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The Middle Ages. Europe tries to find its way in the World. The Middle Ages. Aye. Fight and you may die. Run and you'll live, at least a while.

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The middle ages

The Middle Ages

Europe tries to find its way in the World

The middle ages1
The Middle Ages


Fight and you may die.

Run and you'll live, at least a while.

And, dying in your beds, many years from now, would you be willing to trade all the days from this day to that for one chance – just one chance – to come back here and tell our enemies, that they may take our lives,

but they'll never take our freedom!

The middle ages2
The Middle Ages

  • Braveheart

What were the middle ages
What were the Middle Ages?

  • It is the period of history in Europe that lasted from about 500 to 1500 C.E.

  • It is generally acknowledged that the Middle Ages started in 476 CE after the fall of Rome and ended about 1500 with the Renaissance

  • The Middle Ages are often broken up into three periods

    • Early Middle Ages 500-1000

    • High Middle Ages 1000-1300

    • Late Middle Ages 1300-1500

The early middle ages
The Early Middle Ages

  • Characteristics

    • Extreme political decentralization

    • Overall backwardness from the culture of Rome

    • Roman Catholic Church began to control the lives of the people

High middle ages 1000 1300
High Middle Ages 1000-1300

  • Characteristics

    • The development of strong nations and countries

    • Stronger economies

    • Growth of cultural and technology knowledge

    • Europeans develop a sense of one interactive culture and begin to become a single civilization

    • The Roman Catholic Church unites all people of western Europe (common cultural bond)

Late middle ages 1300 1500
Late Middle Ages 1300-1500

  • Characteristics

    • Constant warfare both at home and aboard

    • The Black Death kills off a large segment of the population

      • Causes some economic disruption

    • Some groups begin to have issues with the Roman Catholic Church

    • The Renaissance begins which brings both intellectual and cultural achievements to Europe

Why did it start
Why did it start?

  • The Fall of Rome

    • As seen with the Byzantine Empire in 300 CE the Roman Empire split

    • Overextension in the west made it hard to

      • Maintain military strength

      • Maintain political control

      • Maintain control over such a diverse population

    • The slave population in Rome was 2 slaves to every 1 Roman

Why did it start1
Why did it start

  • Multiple Invasions

    • The Western Roman empire was besieged by Asiatic and Germanic tribes

      • Saxons

      • Angles

      • Goths

      • Huns

      • Magyars

    • In 410 CE the Goths attacked Rome

    • Again in 476 CE the Goths took over Rome and remained in control of Rome and what was left of the Empire

Why did it start2
Why did it start

  • Role of the Barbarians

    • Some groups settled permanently in areas once occupied by Rome

    • They set up fractioned governments and kingdoms

    • Most of these kingdoms were unsophisticated and failed to promote cultural achievements

  • However

    • Most of these tribes became less nomadic and more civilized and began to make up the growing population of Europe

The early middle ages1
The Early Middle Ages

  • Decentralized Government

    • Because of the many different tribes who now divided up the former Roman Empire there was no one strong central leader of tribe who could control the former empire

    • Many of the rulers found that they lacked the

      • Money, military, and power to effectively maintain control

    • This decentralization lead to Feudalism

The early middle ages2
The Early Middle Ages

Retainers guarantee

to govern, dispense laws

and justice, crops would

be grown and the land


Monarchs divided

their territory

giving control to

trustworthy retainers


Retainers divided the

land up into smaller

pieces of land



  • Lords or Monarchs would award land to loyal followers

  • The follower had to agree to administer the land, protect the land, and ensure economic productivity


The Manor

The basic landholding


The lords manor or

Castle was the main


The land was small

enough for the lord to


Surround the Manor were

the fields, village and


Labor the peasants ran the manor system

Serf was from the Latin servus or slave

Serfs were tied to the land and could not leave


  • Out of Feudalism came serfdom

    • It was a way of getting peasants to conduct the labor

    • Ensured a steady food supply

    • Kept the lower classes under control of the lord


  • Most European feudal rulers subjected peasants to serfdom

  • The serf was tied to the land

  • Serfs could not change their profession or leave the land without permission of the lord

