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HIST101: Ancient Civilizations of the World

Unit 12: The Rise of Western Europe and the Spread of Civilization   Before the medieval period, western Europe was one of the least sophisticated civilizations in the world.  In fact, it was only by inserting itself into foreign trade networks that western Europe developed ties with the wider world.  In turn, these ties served as the basis for the emergence of new ideas and technologies during the Middle Ages.  Other than the development of new commercial connections, there were two other major characteristics that defined the medieval period in western Europe.  The first was Christianity and the Catholic Church (as well as the official language of the Church, Latin).  The second was feudalism.  The expansion of Catholic Christianity and the feudal system had a profound impact on western Europe in the medieval era.

In this unit, we will study the Middle Ages as a period of widespread political, social, and religious upheaval.  We will examine how western Europe began to evolve from a region of disparate and migratory ethnic groups to a more cohesive and sedentary people who shared the same religion and language.

Unit 12 Time Advisory
This unit will take you 13.5 hours to complete.

☐    Subunit 12.1: 4 hours

☐    Subunit 12.2: 7.5 hours

☐    Subunit 12.3: 1.5 hours

☐    Unit 12 Assessment: 0.5 hours

Unit12 Learning Outcomes
Upon successful completion of this unit, the student will be able to: - Identify the causes, main events, and consequences of the fall of the Roman Empire. - Describe the causes, main characteristics, achievements, and legacies of the Carolingian Empire. - Assess the religious, political, and social role of the medieval Church, as well as the causes, main events, and consequences of the Crusades. - Describe causes, characteristics, and consequences of feudalism in medieval Europe.

12.1 Emergence of the Middle Ages   12.1.1 The Fall of Rome’s Empire and the Rise of Medieval Europe   - Reading: George Mason University: Dr. Maureen Miller’s “The Middle Ages” Link: George Mason University: Dr. Maureen Miller’s “The Middle Ages” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Please read the entire article for an overview of the European Middle Ages.
 
Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

12.1.2 Charlemagne and the Carolingian Empire   - Reading: Fordham University’s Medieval Sourcebook: Professor Paul Halsall’s version of Einhard’s *The Life of Charlemagne* Link: Fordham University’s Medieval Sourcebook: Professor Paul Halsall’s version of Einhard’s The Life of Charlemagne (HTML)
 
Also available in:
Google Books
 
Instructions: Please read the entire text to get a sense of Charlemagne and his extensive Carolingian Empire.
 
About the link: This website, maintained by Professor Paul Halsall of Fordham University, hosts a variety of medieval primary-source texts.
 
Note on the Text: Written by Einhard, a Frankish courtier and devoted servant of Charlemagne, this text draws upon the Annals of the Frankish Kingdom and paints an exalted picture of the life and achievements of Charlemagne I.  Einhard produced the work at the request of Charlemagne’s son and successor, Louis the Pious; it remains a seminal text in western European history.
 
Terms of Use: This resource is in the public domain.

  • Reading: Dr. Steven Kreis’s The History Guide: Lectures on Ancient and Medieval European History: “Charlemagne and the Carolingian Renaissance,” Lecture 20 Link: Dr. Steven Kreis’s The History Guide: “Charlemagne and the Carolingian Renaissance” (HTML)
     
    Instructions: Please read the whole lecture in order to get a sense of Charlemagne’s rule and the period known as the “Carolingian Renaissance.”
     
    About the link: This online text was developed by Dr. Steven Kreis as an open educational resource for use in undergraduate history courses.
     
    Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

12.2 Medieval Society and Culture   12.2.1 Feudalism   - Reading: Dr. Steven Kreis’s The History Guide: Lectures on Ancient and Medieval European History: “Feudalism and the Feudal Relationship,” Lecture 21 Link: Dr. Steven Kreis’s The History Guide: “Feudalism and the Feudal Relationship” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Please read the entirety of the lecture in order to get a sense of the development and expansion of feudalism in western Europe.
 
