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Medieval Period 1066-1485. Characteristics of the Medieval Period.

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Presentation on theme: "Medieval Period 1066-1485. Characteristics of the Medieval Period."— Presentation transcript:

1 Medieval Period

2 Characteristics of the Medieval Period

3 Medieval Period was based on feudalism Feudalism was a hierarchy based on the least powerful swearing allegiance and loyalty to the person in power above him. It began with the serfs and ended with the king and the Pope.

4 Characteristics of the Middle Ages (cont) The Norman Conquest of England created a powerful Anglo-Norman entity and brought England into the mainstream of European civilization. The feudal system centralized military, political, and economic power in the Crown.

5 Characteristics of the Middle Ages (cont) The Roman Church transcended national boundaries and fostered cultural unity among Europeans. The rise of cities and towns freed people to pursue their own commercial and artistic interests.

6 Characteristics of the Middle Ages (cont) The Magna Carta weakened the political power of the Church and laid the goundwork for later English constitutional law. Exposure to Eastern civilization as a result of the Crusades broadened Europeans’ intellectual horizons.

7 Characteristics of the Middle Ages (cont) The ideals of chivalry improved attitudes toward but not the rights of women. The rise of the yeoman class paved the way for democracy in England. The bubonic plague created a labor shortage that contributed to the end of feudalism and to the passing of the Middle Ages

8 Bubonic Plague strikes England 1348 Called the Black Death– estimates say that 10 to fifty percent of Europeans died of the black death. So many people died that there was a shortage of labor which eventually helped to bring about the middle class.

9 Important Events and People in the Middle Ages

10 William the Conqueror William led the Normans against the Anglo Saxons at the Battle of Hastings. He won and brought a new language and methods of organization to England.

11 Norman Influence on Language Before the Norman Conquest, the language spoken by the Anglo-Saxons was Old English. The language of England changed dramatically after the Battle of Hastings. The three utilized languages were French, Latin, and Old English. The aristocrats spoke French while the church and legal professionals spoke Latin. The remaining population, the common people, spoke Old English. Since the common people spoke Old English, the Normans needed to learn their language in order to communicate with workers and with women to whom they wanted to marry. The Old English speakers who portrayed social ambitions learned French as a second language. During this transformation, French words enriched the English language. One notable benefit from borrowing words lie in the increase of synonyms. Example; the English word “heal” and the French word “cure” imply the same meaning.

12 Battle of Hastings, August 25, 1066 The Battle of Hastings was called one of the most influential battles of all time because it brought the Normans to England. For almost 200 years Western Europe under direction of the Popes attempted to “recapture” the Holy Lands, especially Jerusalem. William the Conqueror had everyone’s personal property catalogued so he could tax it. The records were often called The Doomsday Book.

13 Catholic Church Most influential and powerful institution in Europe. Dictated even the most insignificant details of individuals’ lives. Participated in Inquisitions. Controlled intellectual thought until the Renaissance. Place of power and education.

14 What did the Crusades do? Depopulated parts of Europe Introduced Europe to a more cultured, learned civilization Opened trading routes Introduced Europeans to spices and perfumes Eventually broke the power of the Catholic church (helped to) by ushering in the Renaissance

15 Thomas a Beckett Archbishop of Canterbury who was murdered by the knights of Henry II. Canterbury Cathedral honors this English martyr. He also was the martyr celebrated in the Canterbury Tales

16 Henry II Son of Maude (Matilda) Henry II inherited the throne after Stephen. Although he is best known as the monarch who caused the death of Thomas a Beckett he ruled an extensive empire, restored order, triumphed over the nobility and fought the Church. He also restored royal justice, the beginning of the modern trial by jury. In short, he brought efficiency and a degree of fairness to government

17 Henry’s fight with the Church Henry wanted to do away with the concept of “benefit of clergy” or immunity from the king’s justice. Any wrongdoer who could read Latin could claim to be a cleric. Also Henry wanted to nominate his own bishops

18 Guilds First labor unions made up of skilled craftsmen. Guilds are the beginning of the middle class.

19 Authors and Works of the Middle Ages

20 Dante Aligheri (writes Devine Comedy 1307) Author of the Devine Comedy which is comprised of The Inferno, Purgatorio and Paradisio.

21 Decameron Written by Boccaccio, the Decameron 1350’s is a set of tales principally about love and the corruption of the clergy. The Decameron is said to have been an influence on Chaucer

22 Sir Gawain and the Green Knight (1375) A tale about Arthur’s knights and the Round Table, Sir Gawain accepts the Green Knights challenge to exchange blows. The story might really be about redemption and sin.

23 Canterbury Tales (written 1387) Canterbury Tales was written in Middle English by Geoffrey Chaucer who is often called the father of English poetry. He is credited with making English respectable. Until Chaucer most literature and documents of importance were written in Latin.


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