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Early Middle Ages 20/07/2007 12:13:00

• “Lex Familie Wormatiensis”

The end of Rome:

• Barbarian Kingdoms sacked Rome
• Constantine had moved the capital eastward, called Constantinople
• Rome remained a cultural and political hub
o then the Visigoths came in and took over the city
o is like Rome was New York and Constantinople was DC
• An empire in name only
o roman titles
o barbarians kings
 they also fought each other
 firmly in control of the French kingdom along with spain
 some of Denmark
 ruling was a combination of roman and barbarian
• Ostrogoths came to rule Rome, even though Visigoths took it over
o Ruled by theodoric
o they used Romans to administrate Rome
o Christians and Arians lived side by side
o theodoric converted to Christianity in his lifetime
 his conversion enabled him to rule the Christians in his
o Christians and Aryans did not live together very happily
 Aryans feared their relatives would convert to
 theodoric held them together
 when he died his successors were not able to maintain
his empire
 no strong unifying leadership
 around the same time the Byzantines thought it was a
great time to invade
 the former/continuing eastern roman empire
 they wanted to recapture the glory of the old
 he wanted to take over Italy
 led to 20 years of warfare
 neither side really maintaining an advantage
 during the war the plague broke out (not the black
• the ostrogoths were losing their power and the Lombards (another
group of barbarians) took over
o they had no interests in theodoric ideas or the old roman
o ruled with an iron fist
o divided the kingdom into 20 military sections
• what is the Pope doing during all this time?
o Pope Gregory
o Ostrogoths gone and Byzantine in shame the church was left
protecting Rome
o Kept the lombards from taking Rome and the 3Vatican
o the lombards by the 7th century converted to 3Christianity
• The Franks
o A lose connection of tribes around the Rhine river (France and
o in the 4th century the franks were conquered by the roman
people and resettled by an area of present day Belgium and
o they were also sent to be soldiers of the roman empire
o defended Gaul from other barbarian invaders
 gaining favor from the empire and great power
 they had gained so much power that the French leader
Clovis took over the French and established the
Merovingian kingdom
o Merovingian Kingdom
 Clovis’s Conversion
 Converted to Christianity
 gave him legitimate power over the Christians
 established relationships with the Gallo-Roman
 had to intent to change the French way of living
 when he died in 511 was successful to leave successors
in his place
 they have an enduring dynasty
 Clovis’s successors shared power to controlling the
 No infighting unlike the ostrogoth’s kingdom
The early middle ages
• Peasant
o Day to day life still dirty and harsh
o As a peasant you are pretty much occupied with the day to
day things for survival
 Making sure nobody steals your animals, crops
o Slavery ends with the end of the roman empire
o no single group is powerful enough to make slavery
economically viable
 instead you have people living in estates
 essentially the work the land for you, give you most of
the crops, and they have a place to live
 the household became the basic economic unit and
social unit
 houses tended to be small
 3 rooms was usual
 live with animals
• kept you warm
 the father of the family held final authority
 living in mid-evil household sometimes you had more
than one family living together
 division of labor was that men worked the field, women
cared for animals and prepared food
 you did have the church
 the church managed to establish itself throughout
the country side
 built churches and recruit priests from the areas
 before Christianity came to the country side
• peasants had pagan rituals
• celebrated the harvest
• Christians replaced this with Christian
• became daily life of the peasants
• Aristocracy
o Came from Germanic and roman traditions
 Overlapping traditions
 if you had enough land of a skilled warrior you were part
of the elite
 roman law allowed the title to be inherited
 not part of barbarian law, but eventually
recognized it
 even if you inherited a title you had things expected of
 you are supposed to be a leader
 the general ability to protect people
o Raising an army was the formal way to praise the king
 They did not do this all the time so they spent most of
the time doing whatever they wanted with their lands
 Divide land as they pleased
 land lords could be in bed with daughters of
people serving under your area
o Aristocratic life
 They had feasts
 invited people to their lands
 a way to maintain and establish alliances
 and then you had wars
 they occupied a great deal of their time hunting
as practice for warfare
 fought other aristocrats over their estates to grow
their estates
 make conquests and bring back treasures for the
o Women
 You would enjoy changes in status
 Christianity forbade the tradition of multiple wives
 greater power in their marriage
 grater access to religious life
 allow to worship
 and part in church administration
 wives could be given power of the day to day things of
the estate while the husbands were away
• The King
o Aristocracy: Uneasy Alliance
 Had to be in an uncomfortable relationship with
 The king did not want to get overthrown by others
 the aristocrats did not like the king to had too
much local power in their areas
 a way to maintain power was to divide the spoils of war
 give more to the aristocrats
o Law
 In the early middle ages the king was not the absolute
source of law
 he has rights to collect taxes
 law was still based on a estate by estate basis
 important relationship with the church
 monks and priests performed a vital part of any
royal administration
 they believed themselves as upholders of the
• gave them greater legitimacy over the
• seen in the eyes of the Church as a keeper
of his word
 not a situation in which they are bound
• they exist independent of one another but
stay together for their own interests

Carolingian Empire (by 7th century)

• Charles Martel
o Most powerful duke
 extended his power in two ways
 Conquered other lands
 number of daughters that married into other
 alliance with the pope
 actively seeks a relationship with the pope
• travels to Italy and defends the pope from
the lombards
• halts the Muslim invasion giving him
recognition by the pope
• Pippin (son of Charles martel)
o Becomes first king to be consented by the Pope
o single ruler of the Merovingian Kingdom
 the pope says Pippin is the one doing all the actual
ruling, therefore he deserves the title
o first time that you have ecclesiastical sanction of the king
 from here one you don’t have a lose relationship with
the pope, you have his approval and your actions are
done with his participation
• Charlemagne (Pippin’s son)
o Sanctioned by the Pope
o Believes it is his duty to maintain the divine will of God
 To do this he needed a more powerful and effective
 He reforms the church
 creates standards of training for the clergy
 he also believed it was important to train the
clergy in the heritages of the European history
 teach them philosophy and make them well
rounded leaders
o this creates a cultural renaissance
 new artistic tradition that combines styles of antiquity
from the Romans with new artistic themes
• The Carolingian Kingdom is the first Christian empire
o All the rulers are Christians along with their followers
o the pope likes it a lot
 he is much more powerful
o in 800 AD the pope pronounces in Rome, Charlemagne
 later to be known as the holy roman empire
o death of Charlemagne (814 AD)
• Carolingian Legacy
o Template of European Kingship
o model of medieval government
o symbol of European unity that exists today
20/07/2007 12:13:00
20/07/2007 12:13:00