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HIST302: Medieval Europe

Unit 2: Formation of Latin Christendom   *After the fall of the Roman Empire, a number of diffuse Germanic kingdoms—the Visigoths, Ostrogoths, Burgundians, and Lombards—filled the power vacuum left by the bureaucratic Roman regime.  Christianity, too, filled the void left by the Roman Empire as the Germanic kings began to convert from paganism.  But it was the Frankish Empire that emerged as the dominant state in medieval Western Christendom.  Beginning in the ninth century, Charlemagne formed the Carolingian Empire by uniting much of modern-day France and also extended his holdings into western Germany and northern Italy.  Scholarship and learning flourished under Charlemagne’s rule and ushered in the period known as the “Carolingian Renaissance.”  However, the empire collapsed in the 840s as a result of Viking and Magyar invasions.  One of the lasting impacts of the Carolingian world was manoralism—the system wherein peasants held land from the lord of an estate in exchange for money or agricultural goods—which was an important component in the development of feudalism.

In this unit, we will consider the many barbarian kingdoms that flourished in western, central, and eastern Europe.  We will also consider the spread of Christianity and monasticism among these peoples.  Specifically, we will study the rise and fall of the Carolingian Empire, the most important state to emerge in the Early Middle Ages.*

Unit 2 Time Advisory
This unit should take you approximately 17 hours to complete.

☐    Subunit 2.1: 4 hours ☐    Sub-subunit 2.1.1: 0.5 hour

☐    Sub-subunit 2.1.2: 0.25 hour

☐    Sub-subunit 2.1.3: 0.5 hour

☐    Sub-subunit 2.1.4: 0.5 hour

☐    Sub-subunit 2.1.5: 2 hours

☐    Sub-subunit 2.1.6: 0.25 hour

☐    Subunit 2.2: 4 hours ☐    Sub-subunit 2.2.1: 0.5 hour

☐    Sub-subunit 2.2.2: 1.5 hours

☐    Sub-subunit 2.2.3: 0.5 hour

☐    Sub-subunit 2.2.4: 0.5 hour

☐    Sub-subunit 2.2.5: 1 hour

☐    Subunit 2.3: 4 hours ☐    Sub-subunit 2.3.1: 0.75 hour

☐    Sub-subunit 2.3.2: 0.25 hour

☐    Sub-subunit 2.3.3: 0.25 hour

☐    Sub-subunit 2.3.4: 1.5 hours

☐    Sub-subunit 2.3.5: 1 hour

☐    Subunit 2.4: 5 hours ☐    Sub-subunit 2.4.1: 0.5 hour

☐    Sub-subunit 2.4.2: 1.5 hours

☐    Sub-subunit 2.4.3: 3 hours

Unit2 Learning Outcomes
Upon successful completion of this unit, the student will be able to:

  • Explain the importance of the barbarian invasions and their various effects on Europe’s development.
  • Identify the Germanic kingdoms that formed in various parts of the European continent and their geographical extents.
  • Chronicle and describe major milestones in the creation and development of the Carolingian Empire.
  • Identify key events and explanations for the growth of Christianity during the early medieval period.

2.1 Germanic, Slavic, and Magyar Peoples   2.1.1 Origins   - Reading: Fordham University’s Internet Medieval Sourcebook: Professor Paul Halsall’s version of Tacitus’ “Germania” Excerpts Link: Fordham University’s Internet Medieval Sourcebook: Professor Paul Halsall’s version of Tacitus’ “Germania” Excerpts (HTML)
 
Instructions: Read Tacitus’ “Germania” for an early Roman view of the Germanic tribes and their origins.
 
Tacitus, a prominent Roman historian, conducted an ethnographic study of the Germanic peoples at the end of the first century.  His account gives one of the earliest descriptions of the culture of the Germanic tribes—ancestors of modern Teutonic nations—during the period when they first came into contact with the Mediterranean civilization of the Roman Empire.  However, Tacitus warned that his work was as much a commentary on Germania as it was on his native Rome.
 
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2.1.2 Visigoths, Ostrogoths, and Lombards   - Reading: Fordham University’s Internet Medieval Sourcebook: Professor Paul Halsall’s version of Theodoric’s “Letters” Link: Fordham University’s Internet Medieval Sourcebook: Professor Paul Halsall’s version of Theodoric’s “Letters” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Read these excerpts from Theodoric’s “Letters” for an understanding of Gothic government.
 