  • It was form of unfree agricultural labor similar to slavery


  • Most of the fruits of a serfs work went to the lord

  • A percentage of the crops and livestock had to be turned over to the lord

  • Serfs also had to spend time during the year building roads, castles, clearing woodlands

  • Serfs had to pay to use the lords property like the mills, ovens, presses

  • In times of war serfs also had to fight as foot soldiers

Class question
Class Question

  • If the life of a serf was so harsh what are some reasons why they did not overthrow the lord?

Birth of the noble class
Birth of the Noble Class

  • Soon large retainers of lords began to establish an elite or noble class

    • Dukes

    • Earls

    • Counts

    • Barons

  • This noble class provided political leadership and stability

Birth of the noble class1
Birth of the Noble Class

  • One of the main functions of the Nobles was to provide military service

  • Nobles were required to supply foot soldiers recruited by the nobles

  • Nobles were also required to supply an elite fighting force of cavalrymen or knights

Birth of the noble class2
Birth of the Noble Class

  • Nobles formed this knight fighting force

  • It was expensive to train, equip and maintain such a force.

  • Only nobles could afford to be or maintain such a fighting force

Knighthood chivalry

  • Knights were to be virtuous warriors

  • Gave their loyalty to the lord

  • Fought fairly

  • Champion of the lower class

  • Gentleman towards women

  • Inspired by Christian principles

  • Be in control of most violent behavior

  • This was chivalry

  • Songs and legends like King Arthur instructed knights on how to act.

Knighthood chivalry1

  • In reality

    • Knights often broke many of the codes of chivalry

      • Knights would often plunder villages or areas conquered

      • Knights would often rape women

      • Knights would often conduct brutal and violent acts on the battlefield

      • Knights would often change their loyalty depending on how much they could be paid

      • Knights sometimes ran from the battlefield when things went bad

    • Chivalry was more often a myth then reality


  • Feudalism began to take hold in the 700’s in France and western Germany

  • By the 11th Century most European countries adopted Feudalism

  • Serfdom would outlast Feudalism. While many national states would begin to grow after the Enlightenment many of the lower classes would still live in a serfdom state

  • Serfdom also caused class tension between the upper (rich) and lower (poor) classes that would last well into the 19th Century

The role of christianity
The Role of Christianity

  • After the fall of Rome Christianity was one of the few things that bound the people of a disorganized Europe together

  • Large numbers of people in Europe and Africa had converted to Christianity prior to the fall of Rome

  • The Roman Catholic Church played a key role in the development of western Europe

The role of the church
The Role of the Church

  • From 500 to 1500 monasteries preserved Latin and Greek texts

  • These texts contained knowledge of science, philosophy, plays that would have been lost

Role of the church
Role of the Church

  • The church created a sense of identity

    • While many countries were split by feudal states and there was disunity in Europe (Lacked a sense of nationalism)

    • People also had different languages and customs

    • However their faith in the Catholic Church linked the people of Europe and gave Europe a sort of cultural bond

The pope
The Pope

  • The Pope or Bishop of Rome

  • The church was formed to serve the needs of the people

  • Only men could become priest

  • Bishops controlled the priest

  • Cardinals oversaw matters of the church in Rome and advised the Pope

The church
The Church

  • The catholic Church became very politically powerful

  • In contrast to the Orthodox Church the Catholic Church did not just see itself as a spiritual institution but also a political institution

  • The Church gained large amounts of land in Europe

  • The Catholic Church bound Europe and kings and emperors were influenced by the Pope

  • Tithing and land grants made the church very wealthy

  • Institutions of learning were connected to the Church and in many cases only members of the Church could read and write

  • Excommunication and trails were used by the church to keep non conformist in line