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Western Civilization Identifications Middle Ages


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Edward Gibbon
Who: British historian
What: Wrote The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire
When: 1776
Where: London, England.
Who: Non-Jews
What: many were converted to Judaism by Paul, impressed by Hebrew monotheism, ethics, family life; some embraced Hebrew monotheis m
When: 5 AD – 67 AD
Where: throughout Roman Empire
Who: First Christian ruler of the Roman empire
What: credited with social reforms that influenced medieval society. In 313, his Edict of Milan ended pagan persecution of Christians and in 325, brought unity to the church in Nicaea. He also moved the capital of the empire to Byzantine, which he renamed Constantinople in 330.
When: 306 – 337
Where: Roman empire
Why: Began the Roman empire’s unofficial sponsoring of Christianity
Council of Nicaea
Who: convened by Roman Emperor Constantine, attended by 225-318 people
What: 1st ecumenical council that addressed problems relating to the unity of the church; most important was problem of Arianism, celebration of Easter, Meletian schism, adopted the Nicene creed
When: 325 AD
Where: Nicaea
Why: brought unity to the church
St. Augustine
Who: bishop of Hippo who was influential in fostering Christianity after the fall of the Roman empire
What: wrote Confessions and City of God, which was a response to Plato’s The Republic. The meaning of history was God’s intention for human beings; rejected autonomy of reason, said it was driven by faith
When: 354 - 430
Where: born in Roman province, educated in Carthage
Why: one of the profound influencers of Christianity in the West
Germanic Invasions
Who: Visigoths, Vandals, Ostrogoths, Franks, Lombards, Angles, Saxons, Jutes
What: When the Huns attacked the Ostrogoths and the Visigoths in Ukraine and the Danube, the Visigoths moved into the Roman Empire, but were mistreated by Roman officials. They took up arms and defeated the Romans. In 406, many other Germanic tribes invaded the Roman empire and in 408, the Visigoths besieged Rome.
When: 406 – 410
Where: Roman Empire
Henri Pirenne
Who: Henri Pirenne, Belgian historian
What: Wrote Mohammad and Charlemagne, which challenged the theory that the Dark Ages began with the decline of Roman imperial power in the West in the 5th century. He said that the economy of the Western Roman empire still continued after the barbarian invasions; this was only cut by Arab expansion in the 7th century, which gave rise to feudalism
When: 1862 – 1935
Where: born in Belgium
Why: shows the falsities in stating that the beginning of the Middle Ages started with the fall of the Roman empire
Who: Byzantine emperor
What: instituted major administrative changes, tried to increase state revenues, which led to the Nika riot of 532. Recovered North Africa from the Vandals, Italy from the Ostrogoths. He was unable to prevent the raids of the Slavs and the Bulgars. Held a policy of caesaropapism (supremacy of the emperor over the church). Greatest accomplishment was the codification of the Roman law (Corpus Juris Civilis), erected the Hagia Sophia
When: 483 - 565
Where: Byzantine
Why: the codification unified the centralized state, greatly influenced history
Hagia Sophia
Who: first great church was built by Constantius II, but was burned down by the Nika riot; Justinian I rebuilt it in 532, built by Isidore of Miletus
What: Church of Holy Wisdom, for 900 years was the seat of the Orthodox patriarch of Constantinople, converted to a mosque in 1453 by Sultan Mehmed II, then a museum under Kemal Ataturk in 1934
When: 532 AD
Where: Byzantine/Constantinople/Istanbul
Why: prime example of Byzantine architecture; it contains mosaics, marble pillars, and coverings; culminating architectural achievement of late antiquity
Runic Box
What: It is a combination of three cultures - germanic, there is a german legend on it, christianity, there are the three wise men, and roman, there is a roman depiction.
Battle of Tours
Who: Charles Martel and the Franks
What: They defeated the Muslims led by Emir Abd er Rahman who had conquered Visigoth Spain in the 8th century
When: 732 AD
Where: Frankish gaul
Why: this stopped the northward advance of Islam from Spain; if Martel had fallen, the Muslims would have conquered Europe.
