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HIST302: Medieval Europe

Unit 3: Resurgence of Latin West   By the tenth century, medieval empire-building had reached new heights and Germanic and Frankish monarchs held considerable power and prestige.  The Catholic Church also extended its power during this period; church reforms and the threat of Islamic expansion renewed the Church’s authority in European politics and society.  The Crusades—a series of religious wars launched to restore Christian control of the Holy Land—which began in 1096, were the most conspicuous sign of the rise and expansion of Christian Europe. 

In this unit, we will examine the early medieval era in the wake of the collapse of the Carolingian Empire.  We will study the relative political and economic stability of the eleventh and twelfth centuries and the rising tensions between Islam and Christianity.

Unit 3 Time Advisory
This unit should take you approximately 12 hours to complete.

☐    Subunit 3.1: 3 hours

☐    Subunit 3.2: 3 hours

☐    Subunit 3.3: 3 hours

☐    Subunit 3.4: 3 hours

Unit3 Learning Outcomes
Upon successful completion of this unit, the student will be able to:

  • Describe the causes behind the period of recovery that led to the civilization of the high Middle Ages.
  • Describe the origins of early medieval states and the variety of political structures found in Europe during the eleventh and twelfth centuries. 
  • Describe the ways in which trade was conducted in the High Middle Ages and the institutions and social changes that coincided with the growth of commerce.
  • Identify major doctrinal developments within the Catholic Church and sources of friction in the relationship between the church and secular authorities.
  • Assess the economic, social, and institutional context of feudal Europe.
  • Identify the arguments given by historians to account for the start of the Crusades.

3.1 New Stability in the Medieval World   3.1.1 Year 1000   - Reading: Fordham University’s Internet Medieval Sourcebook: Professor Paul Halsall’s version of Ralph Glaber’s “On the First Millenium” Link: Fordham University’s Internet Medieval Sourcebook: Professor Paul Halsall’s version of Ralph Glaber’s “On the First Millenium” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Read Ralph Glaber’s “On the First Millenium” to understand how medieval people saw the year 1000.  What factors contributed to the stabilization of Europe?
 
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3.1.2 Medieval Warm Period   - Reading: Environmental History Resources’ “The Middle Ages, 500–1500” Link: Environmental History Resources’ “The Middle Ages, 500–1500
 
Instructions: Please read the linked material.  What impact did the Medieval Warm Period have on Europe’s recovery?
 
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3.1.3 Feudal Origins of Medieval States   - Reading: The ORB: Online Reference Book for Medieval Studies: Lynn Nelson’s Lectures for a Medieval Survey: “The Rise of Feudalism” and Fordham University: Internet Medieval Sourcebook: “Feudalism?” Links: The ORB: Online Reference Book for Medieval Studies: Lynn Nelson’s Lectures for a Medieval Survey: “The Rise of Feudalism” (HTML) and Fordham University’s Internet Medieval Sourcebook:Feudalism?” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Read Lynn Nelson’s “The Rise of Feudalism” and “Feudalism?” in Fordham University’s Internet Medieval Sourcebook for an overview of the feudal system.  To access “Feudalism?” click on the hyperlink for the title in the “Contents” section at the top of the webpage, or scroll down the webpage about half-way.  As you read, consider answering the following question: Why have scholars had difficulty in defining feudalism?
 
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  • Web Media: CosmoLearning: Map, “Central Europe (919-1125)” Link: CosmoLearning: Map, “Central Europe (919-1125)” (HTML)
     
    Instructions: Please view the map “Central Europe (919-1125)” as a supplement to the above reading.
     
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3.1.4 Ottonian Germany   - Reading: Fordham University’s Internet Medieval Sourcebook: Professor Paul Halsall’s version of Liudprand of Cremona’s “Embassy to Constantinople, 963” Link: Fordham University’s Internet Medieval Sourcebook: Professor Paul Halsall’s version of Liudprand of Cremona’s “Embassy to Constantinople, 963” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Read Liudprand of Cremona’s “Embassy to Constantinople” to learn about the Holy Roman Empire under the Ottonian dynasty and its relationship to the Byzantine Empire.
 
