“Wisdom and knowledge shall be sought all over the world in order to promote the welfare of the empire.”
Japanese Charter Oath
Contact and Interaction
“I think that people wanted to explore other areas of the world because they wanted to find other people, trade with others, and find treasures so they could be rich.”
Christina Lopez, Sixth Grade
South Bend, IN
When one culture comes into contact with another, several things can happen. In Europe, Christianity and Islam brought new learning and a longing to explore the world. Christianity sparked monumental works of art. Islam brought a new power to Asia. Meanwhile, the Aztecs united Mexico, and a new emperor tried to bring back old values to China. As cultures met, war, revolution, colonization, changes in government, trade, and —most important — the exchange of ideas resulted.
The Impact of Cultural Exchanges
Create a magazine titled "Cultural Exchanges" to show the contact and interaction between peoples:
• Make a chart of cultural exchanges with the following titles: "Ideas," "Products," and "Inventions."
• Draw or cut out illustrations of cultural exchanges.
• Write a diary entry from the point of view of an explorer who observes new cultural elements that he or she plans to share with people at home.
• List foods that come to you from cultural exchanges.
RESEARCH: Collect facts about the impact of a product or idea that was brought back to Europe from the Americas.
---The Duomo, Siena, Italy.
As people began to move outward from their own societies and have more contact with other cultures, their interest in the larger world grew stronger. Some bold explorers ventured further to find out more about unknown parts of the world. The resulting interactions between peoples and cultures from different parts of the globe changed the world forever. More than just products and types of food were exchanged between the different areas shown on this map. Probably the most important result of the interactions was the exchange of ideas.
In this unit, you will learn how revolutions in ideas and religion transformed Europe. You will also read more about some of the world's great cultural centers, from Africa to the Americas.
This writer joined in the great rediscovery of ancient knowledge and culture. Chapter 11, Lesson 3
Mehmet II 1453
On May 29, 1453, he was at the gates of Constantinople. Why was he there? Chapter 12, Lesson 2
Ming Tomb 1368-1644
This is the tomb of a man who was born a farmer and died an emperor. Chapter 12, Lesson 3
An Aztec Warrior 1420s
The Aztecs built a great civilization in Mexico. Chapter 12, Lesson 4
European Imperialism 1805
Why did this man want to carve up the world? Chapter 13, Lesson 3
Growth and Change in Europe
Chapter Preview: People, Places, and Events
The Middle Ages 800s
This coin shows the profile of the emperor Charlemagne. Why is he famous? Lesson 1, Page 288
The Crusades 1095-1300
People fought over the city of Jerusalem for more than 200 years. Why? Lesson 2, Page 296
Mongol, Empire 1200s
Genghis Khan ruled the world's largest empire. Where was it located? Lesson 2, Page 299
Main Idea After the fall of the Roman Empire, western Europe broke into many small, self-governing groups.
The young boy struggles to steer the plow as the ox ahead of him pulls the heavy plow forward. At the sound of thunder, the boy looks skyward, puzzled. Then he sees them, charging over the hill: an army of men or horseback, suits of armor glinting in the sunlight, banners flying from raised lances. Enemy archers on foot let fly a volley of arrows as the boy runs back to the village, shouting a warning.
The villagers scurry for safety inside the thick, stone walls of their lord's castle. The boy darts across the drawbridge an instant before it is raised, leaving the enemy on the other side of the wide, water-filled moat. The siege is on!
Surprise attacks by enemy kingdoms and foreign invaders, like the one described above, caused people to build stone castles for protection. Castles were also the homes of the nobles, but living in one wasn't exactly comfortable. The stone walls and tiny windows made castles dark, damp, and drafty. Rodents and lice were a constant problem. Even so, for hundreds of years, castles were the best form of protection available from a world in disorder.
---Bodiam Castle, in England, was built in the 1380s.
A.D. 814 Death of Charlemagne
A.D. 1215 King John agrees to the Magna Carta
Italian Renaissance 1400
This military engine is only one of many inventions dreamed of by a great artist. Lesson 3, Page 307
What was it like to live in Europe at this time? Paintings help us find out. Lesson 3, Page 309
The Reformation 1500s
What happened when the English King Henry VIII disagreed with the Pope? Lesson 4, Page 317
---This stained glass window from the Middle Ages shows the emperor Charlemagne on horseback. Medieval historians report that Charlemagne could read, but that he spent his entire adult life trying to master writing.