Missi Dominici
Who: Royal messengers sent by Charlemagne
What: under Charles Martel, Pepin the Short, they were sent out in a desultory fashion, but under Charlemagne, were key part of administration that were composed of generally two laymen and a bishop/abbot who made annual journeys to different counties to make sure counts were not abusing their power.
When: 754 – 9th century AD
Where: Holy Roman Empire
Why: this was the last attempt to preserve centralized control in the Holy Roman Empire
Who: ---
What: name of the administrative unit in the Kingdom of Hungary; in the 10th century, each comitatus had a castle, lead warrior who was representative of the king, the judge. He collected fees, payments; gave two-thirds to the king and kept the rest for himself. He was responsible for the comitatus. He commanded lesser warriors and they were loyal to him. After they conquered a land, he let them stay until there were no more resources.
When: 10th century to 1918
Where: Kingdom of Hungary
Why: This led to the development of feudalism
Medieval Hierarchy
Who: ---
What: King became known as chief lord, who granted fiefs to the great loards, who in turn divided them and distributed them to vassals, who served over knights.
Who: ---
What: land under feudalism kept by the lord for his own use and occupation. Initially they were worked by serfs in payment for feudal debt. Eventually, they were cultivated by paid laborers. Afterwards, they were leased out to peasants so they were free proprietors after paying their fixed rents. Ancient demesne referred to those lands held by the crown (1066) of William the Conqueror and were recorded in the Domesday Book.
When: Middle Ages (between antiquity and Renaissance: 476 to 1453)
Where: initially in France, but exported to England
Why: One of the three classes of land of manorialism
Three-Field System
Who: ---
What: one-third of the land was planted in autumn with winter wheat; another third was planted the next spring with oats and vegetables, and the final third remained fallow. Advantages: two-thirds of the land were farmed, only one-third was left unused and that diversification of crops made more vegetable protein available
When: High Middle Ages (1050 – 1300)
Where: Europe
Why: higher agricultural production reduced the number of deaths caused by starvation, increased population; grain surpluses meant animals could survive throughout winter, increased number of animals meant steady source of meat/milk, increased quality of manure for fertilizer
Richard the Lion-Hearted
Who: son of Henry II, Eleanor of Aquitane, King of England from 1189 to 1199
What: When his father sought to concede Aquitane to his brother John, Richard rebelled, allied himself with Philip II of France, and defeated his father. After he was crowned, he joined the Third Crusade with Philip II after the loss of Jerusalem to Saladin. John began scheming after Richard started appointing regents. Richard conquered Messina and Cyprus. In 1192, he was captured by Duke Leopold who held him as prisoner. He was then handed over to the Holy Roman Emperor Henry VI, whom he payed a huge ransom for freedom. In 1194, he stopped John from usurping the throne, forgave him, and named him as successor.
When: 1189 to 1199
Where: England
Who: Knight who pledged loyalty to a lord during times of feudalism
What: Vassal gave military service to his lord and received a fief in return (land to support his needs, inhabited by peasants; crops they raised provided support for vassal). Sat in the lord’s court and judged cases, provided lodgings for the lord, offered a gift when the lord’s son was knighted/married.
When: feudalism, Early Middle Ages (5th century to 11th century)
Where: Europe
Why: demonstrates how a lord controlled his dominions and security
Who: merchants and craftspeople
What: organizations set up by merchants, craftspeople that prevented outsiders from doing much business. New craftsman had to be admitted to the guild of his trade before opening a shop; competition inside a guild was discouraged; guild required members to pay employees the same, work the same number of hours, produce goods of equal quality, charge customers a fair price. Guild members attended meetings, celebrated holidays together, marched in processions, cared for members who were poor or ill
When: High Middle Ages (1050 – 1300)
Where: Europe
Why: represented the protection of commerce from the feudal lords, had vast influence of development of commerce
Eleanor of Aquitane
Who: Medieval queen who led England and France
What: daughter of William X, duke of Aquitane, married Louis VII of France, then Henry II of England. Her two sons, Richard I and John, became kings of England. Henry had many affairs, and Eleanor supported her sons in unsuccessful revolts against Henry in 1173, but then she was held in confinement by Henry until 1185. Eleanor helped Richard secure the throne in 1189 and forestalled the plots against him by his brother and collected ransom for his release; she helped John and Richard reconcile and helped John attain the throne in 1199.