As you read, try to answer the following study questions: 1) Why did the Byzantines view western Europeans as backward?  2) How did western Europeans view Byzantium?
 
Liudprand of Cremona (c. 922-972) was the bishop of Cremona in Italy and served in the administration of the Holy Roman Emperor Otto I.  In 963, Liudprand went to Constantinople to try to secure a marriage between Otto’s son and a Byzantine princess.  As Liudprand recounts, his mission was unsuccessful, largely because the Byzantine emperor and his family saw Otto as an upstart.  Liudprand returned home humiliated.
 
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  • Web Media: CosmoLearning: Perry-Castaneda Library, Map Collection at the University of Texas at Austin’s “Central Europe (919–1125)” Link: CosmoLearning: Perry-Castaneda Library, Map Collectionat the University of Texas at Austin’s “Central Europe (919–1125)” (HTML)
     
    Instructions: Please view the map “Central Europe (919–1125)” as a supplement to the above reading.
     
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3.1.5 England: the Norman Conquest   - Reading: Fordham University’s Internet Medieval Sourcebook: Professor Paul Halsall’s version of “The Domesday Book” Link: Fordham University’s Internet Medieval Sourcebook: Professor Paul Halsall’s version of “The Domesday Book” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Read “The Domesday Book” to learn how William I became King of England and how he organized his administration.  “The Domesday Book” was a general accounting of land and wealth in England in 1086, twenty years after the Battle of Hastings, created in order that William I would know how much income he could expect from each part of England.
 
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  • Reading: The Saylor Foundation's "England: the Norman Conquest" Link: The Saylor Foundation’s “England: The Norman Conquest” (PDF)

    Instructions: Please read “England: The Norman Conquest.”  As you read, ask yourself the following questions: what were the immediate effects of the Norman Conquest of England?  In what ways did the Norman Conquest alter England’s political orientation?

    Reading and answering the questions above should take approximately 30 minutes to complete. 

3.1.6 Italy: City-States   - Reading: Fordham University’s Internet Medieval Sourcebook: Professor Paul Halsall’s version of “The Chronicles of Venice: How the Doges Were Chosen” Link: Fordham University’s Internet Medieval Sourcebook: Professor Paul Halsall’s version of “The Chronicles of Venice: How the Doges Were Chosen” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Read “The Chronicles of Venice” for an understanding of how Italian civic government differed from northern European royal government.
 
The Doge was the chief magistrate of the Venetian government, and the Venetians developed an elaborate form of election in order to avoid corruption and rigged elections. Why did Italy’s politics differ from the rest of Europe?
 
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3.2 Growth of Commerce, 1000-1300   3.2.1 Medieval Economy   - Reading: The ORB: Online Reference Book for Medieval Studies: Lynn Nelson’s Lectures for a Medieval Survey: “The Development of Towns” and Fordham University’s Internet Medieval Sourcebook: Professor Paul Halsall’s version of “Tables on Population in Medieval Europe” Link: The ORB: Online Reference Book for Medieval Studies: Lynn Nelson’s Lectures for a Medieval Survey: “The Development of Towns” (HTML) and Fordham University’s Internet Medieval Sourcebook: Professor Paul Halsall’s version of “Tables on Population in Medieval Europe” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Read Lynn Nelson’s “The Development of Towns” and review “Tables on Population in Medieval Europe” for an understanding of why and how urban centers developed in the high Middle Ages.  What accounted for the growth of Europe’s population during the Middle Ages?
 
