Chapter 14 -- Part 1: Europe and Western Asia in the Middle Ages
There were many roles for noblewomen in medieval Europe.
By the fifteenth century scholars in northern Italy thought that they were living in a new era, one in which the glories of ancient Greece and Rome were being reborn.
The history of Europe was divided into three periods, the ancient, medieval, and modern, which are still in use today.
The "classical" period in Maya history, as well as the "medieval" India and China, and of "modern" everywhere, were included in the history of other parts of the world.
Historians are questioning whether past time periods for one culture work on a global scale, and some are unsure if "Middle Ages" is a just term for European history.
They say that the Middle Ages was a time of enormous intellectual energy and creativity.
Political structures that would influence later European history began to form, and Christianity continued to spread, even though agrarian life continued to dominate Europe.
People at the time did not know that they were living in an era that would later be labeled "middle" or "dark", and we can wonder if they would have shared this negative view of their own times.
The most powerful of the Carolingians was crowned the Holy Roman emperor in 800.
His empire was divided among his grandsons, and their kingdoms were weakened by nobles vying for power.
Several different groups invaded western Europe around 800.
Common people turned to local nobles for protection.
By the eleventh century, rulers in some parts of Europe were reestablishing authority and building centralized states.
The Vikings were pagan Germanic peoples.
The Vikings brought large sections of continental Europe and Britain under their sway by the tenth century.
They sailed the rivers of Russia all the way to the Black Sea.
In the west, they established permanent settlements in Iceland and Newfoundland.
The map shows invasions and migrations in the ninth and tenth centuries.
To answer the following questions, compare it with Map 8.2 on the barbarian migrations of late antiquity.
The Carolingian Empire had no navy and was powerless against Viking ships.
The Vikings sailed off with a lot of loot.
They settled down and colonized the areas they had conquered, often marrying local women and adopting the local languages and customs.
The bands of Magyars on horseback reached far into Europe.
They penetrated into the Rhineland and Burgundy and subdued northern Italy.
The Magyars became known as Hungarians because Western Europeans thought of them as returning Huns.
In the ninth century, Muslims from North Africa began new encroachments.
They conquered Sicily and drove northward into central Italy and the south coast of France.
The rise of disorder and violence was caused by attacks from the Vikings, Magyars, and Muslims.
The period is often described as one of terror and chaos by Italian, French, and English sources.
It's possible that people in other parts of Europe had a different opinion.
New crops such as cotton and sugar enhanced the lives of ordinary people in Muslim Spain and Sicily.
Hungary is a strong kingdom because the Magyars settled there in eastern Europe.
The descendants of the Vikings ruled their homelands in Norway, Sweden, and Denmark, but also ruled northern France, England, Sicily, and Russia.
The division of the empire into three parts in the ninth century led to a decentralization of power at the local level in western and central Europe.
Civil wars weakened the power and prestige of kings.
The invasions of the Vikings weakened royal authority.
The local aristocracy had to assume responsibility for defense because the Frankish kings couldn't stop the invaders.
In the ninth and tenth centuries, weak and distant kings were not allowed to interfere with the authority of the aristocratic families.
People turned to the local nobles for protection.
The most powerful nobles were those who gained warriors' loyalty and were often symbolized in an oath-swearing ceremony of homage and fealty that grew out of earlier Germanic oaths of loyalty.
The warrior swore his loyalty to the powerful individual who became his lord.
The lord promised protection and material support to the vassal in return for his loyalty, aid, and military assistance.
The lord still owned the fief, which might contain forests, churches, and towns, and the vassal only used it.
Legal scholars and historians identified these personal ties of loyalty as a political and social system called feudalism.
The idea of "feudalism" is problematic due to the fact that the word was a later invention and the system changed over time.
They still point to the personal relationship between lords and vassals as the key way that political authority was organized and note that the church also received and granted land.
The Byzantine Empire had nobles, monasteries, and church officials hold the most land.
A knight is loyal to a lord.
A portion of land was given to a vassal in exchange for an oath of loyalty.
The granting of fiefs is a part of a medieval European political system that defines the military obligations and relations between a lord and his vassals.
