Humanities: Middle Ages and Twelfth Century Essay

Submitted By brichter89
Words: 1987
Pages: 8

Hum 221: Humanities I
The Medieval Period

1. The collapse of the Roman Empire lead to abandon cities, a breakdown in trade, and a decline in literacy. With all of the uncertainty and gloom, religion would step out of the shadows and shine its light on crowds of people. Charlemagne, the Holy Roman Emperor, as he assumed himself to be; did quite a bit of work to bring the Catholic Church back up to their feet after the fall of the Roman empire. During his reign he emphasized the importance of worship, music and education in the church. These reforms would shape Western Catholicism into what we see today in a modern Catholic Church.

2. The Franks controlled a strong and mighty kingdom in Europe, its leader being Clovis; the first Christian king. Soon enough, Charlemagne would inherit this Frankish kingdom, after the death of his father, Pepin. Pepin was the protector of Rome and the Church and was recognized as king by the pope. When Charlemagne took over, he showcased his unwavering pursuit to strengthen his rule and spread Christianity. He established a central government over Western Europe and unified the Roman Empire. These acts paved the way for the development of modern Europe. Charlemagne bundled spreading Christianity with also tying in the importance of education, this can be seen as a positive. Everyone knows that with every positive comes at least one negative. The problem arose with the use of the feudal system, under Charlemagne’s rule. This created a major problem between church and state.

3. As previously discussed, Charlemagne had pretty big shoes to fill and great tasks to accomplish after the fall of the Western Roman Empire and the death of his father. During his rule he was a huge believer in spreading education, including arithmetic and grammar. He also prescribed to good works and knowledge; supporting his theory that you can’t carry out what is good, unless you know what is good. Charlemagne continued his spread of goodness throughout the Carolingian renaissance; resulting in an increase in writing, literature, architecture, and scriptural studies. All good things must come to an end; Charlemagne’s kingdom collapsed in 843. Of his three sons, not one of them could step up and stand where their father stood; they just fell into civil war. The treaty of Verdun and the treaty of Merson were confirmed by the pope and split the land into three kingdoms; Italy, Germany, and France.

4. Feudalism served as the economic system of much of the Middle Ages. There was certainly a hierarchy involved at this time; king, vassal, knight, serf. For example, a vassal lived on a feudal manor; the lord of the manor gave the vassal land to farm. Then, in return the vassal would receive protection from bandits. However, the vassals were taxed and had to surrender a portion of their crops to the lord. It is said that feudalism taught a sense of loyalty and obedience between the vassals and their lord. Each of the following social classes played an intricate role in the stabilization of society in this time period. The clergy had the purpose of saving everyone’s soul, also known as those who pray. Next were the nobles, their purpose was to protect and to provide justice, those who fight. Lastly, were the commoners, those who work; their purpose being to feed and clothe the clergy and the nobles.

5. In the twelfth century there were multiple factors that led to the revival of trade and the growth of towns. The first would be the increase pilgrimage within Europe. The rise of republican ruled cities would count as another factor. Geographically speaking, trade was made possible due to the use of rivers as a transport for the goods. Cities began to pop up, up and down the rivers to take advantage of the natural highway. And possibly the most important factor of them all; guild memberships. There were two types of guilds, a merchant guild and a craft guild. Guilds were thought of as an association…