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THE MIDDLE AGES Essential Question: What was life like during the Middle Ages?

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Presentation on theme: "THE MIDDLE AGES Essential Question: What was life like during the Middle Ages?"— Presentation transcript:



3 Essential Question: What was life like during the Middle Ages?

4 What happened to Europe after the fall of the Roman Empire? The Eastern half of the Roman Empire became the Byzantine Empire

5 The Byzantine Empire became a center for trade and Greco-Roman culture

6 The Western half fell to the various Germanic tribes, who created their own kingdoms out of the former Roman territory Europe was plunged into an era called the Middle Ages (also known as the “Dark Ages” or “Medieval” era) from 500 to 1300

7 Western Europe was plagued by constant warfare between the Germanic “barbarian” kingdoms

8 The warring between kingdoms disrupted trade, causing business to collapse European cities were damaged by war and/or left in financial ruin City dwellers fled to the countryside to survive and Western Europe became mostly rural

9 The warfare made life dangerous and difficult for Europeans; as a result, the finer things in life, such as higher learning, became less important

10 Literacy decreased among Western Europeans and few people could read or write (aside from priests and rich people); the ruling Germans had no written language Greco-Roman culture was mostly forgotten in Western Europe

11 Europe lost its common language; Latin mixed with German dialects and evolved into new languages, such as Spanish, French, and Italian

12 Germanic Tribes in the Middle Ages Without the unity of the Roman Empire, Europe became divided into a series of Germanic kingdoms

13 Germanic people lived in small communities led by chiefs and his loyal warriors Family ties and personal loyalty (face-to-face) were more important than citizenship to a state or loyalty to a king that they had never even met Rather than living by written law (like the Romans), the Germans were guided by unwritten laws and tradition

14 During the early Middle Ages, the Germanic kingdoms were slowly converted to Christianity The Spread of Christianity

15 The Catholic Pope became involved in secular (non-religious) issues like road repair, aiding the poor, and helping Christian kings expand their power The Spread of Christianity

16 The Franks were the largest and most powerful of the Germanic kingdoms in the early Middle Ages Frankish kings allied with the Catholic Church and expanded their power

17 In the year 771, Charlemagne (“Charles the Great”) became king of the Franks

18 Charlemagne was the greatest Medieval king because he did something no other Medieval king was able to do: create an organized empire

19 Charlemagne and the Frankish Empire Charlemagne expanded the Frankish Empire

20 Throughout the Frankish Empire, Charlemagne spread Christianity He created schools to train future priests He valued learning and built schools in his empire

21 After Charlemagne’s death in 814, his Frankish Empire lost power and was divided This was the last opportunity to provide unity in Medieval Europe; that opportunity died with Charlemagne

22 From 800 to 1000, a second major wave of invasions struck Europe; the first wave of attacks was by Germanic barbarians that took over Western Rome

23 This second wave of invasions was led by the Vikings, the Muslims, and the Magyars These invasions caused widespread fear and suffering

24 Western Europe’s kings could not defend against these invaders People stopped looking to kings for protection

25 The way that people got protection from outside invaders was by turning to local lords and noblemen instead of the nation’s king Feudalism is based on land ownership and loyalty This began a new political and social system called feudalism

26 Landowning lords offer pieces of land (called a “fief”) to knights In exchange, knights offer lords their loyalty and a promise to protect the lord and his land

27 Feudal Structure

28 Lords (also called nobles) were the upper-class landowners; they had inherited titles (such as “Duke,” “Earl,” “Sir”) and held the most power in feudal society

29 The most powerful lords had lesser lords who worked for them; these less powerful lords were called vassals

30 In the feudal system, kings were the highest- ranking lords and had wealth and land, but actually did not hold the ultimate power In the Middle Ages, power was spread out and shared among numerous lords, not concentrated with a single monarch

31 Knights were specially trained soldiers and armored horsemen who protected the lords and peasants in exchange for land

32 Some peasants were serfs; they were not slaves who could be bought and sold, but they were not free, either They had to farm, do all types of physical labor in service to their lords, and could not leave the land freely

33 In return for their service, the serfs could farm a few acres for themselves and were given protection from outside invaders (such as Vikings)

34 The lord’s land was called a manor During the Middle Ages, the manorial system was the way in which people survived

35 The Manorial System The lord provided peasants with housing, farmland, and protection

36 In exchange, peasants repaid the lord by working his land and providing a portion of the food they produced The Manorial System

37 Manors were self-sufficient communities; everything that was needed was produced on the manor

38 However, peasant life was hard: the days were filled by tough physical labor, they paid taxes to use the lord’s mill (to make bread for themselves), and had to get the lord’s permission for most things, including getting married

39 Peasant life was also short: the average life expectancy of common folk in the Middle Ages was only 35 years old

40 Lords built castles to protect their territory from outside invasions

41 Both the attackers and the defenders of a castle would use the most modern weaponry of the time to fight each other

42 Originally created by Brooks Baggett Revamped by Christopher Jaskowiak

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