I. Questions of periodization A. Nature and causes of changes in the world history framework leading up to 600 C. E. – 1450 as a period



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V. Developments in Europe

A. Restructuring of European economic, social, and political institutions

1. Economic

a. West


1. Before fall of Roman Empire, small landowners already selling off land holdings to larger estates

i. Many people left urban for rural protection

ii. Trade continued to decline – political order disintegrated

2. Early part – towns shrink in size

3. 500-1500 Middle Ages – Medieval

4. 500-1000 Dark Ages – judgmental, inaccurate

5. Manorialism/Feudalism – European social, economic, political system

i. Estates – fiefs/manors

ii. Form of unfree agricultural labor

iii. Method of harnessing peasant labor

1. Ensure steady food supply

2. Different than slavery

a. Can not be bought or sold

b. Could pass on property to heirs

iv. Peasants lived on manor – in exchange for place to live and protection

1. Gave lord part of crops

2. Number of days each month performed services on lord’s land

v. Manors remarkably self-sufficient

1. food harvested

2. clothing and shoes made

3. “Great Clearing” – work together to cut down forests

4. Scientific advances helped manors succeed

a. Three-field system – fall harvest, spring, fallow

b. Led to food surplus, at times

c. But…tools rather crude

i. Moldboard plow in 9th century able turn soil

6. Gradually skilled serfs started trading with the rest of the world

i. Chipped away at social stratification

ii. Banking began – towns and cities gain momentum

iii. Middle Class emerges – craftsmen/merchants

1. People lured to towns – hope of making money

2. 11th century – Europe re-entering the world

b. East – Byzantine

1. Coined money – provided stability

2. Unique position between Mediterranean and Black Seas

i. Crossroads of Europe and Asia

ii. Remarkable military/economic importance for 1500 years

iii. Provided commercial/cultural connections

iv. Preserver of Christianity

3. Absolute authority

i. Controlled economy

1. Especially industries – silk production

c. Renewed economic growth

1. Caused by:

i. Rise of towns

ii. Use of money rather than barter

iii. Labor shortage from plague

iv. Enclosure of open fields

v. Peasant rebellions

2. Renewed interaction between Europe and Central Asia

i. Following Crusades


              1. Sugarcane, spices, luxury goods – porcelain, glassware, carpets

              2. Unbalanced trade – East showed little interest in Western goods

              3. 4th Crusade – Venice merchants actually raid Constantinople

              4. Power to monarchs to collect taxes for armies

              5. encouraged growth of merchant/artisan class

              6. exposed Europeans to learning

              7. gave Europeans better sense of geography

              8. Venice/Genoa other wealthy trading cities

              9. developed internal trading routes

              10. Bad effects

                1. Muslim/Christian hostility

                2. Encouragement of anti-Semitism

                3. Undermining of Byzantine Empire

                  1. Worsens East/West relations

3. Signs of changing economics

Knights improved military effectiveness


          1. Created middle class

          2. Improved agricultural techniques > population growth

          3. Vikings became Christians, settled, stopped invading > relative security

          4. France – palace schools to educate local children

          5. Landlords extended holdings

            1. Sometimes paid serfs for these new lands

4. High Middle Ages

a. *** Renewal of economic/intellectual vigor and tendency toward centralized political authority led to new era in Europe

