Germanic Kingdoms - Middle Ages I


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  • With the decline of the Roman empire, a new era in European history began. It is known as the Middle Ages, also known as the Medieval period. That is what we will be spending our last unit studying. This period lasted from around 500-1500 AD and was rooted in the classical heritage of Rome, the beliefs of the Roman Catholic Church and customs of various Germanic tribes (western Europe)
  • Here are some reasons why we study the Middle Ages:
    Christianity is still the dominant religion in Europe. European immigrants and their descendents have made Christianity the dominant religion in N. and S America (us)
    Todays forms of representative government include mutual rights and responsibilities, as feudalism did
    Chivalry has shaped modern ideas of romance in Western culture, as shown in love songs, novels, tv shows, movies and plays
    Todays epic films celebrate the lives of heros, just as they did in medieval literature
    Although women today have more power than they did in the Middle ages, wealthy and poor women still lead very different lives
    Religious leaders still speak out on political issues such as war and poverty
  • In the 5th century (400’s) Germanic tribes overran the wesern half of the Roman empire. Repeated invasions and constant warfare caused a series of chnages that altered the economy, government and culture.
    Disruption of trade: merchants faced invasions by land and sea, businesses collapsed and the breakdown in trade destroyed the empires cities as economic centers
    Downfall of cities: As a result of the Roman empire falling, cities were abandoned as cetners of government administration
    Population shifts: As centers for trade and government collapsed, people moved to rural areas. Roman cities were left without strong leadership, other city dweelers moved to the countryside because that way they could grow food. And the population in Europe became mostly rural.
    Germanic invades couldn’t read or write (they were illiterate). Among the Romans, learning sank as more families left for rural areas. Other than some priests and church officials, few people were literate. Knowledge of Greek was almost lost. Few people could read Greek works of since, lit and philo. But the Germanic tribes did carry songs and legends through the oral tradition.
    As German speaking people mixed with the Roman population, Latin changed. It was no longer understoof. New dialects developed and new words and phrases became part of everyday speech. French and Spanish emerged around 800 AD as well as other Roman based languages. Languages, like the empire, has broken apart into smaller sections
  • The one thing that stayed constant was the church. And to many people it provided them with order and security in a time of political chaos.
    In Roman remember, loyalty was to the public government, written law and the state. But Germanic tribes felt loyal only to family ties and personal connectsions. Also Germans were used to living in small communities, unlike the Romans. Each German chief led a band of warriors who pledged their loyalty to him. In peacetime, these followeres lived in the lords hall. He gave them food, weapons, treasure. In battle warriors fought to the death. Dying after their lord was considered disgraceful. The Germans were not interested in obeying a king they didn’t know or paying taxes and keeping order in the name of someone they had never met. So because of these issues, it made it nearly impossible for them to establish governments in large territorties.
  • Gaul was a Roman province (now modern day France and Switzerland) - the Franks held power. Their leader was Clovis - Clovis would bring Christianity to the region. According to legend, his wife urged him to convert to her religion (christianity. And in 496, Clovis led his warriors against another tribe. In the face of defeat Clovis prayed to a Christian god and the tide of the battle turned. The Franks won and afterward Clovis and 3000 of his men converted to Christianity and were baptized.
    The Church welcomed the conversion and supported his other military campaigns against Germanic peoples. By 511, Clovis united all the Franks into one kingdom. And had made a strategic alliance between the Church and the frankish kingdom (a partnership between two very powerful forces)
  • Politics played a key role in the spread of Christianity. New converts had settled all throughout Romes former lands. Missionaries also worked to spread Christianity. They traveled, risking their lives to bring religious beliefs to other lands. In the 300s and 400s they worked among many Germanic and Celtic groups that bordered the Roman Empire. In southern Europe, the fear of coastal attacks by Muslims also spurred many people to become Christian in the 600s.
    To adapt to rural conditiions, the Church built monasteries- smaller religious communities all throughout the lands.
  • Around 520, Italian monk Benedict began writing a book that outline a strict but practical set of rules for monasteries. Scholastic adapted them for women in the convent. These rules became a model for many religious communities in western Euopre.
    Monasteries also became hugely important to education. Monks opened schools, maintained libraries, copied books. 731 B.C. book of history of England. From 600-700 monks made beautiful copies of religious writings decorated with ornate letters, pictures, etc. Theses were called illuminated manuscripts and they preserved much of Rome’s proud heritage
  • Gregory, as head of the church in Rome, broadened the authority of the papacy (pope’s office) way beyond its spiritual role. Under Gregory’s control the papacy became secular - worldly, dealt with politics. The pope’s palace was the center of Roman government. Gregory used church money to raise armies, repair roads, help the poor. He also negotiated a peace treaty with different invades I.e. the lombards.
    Gregory believed the the region mentioned fell under his responsibility. He strrengthened the vision of Chistendom - a spiritual kingdom fanning out from Rome to the most distant churches. The idea of a churchly kingdom ruled by a pope would be a central theme of the Middle Ages. But secular rulers at the same time were expanding their power as well.
