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THE MIDDLE AGES Began when Roman Empire collapsed in the 6 th century AD and ended sometime during the 14 th -15 th centuries Historians once believed.

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Presentation on theme: "THE MIDDLE AGES Began when Roman Empire collapsed in the 6 th century AD and ended sometime during the 14 th -15 th centuries Historians once believed."— Presentation transcript:

1 THE MIDDLE AGES Began when Roman Empire collapsed in the 6 th century AD and ended sometime during the 14 th -15 th centuries Historians once believed they were a long and bleak era of violence, superstition, and ignorance – Big step backwards from achievements of the Ancient World – Called them the “Dark Ages” But Middle Ages were not completely “dark” – Ancient civilization had reached a ceiling in terms of what it could accomplish – Middle Ages represented a new civilization By mingling what was best of the ancient heritage with new Germanic and, later, Arab traditions Capable of further growth and progress

2 Western sphere was hodgepodge of loosely- organized kingdoms that became even more fragmented and decentralized as time went on

3 CHARLEMAGNE Frankish ruler Charlemagne (Charles the Great) attempted to overcome this chronic disunity around 800 AD – Temporarily created an empire that stretched from France into Eastern Europe – Invented title of “Holy Roman Emperor” for himself to underline his attempt to resurrect the unity of the old Roman Empire

4 BREAKUP Empire broke up after his death – Due to incompetence of his descendants – His failure to set up an administrative system that would keep the empire together without him – New barbarian invasions

5 MAGYARS Magyars – From Central Asia – Raided Germany for decades Hit, destroyed, and left – Defeated when they tried to invade France and settled in what is now Hungary Descendants of modern-day Hungarians

6 VIKINGS From Scandinavia Travelled in low-slung ships which displaced little water Raids began around the time of Charlemagne’s death – Escalated with time – Favored attacking the weak and defenseless Ultimately established bases in Normandy and England – Thereby exposed to civilization and Christianity

7 A POLITICAL MESS End result was a hopelessly complex jigsaw puzzle of small states – Each with its own ruler Often with title of “duke” or “count” – Nominally owed allegiance to men who retained the title of king but this allegiance was more theoretical than real

8 PROBLEMS Long distance trade virtually disappeared Currency fell into disuse – People reverted to barter system Cities shrank dramatically in size and sometimes disappeared altogether With the exception of isolated monasteries, educational standards declined to such a point that even kings were illiterate Only form of unity was the Church – But its intellectual standards decline due to the prevalent ignorance of the time

9 FEUDALISM Feudalism developed in response to need of local warrior-aristocrats to protect and administer their territory in the absence of any sort of effective central authority It was the grant of a piece of land (fief) by a lord to a subordinate (vassal) in exchange for the vassal’s promise to provide the lord with military service for a specified period of time Subinfeudation

10 FORM OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT Also a decentralized form of government – As long as a vassal met his obligations to his lord, he was supreme within his fief Made his own laws Enforced them as he saw fit Settled dispute of the people under his jurisdiction

11 PEASANTS Vast majority of Europeans were peasants – Small-scale subsistence farmers who devoted their lives to growing enough to stay alive and meet their obligations – Did not participate at all in the political feudal system Were not lords or vassals – Lived an worked on manors Economic sub-units of fiefs

12 LAND USAGE Typical manor consisted of village surround by arable land – Always divided into three fields, each in a different state of cultivation Three field system of rotation Given the lack of animal fertilizer and lack of knowledge of scientific fertilization, this was the only way to avoid soil exhaustion – Fields divided into narrow strips Each family had certain number of strips scattered throughout the fields

13 SERFS Peasants paid a portion of their annual harvest to their lord as rent – Also worked a certain number of days per week on lord’s land – Had to bring legal disputes to lord’s court and pay fee for decision – Had to pay fee to use lord’s monopolies – Even had to pay lord a fee for permission to get married Peasants were legally “serfs” – Bound to the manor and its lord for life

14 GOD’S PLAN Peasants had to pay 10% of harvest to Church (tithe) Later, they also had to pay royal taxes Even though the peasant theoretically received the military protection of their lord in exchange for their obligations, their life was an endless round of backbreaking labor, deep poverty, complete lack of personal independence, and resigned and hopeless desperation – But they accepted this unfair system because They could think of no alternative The Church taught that it was God’s plan

15 BIG CHANGE After the year 1000, cities began to grow in both size and beauty; local and international trade revived; and kings began to break down the feudal system and create nation-states with centralized institutions of government Notre Dame (Paris)Chartres

16 REASON Population began to grow after 1000 – After centuries of decline and/or stagnation – Caused by increase in food production Prompted by increase in amount of arable land – Made possible by draining of swamps and forest clearance by monasteries in Central and Eastern Europe

17 REVIVAL OF LOCAL TRADE Population growth created surplus people in countryside that manors could not support – They moved to long dormant towns to find new ways to support themselves – Sparked revival of local trade and manufacturing Created demand for locally produced agricultural products and manufactured items

18 CRUSADES Launched in 1095 by Pope Innocent III Purpose in theory was to reconquer the Holy Land from the Moslem Turks who had taken the region over earlier – This goal was never permanently achieved despite at least seven Crusades sent to accomplish it – Main result was a tremendous amount of human and property destruction Crusaders did develop a taste for Middle Eastern luxury products – Spices, silk, steel products, coffee, tea – Wanted these things even after they had returned to Europe

19 COMMERCIAL REVOLUTION Ex-Crusaders were wealthy men who would pay anything to get what they wanted – Provided incentive to northern Italian merchants to re- establish trade contacts with Middle East Risks were high but potential rewards were even higher Revival of local and international trade create Commercial Revolution – Gave birth to modern capitalism