When: 1122 - 1204
Where: France/England
Why: one of the most powerful women in Europe during the Middle Ages
Norman Invasion
Who: Northmen who had first raided and then settled in France
What: defeated the Anglo-Saxons with King Harold at the Battle of Hastings, after Harold had just fought a battle with King Harald III of Norway and became masters of England. William the Conqueror kept one-sixth of conquered England for himself, distributed the rest to Norman nobles. William used existing Anglo-Saxon administrative system and divided land into shires administered by sheriffs. Brought French influences to English culture, established the Domesday Book; Normans were still vassals to France in Normandy, but were equals to King of England
When: 1066
Where: England
Why: tied England more closely with Continental Europe rather than Scandinavian influence, created one of the most powerful monarchies in Europe, created the most sophisticated governmental system in Europe, changed English language and culture, and set the stage for a future of English/French conflict.
Who: Italian poet, born in Florence during the Middle Ages
What: author of The Divine Comedy, demonstrates a changeless universe ordered by God; theme is the revelation of God to the pilgrim; religious dialogue on gradations of earthly sin and piety as well as topics such as predestination, classical philosophy. He wrote poems to his beloved Beatrice. In Paradiso, he glimpses the Vision of God and the aim of life is realized
When: 1265 – 1321
Where: Florence, Italy
Why: The Divine Comedy is a culminating statement of the medieval world view, the purpose of life, and the basis of modern Italian language.
Who: French scholastic philosopher
What: brought down in argument the philosophic theory of Realism, dominant in the early Middle Ages. He set up schools in Melun and then Corbeil, nearer Paris. He was nominated canon of Notre Dame at 1115. He fell in love with Heloise, niece of the canon Fulbert. Abelard did not keep the secret, and everyone knew except Fulbert; when he found out, they were separated, but met in secret. Heloise became pregnant and went with Abelard to Brittany where she bore a son. Heloise and Abelard secretly married, and when Heloise denied it, Fulbard put Heloise into a convent and castrated Abelard. Heloise never again married and became a nun. He became a monk in the abbey of Saint-Denis and then had to seek refuge after writing an essay on a rationalistic interpretation of the Trinitarian dogma; his book is burned. He returned to Paris to teach, but then Bernard of Clairvaux accused him of using dialectical argument to attack faith. However, he never refuted church doctrines. After his condemnation by the church and confinement to a monastery, he wrote Sic et Non, where he took 150 theological issues and showed logically that there were conflicting opinions, and suggested these opinions could be reconciled through dialectics.
When: 1079 - 1142
Where: Pallet, France
Why: established a great legend through his love for Heloise, and established interest in his eagerness to philosophize the ecclesiastical doctrine. In the 13th century, people began to take upon these ideals. Abelard also established conceptualism (universals only exist within the mind and have no reality). Also established the concept of Universitas
Who: Peter Abelard
What: established the Universitas, modeled on the medieval guild; a large-scale, self-regulating, permanent institution of higher education. Medieval universities did not have a campus, but were taught in church or at homes; it was not a physical space, but a collection of individuals. Much of medieval thought can be found in scholastic textual commentary; primary emphasis was on logic
When: late 12th/early 13th centuries
Where: Europe, first Italy and France
Why: established the basic framework for university studies
Chartres Cathedral
Who: ---
What: French church located in Chartres; legend has it that since 876, it housed a tunic that belonged to the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Sancta Camisia. It was given to the Cathedral by Charlemagne, who received it as a gift in Jerusalem from Charles the Bald. In 1020, a fire destroyed the cathedral and it was rebuilt as a Romanesque basilica under Bishop Fulbert. In 1194, all but the western towers, the façade, and the crypt were destroyed in another fire, and those parts were rebuilt in the high Gothic style, finished in 1260.
When: [in description]
Where: Chartres, France
Why: considered the finest example in all of France of the ‘high Gothic’ style of architecture. Gothic was different from Romanesque in that it allowed lots of light to enter with huge windows; used flying buttresses which supported ceiling; created an illusion of soaring energy instead of solidity; constitutes one of the most complete collections of medieval stained glass in the world.

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