  • Officially he had had charge of the royal household, unofficially those other things. In effect, he ruled the kingdom. In 719 a man named Charles Martel took over. Charles the Hammer. He extended the Franks rule to the North, South and East. He also defeated Muslim raiders from Spain at the Battle of Tours in 732. This battle was highly significant for Christian Europeans. If the Muslims had won, western Europe might have become part of the Muslim Empire. Charles Martel’s victory made him a hero
  • At his death he passed his power to Pepin the Short, Pepin wanted to be king and cooperated with the pope to fihgt the lombards. In exchange the pope named him king by the grace of god, beginning the Carolingian Dynasty.
  • Each summer he led armies
    Fought Muslims in Spain and from other kingdoms.
  • Surrounded himself with scholars of English, German, Italian and Spanish schooling. Opened a palace school for his many sons and daughters, ordered monesataries to open schools to train monks.
  • Germanic Kingdoms - Middle Ages I

    1. 1. Charlemagne Unites Germanic Kingdoms European Middle Ages 500-1200
    2. 2. The Middle Ages • Era of European history from 500-1500 • Rooted in: – Classical heritage of Rome – Beliefs of Roman Catholic Church – Customs of Germanic tribes
    3. 3. Why Study the Middle Ages • Christianity - dominant religion in Europe • Representative government similarities to feudalism • Chivalry shaped modern ideals of romance
    4. 4. Germanic Invasions in Europe • Germanic tribes overran western half of Roman empire, causing major changes: – Disruption of trade – Downfall of cities – Population shifts • Invaders were illiterate - learning sank • Common language of Latin, no longer understood, different dialects developed – Ex: French, Spanish
    5. 5. Germanic Kingdoms Emerge • 400-600 B.C. - Roman provinces were replaced with small Germanic kingdoms • Boundaries changed, so did government • Germanic people were used to: – Living in small communities – Family ties, personal loyalty held society together – Governed by locally by traditions, unwritten rules • Felt no obligation to a king or emperor they had never met
    6. 6. Clovis and the Franks • In Gaul, Germanic people called the Franks were in control under Clovis • 496 - Clovis and troops convert to Christianity • The Church in Rome welcomed his conversion and supported him in military campaigns against other Germanic peoples • By 511, Clovis united Franks into one kingdom • The alliance marked the start of a partnership between two powerful forces
    7. 7. Germans Adopt Christianity • The Church, Frankish rulers, missionaries spread Christianity to Germanic peoples • The Church built monasteries: – Religious communities where Christian men, called monks, gave up possessions and devoted their life to serving God – Convents for women, called nuns
    8. 8. Contributions of Monasteries • Monk Benedict and his sister Scholastica established strict, practical set of rules for monasteries/convents • Opened schools, maintained libraries, copied books, beautified religious writings • English monk wrote a history of England that is still considered the best historical work of the early Middle Ages
    9. 9. Papal Power Under Gregory I • 590, Gregory I (the Great) became Pope • The papacy (pope’s office) became secular by becoming a political power • Believed the region from Italy to England and from Spain to Germany fell under his responsibility - a spiritual kingdom • The idea of a churchly kingdom, ruled by a pope, became a central theme of the Middle Ages
    10. 10. Charles Martel Emerges • By 700, the major domo (mayor of the palace) became the most powerful figure in the Frankish kingdom – Controlled royal household and estates – Unofficially led armies and made policies • In 719, Charles Martel took over this role – Extended the Franks reign to the N,S,E – Defeated Muslim raiders at Battle of Tours • Made him a Christian hero
    11. 11. Carolingian Dynasty • Charles Martel died, passed power to his son Pepin the Short • Cooperated with the pope to fight the Lombards, and in exchange, the pope declared him “king by the grace of God” • Began the Carolingian Dynasty (751-987)
    12. 12. Charlemagne Becomes Emperor • Pepin --> Carloman --> Charlemagne • 771, Charlemagne became ruler of the Frankish kingdom – Led armies against enemies surrounding his kingdom – Conquered new lands to the south and east – Spread Christianity during conquests – United W. Europe for the first time since the Roman Empire • Became the most powerful king in W. Europe
    13. 13. Charlemagne • In 800, he helped defeat an unruly mob that had attacked the pope and was crowned emperor by Pope Leo II – Popes had never before claimed the political right to give the title of “Roman Emperor” – Signaled the joining of Germanic power, the Church and the heritage of the Roman Empire
    14. 14. Charlemagne Leads a Revival • Limited the authority of nobles • Sent out royal agents to make sure landholders (counts) governed justly • Regularly visited every part of his kingdom • Monitored the management of his estates • Encouraged learning!!!!!!
    15. 15. Charlemagne’s Heirs • Charlemagne --> Louis the Pious --> (3 sons) • Divided the empire into three kingdoms • Carolingian kings lost power, control • Lack of strong rulers led to feudalism
    16. 16. For Next Class… • Read Chapter 13, Section 2 and 3