---To prepare for knighthood, a seven - or eight-year - old boy went to live in a knight's household as a page (see the illustration at right). There the boy performed chores, trained in horsemanship and sword fighting, and was taught manners, music, and poetry. At 15 or 16, the page became a squire and accompanied the knight into battle. At 20, if judged worthy, the squire was tapped on the shoulders with a sword and "dubbed" a knight.
Focus What was feudalism and how did it organize life during the Middle Ages?
After the final collapse of the Roman Empire in A.D. 476, many warring bands invaded western Europe. For most of the next 1,000 years, warfare, bloodshed, and fear filled the land. This period of history is called the Middle Ages, or the medieval (mee dee EE vuhl) era. It took place between the end of ancient times and the beginning of the modern world.
There was a brief period of order during the reign of the emperor Charlemagne (SHAHR luh mayn). This French king, who conquered much of western Europe, ruled from 768 to 814. He improved education, strengthened the government, and enforced the rule of law. He also supported the Christian Church. Charlemagne's empire did not survive his death. Between new invasions and internal rebellions, his heirs divided the empire into smaller, constantly squabbling kingdoms. The Christian Church remained the only stable institution of the time.
As wars raged on among kingdoms, a new breed of warrior evolved: the knight. Knights were land-holding nobles who began training during childhood for a lifetime of duty to their lords.
A knight was part police officer, preserving the peace and bringing criminals to justice. He was also part soldier, ready at a moment's notice to defend his lord's castle or ride off to battle. A knight's most important weapon was his sword. The one shown below is from approximately 1100.
Knights lived by a strict code of honor called chivalry (SHIHV uhl ree). This code required them to be loyal and just, to protect the innocent, to show mercy to their enemies, and to live according to the values and teachings of the Christian Church.
A New Way of Life Begins
The kings and lords of western Europe owned much land but had very little money. To pay their military officers, called vassals, rulers rewarded each vassal with a large tract of land, called a fief (feef). In return for their fiefs, vassals pledged eternal loyalty, fought for their ruler whenever required, and paid a yearly tax. This system is called feudalism.
Often a lord would divide a part of his land, or manor, into smaller units. (The manor meant both the house and the surrounding land. Locate the manor in the illustration below.) Because of unending wars and threats of invasions, poorer farmers moved onto these plots of land and accepted the lord's protection. In exchange, each farmer, called a serf, promised his labor, and that of his children, to the manor. Serfs became bound to the land by this pledge and could not move elsewhere without permission.
Serfs worked on their lord's land part of the time. The rest of the time, they worked on their own small plot of land. In times of poor harvests, invasions, or epidemics, many serfs died or went hungry. Even good times, serfs had to give part of their own harvest to their lords.
---Serf women worked alongside their husbands as equals, as seen in this painting from 1416. On the whole, however, feudal society granted few rights to women. Noblewomen could inherit a fief, in but they were not permitted to rule over it. When a noblewoman's husband went off to war, she could rule in his place only until he returned.
The Medieval Manor
Manor communities like these dotted the European countryside. Often they were isolated from each other, with the only communication by foot or horse or river boats. It would take days to travel from place to place, and news traveled slowly.
Merchants and craftspeople became important members of society during the Middle Ages. Some large guilds even negotiated with kings for more rights and protection for their towns. Wealthy merchants often used seals (as shown above) to identify their products. Economics: This medieval illustration shows a street in a French town. Can you tell what each shop sells?
The Economic Growth of Towns
Focus How did life change as more people began to live in towns?
By the mid-11th century, life was starting to improve for many people. Crop rotation began producing bigger harvests. To keep the soil fertile, people did not plant the same crops in the same field each year. Inventions such as the horseshoe and the harness allowed farmers to use horses as plow animals instead of the slower oxen. Two new energy-producing devices, the windmill and the water mill, helped farmers grind grain more easily. These devices also made it easier to power the large furnaces used to make iron tools.
These advances increased the food supply and decreased the time and effort it took to grow food. With new ideas and timesaving inventions, fewer farmers were needed. People began moving away from the countryside and into towns, which grew into thriving centers of trade.
Some towns grew up around existing marketplaces. Others formed on the sites of abandoned towns. Freed serfs and poor farmers arrived, hoping to find new ways to earn a living. Towns offered new opportunities for women, who sometimes owned and ran their own businesses. Soon many merchants and craftspeople were competing, sometimes unfairly. So each craft and trade formed an association, called a guild. The guilds made sure prices and wages were fair, settled disputes, and set standards of quality.