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3.2.2 Agriculture   - Reading: The ORB: Online Reference Book for Medieval Studies: Lynn Nelson’s Lectures for a Medieval Survey: “The Peasants” Link: The ORB: Online Reference Book for Medieval Studies: Lynn Nelson’s Lectures for a Medieval Survey: “The Peasants” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Read Lynn Nelson’s “The Peasants” for an overview of peasant life at the beginning of the second millennium.  What was the yearly cycle of activities in the life of a peasant?
 
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3.2.3 Rise of Commerce   - Reading: Fordham University’s Internet Medieval Sourcebook: Professor Paul Halsall’s version of “A Promissory Note Secured by Collateral,” “An Order to Purchase,” and Thomas Aquinas’ “On Usury” Link: Fordham University’s Internet Medieval Sourcebook: Professor Paul Halsall’s version of “A Promissory Note Secured by Collateral,” (HTML) “An Order to Purchase” (HTML), and Thomas Aquinas’ “On Usury” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Read the two business documents and Thomas Aquinas’ “On Usury” for an understanding of medieval attitudes toward commerce and commercial methods.  Think about the difference between Aquinas’ opinion of investments and what medieval merchants actually did.
 
Thomas Aquinas was a Dominican who taught theology at the University of Paris in the middle of the thirteenth century.  He, therefore, looked at the question of commerce from the point of view of religion.  The other two documents, the promissory note and the purchase order, are actual records of medieval business transactions.
 
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3.2.4 Trading Hubs   - Reading: Fordham University’s Internet Medieval Sourcebook: Professor Paul Halsall’s version of Innocent III’s “License to Venice to Trade with the Saracens” Link: Fordham University’s Internet Medieval Sourcebook: Professor Paul Halsall’s version of Innocent III’s “License to Venice to Trade with the Saracens” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Read Innocent III’s “License to Venice to Trade with the Saracens” to learn about the extent of Venetian trade routes and the relationship between the commercial urban centers of northern Italy and the papacy.
 
Innocent III, pope from 1198 to 1216, was an Italian by birth and had lived in Rome, Paris, and Bologna by the time he was elected pope.  Thus, he was very familiar with the commercial culture of Europe’s large urban centers, but he also developed a concern about the economic relations between Christian Europe and the Islamic world.
 
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3.2.5 Urbanization   - Reading: Fordham University’s Internet Medieval Sourcebook: Professor Paul Halsall’s version of “The Arte della Lana & the Government of Florence, 1224” Link: Fordham University’s Internet Medieval Sourcebook: Professor Paul Halsall’s version of “The Arte della Lana & the Government of Florence, 1224” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Read “The Arte della Lana & the Government of Florence” to learn about the relationship between the guilds and civic governments.
 
The Arti in this document are the guilds, associations of masters of specific trades.  Each major industry in the city would have its own guild.  In Florence, for example, there were seven major guilds and fourteen minor ones.  The Arte della Lana was the Florentine wool guild, which held a great deal of power in the city because the wool trade was the mainstay of the Florentine economy.
 
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3.3 The Medieval Church   3.3.1 Problems and Issues   - Reading: The ORB: Online Reference Book for Medieval Studies: Lynn Nelson’s Lectures for a Medieval Survey: “The Feudalization of the Church” Link: The ORB: Online Reference Book for Medieval Studies: Lynn Nelson’s Lectures for a Medieval Survey: “The Feudalization of the Church” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Read Lynn Nelson’s “The Feudalization of the Church” for an overview of developments in the Catholic Church leading up to the Investiture Controversy.  Then, try answering the following study questions:  1) What were the major goals of the Cluny reforms?  2) To what extent did the highly decentralized administrative structure of the Church contribute to feudalization?
 
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3.3.2 Monastic Reforms   - Reading: Fordham University’s Internet Medieval Sourcebook: Professor Paul Halsall’s version of “Foundation Charter of Cluny” Link: Fordham University’s Internet Medieval Sourcebook: Professor Paul Halsall’s version of “Foundation Charter of Cluny” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Read the “Foundation Charter of Cluny” to learn about the types of monastic reform that took place in the period leading up to the Investiture Controversy.
 