Peasants living on a fief produced the food and other goods necessary to maintain the nobles and churchmen, under a system in which they exchanged their work for the lord's protection.
They were tied to the land by payments and services.
A peasant lost his or her freedom and became part of the lord's permanent labor force.
serfs were free but bound to the land and unable to leave without the permission of the lord.
In medieval Europe, the peasants worked the landed estates of a lord in exchange for his protection in the economic system that governed rural life.
A peasant was bound to the landed estate of a lord after losing his or her freedom.
King Alfonso II of Aragon, the king of one of the Christian kingdoms in the Iberian Peninsula, is remembered in this illustration from a latetwelfth-century manuscript by the ruler of a territory in the Pyrenees.
If there were no sons, Noblewomen were required to swear loyalty and provide troops.
The majority of western Europeans were serfs.
The transition was longer in eastern Europe.
serfs were more firmly tied to the land in eastern Europe, especially in Germany, Poland, and Russia, at the very point that European peasants began to escape from serfdom in the later Middle Ages.
Political stability began in much of Europe in the eleventh century.
In some parts of Europe, lords in control of large territories built up their power even further, becoming kings over growing and slowly centralizing states.
The foundations for modern national states were laid by these new institutions.
The beginnings of the national state in the central Middle Ages can be seen in political developments in England, France, Germany, and Hungary.
England was made the center of the empire by the Viking Canute.
England was divided into local shires, each under the jurisdiction of a sheriff, at the same time.
Edward was the heir to the throne, but he died without a child.
The English throne was won by Duke William of Normandy, who defeated Harold II at the Battle of Hastings in 1066.
William built a unified monarchy after limiting the power of the nobles and church officials.
He named Normans to the posts but retained the Anglo-Saxon institution of sheriff.
William's granddaughter was married to a French noble.
Henry II of England had provinces in northwestern France from his father.
Henry claimed lordship over Aquitaine and other provinces in southwestern France after marrying Eleanor of Aquitaine in 1152.
The histories of England and France were intertwined in the Middle Ages.
France had a number of independent provinces in the early twelfth century.
Philip II, also known as Philip Augustus, began the work of unifying France.
Most of the provinces of modern France were added to the royal domain by the end of Philip's reign.
Otto I, the German king, was able to build up his power due to an alliance with and control of the church.
A loose confederation stretching from the North Sea to the Mediterranean was developed by Otto I and his successors.
The emperor shared power with princes, dukes, counts, city officials, and archbishops.
The house of Hohenstaufen tried to make the Holy Roman Empire a united state.
They formed a league with the pope and defeated him when he tried to enforce his authority over the cities of northern Italy.
Germany didn't become a unified state.
Stephen I created a centralized kingdom after the Hungarians formed a tribal federation.
Stephen received his crown from the pope as a symbol of their alliance after he became a Christian.
He set up an administrative system based on counties and consolidated his power through war, diplomacy, and strategic marriages.
In the middle of the construction of stone castles to defend against further attacks.
The law in Europe in the 12th and 13th centuries was a mixture of customs, feudal rights, and provincial practices.
The French king was known for his concern for justice.
After being part of the kingdom of France, each French province retained its unique laws and procedures.
The Parlement of Paris was created by Louis IX to hear appeals from lower courts.
In medieval Europe, a common law -- a law common to and accepted by the entire country -- was unique.
John was disappointed after taking the throne.
Royal debt, increased taxation, and military failures fed popular discontent.
In 1215, the barons forced him to attach his seal to the "Great Charter," which became the cornerstone of English justice and law.
The principle that everyone, including the king and the government, must obey the law came about as a result of the Magna Carta, which was meant to assert traditional rights enjoyed by nobles.
In 1222, King Andrew II of Hungary was forced by his nobles to agree to the "Golden Bull," affirming their freedom from taxation and right to disobey him if they thought he was acting against the law.
Most people didn't experience the law in medieval Europe through statements of legal principles.
They were involved in actual cases.
There are a number of ways judges determine guilt or innocence.
In some cases, they ordered a trial in which the accused might be tied up and dropped into a lake or river.
People believed that water was a pure substance.
A person who sank was considered innocent while a person who floated was found guilty.