20 RISE OF THE NATION-STATE William I (“the Bastard) of England and Philip Augustus of France painfully created alternative administrative systems which allowed them to bypass the unreliable feudal nobility and exert direct control over their realms – Never tried to do way with the feudal system – Instead did an end run around it by developing new ways to administer local areas and raise troops that did not require cooperation of feudal strongmen Created national institutions of government William I of England

21 EXAMPLE: ENGLAND UNDER WILLIAM I Former Duke of Normandy took throne of England in 1066 – Rewarded vassals but knew he couldn’t trust them in the long run – Divided England into districts (“shires”), each administered by an appointed official called a “Shire-reeve” (sheriff) Used them to collect taxes, enforce the law, and raise troops

22 THE CHURCH Authority of Roman Catholic Church greater than that of any king – Sophisticated administration – Tremendous wealth – Owned large percentage of land in Europe Popes contended with kings on an equal basis, using their powerful spiritual weapons – Excommunication – Interdict

23 CRISIS OF THE LATE MIDDLE AGES 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 – The 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

24 CRISES IN THE CHURCH Babylonian Captivity – – French king gained control of papacy – Forced popes to move to southern France (Avignon) Great Schism – Two, and then three, men claimed to be pope at the same time – Threw Church into confusion – Things were finally resolved in 1415, with one pope headquartered in Rome But many Christians were left confused and/or cynical Papal palace in Avignon

25 100 YEARS WAR Sparked by dispute over the French throne between the king of England and French claimant to the throne – Escalated into a war that last over a century Entire war fought in France – England had the upper hand for the first 75 years of the conflict – But France would eventually win and England forced to evacuate territory it had occupied in France – Involved such famous characters as Edward the Black Prince and Joan of Arc

26 REPERCUSSIONS I Longbow introduced by English – Could pierce armor from a distance of 100 yards – Rendered heavily armored and armed feudal knight obsolete And also the system that had developed to support him Light infantry, recruited from towns and cities, became key to military success

27 REPERCUSSIONS II Hundreds of thousands of people killed during the war – Decimating the population after centuries of growth Heavy taxation needed to finance war intensified the misery of peasants – Often pushed them beyond the breaking point – Sparked peasant uprisings (jacqueries) in France and England – None of the revolts succeeded but they illustrated deep peasant resentment of social and economic system No longer passively accepted it

28 BLACK DEATH I Also known as bubonic plague Excruciatingly painful, extremely contagious, and always fatal disease – Attacked lymphatic system Causing horrendous swelling – Also cause body extremities to decay while person was still alive – Carried by fleas and by contact with infected person

29 BLACK DEATH II Started in China in 1331 – Carried by merchants and soldiers across Asia to Black Sea ports Picked up by Italian merchants and carried back to Europe Spread from Italy to France, Germany, Low Countries, Spain, and even England by June 1348 – Europeans could not treat it or prevent it from spreading If you caught it, you were doomed to die a horrible, often lonely, death

30 BLACK DEATH III 25% of European population killed in two years – Contributing to further population decline Some cities lost 80% of their population – Disrupting trade – Plunged Europe into a century-long depression Generated urban unemployment, waves of business failures, more peasant unrest, and an increase in crime and violence

31 Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse Danse Macabre People thought they were living through the end of the world Talk of the Day of Judgment was widespread Most popular piece of literature was Book of Revelations and most popular artistic images were Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse and Danse Macabre

32 JUSTINIAN AND THEODORA High point of history of Byzantine Empire was during the reign of Justinian and Theodora ( ) Re-conquered Italy, southern Spain and North Africa in vain attempt to recreate old Roman Empire Collected Roman laws and organized them into “Justinian’s Code” Built largest church in the world in Constantinople: the Sancta Sophia

33 JUSTINIAN’S CONQUESTS Most of his conquests would be lost shortly after his death

34 SANTA SOPHIA Exterior Interior

35 IMPORTANT ROLE Empire would be renown for its wealth, power, and military strength for the next 500 years – Numerous Byzantine emperors would dominate the Church, the nobility, and common people Served by huge bureaucracy – Army would throw back or at least weaken wave after wave of would-be invaders Persians, Arabs, Seljuk Turks Incidentally protected Western Europe from these invaders

36 MISSIONARY WORK Empire also civilized barbarian tribes living on the fringes of Europe by converting them to Christianity Byzantine missionaries, led by St. Cyril, converted a Slavic tribe know as the Russians to Christianity In order to translate the Bible into their spoken language, he invented the alphabet they still use today—the Cyrillic alphabet

37 DIFFERENCE BETWEEN EAST AND WEST Byzantine emperor retained control of the Church in the East – Through his puppet, the bishop of Constantinople – He appointed all bishops and settled theological disputes – Church was closely connected to the state in the East—not independent from it as it was in the West

38 SCHISM Religious difference between East and West led to growing tension between pope and bishop of Constantinople – Tension escalated until 1054 when a minor theological dispute snowballed to the point where the pope and bishop excommunicated each other – Created two Christian churches Roman Catholic Church Eastern Orthodox Church

39 Byzantine Empire became smaller and smaller as time went on – Lost Western European possessions, North Africa, Mediterranean Middle East, and finally Greece to various invaders By 1200, it only included Constantinople and a little adjoining territory

40 FALL OF CONSTANTINOPLE Ottoman Turks breached walls of the city, killed last Byzantine emperor, and took over city – In 1453 – Took advantage of technological advances in artillery to breach walls – Renamed city Istanbul and made it capital of their new empire


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