Count William of Auvergne founded the monastery at Cluny in France in 910 with the intention of reforming the Benedictine Order and returning it to its roots.  William took the novel step of releasing the monastery from all feudal obligations; this meant that Cluny Abbey answered only to the pope and not to a secular, or “lay,” lord.  He and the monks believed that this arrangement would give the monks the freedom to follow Benedict’s Rule in its original form without outside interference.
 
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3.3.3 Gregorian Reforms   - Reading: Fordham University’s Internet Medieval Sourcebook: Professor Paul Halsall’s version of “Decree of 1059: On Papal Elections” and The ORB: Online Reference Book for Medieval Studies: Lynn Nelson’s Lectures for a Medieval Survey: “The Owl, the Cat, and the Investiture Controversy” Link: Fordham University’s Internet Medieval Sourcebook: Professor Paul Halsall’s version of “Decree of 1059: On Papal Elections” (HTML) and The ORB: Online Reference Book for Medieval Studies: Lynn Nelson’s Lectures for a Medieval Survey: “The Owl, the Cat, and the Investiture Controversy” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Read the “Decree of 1059” and Lynn Nelson’s “The Owl, the Cat, and the Investiture Controversy” to gain an understanding of the issues involved in the Investiture Controversy.
 
The “Decree of 1059” was meant to reform papal elections by giving the right to elect the pope to the College of Cardinals, a body of the most eminent members of the Catholic clergy.  Before this, the College acted primarily as a group of advisors to the pope.
 
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3.3.4 Church and Empire   - Reading: Fordham University’s Internet Medieval Sourcebook: Professor Paul Halsall’s version of Gregory VII’s “Lay Investitures Forbidden,” Henry IV’s “Letter to Gregory VII,” Gregory VII’s “Deposition of Henry IV,” and “The Concordat of Worms” Link: Fordham University’s Internet Medieval Sourcebook: Professor Paul Halsall’s version of Gregory VII’s “Lay Investitures Forbidden,” Henry IV’s “Letter to Gregory VII,” Gregory VII’s “Deposition of Henry IV,” and “The Concordat of Worms”
 
Note: All the above links are in HTML format.
 
Instructions: Read these letters between Pope Gregory VII and the Holy Roman Emperor Henry IV to understand the developments of the Investiture Controversy.  Read “The Concordat of Worms” and think about the ways in which it solves the problems of lay investiture.  Also, as you read, consider the ways in which Pope Gregory’s action during the Investiture Controversy helped to create the independence of the Church from the state.
 
Henry IV became King of Germany on his father’s death in 1056, when Henry was only six years old.  When Henry became an adult, Gregory VII refused to crown him Holy Roman Emperor, because Henry insisted on his right to choose the bishops within the empire, and Gregory actually deposed Henry in 1076.  The resulting conflict outlived both Henry and Gregory and was not resolved until the Concordat of Worms of 1122.
 
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3.3.5 Papal Government and Canon Law   - Reading: The ORB: Online Reference Book for Medieval Studies: Yuri Koszarycz’ Ecclesiology: “The Pontificate of Innocent III and the Tragedy of the Great Schism” and Fordham University’s Internet Medieval Sourcebook: Professor Paul Halsall’s version of “Fourth Lateran Council” Link: The ORB: Online Reference Book for Medieval Studies: Yuri Koszarycz’Ecclesiology: “The Pontificate of Innocent III and the Tragedy of the Great Schism” (HTML) and Fordham University’s Internet Medieval Sourcebook: Professor Paul Halsall’s version of “Fourth Lateran Council” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Read Yuri Koszarycz’ “The Pontificate of Innocent III and the Tragedy of the Great Schism” and the selections from the canons of the Fourth Lateran Council for an understanding of papal government at the beginning of the thirteenth century.
 
