The Middle Ages Study Guide



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The Middle Ages - Study Guide
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The Medieval Timeline


  1. What event (and date) marks the official beginning of the Middle Ages?

  2. What are the three time periods associated with the Middle Ages? How can each be described and/or characterized?



The Early Middle Ages: Germanic Kingdoms Unite under Charlemagne


  1. What happened to Western Europe after the fall of the Roman Empire? Why?

  2. What was the one institution to survive the fall of the Roman Empire? How did the survival of this institution impact the Middle Ages?

  3. Influential Rulers

    1. Charles Martel & his accomplishments

    2. Charlemagne:

      1. Charlemagne the “Roman Emperor” – why was he crowned & what was the significance of this event?

      2. Explain Charlemagne’s Accomplishments/Legacy in terms of…

        1. Religion

        2. Learning

        3. Government



Feudalism & the Manor Economy


  1. Feudalism

    1. What is feudalism?

    2. What led to the development of feudalism? What was feudalism a response to?

    3. Define: Vassal, Serf

    4. How was feudal society structured? What were the mutual obligations of the feudal system?

  2. The World of Nobles

    1. Knighthood

      1. What are the 3 stages of knighthood?

      2. What is Chivalry?

  3. Manorialism

    1. What was the role of manorialism in the feudal system?



The Church


  1. What was the role of religion during the Middle Ages? Why?

  2. Describe the Church Hierarchy

  3. What were the powers of the church (sacraments, laws, punishments)?

  4. Define: Clergy, Sacraments, Heresy, Inquisition, Excommunication

  5. What was the role of monasticism during the Middle Ages?

  6. What were some of the problems with the church?

  7. What was the relationship like between Popes and Kings/Emperors?


The Crusades


  1. What was the primary cause of the Crusades?

  2. List the motives for JOINING the Crusades.

  3. List the Church’s motives for PARTICIPATING in the Crusades.

  4. How did the Crusades impact Western Europe (effects of Crusades)?



Culture & the High Middle Ages


  1. What are the reasons for the growth of trade and towns?

  2. What were universities? Why were they able to develop during the High Middle Ages?

  3. Define Vernacular

  4. Vernacular Literature:

    1. Dante Alighieri – significance & works

    2. Geoffrey Chaucer – significance & works


The Late Middle Ages – Death & Destruction


  1. The Black Death

    1. What was the Black Death? What was the believed cause? What was the actual cause?

    2. What was the impact of the Black Death on Western Europe?

    3. How did the Jewish community become a scapegoat during this time period?

2. What was the overall impact of the disasters of the late Middle Ages?


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