The growth of towns in western Europe led to the rise of a middleclass, people who ranked between nobles and serfs in society. They gained wealth and their position by work, rather than by being horn rich.
Wealthy towns began to build (or rebuild) walls around the town and hire their own guards. They no longer needed kings and lords for protection. Some local rulers even allowed larger towns to govern themselves — as long as townspeople kept paying taxes, of course.
A Typical Medieval Home
Many families in medieval times lived in wooden houses like this one. The roof was made of thatch, or plant stalks and leaves. The windows were small to keep out drafts. Family members slept on straw mats. Often, animals lived inside the house, too. Women swept ash and animal dung out of the house weekly.
Women cooked meals in a fireplace that filled the house with smoke. Meals consisted of bread, porridge, bacon, vegetables, fruit, nuts, and sometimes other meat. When eating, the family sat on benches around a large table. Uneaten food was hung from the rafters to keep rats and mice from eating it. This jug is from the 1 300s.
---Fashion and Hygiene
Leather shoes like this one were common. The toes were often stuffed with straw to keep them pointy. When clothes were washed, they were soaked in lye, scrubbed, and hung up to dry. On average, people bathed less than once a month.
---Just for Fun
Children played many games that are still popular today. They liked blind man's bluff, bowling, chess, checkers, and backgammon. This spinning top is carved from wood. The string is probably made from catgut, the dried intestines of an animal.
The Role of the Church
Focus What role did the Christian Church play during the Middle Ages?
---Chartres (SHAHR truh) Cathedral in France was built in the 11 00s. The spires don't match because the one on the left burned down and was rebuilt in the 1 500s. Arts: Describe three differences between the two spires.
"The Christian Church" doesn't refer to an individual building, but to all of organized Christianity. It includes everyone from the Pope, the Church's spiritual and political leader, to priests, who conduct religious services for communities. During the Middle Ages, the Church grew powerful in western Europe. It formed its own governing body, laws, courts, even a system of taxation. Worshippers paid the Church a part of their income, called a tithe. Sometimes a person couldn't start a business unless the Church approved it. And if the Church disapproved of a ruler, it could threaten him with excommunication — being cast out of the Church.
The Church built huge houses of worship called cathedrals. Their great size reflected the Church's power and influence. Buildings of this size also allowed an entire town to attend services at the same time. Cathedrals were monuments to God, and the workers who built them took great pride in every detail. Some cathedrals took hundreds of years and hundreds of people to complete.
Many people dedicated their lives in service to the Church. Women who did so became nuns. They spent their days in prayer, and often provided care for the sick and hungry. Men who were similarly devoted became monks. Monks sometimes spent their lives preserving ancient books and religious manuscripts. When the books became worn, the monks copied them by hand — a boring and time-consuming task. The photo at right shows a page from a medieval book.
During the Middle Ages, all Europeans were expected to be Christian. The Church made every effort to convert non-Christians, who were often hated and feared for their different beliefs and practices. The Jews were one such group. They were persecuted, expelled from western Europe, and sometimes even killed for their beliefs.
Governments Challenge the Church
Over time, rulers grew more powerful and began to form their own governments. A government headed by a king or queen is called a monarchy (MAHN uhr kee). In the later Middle Ages, monarchies began to challenge the authority of the Church. The Pope claimed that he had supreme authority over all Christian lands. The kings, especially in western
Europe, said that the Pope and other high-ranking Church officials interfered too much in matters of government.
In England, the monarch was also struggling for power with the nobles. In 1215, the English nobles forced King John to agree to the Magna Carta. This historic document limited the power of the king and gave certain rights to the nobles. You can read more about the Magna Carta in the Citizenship feature on pages 294-295.
These changing attitudes of rulers and nobles and the decline in the power of the Popes were signs that times were changing. The Middle Ages, a period that lasted for about 1,000 years, was coming to an end.
--This page from a medieval manuscript shows how a clever copyist corrected a mistake. An illustration of a person, added to the margin, points to the place where a line of text was accidentally left out. The missing line is at the bottom of the page. Technology: How are the printing methods of today more efficient for making similar changes?
1. Key Vocabulary: Define the Middle Ages using knight, chivalry, serf, guild, middle class, cathedral, and monarchy.
2. Focus: What was feudalism and how did it organize life during the Middle Ages?
3. Focus: How did life change as more people began to live in towns?
4. Focus: What role did the Christian Church play during the Middle Ages?
5. Critical Thinking: Interpret Explain in your own words the structure of feudal society in western Europe during the Middle Ages.