Courts increasingly favored more rational procedures, in which judges heard testimony, sought witnesses, and read written evidence if they were available.
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The papacy and other rulers consolidated their power in the eleventh and twelfth centuries, but they were challenged by medieval kings and emperors.
monasteries were important places for learning and devotion despite the challenges.
Christianity expanded into Europe's northern and eastern regions, while Christian rulers expanded their holdings in Muslim Spain.
The cathedral built in the center of the city after it was conquered by Christian armies is smaller than the arches of the Great Mosque.
Christian kings often transformed mosques into churches by simply adding Christian elements such as crosses and altars to existing structures.
Wealthy families often chose popes from among their members because of the church's institutional or spiritual health.
Not surprisinlevels who had bought their positions or had been granted political reasons provided spiritual guidance and high moral standards.
A series of popes began to assert their power in the eleventh century.
The pope was demanded to be the head of the entire Christian Church in 1054.
The outcome between the Roman Catholic and the Orthodox Churches over the centuries was declared the other heretics by both sides.
Many popes believed that secular or lay control over the church was to blame for the lack of moral leadership.
The power to choose the pope was given to a group of priests from around Rome.
Pope Gregory VII championed reform and the expansion of papal power.
He invalidated the officials who had purchased their offices and plafirmer control of male authorities by ordering all their wives and children to face dismissal.
He believed that papal orders were the orders of the papacy and that lay people should not be allowed to be in charge of the church.
Neither the pope nor the emperor was the clear victor.
Money, rank, and power are some of the issues that affect monasteries and convents.
Many monasteries fell under the control of local feudal lords during the ninth and tenth centuries.
Powerful laymen appointed themselves or their relatives as abbots, took the lands and goods of monasteries, and spent monastic revenues.
Medieval monasteries provided opportunities for ecclesiastical careers for noble boys.
Most of the men who rose in the ranks of church officials were from highstatus families.
The kinds of religious life open to women were defined by the social class.
The position of abbess, or head of a convent, was the most powerful position a woman could hold in monasteries, and it varied widely from house to house and from region to region.
In every monastery, monks and nuns said prayers seven times a day and once during the night, which was centered on the liturgy or Divine Office.
It was seen as a vital service.
Prayers were said for peace, rain, good harvests, the civil authorities, the monks' and nuns' families, and their benefactors.
Monastic patrons lavished gifts on the monasteries, which became very wealthy, controlling large tracts of land and the peasants who farmed them.
Problems for monasteries were created by the combination of lay control and wealth as monks and nuns concentrated on worldly issues.
The growth of cities provided a new challenge for the church in the 13th century.
The church did not meet the spiritual needs of many urban people.
They turned to an idea, belief, or action that ran counter to the church's beliefs.
Heretics were subject to punishment and various beliefs were judged to be heresies.
The heresies wanted the church to give up its wealth and power.
The Dominicans and Franciscans, who preached and ministered to city dwellers, were at the forefront of the fight against heresy.
Heretics could be punished by the church if they were found to be counter to the correct doctrine.
Hildegard was inspired by heavenly fire.
The tenth child of a noble family was turned over to the care of an abbey when she was eight years old.
She received a good education there.
She founded two of her own women's religious communities.
She told few people about her mystical visions when she was a child.
It kindled my whole heart and breast like a flame, not burning but warming, and suddenly I understood the meaning of expositions of the books.
She wanted the church to approve of her visions and wrote first to Saint Bernard of Clairvaux, who answered her and then to Pope Eugenius, who encouraged her to write them down.
Hildegard left her abbey in 1147 to found a convent near Bingen.
She wrote to scholars, prelates, and ordinary people.
When she was over fifty, she left her community to preach to audiences of clergy and laity, and she was the only woman of her time whose opinions on religious matters were considered authoritative by the church.
Hildegard's visions have been explored by theologians and also by neurologists, who believe that she may have been inspired by a specific type of headaches called migraines.
She doesn't use her illness to develop her interpretations.
Her music is what she is best known for today.
Most of her compositions are written to be sung by the nuns in her convent, so they have strong lines for female voices.
Many of her songs and chants have been recorded recently by various artists and are available on compact disk, as downloads, and on several websites.
