25 Oct After learning about the High Middle Ages and the growth and progress of western society (Chapter 8 lecture), answer the following question. Follow the directions carefully in order to rec
After learning about the High Middle Ages and the growth and progress of western society (Chapter 8 lecture), answer the following question. Follow the directions carefully in order to receive full credit.
Chapter 8 Lecture Question:
In this lecture, we discussed the many positive developments that Europeans enjoyed beginning around 1000 CE. However, some historians have suggested that the crusades, far from being positive, were an immoral stain on the history of Western Civilization. Do you think that the crusades were generally positive or negative events in history?
Directions for Answering the Question:
- Using information from the lecture,
- Explain what the crusades were
- Offer a definition of the crusades (make sure to explain what they were in the Middle Ages)
- Explain when the crusades started (you can state the exact date or the century)
- Identify and describe the three developments that contributed to the start of the crusades
- Make sure to fully describe these developments. Don't just list them.
- State whether or not you believe the crusades were generally positive or negative events in history.
- Use specific information and examples from the lecture to fully explain your position and ideas.
- Explain what the crusades were
Important Rules for all Lecture Questions:
- Only use information from the lecture to answer the question. These questions are intended to check that you watched and understood the lecture. If you use information from an outside source/s, your assignment will receive a zero.
- Fully explain your statements and include specific examples from the lecture.
- Explain all information in your own words. Do not quote or copy and paste from the lecture or my powerpoint. Doing so will earn your assignment a zero.
- Use good grammar, including complete sentences and correct punctuation. You may use bullet points, but the information you write out beside those bullet points should be complete sentences, not single words or sentence fragments.
In my last lecture, we talked about the development of three civilizations that would come to
form the basis of medieval culture and eventually the modern world. I explained how
Charlemagne came to control most of the former barbarian lands of Western Europe and
succeeded in linking his empire both to the Roman Catholic Church and the former Roman
Empire. In this lecture, I want to look at what happened in Western Europe in the centuries
following Charlemagne. During this time, between the 10th and 12th centuries, Europeans
endured a range of experiences from anarchy created by new barbarians to great progress that led
to the rise cities, capitalism, and great power for the popes.
[SLIDE] Let’s start with our questions: We’re going to ask how manors and cities developed
between the 10th and 12th centuries, what three elements contributed to the start of the crusades at
the end of the 11th century, and how the popes gained power between the 11th and 13th centuries.
[SLIDE] Let’s return back to Charlemagne and the 9th century for just a moment. Now, even
though Charlemagne had been an excellent and skilled ruler, his sons and grandsons were not.
When Charlemagne died, his son Louis the Pious, divided the kingdom among three sons, who
were bad rulers. This division, and their inability to rule effectively, resulted in the disintegration
of Charlemagne's empire and the end of the Carolingian dynasty. In fact, the very names of the
later Carolingian rulers give a clue to the emperor's decline. A few of these rulers were named
Charles the Bold, Charles the Fat, and Charles the Simple. [SLIDE] In addition to bad rulers,
however, the power of the Carolingian kings also declined because of the invasion of the new
barbarian group. The Vikings.
In the 9th and 10th centuries, new polytheistic barbarian groups raided the Christian heart of
Europe. All of these different polytheistic barbarians, the most important were the Vikings. The
Vikings were from the Scandinavian region. They were a warrior people, and superb
shipbuilders and sailors. [SLIDE] Viking ships were the best at the time. They were long and
narrow with beautifully carved arched prows that were often decorated in the shape of dragons.
These ships could carry about 50 men. They had oars as well as of a single great sail. And the
shape of these ships meant that they were not only going for the open sea, but they could also go
up rivers. [SLIDE] This allowed the Vikings to attack towns and cities on the shore as well as
inland. Viking raids became regular and really devastating in Europe in the 9th century. Viking
sacked villages, towns, destroyed churches, and easily defeated small local armies. Vikings
attacked and took over places in Ireland and England. The area of Belgium, Germany and
France, and even in Northwestern Russia. They made contact with the Byzantine Empire and
Islamic civilization both as traders and invaders. The Vikings were daring explorers. [SLIDE]
They sailed westward and reached Iceland in 874 CE, and Greenland in 985 CE. Archaeologists
have actually found Viking sites as far west as Newfoundland on the North American continent.
This means that the Vikings found the American continent centuries before Christopher
[SLIDE] When Charlemagne's empire fell apart, and the Vikings and other barbarians began to
invade Europe, people realized that the kings were too weak and too ineffective to protect them.