About the link: This online text was developed by Dr. Steven Kreis as an open educational resource for use in undergraduate history courses.
 
Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

12.2.2 Manorialism   - Reading: Dr. Steven Kreis's The History Guide: Lectures on Ancient and Medieval European History: “European Agrarian Society: Manorialism,” Lecture 22 Link: Dr. Steven Kreis’s The History Guide: “European Agrarian Society: Manorialism” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Please read the entirety of the lecture in order to get a sense of the importance of the system of manorialism in western Europe.
 
About the link: This online text was developed by Dr. Steven Kreis as an open educational resource for use in undergraduate history courses.
 
Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

12.2.3 Society and Social Classes   - Reading: City University of New York—Brooklyn College: Michael Murphy’s version of Geoffrey Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales Link: City University of New York—Brooklyn College: Michael Murphy’s version of Geoffrey Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales (HTML)
 
Instructions: Please read the sections entitled: “The General Prologue,” “The Knight’s Tale,” and “The Wife of Bath’s Tale.”
 
Note on the Text: Rather than being written in French or Latin, Chaucer’s late 14th-century text was the first to popularize the English vernacular as a literary form.  Many other medieval writers focused on the nobility, but Chaucer’s character sketches instead examine the lives of ordinary folk.  The “tales” also reflect the religious and social upheavals that characterized medieval England.
 
Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • Assessment: The Saylor Foundation’s “Study Questions for Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales” Link: The Saylor Foundation’s “Study Questions for Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales” (PDF)
     
    Instructions: Please complete the questions in the assessment.  You can check your answers against the “Guide to Responding” (PDF).

12.2.4 The Black Death   - Reading: Dr. Steven Kreis’s The History Guide: Lectures on Ancient and Medieval European History: “Satan Triumphant: The Black Death,” Lecture 29 Link: Dr. Steven Kreis’s The History Guide: “Satan Triumphant: The Black Death” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Please read the entirety of the lecture in order to get a sense of the devastation caused by the onset of the Black Death.
 
About the link: This online text was developed by Dr. Steven Kreis as an open educational resource for use in undergraduate history courses.
 
Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

12.3 The Medieval Church   12.3.1 Early Medieval Monasticism   - Reading: Dr. Steven Kreis’s The History Guide: Lectures on Ancient and Medieval European History: “Early Medieval Monasticism,” Lecture 19 Link: Dr. Steven Kreis’s The History Guide: “Early Medieval Monasticism” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Please read the entirety of the lecture in order to get a sense of the importance of monasticism in the early Church.
 
About the link: This online text was developed by Dr. Steven Kreis as an open educational resource for use in undergraduate history courses.
 
Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

12.3.2 The Crusades   - Reading: Dr. Steven Kreis’s The History Guide: Lectures on Ancient and Medieval European History: “The Holy Crusades,” Lecture 25 Link: Dr. Steven Kreis’s The History Guide: “The Holy Crusades” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Please read the entirety of the lecture in order to get an overview of the various Crusades to the Holy Land.
 
About the link: This online text was developed by Dr. Steven Kreis as an open educational resource for use in undergraduate history courses.
 
Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

12.3.3 Heresies and Heretics   - Reading: Dr. Steven Kreis’s The History Guide: Lectures on Ancient and Medieval European History: “Heretics, Heresies, and the Church,” Lecture 27 Link: Dr. Steven Kreis’s The History Guide: “Heretics, Heresies, and the Church” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Please read the entirety of the lecture in order to get a sense of the medieval Church’s definition of and attitude toward “heresy.”
 
About the link: This online text was developed by Dr. Steven Kreis as an open educational resource for use in undergraduate history courses.
 
Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • Assessment: Pearson Education’s World Civilizations: The Global Experience: “Chapter 15, Multiple Choice Quiz” The Saylor Foundation does not yet have materials for this portion of the course. If you are interested in contributing your content to fill this gap or aware of a resource that could be used here, please submit it here.

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