Chapter 10: a new civilization emerges in western europe

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Pages 212 – 229


  1. The Flavor of the Middle Ages: Inferiority and Vitality

Western Europe changed rapidly during the Post-Classical period, but it remained commercially and culturally backward compared to Islam and the Byzantine Empire. But its development ushered in new political and cultural forms.

  1. Stages of Postclassical Development

Medieval European development unfolded in two subperiods up to about 1300. Between the 6th and 10th centuries, chaotic conditions prevailed, despite gains made by the church and Charlemagne’s brief empire. Then, improvements in trade and agriculture brought new strength and diversity. Feudal monarchy developed as a stronger political form. During this period, western Europe also developed expansionist tendencies, particularly in the Crusades.

  1. Western Culture in the Post-Classical Era

Christian culture formed the clearest unifying element in western Europe during the Post-Classical centuries, although it changed as European society matured. Theologians and artists developed distinctive expressions, although there were other philosophical and artistic currents as Europe’s cultural creativity increased.

  1. Changing Economic and Social Forms in the Post-Classical Centuries

With the revival of trade and agriculture, commercial ties spread through most of Western Europe. Urban merchants gained unusual power, but early capitalism was disputed by the different economic values of the guilds.

  1. The Decline of the Medieval Synthesis

Amid problems of overpopulation and disease, post-classical Western civilization declined after 1300. The decline was evident in feudalism and the church.

  1. Conclusion: The Post-Classical West and its Heritage – A Balance Sheet

The term “Middle Ages” suggests a backward period in Western history between the glories of Greece, Rome, and the Renaissance. This view neglects the fact that the area had never been integrated into a regional civilization and was building institutions and culture for the first time. It was backward in some aspects and did not participate in world contacts as the equal of the great Asian societies. The Middle Ages was a formative force of its own.

              1. CHAPTER REVIEW

  1. What characteristics define medieval west European civilization?

  1. How did manorialism affect the legal, social, and economic position of the serfs?

  1. What economic and demographic developments changed Western society?

  1. How did feudal monarchies organize power? How was their power limited?

  1. Why did Europeans support the Crusades and how did they impact Europe?
  1. What problems did the Medieval church face and how did it solve them?

  1. How did the rise of universities affect religion, society, and learning?

  1. What changes occurred in agriculture, towns, and commerce after 1000 C.E.?

  1. What social, economic, religious and political changes ended this era?

  1. How did Christianity affect the social, legal, and economic status of women?

  1. What roles did upper class women play in the feudal and religious institutions?

              1. VOCABULARY

  1. Medieval, Middle Ages

  1. Manorialism

  1. Serfs

  1. 3-Field System

  1. (Holy Roman) emperors

  1. Feudal monarch; vassals

  1. Feudalism

  1. Parliaments (Three estates)

  1. Crusades

  1. Papacy

  2. Investiture

  1. Scholasticism

  1. Hanseatic League

  1. Guilds

  1. Black Death

              1. MAP EXERCISES (Use maps on pages 104 and 717)

  1. Map 8.1: Charlemagne’s Empire (Page 219)

  1. What modern nations did Charlemagne rule?

  1. What modern nations did each division of the Frankish empire become:

  1. West Franks?

  2. East Franks?

  3. Kingdom of Lothair?

  1. What is the relationship between Charlemagne’s borders and Europe’s religious groups?

  1. Map 8.2: West Europe toward the end of the Medieval Era, 1360 C.E.(Page 233)

  1. What medieval states have already established their modern borders?

  1. What areas have not yet united into modern states?

  1. Why would the Holy Roman Empire be difficult to govern?

              1. DOCUMENT ANALYSIS: Changing Roles for Women (Page 232)

  1. Who wrote it? (Attribution includes biographical references)

  1. What was the author’s point of view?

  1. How reliable is the document? Why?

  1. What was the intent or purpose behind the document?

  1. Who was the intended audience?

  1. What is the document’s tone?

  1. How have roles for women changed?

              1. PHOTO ESSAYS: The Rise and Fall of Medieval Europe

  1. The Age of Faith (Pages 215, 218, 223, 228)

The Middle Ages in Europe was called an Age of Faith. In what ways do the photos represent this title?

  1. Feudalism (Pages 212, 218, 222, 229)

Politically, many regions in Medieval Europe utilized a feudal system to restore and maintain stability. How do the photographs depict aspects of feudalism?

  1. The Death of Feudalism and the Age of Faith (Pages 230, 234, and 235)

How would towns, commerce, war, and the Black Death destroy Medieval institutions?


  1. The period known as the Middle Ages in Europe

  1. was an era in which European culture and civilization dominated the Mediterranean region.

  2. was a period of isolation and stagnation for European society.

  3. began with feudal kings in control and ended with the Roman Catholic Church the dominant power in Europe.

  4. began with the fall of Rome and ended with the decline of the feudal and religious institutions.

  5. saw Christianity confined to a few lands in western Europe.

  1. During much of the early Middle Ages, the literate population

  1. generally lived in the cities around the universities.

  2. tended to be merchants rich enough to afford an education.

  3. included the rulers and aristocracy.

  4. was confined to the clergy and monasteries of the Catholic Church.

  5. had all but vanished leaving Europe in a Dark Age.

  1. During the Middle Ages, effective political and military power in Europe was

  1. wielded by the Roman Catholic Church.

  2. the domain of the national monarch such as the King of France.

  3. local in nature with regional aristocrats holding the greatest influence.

  4. furnished by mercenary armies supported by the rich towns and cities.

