. What is role of Charlemagne in the rebirth of intellectual activity?
4. What were the relationships and the consequences of Charlemagne's dealings with the Church?
1. The Slavic people were of Indo-European stock, probably originating in present-day southeastern Poland and the western Ukraine. They divided into three groups: Western, Southern, and Eastern Slavs. The Western Slavs pushed into Poland and Bohemia where their contact with the Germanic kingdom resulted in not only the extension of political authority over them by the German emperor but also conversion to western Christianity.
2. The Southern Slavs came to occupy the Balkans where they eventually split between Roman Christianity (Croats) and eastern Christianity (Serbs).
3. The Eastern Slavs occupied present-day Ukraine and European Russia. The invasion of the Swedish Vikings, called Varangians, resulted in their eventual domination over the Slavs as they became involved in the Slavic civil wars. The Varangian contact with the Byzantine Empire led to the conversion of the region to eastern Christianity.
4. Kiev was the center of the union of east Slavic territories known as the principality of Kiev. Expansion of Kiev led to control over the eastern Slavs and ultimately encompassed the lands between the Baltic and Black Seas and the Danube and Volga Rivers.
5. The Bulgars were originally and Asiatic people who conquered much of the Balkan peninsula. Eventually the larger native Southern Slavic population absorbed them. By the ninth century they formed the largely Slavic Kingdom of Bulgaria.
1. What were the consequences of the Slavic expansion out of southeastern Poland and the western Ukraine?
World of the Slavs
1. Agriculturists had long ago learned that if a field was repeatedly planted productivity would fall as nutrients were robbed from the soil. Thus, fields were rotated throughout the planting seasons to give the soil a chance to recover. At any one time from a third to half of the fields lay fallow. Crops such as wheat and rye would be grown in the autumn field and peas, beans, and barley in the spring field. What was planted varied from year to year as crops were rotated.
2. The size of the manor varied. A large manor could cover several thousand acres while a small one would be slightly more than a hundred acres. A small manor would have no more than a dozen households while a large one might have as many as fifty families. The people were congregated into a village consisting of several one-room dirt floor huts in which, perhaps, a family of five would dwell. Around these dwellings were spaces large enough for vegetable gardens.
3. The lord'sdemesne that could consist of from a third to half of the arable land on the estate, was worked about three days of the week in return for lands to the peasant. The open fields were divided into strips of about an acre which were separated by narrow paths. The lack of fences permitted domesticated animals to roam freely in the winter to forage for food.
4. The nearby forest was of economic importance. In addition to providing timber for building and fuel, bark could be used to make rope, the resin for lighting, and the ash and lime for fertilizers. Moreover, the forest environs contained nuts, berries, and wild game (though this was usually reserved for the hunting of the lord). The pond and stream provided a source of water and food.
5. Peasants could be required to grind their grain in the lord’s mill and cook in the lord’s oven, both for a price.
6. Technological innovations such as the heavy plow, the shoulder collar for horses, metal horseshoes, and more efficient water and windmills contributed to a significant increase in the food supply. Between 500 and 1300 the European population grew from 25 million to more than 70 million. This was reversed in the fourteenth century when a colder and rainier climate caused harvests to shrink and prices to rise. Famine became a fact of life, complicated by the Black Death between 1348 and 1354.
1. In what respect was the manor a self-sustaining enterprise?
2. What was the relationship between the peasant on the manor and the lord?
3. What new innovations contributed to the increase of production? How did they do this?
A Medieval Manor
1. Ravenna was the capital of the western empire and from which the Ostrogothic king Theodoric (493-526) ruled as regent for the emperor in Constantinople.
2. The ease with which North Africa was gained in 533-34 led Emperor Justinian (527-565) to push on to Sicily and then into Italy where Naples, Rome, and Ravenna fell by 540. The campaigns continued another twelve years with the result that the Ostrogoths were driven north of the Alps and southern Spain was conquered.
