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Early Middle Ages and Feudalism, 600-1000 AD World History = Libertyville HS.

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Presentation on theme: "Early Middle Ages and Feudalism, 600-1000 AD World History = Libertyville HS."— Presentation transcript:

1 Early Middle Ages and Feudalism, AD World History = Libertyville HS

2 Early Medieval Period Characteristics Agriculture – subsistence farming Economic – Local economies continued (barter, local production) – Little international trade until about 1000 – Mediterranean cities had contact with Byzantines, Muslims – Vikings traded raw materials for Muslim gold

3 Early Medieval Period Characteristics Political decentralization – Most rulers “ruled” only what was within 1-2 days’ march – No central bureaucracy – Literacy confined largely to Church Importance of land as political power – Ownership gave that person power to assess taxes on occupants – Obligation to protect occupants of land, in exchange for service – Feudalism developed as a result

4 Feudalism System of power based on exchange of land for service – King (theoretically) owned all land – King gave land to most important vassals Vassal = follower of king (counts, barons, etc) – In return for land, major vassals gave military service to their king – Major vassals gave land to THEIR vassals (knights), who promised them military service in return – Serfs (“villeins”) worked land, paid taxes – Also gave charters to allow towns to exist in exchange for service

5 Feudalism Nobility controlled their land by building castles – Place to live, keep taxes, protect their people in dangerous times – Old power of central states, especially tax collection, became power of castle owner Ex – After Charlemagne died, nobility kept power of taxation for themselves – But by 1000, those same counts, barons had given away the taxing power to THEIR vassals

6 Problems with Feudalism Once land is transferred, it is almost impossible to get back from the vassal Feudalism tended to decentralize a state because land was divided equally among surviving sons – Powers of the state devolved to local warlords – By 1000, though, further subdivision was impractical – reform needed!

7 Feudalism Reforms Introduction of Primogeniture – Eldest son inherited all land from father – Younger brothers got nothing (became fortune hunters) Effects – Re-centralization – Large group of unemployed warriors in Europe

8 Chivalry Idealization of knights Gave real knights a guide to their actions Three parts – Chivalry to God Honor God (protect innocent, church officials) – Chivalry to Christians Honor fellow Christians (mercy, courage) – Chivalry to women Honor and protect noble women – Unifying theme = HONOR!

9 Life in the Early Middle Ages Hard life – Large families were the rule (why?) – For the wealthy / noble, might have some formal education as children – For the lower class, education in a particular craft – Peasants / serfs worked until they died Life expectancy = 30 years

10 Viking Raids and Settlement Vikings came from Scandinavia – Sweden, Norway, Denmark – Great sailors Colonized Iceland, Greenland & North America – Settlements were small and most failed Also colonized at river mouths on Continent and England

11 Viking Raids / Settlement – Why? Overpopulation in Scandinavia – Too many youths – For seafarers, send them off to fight / find their fortunes elsewhere made sense Opportunity – Vikings were merchants, too – Saw weakness in Europe and took advantage Breakdown in traditional trading routes with rise of Islam and weakness of Byzantines

12 Viking Raids of Europe and Russia Focused on accumulated treasures of continental and English monasteries Organized states (Moors, Byzantines) could beat them, but most of Europe was open to their attacks Used treasure from raiding to buy land for settlement

13 Viking Raids and Settlement Viking settlements in England – 793: Began settling in NE England, establishing rule of Danish vikings NW France – 840s – French nobles allied with Vikings against other French; gave them land in NW France in payment (Normandy) Russia – Rivers ran N/S = easy trade routes; Vikings in area called “Rus”


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