From country to country, to province to province, religious practices varied.
Religion is pervasive in everyday life.
The village church was the center of community life for Christians, with the parish priest in charge of a host of activities.
On Sundays and holy days, people gather at the church for services.
The churchyard was where the feasts were held.
People used language heavy with religious symbolism in everyday life.
Everyone took part in village processions to honor the saints.
The entire calendar was designed with reference to Christmas, Easter, and Pentecost, events in the life of Jesus and his disciples.
saints' days were included in the Christian calendar.
The cult of the saints was a central feature of popular culture in the Middle Ages, and veneration of the saints was an important tool of Christian conversion since late antiquity.
People believed that the saints had supernatural powers that allowed them to perform miracles, and each saint became a special property of the locality in which his or her relics rested.
Peasants would offer prayers, loyalty, and gifts in return for the saint's healing powers.
The Virgin Mary was the most important saint, with churches built and special prayers and ceremonies created in her honor.
The most important figure of Christian devotion in medieval Europe was the Virgin Mary.
She sits on the lap of her mother, Anne, in a wooden sculpture from the 13th century.
People's sense of the heavenly family was reinforced by statues like this, with grandparents who sometimes played important roles.
Most people in medieval Europe were Christian, but there were small Jewish communities scattered through many parts of Europe, as well as Muslims in the Iberian Peninsula, Sicily, other Mediterranean islands, and southeastern Europe.
The relationship between believers in different religions in the Middle Ages was marked by increased suspicion and hostility, but there were also important similarities in the way each group understood and experienced their faiths.
The living had obligations to the dead, including prayers and special mourning periods, in all three faiths.
During the eleventh and twelfth centuries, wars, the establishment of new bishoprics, and the migration of Christian colonists took place.
Europeans began to think of themselves as belonging to a realm of Christianity that was both political and religious.
The creation of church districts led to the Christian influences entering the Baltic lands.
In the tenth and eleventh centuries, this took place in Norway and Sweden.
Christian missionaries built churches in all of these areas.
The Vikings practiced traditional religions that were not allowed by the royal power.
Otto I, the German emperor, planted a string of dioceses along his northern and eastern frontiers to appease the newly conquered Slavs.
German nobles built castles, crushed revolts by Slavic peoples, and encouraged German-speaking settlers to move east.
The Eastern Orthodox Church organized the expansion of Christianity in eastern Europe.
The King of Moravia is called King Rastislav.
When the pope refused to send missionaries, he turned to the Byzantine emperor Michael III, who sent the brothers Cyril and Methodius.
The Bible was translated into Old Church Slavonic, the first Slavic literary language, using Greek characters.
After considering the benefits of both Roman and Eastern Christianity, the rulers of Bulgaria decided to use Eastern Christianity.
Christianity, the Cyrillic alphabet, and Byzantine art were spread by other missionaries in the tenth century.
In order to marry the daughter of the Byzantine emperor, the ruler of the largest state in the area converted to Orthodox Christianity.
The Iberian Peninsula was an area of Christian expansion.
Most of the peninsula was ruled by Caliph Abd al-Rahman III of the Umayyad Dynasty.
There were a number of small kingdoms in Christian Spain.
Christian armies were able to conquer a large part of the Iberian Peninsula in the eleventh century because of divisions and civil wars.
All of the peninsula was held by Christians by 1248.
The movement to expel the Muslims would be called a sacred and patriotic crusade to wrest the country from "alien" Muslim hands.
The national psychology of Spain was influenced by this religious idea.
The rulers of the Christian kingdoms of Spain passed legislation that discriminated against Muslims and Jews living under Christian rule, and they tried to exclude anyone with no Muslim or Jewish ancestors from the nobility.
The long Christian crusade to wrest Spain back from the Muslims was a sacred and patriotic mission according to clerics.
Spain was not the only place in Europe where "blood" became a way of understanding differences among people.
When Germans moved into eastern Europe and English forces took over much of Ireland, they barred local people from access to legal courts and denied them positions in monasteries or craft guilds.
Even though everyone was Christian, they banned intermarriage between ethnic groups.
Christianity was extended to the eastern Mediterranean in the Middle Ages.
