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8 -- Part 6: Continuity and Change in Europe and Western Asia
Christianity for sins, and the priest set certain that only by confessing sins and asking forgiveness could a believer be forgiven for their sins.
By the fifth century indi vidual confession to a parish priest was more common than a public confession.
The individual knelt before the priest, who questioned them about their sins.
The priest will set a penance, such as a fast, for the person to atone for their sins.
Penance gave new converts a sense of the behavior expected of Christians, encouraged the private examination of conscience, and offered relief from the burden of sins.
Although confession became mostly a private affair, most religious observances continued to be community matters.
A priest presided overbaptisms and funerals as people joined with family members, friends, and neighbors.
Saints were thought to provide protection and assistance to worshippers.
Chris tian preached and wrote about miracle stories about saints and their relics as links between the material world and the spiritual.
The migration of peoples from one place to another has been going on for a long time.
Various barbarian groups migrated throughout Europe and western Asia in late antiquity.
The Frankish kingdom would become the most significant because of the many states formed.
The meaning of the word was brought into Latin and other European languages.
Barbarians included many different ethnic groups with social and political structures, languages, laws, and beliefs from central and northern Europe and western Asia.
The Celts and Germans were among the largest barbarian groups.
The Celts, Germans, and other barbarians brought their customs with them when they moved to the south and west.
The Franks built a lasting empire from this cultural mix.
The basic social unit for most barbarians was the tribe, made up of kin groups, and tribe members believed that they were descended from a common ancestor.
kinship protected them from blood.
Kin groups were made up of families who were responsible for the debts and actions of their members and for keeping the peace.
Barbarian groups usually resided in small villages, and climate and geography deter mined the basic patterns of agricultural and pastoral life.
Many groups settled on the edges of clearings where they raised crops.
Men and women used scratch plows and smal iron sickles to harvest their crops.
The kernels of grain were ground up for flour or made into beer.
There were differences in wealth and status during the smal vil ages.
Free men and their families were the largest class, and the number of cattle they possessed was a factor in determining their social status.
The men took part in tribal war fare.
Prisoners of war worked as farm laborers and household servants.
The father had authority over his wife, children, and slaves in Barbarian society.
Roman women had more rights to own property than a woman under the legal guardian ship.
Women assumed their husbands' rights over family property and took control of their children after they were widowed in a violent society.
Barbarian tribes were led by people.
The male mem bers of the strongest family elected each chief.
He led the tribe in war, settled disputes among its members, and offered sacrifice to the gods.
The chiefs of barbarian groups became even more powerful as they conquered parts of the Western Roman Empire.
The title of king implies more power than the chiefs actually had.
The warriors fought alongside the chief.
During the migrations and warfare of the second through the fourth centuries, the war band was transformed into a system of different ranks.
Warriors began to acquire land after tribes settled down.
Social inequalities grew stronger.
The origins of the European noble class can be explained by these inequalities.
The early barbarian tribes did not have written laws.
Law was based on tradition.
Some tribal chiefs began to list their customs at the request of Christian missionaries in the late sixth century.
The churchmen wanted to understand the barbarian ways in order to convert the tribes to Christianity.
By the sixth century, many barbarians needed regulations for the Romans as well as for their own people.
Barbarian law codes often have clauses to reduce violence.
There was a blood feud if the accused refused to pay the wergeld or if the victim or family refused to accept it.
Barbarians worshiped hundreds of gods and goddesses with special functions.
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