Geography in Europe: Geography influenced where medieval Europeans settled and what they did. Europe is a continent, but also a very large peninsula, made up by smaller peninsulas. Rivers played a major role in Europe. The rivers made it easy to travel to the interior of Europe and encouraged people to trade. The seas and rivers provided safety as well as opportunities for trade. Europe has many mountain ranges: Carpathians in the east, Pyrenees in the southwest, and Alps. The mountains and rivers made it difficult for one group to rule and encouraged the development of independent kingdoms.
The Germanic Kingdoms: I. Why are the Middle Ages often referred to as “The Dark Ages?” The Dark Ages is referring to the beginning of the Middle Ages, during a time of disruption. There was economic, cultural, and “intellectual decline,” as well as limited building activity, and very little written history. “The light of Rome didn’t shine anymore.” Middle Ages =Time between the Roman Empire and the Renaissance (French for rebirth).
The Germanic Kingdoms: After Rome fell, Western Europe was divided into many kingdoms. These kingdoms developed many different societies based on their locations. Visigoths in Spain, and Ostrogoths in Italy were close to old Roman Empire: Adopted many Roman ways. Romans pulled out of England to head home and fight Germanic invaders. Angles and Saxons invaded Britain from Denmark and Germany and became Anglo- Saxons. They pushed aside the Celts living there (north and west). Scottish, Welsh, and Irish people are descendants of the Celts.
The Germanic Kingdoms: King Clovis became Catholic and soon so did nearly all the Franks. After his death, the kingdoms became divided and many kings fought over them. The Catholic Church wanted to restore order and offered their support to the Mayor of the Palace. The pope ruled these lands as if he were king, and they became known as the Papal States. During the AD 400’s, Germanic people called Franks settled in what is now France.
The Germanic Kingdoms: By the AD 800’s, the Frank kingdom (under King Charles) had grown into an empire. He became known as Charles the Great, or Charlemagne. Charlemagne believed in education and had scholars teach children of government officials in religion, Latin, music, literature, and arithmetic.
Europe is Invaded: After Charlemagne died in AD 814, his empire did not last long. His son Louis divided the empire into 3 kingdoms, which were further weakened by invaders during the AD 800-900’s.
Europe is Invaded: From the south came Muslims From the east came the Magyars From the north came the Vikings
The Holy Roman Empire: These raids helped destroy the Frankish Kingdoms. One of the stronger kings, Otto I, of what became known as Germany was rewarded for helping protect the pope. King Otto I was declared emperor of the Romans in AD 962, and his territory became known as the Holy Roman Empire.
The Rise of the Catholic Church: The Catholic Church spread Christianity through Western Europe. Both religion and geography played a major role in shaping life in Europe. missionaries- people who are sent out to teach their religion. excommunicated– exclude from church membership and not go to heaven By 1198 the Catholic Church was at the height of it’s power