The Crusades were wars sponsored by the papacy to recover the holy city of Jerusalem from the Muslims.
Holy wars were sponsored by the papacy for the recovery of Jerusalem from the Muslims.
The papacy wanted to start an expedition against Muslims in the East.
The expedition would strengthen the pope's claim to be the leader of Christian society in the West and would bolster his claims to superiority over the patriarch of Popes and other church officials, who gained support for war in defense of Christianity by promising spiritual benefits to those who joined a campaign or died The stories of warrior-saints who slew hundreds of enemies were told by the preachers.
Increasing numbers of people went on pilgrimages to holy places.
The Seljuk Turks took over Palestine in the late eleventh century, defeating both Arabic and Byzantine armies and pillaging in Christian and Muslim parts of Asia Minor, despite the fact that the Arab Muslims who had ruled Jerusalem and the surrounding territory for centuries generally allowed Christian pilgrims to travel freely.
The emperor at Constantinople appealed to the West for support after they harassed pilgrims and stole churches.
Pope Urban II called for a great Christian holy war after the emperor's appeal.
Urban urged Christian knights who had been fighting one another to use their strength against Muslims who he claimed were the true enemies of God.
Thousands of people of all classes responded to Urban's call and joined the First Crusade.
The First Crusade was successful because of the dynamic enthusiasm of the participants.
They couldn't agree on a leader because they didn't know the geography of the Middle East.
The Turks slaughtered hundreds of noncombatants because supply lines were never set up.
The army took several cities, including Antioch.
Conflict with Eastern Christians was caused by the Crusaders crossing the lands of the Byzantine Empire on their way to Jerusalem.
The Crusader kingdoms in the East only lasted a short time.
Crusaders set off for home after Jerusalem was taken.
Others established institutions to rule local territories and the Muslim population.
castles and fortified towns were built in four small Crusader states to defend against Muslim reconquest.
Most Crusaders were men, but some women came along as well, assisting in the besieging of towns and castles by providing water to fighting men or for food, working as washerwomen, and providing sexual services.
The crusading ideal was expressed in eight papally approved expeditions, but none after the First Crusade.
The Muslim states in the Middle East took about a century to reorganize after the Crusaders came.
Saladin unified Egypt and Syria.
Pilgrims were allowed to travel to Jerusalem after Saladin allowed Christians to hold on to port towns.
The Crusader states were more important economically than politically or religiously, giving Italian and French merchants access to Eastern products.
The crusading movement faced setbacks after the Muslims took Jerusalem.
Constantinople was sacked by the Crusaders when they were not welcomed.
The city of Constantinople was the center of the Byzantine Empire.
The split between the churches was permanent and the entire crusading movement was discredited by the assault of one Christian.
The Crusader states were turned against by the Turkish armies in the late 13th century.
The Christians' last stronghold was the port of Acre.
The rulers of Aragon and Castile in Spain fought Muslims until 1492.
The accounts of the Crusades written by Christians and Muslims were the basis for later histories and visual depictions.
Peter Tudebode was a French priest who wrote an account of the First Crusade.
The emir of the Turkish army, Firuz, became very friendly with the leader of the First Crusade, a Norman noble.
The Norman offered him the Christian religion along with great wealth from many possessions, after he agreed to be admitted to Antioch.
Firuz said he would deliver three towers of which he is a custodian.
The knights took to the plain and the footmen to the mountain, and all night they maneuvered and marched until almost daybreak, when they came to the towers which Firuz guarded.
They went to a ladder, which was raised and lashed to the walls of the city, and almost sixty of our men scaled the ladder and divided their forces in the towers guarded by Firuz.
The Turks were killed when they came to his gate and the Franks were killed when they came to his gate.
The history of the First Crusade was written by Ali Ibn al-Athir, a Kurdish scholar and historian who lived in Iraq.
The ruler of Antioch, Yaghi Siyan, showed strength and courage.
The lands of Islam would have been overrun if all the Franks had survived.
He wouldn't allow a hair of the Christians' heads to be touched.
After the siege had been going on for a long time, the Franks made a deal with an armormaker who they bribed with a fortune in money and lands.