So they created a new system of relationships. Instead of rulers, people turned to local warlords
who had the money, the weapons, the armies and the castles necessary to protect people. In the
9th and 10th centuries, these warlords became known simply as lords, and their dependents those
people they protected, were called vassals. In exchange for protection, vassals promised their
service and their loyalty to the Lord. Lords frequently called on their vassals for military service,
to resist invaders, or to fight with other lords. Often, the Lord also gave his vassal a piece of land
to farm– called a fief– as a source of revenue, to pay for the vassals armor, weapons, and horse.
All three of these were necessary for an effective soldier known as a knight. This new system of
production and service between lords and vessels was known as feudalism. And it's spread
throughout Europe in the 9th and the 10th centuries. Some vassals became powerful themselves,
and, in turn, took on vassals for themselves. You can think of feudalism as a sort of political
pyramid scheme. Due to the establishment of feudalism, the power and wealth of the lords of
Europe often rivaled that of actual kings. In order to keep these powerful lords in their place,
kings in the 9th and the 10th centuries developed the concept of divine right. Divine right meant
that kings received their power to rule from God. By portraying themselves as chosen by God to
rule, kings discouraged lords from trying to rise up and overthrow the current kings. It was really
bad to go against God's will.
[SLIDE] Towards the end of the 10th century, however, life became less chaotic and much easier
for people living in Western Europe. And as a result, between the years of about 1000 and 1300,
the population of Western Europe nearly doubled. Within 300 years, it increased from 38 million
people to 74 million people, and it increased for three primary reasons. First, the Vikings and
other new barbarian groups stopped invading around the year 1066 CE. This meant that people
felt more secure. They stopped thinking that they were going to be attacked at any minute, and
people who feel safer tend to reproduce more. Second, beginning around 1000, Europe
experienced a slight increase in temperature. This increase in temperature made for longer and
better growing seasons. And third, Western Europe experienced an agricultural revolution.
People developed new ways to grow more crops, which provided people with more food.
Because of the rise in temperature and agricultural innovations, people ate more and better, and
were generally healthier and lived longer.
[SLIDE] Let's look closer at the agricultural revolution of the Middle Ages. This revolution was
a result of new farming technology. Prior to the year 1000, people were using a lightweight plow
made of wood. This plow had been invented in the region of the Middle East, where soil is a lot
looser and less dense. But in Western Europe, the soil is heavy and dense, so this lightweight
plow had really only been effective at breaking the top layer of soil. Around the year 1000,
though, people developed a heavier plow made of iron. This iron plow could get into the clay
soil of Western Europe and make it more workable for crops. People also invented things that
made it possible to work the soil quicker. For example, they started using horseshoes, which
gave horses more traction to pull the heavy plows. And they also invented new plowing
harnesses that made it easier for horses and oxen to pull those heavy plows without choking.
People in this time period also learned how to use the power of water and wind. Europeans began
to use watermills and windmills, which could be used to grind grain quicker, and produce more
flour that could be turned into bread.
[SLIDE] As I’ve mentioned, the more effective production of food contributed to an increase in
the number of people in Europe. More food led to a bigger population. And in turn, more people
required more food. It was a big cycle. The lords of Western Europe– who owned most of the
land– saw this as an economic opportunity, and they began to grow more crops for profit. But of
course, a lord was just one person. In order to grow more food and turn a profit, he needed a
labor force to plant and harvest the food. Around the year 1000, lords began to lease their lands
to peasants in the area. Peasants were normally people of the lowest social class. Peasants who
leased land from local lords became known as serfs. These people were farm the land and give
the lords a percentage of their crops, in return for having a place to live, and they would get to
keep a portion of their crops for themselves. The land that the lord owned and leased to serfs was
known as a manor. This manor system was very profitable for lords. They essentially made
money without having to do anything. Over time, the manor system became an aggressive form
of servitude. Serfs weren't slaves, but lords made it so that their serfs weren't allowed to leave the
land they farmed. And serfs generally didn't have a lot of freedom to live their lives as they
wanted to. [SLIDE] But even though all serfs were peasants, not all peasants were serfs. Some
peasants owned their own land and farmed it for their own meager profits. As the population
increased in the 11th century, peasants– as well as lords– began to look for more land to farm.
These peasants and lords and their families expanded into new, previously un-farmed land. They
cut down trees and drained swamps, creating new places to farm food and feed the growing
[SLIDE] As the population grew and people developed more land, the cities in Europe began to
grow as well. In the previous centuries, barbarian invasions and the slow development of the
Germanic kingdoms had caused a decline in the economy. And this makes sense, people were
afraid to travel very far from their own towns to trade. So the economy of Europe had reverted
back to a local level in which people mainly just traded with their neighbors in small villages.