6. Theme: Contact and Interaction What effect did the fall of the Roman Empire have on western Europe?
7. Citizenship/Art Activity: Draw or construct a model of a medieval castle. Label the three most important parts.
Can Rulers Do Whatever They Want?
Does the ruler of a country have to obey the law? What prevents rulers from doing whatever they want? The case study below shows that government usually involves negotiation.
The Magna Carta
In 1215, England was at war in faraway lands. To pay for the war, King John asked the lords of England to give him money in taxes. The lords rebelled. They wrote out a new set of laws limiting the king's power. They said that people would pay taxes only if they had a voice in government. They also said that people could no longer be deprived of their property or sent to prison without a trial.
The lords said that they would support the king only if he met their demands. They were even prepared to send an army to fight the king's army. King John needed the lords' support and their tax money. He agreed to negotiate. The document that he signed was called the Magna Carta (MAG nuh KAR tuh), which in Latin means "great charter."
39. No freeman shall be seized, imprisoned, dispossessed, outlawed, or exiled, or in any way destroyed…except by the lawful judgment of his peers, or by the law of the land.
40. To none will we sell, to none will we deny, to none will we delay right of justice.
Magna Carta, 1215
Like governments, people make agreements almost every day. These can be casual, such as an agreement to return a borrowed book later in the week. Or they can be formal, such as an agreement to deliver newspapers each day in return for a salary. These steps can help you to think about how to write a formal agreement.
1. You and a few friends have agreed to share responsibility for a pet dog. List the ways that the dog will need looking after (feeding, exercise, bathing, cleaning up after, and so on).
2. Decide how you will share the care. Who will do what, and on what schedule? What if one of you is sick or away? If disagreements arise among you, how will you settle them?
3. Suppose the dog owner wants you to walk the dog at midnight, or bathe and brush it every day. Suppose the dog chews a shoe. Who replaces the shoe? What are your rights and responsibilities as a dogsitter? List them.
4. Use this information to write up a contract. state clearly your rights and responsibilities. sign and date the contract. Does it seem fair? Will it work? Share with the class your ideas for resolving any conflicts that might come up.
Tips for Resolving Conflicts
• Think about whether there is a difference between people's "demands" and their "wants."
• Focus on someone's "wants" when you are trying to work out a solution. This may mean helping them see how their "demands" aren't the only way to their "wants."
In 1689, the British Parliament wrote a Bill of Rights "declaring the rights and liberties" of the British people and limiting the powers of their rulers, William and Mary. "The suspending .. . or execution of laws by regal authority without consent of Parliament is illegal," read the first right. "Freedom of speech, and debates or proceedings in Parliament, ought not to be questioned in any court or place out of Parliament," read the ninth right. Find out more about these rights and compare them to rights presented in the United States Bill of Rights (Unit 1). Discuss their differences and similarities.
Cultures Affect Each Other
Main Idea Through the centuries, connections among Africa, Asia, and Europe increased.
1096 The First Crusade begins
1340s-1350s The Black Death
The European mapmaker who made the map below in the Middle Ages placed Jerusalem at its center. Because of the city's religious importance, many Christians believed at the time that Jerusalem was the center of the world. Jerusalem was also of great importance to Jews and Muslims. Compare this map to the modern map on the next page. Look at the shape of the Mediterranean Sea in both. What other differences do you notice? The conflicts among different religious groups over Jerusalem set the stage for wars that lasted for almost two hundred years. Even today, conflicts over Jerusalem continue.
Focus What were the Crusades and how did they affect the people of Europe and Asia?
"God wills it!" cheered the crowd of French peasants and knights. They were responding to a speech by Pope Urban II in 1095. He had urged them to take back the city of Jerusalem for Christianity. By about the year 1000, Muslims had spread Islamic religion and culture throughout the area around Jerusalem. Sometimes they made it difficult for European Christians to make pilgrimages, or religious journeys, to the holy places there. The Pope wanted to make Jerusalem safe for Christians.
The Pope also had political motives for his speech: he wanted to reunite the Christian Church in Rome and the Orthodox Church in Constantinople. The two Churches had split 40 years earlier. When the emperor of Constantinople asked for help to fight the Muslims, the Pope saw his chance. He would send aid and promote unity at the same time.