Duke William of Normandy defeats and kills King Harold of England, the last of the Anglo-Saxon kings.
The Normans brought administrative ability, law and order, and an emphasis on cultural unity to the Anglo- Saxon’s more artistic and democratic society
One important accomplishment of William of Normandy’s was the recording of almost every piece of property in England – land, cattle, buildings, etc. This information was kept in what is called “The Domesday Book,” and allowed for people to be taxed on what they owned.
William and the Normans brought a lot of changes to England, include culture, language, and the social structure of FUEDALISM Roland pledges his FEALTY to Charlemagne (C. 1400) Fealty- an oath of allegiance from one person to another
The primary duty of males above the serf (peasant) class was military service, and boys were trained in combat from a young age.
The knight would pledge fealty to his king, and would be used as a soldier for the king’s interests. Knights in chain mail armor, called hauberks, and helmets. Their shields bear the insignia of the King for whom they are fighting.
As weapon technology advanced (such as the development of the crossbow), the knights armor had to become more protective, leading to the iron suits we now associate with knights. These suits could weigh up to 120 lbs., were very difficult to move in, see out of, and often led to heat stroke and suffocation for the knight wearing it.
With the development of the powerful longbow and the musket ball (after gunpowder was introduced to England around 1325,) knights became ineffective in battle, and became more of a status symbol of chivalric duty than an actual soldier.
Chivalry was a system of ideals and social codes governing knights and gentlewomen. Among the “rules” of chivalry are honor and loyalty to one’s king and always fighting bravely and fairly.
In addition, it was thought that a knight should be dedicated in love to a lady (not his wife,) whom he will never be able to obtain, but nevertheless to whom he dedicates his life and services. Here, a lady gives a knight her colors to wear in battle or competition.
From 1095 – 1270, knights from European Christians waged war against Muslims over control of Jerusalem. These battles were terribly violent and came at a huge cost for both sides.
Even thought the Christians were unable to hold Jerusalem, their experiences in the more culturally advanced Eastern civilizations were greatly beneficial.
As a result of their experiences in the East, soldiers brought back with them advances in mathematics, architecture, astronomy, crafting skills, and many other cultural and scientific advances. Illustration of medieval Islamic scholars
In 1215, King John signed the Magna Carta (“the Great Charter”) which reads : “No freeman shall be taken, or imprisoned, or outlawed, or exiled or in any way harmed, nor will we go upon him nor will we send upon him, except by the legal judgment of his peers or by the law of the land. To none will we sell, to none deny or delay, right or justice.” -Magna Carta, Clauses 39 and 40
The Magna Carta was developed mostly to staunch the power of the Roman Catholic Church in England Over time, the Magna Carta became the basis for English Constitutional law, including trial by a jury and legislated taxes
A war fought in France between England, Scotland, France, and Burgandy over the control of French land. Introduced standing armies into Western Europe for the first time since the Roman Empire, changing the make-up of society and the role of the peasants
Henry the V, English king, would lead his troops against the French armies at the battle of Agincourt, later dramatized by Shakespeare in the play Henry V.
Also famous from The Hundred Years’ War is the figure of Joan of Arc, who at the age of 17, successfully led the French army against the English for nearly two years, until she was finally captured, accused of being a witch, and burned at the stake.
England eventually lost the Hundred Years’ War, but as result, the people of England began thinking of themselves more as British rather than Anglo-Norman. Also, deep seeded resentments over the war would eventually lead to the Wars of the Roses (English Civil Wars,) between powerful British families.
Also known as the Bubonic Plague, the Black Death struck England in 1348-1349. The disease was spread by fleas who had gotten the infection from rats. The plague killed around 100 Million people in the 14 th century, roughly 30% of Europe’s population, (and in some areas, closer to 60%) Untreated, the plague can kill a person in around four days… and in Medieval Europe, there was no known cure.
The most infamous symptom of bubonic plague is an infection of the lymph glands (lymphadenitis), which become swollen and painful and are known as buboes. Buboes associated with the bubonic plague are commonly found in the armpits, upper femoral, groin and neck region. Acral gangrene (i.e. of the fingers, toes, lips and nose), is another common symptom. Symptoms include: Acral gangrene: Gangrene of the extremities such as toes, fingers, lips and tip of the nose. Chills General ill feeling (malaise) High fever (39 °Celsius; 102 °Fahrenheit) Muscle cramps Seizures
Smooth, painful lymph gland swelling called a bubo, commonly found in the groin, but may occur in the armpits or neck, most often at the site of the initial infection (bite or scratch) Pain may occur in the area before the swelling appears Skin color changes to a pink hue in some very extreme cases Other symptoms include heavy breathing, continuous vomiting of blood (hematemesis), aching limbs, coughing, and extreme pain. The pain is usually caused by the decay or decomposition of the skin while the person is still alive. Additional symptoms include extreme fatigue, gastrointestinal problems, lenticulae (black dots scattered throughout the body), delirium, and coma. Two other types of Y. pestis plague are pneumonic and septicemic. Pneumonic plague, unlike the bubonic or septicemic, induces coughing and is very infectious, allowing it to be spread person to person.
The disease was especially bad in the cities, where crowded conditions made it easier to be spread from one person to the next. In cities such as London, men would walk up and down the streets with a cart full of bodies, calling for people to “Bring out your dead.” These bodies were then buried, sometimes in mass graves.
As a result, the labor force in England was greatly reduced, and suddenly, those workers left alive found they had more power than before, challenging the feudal system. Eventually, the serfs gained their freedom and feudalism came to an end.
The plague would continue to occur sporadically throughout European history, including a massive outbreak in London in 1665, in which well over 100,000 people died (15% of the population.) Other outbreaks occurred in Spain, Italy, France, Austria, and elsewhere on the European continent. Currently, 5-15 people in the United States are thought to catch the disease each year.