  5. shared by the peasants, urban dwellers, and the Church.

  1. Manorialism was characterized by all of these conditions EXCEPT:

  1. most peasants were serfs.

  2. manors and peasants depended on merchants for most necessities.

  3. peasants were obligated to give their lord a portion of their produce.

  4. the lords protected the peasants.

  5. levels of production and technology were low and limited.

  1. Serfs differed from slaves in that

  1. serfs were largely commercialized artisans while slaves were agricultural.

  2. serfs were ethnically Europeans while slaves were Muslims, pagans, and Africans.

  3. they could not be bought or sold, and owned some of the land they farmed.

  4. serfs could serve in the military, while slaves could not.

  5. slaves frequently were better educated and lived in towns.

  1. After the collapse of Charlemagne’s empire, the pattern of political life in western Europe

  1. was dominated by the strong empire, that his sons and heirs established.

  2. was modeled on the Byzantine Empire.

  3. returned to small tribes and clans with regional or local loyalties.

  4. focused on religious control of states and politics.

  5. consisted of regional monarchies with strong aristocracies.

  1. New agricultural techniques and technologies introduced during the Middle Ages included all of these EXCEPT:

  1. more nutritious foods from the Americas such as potatoes and corn.

  2. moldboard plows.

  3. horse collars.

  4. clearing forestland and draining swamps.

  5. three field rotation system.

  1. The growth of towns in Europe after the 10th century C.E.

  1. failed to stimulate new trade or commercial opportunities.

  2. was greater than similar developments in China.

  3. was due largely to support from the Church.

  4. occurred in northern France and England.

  5. weakened the feudal system as towns were outside the feudal system.

  1. Medieval universities and schools

  1. were established to train bureaucrats to run the government.

  2. were hesitant to study the Greek classics and Arab sciences.

  3. trained middle class townspeople largely in theology, medicine, and law.

  4. arose in rural settings around the larger, more famous monasteries.

  5. welcomed members of all classes including women, provided they passed the entrance exams.

  1. West European feudalism

  1. inhibited the development of strong central monarchies, but did reduce local warfare.

  2. encouraged the growth of strong kingdoms.

  3. failed to end invasions by the Arabs, Magyars, and Vikings.

  4. was largely economic in practice.

  5. did not include the church and religion in feudal contracts.

  1. To circumvent or counteract the power of feudal lords, national monarchs used all of these tools EXCEPT:

  1. alliances with the middle classes.

  2. taxes on towns and cities.

  3. professional armies loyal only to the monarchs.

  4. confiscation of church lands and a tax on the clergy.

  5. royal officials and professional bureaucrats.

  1. The major lasting result of the Crusades was the

  1. conversion of eastern Europe to Roman Catholicism.

  2. establishment of cultural and economic contacts between western Europe and the Middle East.

  3. conquest of the Holy Land and Jerusalem.

  4. destruction of the European nobility and military class.

  5. creation of a new Holy Roman Empire ruling many Mediterranean lands.

  1. Most religious reforms during the Middle Ages

  1. were attempts to combat widespread heresies.

  2. failed because of royal and aristocratic opposition.

  3. failed to increase papal control and influence.

  4. fought secularism in the clergy and feudal interference in church affairs.

  5. were directed by secular lords against a corrupt church.

  1. When scholars began to study Greek classics, most early west European intellectuals and scholastics

  1. rejected Christianity when it conflicted with classical learning.

  2. found that Aristotle and Plato stressed the importance of faith and God.

  3. doubted the accuracy and validity of classical learning.

  4. readily accepted Greek ideas and integrated them into Christian theology.

  5. found the Greek notion of reason troubling because it questions faith.

  1. Increased attempts by nobles in the late Middle Ages to assert their control over serfs led to

  1. the expansion of serfdom.

  2. increased revolts and resistance by the peasants and serfs.

  3. the decline of agricultural output.

  4. increased conflict with the Church, which protected the serfs.

  5. a rise in slavery in order to replace the lost labor of the serfs.

  1. The Commercial Revolution in late Medieval western Europe

  1. met with little resistance from the Church.

  2. preceded the first Crusades.

  3. encouraged the growth of trade, banking, and trading alliances.

  4. arose on in Italy.

  5. was dominated by Jews, Muslims, and foreigners.

  1. Although western society was not as tolerant of merchants as were Muslim and Indian societies

  1. weak governments allowed merchants to assert considerable power in semi-independent trading cities.

  2. the Roman Catholic Church encouraged profits.

  3. western merchants amassed greater wealth than their Muslim and Hindu counterparts.

  4. western rulers rarely interfered in or regulated trade or commerce.

  5. Christian merchants married easily into the aristocratic elites.

              1. ESSAY QUESTIONS

  1. Compare and contrast west European and Japanese feudalisms.

  1. How did political institutions in western Europe change from the fall of the Roman Empire to the end of the Middle East? (Change over time)

  1. Compare and contrast the roles of women in Medieval Western Europe with their counterparts in Islam and Hinduism.

  1. Compare and contrast western European Medieval commercialism with its Indian and Muslim equivalents.

  1. Compare and contrast Roman Catholic and Orthodox institutions.

  1. Compare and contrast the roles of religion and faith in western Europe and the Muslim world.

  1. Compare and contrast the Hanseatic League and the Swahili trading cities.

  1. Compare and contrast Medieval scholasticism with Muslim or Hindu intellectual achievements.

  1. Compare and contrast the treatment of Jews and minorities in western Europe and Muslim lands.

  1. Compare and contrast west European crusades with Muslim jihads.

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