Theodoric was the grandson of the Ostrogoth Alaric, who sacked Rome in 410.  Theodoric was King of the Ostrogoths from 493 to 526 and was very different from his grandfather.  As a child, Theodoric had been given to the Romans as a hostage, and he grew up in Constantinople and took on Roman culture and understandings of government.  As king, he used Roman institutions and traditions of rule.
 
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2.1.3 The Franks and Gaul   - Reading: Fordham University’s Internet Medieval Sourcebook: Professor Paul Halsall’s version of “The Conversion of Clovis: Two Accounts (496)” Link: Fordham University’s Internet Medieval Sourcebook: Professor Paul Halsall’s version of “The Conversion of Clovis: Two Accounts (496)” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Read “The Conversion of Clovis,” and compare Clovis’ conversion to Constantine’s, which you read about in section 1.1.4.  Think about why Clovis converted and how that changed the Franks.
 
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2.1.4 Anglo-Saxons   - Reading: The ORB: Online Reference Book for Medieval Studies: Steven Muhlberger’s Medieval England: “The Invaders” Link: The ORB: Online Reference Book for Medieval Studies: Steven Muhlberger’s Medieval England: “The Invaders” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Read Steven Muhlberger’s “The Invaders” to learn about the Anglo-Saxon invasion of England.
 
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2.1.5 Slavs and Magyars   - Reading: John Radzilowski’s “The Slavs” Link: John Radzilowski’s “The Slavs” (PDF)
 
Instructions: Read this article on the Slavs.

 Terms of Use: This material has been reposted with the kind
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under copyright and cannot be reproduced in any capacity without
explicit permission from the copyright holder.  
  • Reading: The Saylor Foundation's "Slavs" Link: The Saylor Foundation’s “Slavs
     
    Instructions: Please read "Slavs."  As you read, consider the following questions: what factors characterized early migration patterns of Slavic peoples?  What effects did conversion to Christianity have on Slavic communities in Eastern Europe?
     
    Reading and answering the questions above should take approximately 15 minutes to complete. 

2.1.6 Effect on Western Europe   - Reading: The Saylor Foundation's "Effect on Western Europe" Link: The Saylor Foundation's "Effect on Western Europe" (PDF)

 Instructions: Please read "Effect on Western Europe." As you read,
consider the following questions: what factors characterized early
migration patterns of Slavic peoples?  What effects did conversion
to Christianity have on Slavic communities in Eastern Europe?  
    
 Reading and answering the questions above should take approximately
15 minutes to complete. 

2.2 Roman Church and Monasticism   2.2.1 Christianity in the West   - Reading: Fordham University’s Internet Medieval Sourcebook: Professor Paul Halsall’s version of Gregory the Great’s “The Book of Pastoral Rule” Link: Fordham University’s Internet Medieval Sourcebook: Professor Paul Halsall’s version of Gregory the Great’s “The Book of Pastoral Rule” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Read Gregory the Great’s “The Book of Pastoral Rule” to learn about the role of the Christian Church in the west after the split of the Roman Empire.
 
Gregory I was pope from 590 to 604 and wrote prolifically about the role of Christianity and the papacy.  Before his elevation to the papacy, Gregory had been a monk, and he tried to invest monastic discipline and values in the secular clergy.  How did Gregory I influence the development of the Papacy in the centuries after his pontificate?
 
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2.2.2 The Papacy   - Reading: Fordham University’s Internet Medieval Sourcebook: Professor Paul Halsall’s version of Leo I’s “The Petrine Doctrine” and The ORB: Online Reference Book for Medieval Studies: Yuri Koszarycz’ Ecclesiology: “The Growing Authority of the Roman Bishops” Link: Fordham University’s Internet Medieval Sourcebook: Professor Paul Halsall’s version of Leo I’s “The Petrine Doctrine” (HTML) and The ORB: Online Reference Book for Medieval Studies: Yuri Koszarycz’ Ecclesiology: “The Growing Authority of the Roman Bishops” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Read Leo I’s “The Petrine Doctrine” and Yuri Koszarycz’ “The Growing Authority of the Roman Bishops” to learn about the rise of papal power and the bases for the authority of the Pope in early western Christianity.
 