But with the Agricultural Revolution and the growth in the population, people became more
willing to travel and cities became sites of trade and commerce again. As trade increased
between the cities of Europe, a commercial revolution took place. When the Romans controlled
Western Europe centuries before, they used coins to buy things, but when the barbarians came in
and took over, the economy reverted to a barter system. People traded products for other
products, instead of paying money for them. As the economy grew in Western Europe, during
the 11th and 12th centuries, silver and gold coins were reintroduced. This resulted in an economy
based on currency. It was also during this time that the practice of money lending was introduced
into Western Europe. A person could now ask for loans from banking firms or wealthy
individuals, who would give it to you with the added cost of interest. This practice of lending
money with interest was called, usury. More broadly, the growth of the economy directly
resulted in the development of capitalism in Europe. Capitalism is an economic system in which
commerce and industry are controlled by private owners who invest in trade and goods, in order
to make profits. People at this time in the Middle Ages, were no longer just trying to survive,
they were trying to get rich.
[SLIDE] This potential to make money, in turn, encouraged more people to move to the cities.
Many of the old Roman cities still existed, but these cities had shrunk in size and significance
when the barbarians took over. But during the 11th and 12th centuries, as more people moved to
the cities to engage in trade and the broader capitalistic economy, the populations of these old
cities began to outgrow their original walls. In many cases, the people in these old Roman cities
just built new walls to accommodate the bigger population. [SLIDE] And in fact, if you go to
Europe, you can still find cities that have multiple sets of walls that ring each other. Not because
people needed defense, but because the city kept growing. The left side of your screen shows the
different city walls of Barcelona. Barcelona is located on the eastern coast of Spain, and it was
originally established by the Romans. The smaller red circle indicates the original Roman walls.
The yellow and blue circles indicate walls built later to accommodate a growing city in the
[SLIDE] As I mentioned, in many cases, people in old Roman cities just built new walls to
accommodate a bigger population. In other cases, however, the answer to the problem was not
new walls, but an entirely new city. Usually what would happen, is that a group of workers and
merchants would establish a settlement near a castle. Castles were normally located near roads
and trade routes, and they offered protection. Lords living in those castles often had armies and
weapons necessary to defend a new settlement against attack. Initially, the relationship between
these new settlements and local lords was mutually beneficial. The settlements got protection,
and the lords got to tax residents and call upon them for service as vassals. But if these
settlements were successful and developed into cities capable of defending themselves, this
relationship became a hindrance. The people of this new city would eventually want
independence from their local lord to elect their own officials, create their own laws, and keep
their taxes for the benefit of the city. Beginning in 11th century, the solution for many new cities
was to buy their freedom from the lords. City leaders would literally offer their local lord a
specific amount of money for a charter that proclaimed the city's independence to govern itself
without interference. While most lords were more than willing to accept this exchange of money
for independence, some were not. When a lord refused, townspeople often got together and
formed an association called a commune. This commune would use force against their lord to
make him give the city its freedom. You can think of these communes as early labor unions.
Communes were particularly common in Italy. Records from the year 1070 suggest that there
were over 100 communes in northern and central Italy.
[SLIDE] Now, even though people were focused on making money, medieval Europe was still a
very religious society. And as we talked about in my last lecture, the pope was and is the leader
of the Roman Catholic Church. And the pope was a very important person in Western Europe
during the Middle Ages, and we know this because, as we’ll talk about in a few minutes, when
the pope called for a crusade in 1095, hundreds of thousands of people answered his call.
Beginning in the 10th and 11th centuries, the pope and the papacy grew in power until the pope
came to represent the most important leader of Western Europe. The papacy represents the
hierarchy of religious officials who keep the Roman Catholic Church running. This includes the
pope, archbishops, bishops, and priests. The pope at the top of this hierarchy, was responsible for
deciding which practices and ideas were orthodox or heretical, how mass and religious rituals
were performed, and how religious figures related to each other. In addition to these religious
duties, the pope had political duties, as well. The pope met with political leaders, and maintained
diplomatic relationships. As the pope gained more power and more respect as a leader of the
Roman Catholic Church, he began to designate certain officials to advise him in his many duties.
These advisors are called Cardinals. And they also became the officials who elected a new pope
when the current one died. As the pope gained more officials and grew in power, he began to
style himself as a sort of king over the Catholic Church and over Christianity. [SLIDE] In fact,
the pope and his cardinals together came to known as the Papal Curia. Papal Curia is Latin for
the pope's court. So, in this sense, the pope had his own royal court with advisers to assist him. In
the late 11th century, popes reached the height of their power. And this encouraged them to take
matters to a new level. The popes began to present their power as superior to all the rest of the
kings of Europe. So not only did popes present themselves as the King of the Roman Catholic
Church, but they emphasized that they held more authority than any other king.
[SLIDE] So, popes began to present themselves as the most powerful rulers of Europe, over and
above even the kings and their earthly kingdoms. But the problem with this was the up to this
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