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The Early Middle Ages and Church
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The Early Middle Ages and Church


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  • 1. #? The Early Middle Ages Textbook pages350-375
  • 2.
    • Also called the medieval period .
    • 400s – Renaissance Period (14 th Century)
    • The Franks
    • The Franks were a Germanic tribe that invaded the Roman Empire and settled in Gaul (France).
    • 481 – Clovis becomes King of the Franks
    • Took over other tribes, and more land. Clovis also became a Christian and received support from the Church.
  • 3.
    • Charles Martel “the Hammer” had cavalry that defeated the Spanish Moors in the Battle of Tours in 732. He dies in 741.
    • His son Pepin III “the Short” takes over. In 751 Pepin was made King of the Franks and the Carolingians came to power.
    • The Pope sought Pepin’s help against the Lombards. The Franks beat the Lombards and then Pepin gave the land (Rome) to the Pope. This was called “the Donation of Pepin”
  • 4.
    • Pepin’s son Charlemagne was the greatest of all Frankish Kings. Ruled from 768-814ad.
    • Charlemagne spent much of his life at war working to expand the Carolingian Empire.
    • He was a Christian and worked to spread Christianity.
    • 12/25/800ad Charlemagne was in Rome and when he knelt to pray, Pope Leo III placed a crown on his head and declared him “Emperor of the Romans” or “Holy Roman Emperor”
    • Charlemagne united much of western Europe.
  • 5.
    • After Charlemagne’s death his grandsons and other nobles fought over and split up the empire.
    • Frankish inheritance was traditionally split among successors unlike primogeniture where the inheritance goes to the oldest son.
  • 6. The Vikings
    • The most feared invaders of western Europe between 800-900s were the Vikings.
    • The Vikings came from Scandinavia and in the spring and summers would raid and loot settlements and bring back captives to work as slaves on their farms.
    • Their ways of capturing towns was often savage and cruel.
  • 7.
    • Their longships carried many men and could sail and attack inland places. Brought men across the Atlantic Ocean.
    • The Vikings had a settlement in northern France, this was called Normandy after their name of Northmen, Norsemen.
    • Leif Ericson – explorer, thought to be the 1 st European to have landed in North America.
  • 8.
    • During the Middle Ages, the Church’s powers extended across kingdoms and through every social and political level of life.
    • Members of the clergy were organized according to a strict hierarchy of rank.
    The Church
  • 9. Church Hierarchy
    • Parish Priest – lowest rank. Served the people in the parish directly. Responsible for the moral and spiritual life of the community. They could perform 5 sacraments: baptism, Holy Communion, penance, matrimony, and the anointing of sick and dying.
  • 10.
    • Bishops - could perform the last two sacraments: confirmation and the taking of holy orders. Bishops managed a group of parishes called a diocese . The king or powerful nobles controlled bishops. Many bishops were also feudal lords or vassals.
    • Archbishops – controlled several diocese called an archdiocese. Had all the powers of a bishop and had power over them.
    • Pope – the pope had supreme authority in the church. Cardinals chose and advised the Pope.
  • 11. Monasticism
    • Monks and nuns believed that they had to withdraw from the world and temptations to live a Christian life.
    • At first monks lived alone and even inflicted physical pain on themselves to prove their dedication to God.
    • Over time monks lived together in monasteries , working, eating, and praying together.
    • As people learned of St. Benedict’s holiness he gained followers. Later he created rules to govern monks’ lives called the Benedictine Rule .
  • 12.
    • Monasticism spreads: St. Patrick brings Christianity to Ireland and St. Augustine led a group of monks to England.
    • Problems in the Church :
    • Lay investiture – officials choosing friends for clergy positions.
    • Simony – buying clergy positions in the church
    • The Church attempts to fix things by searching out heretics . This is called the inquisition . People who asked for forgiveness could be forgiven; those who didn’t would be turned over for punishment, execution, sometimes being burned at the stake.