b. Increased Eurasian trade

c. Growth of banking

d. Towns regulated business/collected taxes

e. New warfare technology - gunpowder and cannon made castles obsolete

f. Decline in number of serfs on manor

i. Some serfs received wages

ii. Others fled to towns

1. Serf in town for year and a day considered a free person



      1. Social

        1. Feudalism – social class

          1. King power over kingdom

          2. Nobles – granted land in exchange for military service/loyalty to king

          3. Nobles divided land among vassals

          4. Vassals divide to subordinate vassals

          5. Peasants then worked the land of these subordinate vassals

          6. Everyone fulfills obligations to vassals

            1. Military

            2. Food production

        2. Status defined by birth – Lord > knight > merchant > artisan > peasant

        3. Power determined by land ownership

        4. Feuds develop – have etiquette – chivalry

          1. Rules of engagement

          2. Honor system – promoted mutual respect

          3. Most lords and knights followed this code of chivalry

          4. i. Songs/legends provided examples – King Arthur’s Round Table

          5. ii. Chivalry more myth than reality

        5. Peasant rights

          1. Peasants became tied to land – literally couldn’t leave without permission

          2. Not quite slaves, but not entirely free

          3. “Imprisonment” on land made them quite highly-skilled

            1. Needed to be self-sufficient

        6. Role of Women

          1. Traditional roles of homemaker/childcare provider

          2. Code of chivalry reinforced women as weak/subordinate

          3. Convents offered women opportunities

            1. Service in communities

          4. Women in towns a bit more freedom

            1. Allowed to participate in trade/craft guilds

        7. Male-dominated

          1. Land = power, only males can inherit

          2. Primogeniture – eldest son

          3. Noblewomen few powers – though elevated through literature

          4. Education limited to domestic skills

          5. Regarded essentially as property – protected and displayed

            1. Needed feminine traits – beauty/compassion



      2. Political

        1. West

          1. Small feudal kingdoms

          2. Extreme decentralization

            1. No single ruler able to provide unity

          3. Few cultural and technological advancements

          4. Great Migration of Germanic and Asiatic

            1. Some settled permanently

            2. Kingdoms tended to be unsophisticated/short-lived

            3. As Barbarian tribes became less nomadic, played key roles

          5. Lords only have direct contact with king when called to service

            1. Normally lord in charge of his own land

            2. Disputes erupted between lords – the term “feud”

          6. Era characterized by local power struggles

            1. Settled through battle or marriages

          7. Emergence of regional governments

            1. not until 800s/900s did true nations – centralized states unite

            2. common ethnic, linguistic, cultural heritage

            3. Holy Roman Empire – Charlemagne (768-814)

              1. 800 CE crowned emperor – Charles the Great

                1. for protecting Church

                2. established papal authority over kings

                3. cemented relationship between rulers/Church

            4. Franks – overran Gaul – Germanic tribe

              1. 5th century converted to Christianity

              2. Carolingian Dynasty

                1. Charles Martel – stopped Muslims 732

                2. Frankish royalty allies with Pope

                  1. Symbiotic relationship between Church/king

            5. England

              1. Alternative form of feudalism

              2. Norman invasion of 1066

                1. Duke of Normandy – William the Conqueror

                2. Viking descent – transplanted his form of feudalism

                3. Instead of vassal form of feudalism

                  1. All vassals owe allegiance to monarch

              3. Successors started

                1. Paid bureaucracy

                2. Royal court system

                3. Single system of laws

                4. Jury system

              4. Growth of Parliamentary Government in England

                1. Unique

                  1. Limitations on monarch

                  2. One of earliest parliamentary governments

                2. 1215 nobles wanted to control tax policies of King John

                  1. Forced to sign Magna Carta

                  2. No taxation without cosent

                  3. No arbitrary arrest

                  4. Guarantee of justice to all

                  5. Monarchy not above the law

                  6. Entitled nobility to basic rights

                  7. Later interpreted that all social classes get these rights

                3. 1265 – first English parliament

                  1. House of Lords – clergy and nobility

                  2. House of Commons – urban elite class