3. Pressure upon the Byzantine Empire came from the north and east. Around 560 the Avars, Bulgars (mounted Asiatic nomads), and the Slavs (Indo-Europeans) pressed into the Balkans. When the northern frontier crumbled, the Bulgars succeeded in seizing control of the lower Danube valley by 679. Meanwhile, in the East the Persians forced the collapse of the frontier in 602. This was followed in 626 by the alliance of the Avars and the Persians to assault Constantinople. While the city was successful in resisting the onslaught, the attack so exhausted both sides that neither would be able to counter Muslim expansion later in the century.
1. How successful was Justinian in trying to rebuild the Roman Empire?
2. What were the consequences of expansion for the Byzantine Empire?
The Byzantine Empire in the Time of Justinian
1. In 1071 at Manzikert in Asia Minor a mercenary army of Seljuk Turks in the service of the Arabs defeated a Greek army. The Turks soon occupied much of Asia Minor as well as Jerusalem. Fearful, Emperor Alexius I Comnenus (1081-1118) of Constantinople issued a call for help to Pope Urban II (1088-1099). In 1095 at the Council of Clermont, Urban challenged Christians to begin a holy war to recover the Holy Land. The initial response was a ragtag rabble under the leadership of Peter the Hermit and Walter the Penniless. As it made its way to Constantinople, the Peasants' Crusade terrorized the people of the Balkans. Alexis wisely ushered the peasant crusaders on to Asia Minor where the Turks massacred them.
2. Coming primarily from France and Germany, the armies of the FirstCrusade (1096-1099) converged on Constantinople with several thousand cavalry and perhaps 10,000 infantry. During three years of campaigning, Antioch fell in 1098 and after a five-week siege in 1099 so too did Jerusalem. In both cases, the Muslim and Jewish inhabitants were massacred. The region as a whole was divided into the principality of Antioch, the counties of Tripoli and Edessa, and the kingdom of Jerusalem. Antioch, Edessa, and Tripoli were all held as fiefs under the rule of the kingdom of Jerusalem.
3. With narrow strips of land and a small population, the Christian hold was precarious. It was only a matter of time until the Muslims attacked. When they did, Edessa fell in 1144. Leading the reinforcements of the Second Crusade were King Louis VII of France and Emperor Conrad III of Germany. It failed. In 1187 the sultan Saladin captured Jerusalem.
4. The Third Crusade brought together the three major monarchs of Europe: Richard I, the Lionhearted, of England, Philip II Augustus of France, and Frederick Barbarossa of Germany. Barbarossa took a land route in 1190 but drowned crossing a river in Asia Minor. His army disbanded before reaching the Holy Land. Philip traveled by land in 1191 to Genoa and then by sea to Acre. He was joined shortly by Richard sailing from Normandy. Together the forces captured Acre but Philip and Richard quarreled and Philip returned to France, leaving his troops in the Holy Land. Although unable to recapture Jerusalem, Richard did confirm peace with Saladin in 1192 and safe conduct for Christians to Jerusalem.
5. In the Fourth Crusade, Venetians induced Crusaders to attack Christian Zara, a trading rival. Captured in 1202, the Crusaders turned to Constantinople that was sacked in 1203. A year later, the Latin Empire of Constantinople was created, lasting until 1261.
6. The Fifth Crusade fruitlessly attacked Acre and then turned its efforts on Egypt where Damietta was placed under siege in 1218. After its fall in 1219, Christians turned to the Nile Delta but were forced to flee when the Egyptians broke the dams in the canals. Damietta had to be surrendered for a safe retreat.
7. On the Sixth Crusade, Frederick II of Germany negotiated in 1229 an agreement with the sultan for the restoration of Christian Jerusalem, Bethlehem, Nazareth, and several towns in Palestine. In return, he promised not to aid Crusaders warring in Egypt. The fall of Acre in 1291 ended the Crusader states.
1. What were the objectives of the Crusades and why did they ultimately fail?
The Early Crusades