Presentation on theme: "Introduction to the Central Middle Ages. The Normans were descended from Viking raiders. In the year 911 AD, the Viking leader, Rollo made a deal with."— Presentation transcript:
Introduction to the Central Middle Ages
The Normans were descended from Viking raiders. In the year 911 AD, the Viking leader, Rollo made a deal with King Charles III of France, that in return for land, the Vikings would obey his laws and stop raiding the French coast. This land became the Duchy of Normandy
The Normans had great success as conquerors, capturing lands from England (1066), Ireland (1169) Italy and Palestine. Their mounted heavy cavalry, called knights, were the secret of their success. Each knight was like a human tank! A charge by mounted knights was not easily stopped
The Norman lords and knights lived in castles, fortified hall called “keeps” surrounded by defensive structures like walls and ditches. The earliest castles were made of wood and called “motte and bailey” castles. A wooden keep was built on a high artificial hill (the motte) with a fortified courtyard (the bailey) beneath it. As these were made of wood, only the mottes have survived.
As time went on and the Normans consolidated their conquests, they began building great stone castles. The Tower of London was built by William the Conqueror. In Ireland, we have many fine examples of stone castles, such as Carrickfergus and Trim Castle, built by King John (see bottom picture)
Clothing in the early Norman period was very like clothing in the Viking period. Men wore tunics reaching to the knee and leggings, which later became tights (hose). Women wore long dresses. Only unmarried girls and queens could have their hair uncovered. Shoes were made by a cobbler from leather, but many poor folk went barefoot, or wore wooden clogs in wet and muddy weather.
There was a great difference in the type and amount of food eaten by the rich and poor. Kings, barons and wealthy knights ate huge amount of game (deer, pheasant, wild boar, swan etc.) vegetables including cabbage, onions, garlic, turnips, peas and beans. A lot of bread was eaten. The poorer knights and the peasants lived on rye bread and pottage (a kind of vegetable stew) with occasional eggs, cheese and meat such as bacon or rabbit
The King was at the top of society. He granted land to the great barons in return for their promise to obey his laws and give him military service when he went to war. The barons gave land to knights in return for the same thing. Serfs or villeins were at the bottom of society. They could not leave their land or marry without their lord’s permission. Skilled craftsmen ranked between knights and serfs and were mainly based in towns and villages
Towns and cities became increasingly important during the Norman period. Many towns had a “charter” a document which laid out their rights and priveliges. Many towns were governed by a Mayor and Corporation. If a serf ran away from his lord and could hide in a town for a year and a day, he was declared a free man. Towns were surrounded by a wall to keep the citizens safe. Most towns were crowded, smelly and unsanitary. Rubbish was thrown on the streets and animals roamed free.
The Black Death was a terrible disease which reached Europe from Asia in the 14 th century. It was spread by fleas which were parasites on rats which travelled on medieval ships. It was bubonic plague, and was so- called because of the black boils which appeared on victims. It was believed that the plague was caused by “bad air” so doctors wore beak- shaped masks filled with sweet- smelling herbs to keep away the plague. As doctors could not cure the plague, their reputation declined, and because of their beak- shaped masks they became known as “quacks”. The rhyme “Ring-a Ring a Roses” dates from plague times. Over a third of Europe’s popullation was wiped out.