Leo I was pope from 440 to 461 and is perhaps best known for convincing Attila the Hun to end his sack of the city of Rome in 452.  Leo, however, was also a prolific author and fought with secular authorities and the eastern Patriarchs about the primacy of the Roman bishop.

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2.2.3 Theology   - Reading: Fordham University’s Internet Medieval Sourcebook: Professor Paul Halsall’s version of “Creed of the Council of Toledo” Link: Fordham University’s Internet Medieval Sourcebook: Professor Paul Halsall’s version of “Creed of the Council of Toledo” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Read the “Creed of the Council of Toledo” for an overview of Catholic belief in the seventh century.
 
The Eleventh Council of Toledo (675) was a local synod, a gathering of Spanish bishops convened to deal with ecclesiastical reform.  The creed created by these bishops, however, became a model for other statements of faith in the Middle Ages.
 
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2.2.4 Monasticism   - Reading: The ORB: Online Reference Book for Medieval Studies: Yuri Koszarycz’ Ecclesiology: “The Growth and Influence of Western Monasticism” Link: The ORB: Online Reference Book for Medieval Studies: Yuri Koszarycz’ Ecclesiology: “The Growth and Influence of Western Monasticism” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Read Yuri Koszarycz’ “The Growth and Influence of Western Monasticism” for an overview of early monastic organization and practices.
 
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2.2.5 St. Benedict   - Reading: Fordham University’s Internet Medieval Sourcebook: Professor Paul Halsall’s version of “The Rule of St. Benedict” Link: Fordham University’s Internet Medieval Sourcebook: Professor Paul Halsall’s version of “The Rule of St. Benedict” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Read the selections from “The Rule of Saint Benedict” for an understanding of the origins of the Benedictine Order.
 
Benedict of Nursia (480-547) was a Roman who left the city to dedicate himself to a life of meditation and prayer in solitude.  He gathered a following, which included his sister Scholastica, and created a set of rules for his followers.  Benedict and Scholastica thus founded the male and female branches of the Benedictine Order of monastics.
 
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  • Lecture: YouTube: Jone442’s “Women as Leaders in the Medieval Church: Saint Scholastica” Link: YouTube: Jone442’s “Women as Leaders in the Medieval Church: Saint Scholastica” (YouTube)
     
    Instructions: Please view “Women as Leaders in the Medieval Church: Saint Scholastica” to supplement the reading above (5:22 minutes).  Consider the following study questions as you read: 1) What was the effect of Benedictan monasticism on the Western Church?  2) How did monasticism provide new venues of piety and leadership for women in the Church?
     
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2.3 The Carolingians   2.3.1 Frankish Kingdoms   - Reading: The ORB: Online Reference Book for Medieval Studies: Lynn Nelson’s Lectures for a Medieval Survey: “The Rise of the Franks” Link: The ORB: Online Reference Book for Medieval Studies: Lynn Nelson’s Lectures for a Medieval Survey: “The Rise of the Franks” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Read Lynn Nelson’s “The Rise of the Franks” for an overview of the development of the Frankish kingdom from its origins to the Carolingian dynasty.
 
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  • Web Media: CosmoLearning: Perry-Castañeda Library Map Collection, University of Texas at Austin’s “The Growth of Frankish Power (481–814)” Link: CosmoLearning: Perry-Castañeda Library Map Collection, University of Texas at Austin’s “The Growth of Frankish Power (481–814)” (HTML)
     
    Instructions: Please view the map “The Growth of Frankish Power” as a supplement to the above reading.  What effect did the Battle of Tours (732) have on the rise of the Franks?
     
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2.3.2 Early Feudalism   - Reading: Fordham University’s Internet Medieval Sourcebook: Professor Paul Halsall’s version of “Feudal Capitularies” Link: Fordham University’s Internet Medieval Sourcebook: Professor Paul Halsall’s version of “Feudal Capitularies” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Read “Feudal Capitularies” for an understanding of the importance of face-to-face relationships in Frankish administration.
 
Capitularies were royal acts or laws issued by Frankish kings and could cover any aspect of law.  These particular capitularies from the ninth century are concerned with the relationships between nobles.  How did royal capitularies change relationships among nobles and between nobles and other classes in society?
 
