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01b_Charlemagne Unites Germanic Kingdoms

01b_Charlemagne Unites Germanic Kingdoms

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Published by Anthony Valentin

Many Germanic kingdoms that succeeded the Roman Empire were reunited under Charlemagne’s empire. Medieval Europe was a transition between Classical and Modern Europe. The Medieval European Period was marked by changes brought about initially by the collapse of the Roman Empire in the West (Western Europe). In this lesson, the focus is the kingdom of the Franks. The relatively brief period of political and social stability established by the Merovingian and Carolingian monarchs witnessed significant efforts toward permanent change as well as long-standing achievement.

Many Germanic kingdoms that succeeded the Roman Empire were reunited under Charlemagne’s empire. Medieval Europe was a transition between Classical and Modern Europe. The Medieval European Period was marked by changes brought about initially by the collapse of the Roman Empire in the West (Western Europe). In this lesson, the focus is the kingdom of the Franks. The relatively brief period of political and social stability established by the Merovingian and Carolingian monarchs witnessed significant efforts toward permanent change as well as long-standing achievement.

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Published by: Anthony Valentin on Feb 09, 2012
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02/23/2014

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01b
_Ch13-European Middle Ages: Charlemagne Unites Germanic Kingdoms (The Dark Age)
 
Timeline:
 5th - 9th C
 
FQ:
 Where in Western Europe did 'light' shine during the 'Dark Age'?
 
Main Idea:
 Many Germanic kingdoms that succeeded the Roman Empire were reunited under Charlemagne’s empire. Medieval Europe was a transition between Classical and Modern Europe. The Medieval European Period was marked by changes brought about initially by the collapse of the Roman Empire in the West (Western Europe). In this lesson, the focus is the kingdom of the Franks. The relatively brief period of political and social stability established by the Merovingian and Carolingian monarchs witnessed significant efforts toward permanent change as well as long-standing achievement.
 
CCSS…
 
I. ‘The Dark Ages’:
 Urban Lifestyle Changes (Absence of a Central-Unifying Authority)
 
A.
 City/ Town Infrastructure Collapse
 
1.Roads in disrepair
 
2.Sanitation suffers
 
3.Aqueducts in disrepair
 
4.Economic Activity Collapses
 
a. Lack of Security (ex. law enforcement & fire)b. Unenforced Standards
 
B.
 Population Plummets
 
1.2nd Century Rome => ~1,000,000 inhabitants
 
2.6th C. Rome => ~30,000 inhabitants.
 
3.The countryside becomes the destination of many seeking sustenance and security.
 
C.
 Institutions Weakened or Disappear (Judicial, Religious, Education)
 
1.Local loyalties based on kinship replaces loyalty to a central authority.
 
2.
 #
Laws are not codified, but influenced greatly by custom & tradition.
 
3.Houses of worship experience shrinking congregations. Negative impact on ability to offer services and maintain the facility.
 
4.Learning becomes decentralized and provincial (based on local history & customs)
 
II. ‘The Dark Ages’: From "Goth" to "Frank"
1
 
A.
 'Provincial’ [local] authority based on tribal/ kinship bonds. It replaces the duties and responsibilities of citizenship to a central government.
 
B.
 The Goths, a Germanic tribal-based ethnic group, contains many different tribes and dominate northern and western Europe.
 
C.
 Christianity spread among the Germanic tribes before the collapse of Rome through contact with Roman civilization. The ‘brand’ of Christianity practiced by many Goths was a hybrid of Roman Catholicism and the native religious beliefs. This ‘heretical’ hybrid faith is called Arian Christianity.
 
1.Clovis, the Frank, unifies the Franks and converts to Roman Catholicism in the 5th C. (Merovingian Family)
 
2.Kinship ties and loyalties contribute to the conversion of most Goths to Roman Catholicism.
 
3.Mayor Domo: (Mayor of the Palace) Exercised 'true' political power in the Frankish Kingdom.
 
a.Charles Martel- Charles the Hammer: Expanded the kingdom and concentrated power in the position.
 
b.Carolingian Family.
 
III. The Rise of the Frankish Kingdom
 
 
A.
 The Franks unite many of the Gothic tribes under one central political authority. Thus, the tribal bonds diminish in importance.
B.
 The Frank monarch and the Papacy join in an alliance. Pepin the Short (son of Charles Martel) is anointed King by the Pope. This papal coronation subverts the authority and legitimacy of the actual Frank king. Pepin vows that the Franks will subdue and convert non-Roman Catholic tribes that could threaten the Church (eg. The Lombards).
C.
 Charlemagne ascends the Carolingian throne and establishes his court at Aachen. 1. Succeeds his father (Pepin the Short) as King of the Franks.2. Despite his illiteracy, he paves the way for a brief rebirth in learning (
Carolingian Renaissance 
).
 
a. Carolingian Handwriting
 
A great accomplishment of Carolingian era monasteries was the preservation of manuscripts. Monks copied the Bible, works of the Church Fathers, sacred writings and commentaries, and works of classical authors as well. Many of the works of ancient Rome that we possess exist in their earliest form in a Carolingian manuscript. This copying contributed to a reform of handwriting. Merovingian script [was] all but unreadable, and each copying led to new corruptions in the text. With the Carolingian Renaissance there was a new emphasis on accuracy, and this drew attention to the need for better handwriting.
 
b. The invention of Carolingian Miniscule,
2
 was significant. This script has clear, neat letters, with each word separated from one another, rather than all run together as Merovingian script often was. Alcuin
3
 formed a scriptorium (writing office) that produced many books in the new script and influenced writers far and wide. One of Charlemagne's capitularies is entitled "On Scribes - That They Should Not Write Corruptly". Carolingian miniscule was revived during the Renaissance and has survived as our lower case letters (the capital letters come from ancient Rome).
4
 
3. Political, Economic and Social Initiatives
 
a. In his government, Charlemagne systematized the administrative machinery of his predecessors. He permitted conquered peoples to retain their own laws, which he codified when possible, and he issued many capitularies. A noteworthy achievement was the creation of a system by which he could supervise his administrators in even the most distant lands; his missi dominici were personal representatives with wide powers who regularly inspected their assigned districts. He strove to educate the clergy and exercised more direct control over the appointment of bishops and he acted as arbiter in theological disputes.
[5]
 He stimulated foreign trade and entertained friendly relations with Christian allies (e.g. England) as well as Muslims (e.g. Abbasid Caliph Harun al-Rashid).
6
 
b. Charlemagne's court at Aachen was the center of an intellectual renaissance. The palace school, under the leadership of Alcuin, became famous; numerous schools for children of all classes were also established throughout the empire during Charlemagne's reign. The preservation of classical literature was aided by his initiatives.
6
 
IV. ‘The Dark Ages’: Collapse Of The Frankish Kingdom
 
A.
 Rivalry among the sons and grandchildren of Charlemagne fractures the kingdom. Among the Franks, there had been a long tradition of land division among male heirs.
 
B.
 Treaty of Verdun (c. 843)
7, 8
 
Charlemagne had several sons, but only one survived him. This son, Louis the Pious, followed his father as the ruler of a united Empire. The dispute between the sons of Louis the Pious (son of Charlemagne) results in the permanent division of the kingdom, determined by the Treaty of Verdun. Over

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