The Germanic Tribes, the Roman Legacy, and the Christian Church
History 114 – Western Civilization & The World I
Due: November 8, 2014
After the fall of the Roman Empire around the fifth century, it took “hundreds of years” for the western part of Europe “to establish a new society.”1 The emergence of this new European civilization during a period known as the Early Middle Ages, included three major components: the Germanic tribes, the bequest of the Romans, and the legislation of the Christian Church. Although these three chief elements contributed to the new medieval empire in the west, the Germanic tribes devastated the seized Roman territory …show more content…
The expansion of monasticism throughout the Mediterranean world brought a disciplined way of life for Christians, which ordered them to live simply in isolated communities without temptation or sin.14 Each monk would live solitarily either alone or with neighbors in monastic houses called monasteries, founded by St. Benedict of Nursia (c. 480-543).
St. Benedict led a community of monks under his own ruling of ascetic life that he followed himself. His general regulations for the regular day of the monks included four hours each of liturgical and meditative prayer, and private reading of religious works; six hours of physical labor; and ten hours for eating and sleeping.15 Each Benedictine monastery had abbots, authority figures over monks, who would ensure their obedience. An illuminated manuscript found from the eighth century, provided by the Pierpont Morgan Library, depicts the image of St. Benedict presenting his rule to his monks.16 The manuscript details Benedict as a larger figure than the huddled group of the five monks that kneel before him; he points to a book in his right hand as he passes it to the reaching hands of one of the frightened monks. Benedict is sitting on a rather large and ornamented throne, while wearing an identical hooded robe of the monks.
The most adept Benedictine monks would leave the monastery to become missionaries or churchmen to spread the ideas of