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2.3.3 Pepin the Short   - Reading: Fordham University’s Internet Medieval Sourcebook: Professor Paul Halsall’s version of “The Annals of Lorsch” Link: Fordham University’s Internet Medieval Sourcebook: Professor Paul Halsall’s version of “The Annals of Lorsch” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Read “The Annals of Lorsch” for a description of how and why Pepin became King of the Franks in 751.
 
Annals were year-by-year accounts of important events.  This particular Annal records Pepin’s elevation to the throne and its relationship to papal/Lombard conflict.
 
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2.3.4 Charlemagne and the Carolingian Empire   - Reading: Fordham University’s Internet Medieval Sourcebook: Professor Paul Halsall’s version of Einhard’s “Life of Charlemagne” and The ORB: Online Reference Book for Medieval Studies: Lynn Nelson’s Lectures for a Medieval Survey: “The Carolingian Empire” Links: Fordham University’s Internet Medieval Sourcebook: Professor Paul Halsall’s version of Einhard’s “Life of Charlemagne” (HTML) and The ORB: Online Reference Book for Medieval Studies: Lynn Nelson’s Lectures for a Medieval Survey: “The Carolingian Empire” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Read Einhard’s “Life of Charlemagne” and Lynn Nelson’s “The Carolingian Empire” for an overview of the Carolingian dynasty and an understanding of Charlemagne’s importance in its development.
 
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.
 
As you read, try to answer the following study questions:  1) What were the major achievements of Charlemagne’s reign?  2) What cultural developments did Charlemagne foster and why?
 
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2.3.5 Carolingian Government and Culture   - Reading: Fordham University’s Internet Medieval Sourcebook: Professor Paul Halsall’s version of Charlemagne’s “General Capitulary of the Missi” and Charlemagne’s “Capitulary of 802” Links: Fordham University’s Internet Medieval Sourcebook: Professor Paul Halsall’s version of Charlemagne’s “General Capitulary of the Missi” (HTML) and Charlemagne’s “Capitulary of 802” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Read these two capitularies of Charlemagne for an understanding of his governmental reforms.
 
The missi mentioned in these documents are the missi dominici, who inspected local governments and churches to ensure that they were carrying out Charlemagne’s orders and following his laws, that Lynn Nelson discussed in section 2.3.4.
 
As you read, try to answer the following study questions: 1) How would you describe Charlemagne’s relationship with the Frankish Church?  2) How did Charlemagne use the Church to administer his empire?
 
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2.4 Collapse of the Carolingian World   2.4.1 Division of Charlemagne’s Empire   - Web Media: Fordham University’s Internet Medieval Sourcebook: Muir’s Historical Atlas: “Map of the Partitions of Verdun (843) and Mersen (870)” Link: Fordham University’s Internet Medieval Sourcebook: Muir’s Historical Atlas: “Map of the Partitions of Verdun (843) and Mersen (870)” (HTML)
 
Instructions: View the “Map of the Partitions of Verdun (843) and Mersen (870)” to understand how Charlemagne’s grandsons divided his empire.  Note that this map was originally published in Muir’s Historical Atlas and is now in the public domain.
 
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2.4.2 Viking, Muslim, and Magyar Invasions   - Reading: Fordham University’s Internet Medieval Sourcebook: Professor Paul Halsall’s version of “Three Sources on the Ravages of the Northmen in Frankland” Link: Fordham University’s Internet Medieval Sourcebook: Professor Paul Halsall’s version of “Three Sources on the Ravages of the Northmen in Frankland” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Read “Three Sources on the Ravages of the Northmen in Frankland” to learn about the impact of the Viking incursions.
 
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2.4.3 Effects of Invasions   - Reading: Dudo of St. Quentin’s “Gesta Normannorum: Rollo of Normandy” Link: Dudo of St. Quentin’s “Gesta Normannorum: Rollo of Normandy” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Read Dudo of St. Quentin’s “Gesta Normannorum: Rollo of Normandy” to learn how a Viking leader became Duke of Normandy and how the Viking incursions affected feudal Europe.  Think about Rollo’s relationship to the king, who is his feudal lord.
 
Rollo was a Dane who had been attacking the northern coast of the Frankish kingdom when the Frankish king, Charles the Simple, offered to make Rollo a duke.  The area granted to Rollo in 910 became known as Normandy, the land of the Northmen, because Rollo and his Vikings came from the north.  How did the impact Viking and Magyar invasions differ from the earlier waves of barbarian invasions and their impact on Europe?  What accounts for these differences?
 
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