                  3. Used power of purse to control monarchs – needed money to go to war

            6. Northern Italy/Germany – gained prominence by 10th century

              1. Wanted to connect with classical empire of Rome

              2. Territory – Holy Roman Empire

                1. Voltaire “neither holy, nor Roman, nor an empire”

                2. Fraction of the size

                3. Italy still run by city-states

                4. Germany still run by feudal lords

                5. Provided a measure of unity during Middle Ages, but…

                  1. Delayed unification of Germany and Italy until 19th century ***

        2. East – Byzantine

          1. Absolute authority

          2. Secular rulers headed the church

          3. Justinian Code – codification of ancient Roman legal principles

            1. Had gone unused for awhile in the West

        3. High Middle Ages

          1. Strengthening of nation states

          2. Hundred Years War – 1337-1453

            1. Increased power of France/England

            2. Considered end of medieval period

      3. Cultural

        1. East vs. West

          1. Byzantine Empire

            1. Greek language

            2. Blended Greek and Roman elements

            3. Icon – painted images of Christian saints, Virgin Mary and Jesus

            4. Architecture with domes

            5. More in common with Persia

            6. Mastery of mosaic art

            7. Under Justinian – trade and arts flourish

              1. Hagia Sophia

        2. West

          1. Only in Spain, was Greek/Roman learning maintained – by Muslims in Spain

          2. Development of vernacular languages

          3. Mystery plays

          4. Few literary works – stories about saints

          5. Development of polyphonic music, chants for religious ceremonies

          6. Return to stone for buildings – some Romanesque copies

        3. High Middle Ages

          1. Increased urbanization – still nothing like China

          2. Rise of universities



          3. Gothic architecture – cathedrals tall spires/arched windows with stained glass

            1. Muslim designs + Western architectural technology

        4. Technology

          1. Mechanical clock – China 750 > Europe/Italy 14th century

          2. Paper – along Silk Road – taught by Persians > Italians first

          3. Printing press – block printing China 8th Century

            1. Johan Gutenberg – 1436 – mass production of text critical

            2. Raised literacy rates

            3. Spread information

            4. Increased impact of new ideas/scientific theories

            5. Encouraged expansion of universities/libraries

            6. Key Role in Renaissance/Reformation/Scientific Revolution

          4. Spectacles/eye glasses – lenses originally for astronomers

            1. 1285 Florentine invented first spectacles

          5. Firearms/Gunpowder – 3 century BCE made

            1. Used as firearm/cannon in 9th century

            2. 1252 – made it to Europe

        5. Philosophy

          1. Scholastism – reconcile logic and faith

          2. logic, senses, scientific learning vs. dogma

          3. Saint Thomas Aquinas – most brilliant Italian monk – Summa Theologica

          4. Also influenced by Muslim/Jewish thinkers

        6. Music and Literature

a. Gregorian chants – simple chant without instruments

b. Later secular music – love and adventure

i. troubadours and minstrels made popular 11th/12th century

1. Favorite subjects – heroic legends – knights, Roland, El Cid

c. Literature – Latin language of elite

i. Poetry began being written in vernacular – local language

ii. More literature available to more people

d. Universities

i. Initially under Church influence

ii. Havens for learning, discussion, exchange of ideas



        1. Architecture

a. Byzantine/Middle East methods > castle building

b. Cathedrals – higher degree of skill

i. Required immense amounts of money

ii. Could take a century to build

c. Styles

i. Romanesque – thick walls, small windows, square blocky building

ii. Gothic – tall, slender spires, ornate carvings, large stained-glass windows, flying buttresses to support weight of walls


        1. Similarities to Japanese feudalism

          1. Knights to samurai – vassals who served in lord’s military force

          2. Followed an honor code – chivalry

            1. In contrast to bushido – chivalry was two-sided contract between vassal/lord

            2. Started 800s after division of Holy Roman Empire vs. started in opposition to power of the Fujiwara

            3. King, queen, emperor vs. Emperor as puppet ruler, shogun as real power

            4. Hereditary/deposed length of service vs. emperor hereditary/deposed, but shogun > force/intrigue

            5. Ruler>Vassal>Vassal>Knight

            6. Emperor>provincial aristocrat>vassal warrior chief>samurai

            7. Large population engaged in agriculture vs. small agriculture population

            8. Bushido applied to both men and women of samurai class

              1. Chivalry only followed by knights






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