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The Middle Ages: The Rise of Europe. Mr. Giesler Global Studies. Topics To Be Examined The Early Middle Ages Feudalism and Manorialism The Role of the Church European Expansion The Growth of England & France Religious, Social, and Political Crisis.

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The Middle Ages: The Rise of Europe

Mr. Giesler

Global Studies


Topics To Be Examined

  • The Early Middle Ages
  • Feudalism and Manorialism
  • The Role of the Church
  • European Expansion
  • The Growth of England & France
  • Religious, Social, and Political Crisis

Exactly who were these Barbarians?

  • In Europe, the Germans dominated through tribes such as: Alamanni, Anglo-Saxons, Franks, Gepids, Goths, Lombards and Vandals. (Look familiar??)
  • They wandered across Europe in an incohesive manner.
  • These barbarian tribes destroyed many of the buildings and works of art that survived from Roman times.
  • Many of the old arts and crafts of western Europe were destroyed during the Dark Ages. During the Dark Ages, population decreased and economic life became more primitive.
  • TTYN: What was their motivation?
  • Land and Revenge
  • Most Germanic (The Barbarians) were farmers of herders

The Age of Charlemagne

  • Carolingian Empire - named to protect the papacy and establish the popeand bishops are the makers of kings
  • Charlemagne became the first ruler of the Holy Roman Empire, a dynasty that would last for more than 700 years
  • Timeline:768-814
  • Government – More of an overseer than an autocratic dictator
  • Appointed powerful nobles to rule local regions; provided them land in exchange for support and soldiers for his armies
  • missidomenici – officials working for Charlemagne that inspected the nobles; to check on the infrastructure, listen to grievances, and confirm that justice was done
  • “Let the missi make a diligent investigation Whenever any man claims that an injustice has been done to him by anyone…And they shall administer
  • the law fully and justly in the case of the holy churches of God and of the poor, of wards and of wisdom, and of the whole people”

Feudalism and Manorialism

  • Key terms
  • Fief - Land given by a lord in return for a vassal’s military service and oath of loyalty
  • Serfs - Common peasants who worked the lords land
  • Tithe - tax that serfs paid (tax or rent)
  • Corvee - condition of unpaid labor by serfs (maintaining roads or ditches on a manor)
  • Feudalism
  • TTYN: Describe Feudalism
  • Relationship between those ranked in a chain of association (kings, vassals, lords, knights, serfs)

Feudalism: How it Evolved into an Economic, Social, Political System of Government

  • Invasions by Vikings, Muslims, Magyars prompted kings and emperors to devise a system
  • Need to defend homes and lands
  • Vows taken
  • Small Group Activity
  • Roll the clock back to the year 1176, create a vow (contract) between you (king or emperor) and a noble or knight
  • “I promise on my faith that I will in future to
  • King William and will observe my (loyalty) to
  • him completely against all persons in
  • good faith and without deceit”
  • The king then touched the noble with a small rod. With that gesture, he granted the noble a parcel of land, including any towns, castles, or people on it.


  • Role of noble women
  • Played an active role
  • “Lord of Manor” – while her husband or father was off fighting
  • Supervised vassals
  • managed the household
  • Inheritance limited (eldest son)
  • Chivalry
  • Knights adopted a code of conduct
  • Required knights to be brave, loyal, and true to their word
  • Warfare – fight fairly and be generous to the enemy
  • Protect women and be cherished


  • The heart of the medieval economy
  • Manor = Lord’s estate
  • Most included one or more village
  • Peasants made up the majority of society
  • Peasants = Serfs - Common peasants who worked the lords land
  • Bound to the land…not slaves, but yet, not free
  • Mutual rights and responsibilities tied the lord and serf together
  • Peasants had to farm the lord’s land, make repairs, and paid the lord a fee when they married, when they inherited their father’s acres, or when they used the local mill to grind grain.
  • Usually paid with products such as grain, fruit, chickens, etc…
  • In return, peasants had the right to farm for themselves, protection, and could not be forced off the land.


  • Other than the Muslims in Spain and groups of Jews, virtually everyone else in Western Europe was a member of the Roman Catholic Church.
  • Church teachings helped people accept the hardships of their life on Earth.
  • People endured cruel lords, unjust laws, and poor living conditions.
  • They believed that such hardships would earn them entry to heaven. As a result, the Middle Ages was not a time
      • Responsibility of Church – spiritual needs; instruction; taught that all men and women were sinners
      • Could achieve salvation or eternal life through faith in Jesus, good works, and participation in sacraments

The Crusades

  • After Muslims(Seljuk Turks) were threatening the Byzantine Empire (Christians), Pope Urban II calls for Christians from Western Europe to protect the Byzantine Empire and to capture the Holy Land from its Muslim inhabitants

Pope Urban II calls the first Crusade.



Motivation for the Crusades

  • The Holy Land was holy to Christians, Jews and Muslims (especially Jerusalem)
  • Jerusalem, Place where Jesus was born and died
  • Religion played a large role in what people did and where they lived; Jerusalem, was of particular importance because of its religious significance
  • Why Jerusalem? Muslims were searching for adventure and riches (mostly riches)
    • Fewer opportunities in feudal Europe
  • Initial result of this action: Hatred of Muslims
  • The name Crusade given to the Holy Wars came from old French word 'crois' meaning 'cross'.
  • The first Crusade was the first and last victory for the Crusaders.
  • Christian victory during the first Crusade is largely due to the inability of the Muslims to mount an organized defense