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MIDDLE AGES Began with collapse of Western Roman Empire in the 6 th century AD and came to an end sometime in the 14 th -15 th centuries Once considered.

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Presentation on theme: "MIDDLE AGES Began with collapse of Western Roman Empire in the 6 th century AD and came to an end sometime in the 14 th -15 th centuries Once considered."— Presentation transcript:

1 MIDDLE AGES Began with collapse of Western Roman Empire in the 6 th century AD and came to an end sometime in the 14 th -15 th centuries Once considered to be one long, bleak period of violence, ignorance, and superstition –The “Dark Ages” Period did represent regression from achievements of the ancient world but it was not completely dark –Preserved what was best of the ancient heritage and mingled it with new Germanic and, later, Arabic traditions to create a new civilization One that was capable of further growth and progress Major contribution to the creation of the foundation for the modern western world

2 MIDDLE AGES Western Europe –Hodge-podge of loosely organized kingdoms –Became even more fragmented as time went on East –Highly centralized Byzantine Empire

3 CHARLEMAGNE Tried to overcome chronic disunity in Western and Central Europe Approx. 800 AD Established empire that included France, most of Italy, Germany, and part of Eastern Europe Took title of “Holy Roman Emperor”

4 BREAKUP OF CHARLEMAGNE’S EMPIRE Incompetence of his descendants Charlemagne’s failure to set up an effective administrative system Invasions of the Magyars Invasions of the Vikings

5 POST-CAROLINGIAN EUROPE Hopelessly complex jigsaw puzzle of small states –Each with its own ruler Sometimes with title of duke or count Nominally owed allegiance to kings but this allegiance was more theoretical than real –Long-distance trade virtually disappeared –Currency fell into disuse People reverted to barter system –Cities shrank dramatically and sometimes disappeared –Educational standards declined Even kings were illiterate Only form of unity was the Christian Church –But even its intellectual standards had declined due to the prevalent ignorance and isolation of the times Europe had become a desolate rural world in which petty rulers lorded over tiny pieces of territory and ignorance prevailed everywhere

6 FEUDALISM Developed in response to the need of local warrior- aristocrats to protect and administer their territories in the absence of any sort of effective central authority Grant of a piece of land (fief) by a “lord” to a subordinate (vassal) in exchange for the vassal’s promise to provide lord with military service for a specified period of time Subinfeudation: vassals having vassals of their own

7 FEUDAL PLAYERS (VASSALS) Feudalism also provided a decentralized form of government Vassals were supreme within their fiefs –Made own laws –Enforced them as he saw fit –Settled disputes between people who lived on the fief

8 MEDIEVAL PEASANTS Small scale farmers who devoted their lives to growing enough to stay alive Lived and worked on manors –Economic subunit of fief

9 MEDIEVAL MANOR and THREE FIELD SYSTEM OF ROTATION Arable land divided into three fields, each in a different state of cultivation Fields rotated each year System designed to avoid complete soil exhaustion Fields divided into narrow strips with each peasant family holding a number of them in each field

10 PEASANT OBLIGATIONS Paid portion of harvest to lord of the manor as rent –Also had to work a certain number of days a weeks on strips the lord retained for his own use –Had to bring their legal disputes to the lord’s court –Even had to pay a fee for the lord’s approval to marry Peasants were “serfs” –Bound to the manor and their lord for life Also had to pay the Church the “tithe” and, later, had to also pay royal taxes Lot of peasant was one of backbreaking labor, deep poverty, no personal independence, and resigned and hopeless desperation

11 HIGH MIDDLE AGES ( ) Cities grew in size and beauty Local and international trade revived Kings began to break down feudal system and create nation-states under their direct control

12 REVIVAL OF LOCAL TRADE Growth in European population after centuries of decline and/or stagnation –Caused by increase in food supply Made possible by draining of swamps and clearing of forests by monasteries –Created surplus people on manors Manorial economy could not support them Moved to long-dormant towns –Created demand for agricultural products from countryside –Stimulated demand for manufactured products –Sparked revival of local trade and commerce

13 CRUSADES In theory, purpose was to take back the Holy Land from Moslem Turks Caused tremendous human and material damage– without permanently achieving purpose Created demand for Middle Eastern luxury products among returned Crusaders—thus stimulating international trade Revival of local and international trade created Commercial Revolution –Introduced modern capitalism

14 WILLIAM I (“THE BASTARD”) OF ENGLAND Conquered England in 1066 Wanted to bypass feudal system and exert direct control over his realm Divided England into shires, each administered by a “shire-reeve” (sheriff) Did end run around feudal system by creating an alternative and parallel system Similar system devised by Philip Augustus in France

15 THE CHURCH Administration of pope was larger and more sophisticated than that of any king Wealth of the Church was greater than any king or merchant –Also largest landowner in Europe Popes contended with kings on a equal basis –Using powerful spiritual weapons Excommunication Interdict

16 SUMMARY High Middle Ages were a period of progress and prosperity –Cities grew in size and beauty –Trade revived –Kings reasserted their power over their realms –Church was at its peak of power and prestige Then it all came crashing down in the 14 th century –Crisis of the Late Middle Ages

17 CRISIS IN THE CHURCH Babylonian Captivity – –Popes fell under the control of the French monarchy –Forced to move to the southern French city of Avignon –Lost much power and prestige Great Schism –Late 1370s –Two, and for a while three, men all claimed to be pope at the same time –Threw the church into confusion –Crisis resolved in 1415 but Church prestige had been permanently damaged and many Christians were left confused and/or cynical

18 100 YEARS WAR Caused by dispute over French throne by France and England Lasted actually 116 years France won Introduction of longbow rendered the heavily armored horseman obsolete Hundreds of thousands people died, decimating the population growth of earlier years Heavy taxation provoked peasant uprisings (jacqueries)

19 THE BLACK DEATH (BUBONIC) Started in China in 1331 –Traveled across Asia to Black Sea region –Picked up by Italian merchants and taken to Europe Spread from Italy to Germany, France, Spain, and England –Europeans could not cure it or prevent it from spreading Catastrophic results –25% of population killed –Some cities lost 75% of their population Plunged Europe into a severe depression

20 ARTISTIC THEMES IN THE LATE MIDDLE AGES Four Horsemen Of Apocalypse Danse Macabre

21 BYZANTINE EMPIRE

22 JUSTINIAN AND THEODORA Conquest of old Western provinces Justinian’s Code (compilation of Roman law) Construction of Santa Sophia (Church of the Holy Wisdom)

23 BYZANTINE ACHIEVEMENTS Empire renown for its wealth, power, and military strength for centuries Army threw back or weakened wave after wave of would-be invaders –Persians, Arabs, Seljuk Turks, and others –Saved Western Europe from conquest Civilized barbarian tribes on fringes of Europe –Russians Converted to Christianity by Byzantine missionaries Gave them alphabet they still use today –Cyrillic alphabet

24 BYZANTINE CHRISTIANITY Church had fallen under the control of the emperor –Through his puppet, the bishop of Constantinople Created tension with the pope Resulted in split within Christianity in 1054 –Roman Catholic Church Headquartered in Rome Led by pope –Eastern Orthodox Church Headquartered in Constantinople Led by bishop of Constantinople (and Byzantine emperor) –Shattered unity of Christian Church forever

25 END OF THE BYZANTINE EMPIRE Territory of empire shrunk over centuries –Only included Constantinople and parts of Asia Minor and southeastern Europe by 1200 Constantinople falls to Ottoman Turks in 1453 –Renamed city Istanbul –End of Byzantine Empire


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