Innocent III, pope from 1198 to 1216, studied law at the University of Bologna, Europe’s pre-eminent legal faculty, before becoming pope.  As pope, he used canon law (church law) to bolster his arguments and his position.  In 1215 he called an ecumenical council, the Fourth Lateran Council, to rule on issues and problems of the church.  What was the significance of the Fourth Lateran Council?
 
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3.4 The Crusades   3.4.1 Origins of the Crusades   - Reading: The Saylor Foundation's "Origins of the Crusades" Link: The Saylor Foundation’s “Origins of the Crusades” (PDF)

 Instructions: Please read "Origins of the Crusades."  As you read,
ask yourself the following questions: what sparked the first
crusade?  What were the motivations of the crusaders, and how did
they proceed?  

 Reading and answering the questions above should take approximately
30 minutes to complete.

3.4.2 Christianity and Islam   - Reading: Fordham University’s Internet Medieval Sourcebook: Professor Paul Halsall’s version of “The Great German Pilgrimage of 1064–65” Link: Fordham University’s Internet Medieval Sourcebook: Professor Paul Halsall’s version of “The Great German Pilgrimage of 1064–65” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Read “The Great German Pilgrimage of 1064-65” for an understanding of Christian-Muslim relations in the period before the First Crusade.
 
A pilgrimage is a religious journey, often to a place of religious significance or to visit religious objects.  In the eleventh century, Europeans became increasingly interested in going on pilgrimages to the Holy Land, most of which was under Islamic control.
 
As you read, keep the following questions in mind: 1) Why did European interest in pilgrimages increase in the 1000s?   2) How did conflicts in the Islamic Middle East make pilgrimages more difficult?
 
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3.4.3 Call for Crusade   - Reading: Fordham University’s Internet Medieval Sourcebook: Professor Paul Halsall’s version of Urban II’s “Speech at Clermont: Five Versions” Link: Fordham University’s Internet Medieval Sourcebook: Professor Paul Halsall’s version of Urban II’s “Speech at Clermont: Five Versions” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Read Pope Urban II’s speech to learn about why he called for the First Crusade. Think about how and why the accounts of the speech differ from each other.
 
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3.4.4 Early Crusades   - Reading: Fordham University’s Internet Medieval Sourcebook: Professor Paul Halsall’s version of Fulk of Chartres’ “The Capture of Jerusalem” and The ORB: Online Reference Book for Medieval Studies: Lynn Nelson’s Lectures for a Medieval Survey: “The First Crusade” Link: Fordham University’s Internet Medieval Sourcebook: Professor Paul Halsall’s version of Fulk of Chartres’ “The Capture of Jerusalem” (HTML) and The ORB: Online Reference Book for Medieval Studies: Lynn Nelson’s Lectures for a Medieval Survey: “The First Crusade” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Read Fulk of Chartres’ “The Capture of Jerusalem” and Lynn Nelson’s “The First Crusade” for an overview of the events of the First Crusade and the fall of Jerusalem to the crusaders.  In what ways did the First Crusade change European views toward the Middle East?
 
During the First Crusade in 1099, the Christian armies captured Jerusalem.  In this text, Fulk of Chartres, who participated in the storming of the city, describes the fighting between the Frankish army and the Saracens, or Muslims. 
 
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3.4.5 Later Crusades   - Reading: The ORB: Online Reference Book for Medieval Studies: E. L. Knox’ The Crusades: “The Fourth Crusade” Link: The ORB: Online Reference Book for Medieval Studies: E. L. Knox’ The Crusades: “The Fourth Crusade” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Read E. L. Knox’ “The Fourth Crusade” for an example of the failure of later crusades.  How did the Fourth Crusade demonstrate the limits of Papal authority?
 
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  • Assessment: The Saylor Foundations “Unit 3 Assessment” Link: The Saylor Foundations “Unit 3 Assessment” (PDF)
     
    Instructions: Please download the quiz linked above, and answer each question before checking your answers against The Saylor Foundation’s “Unit 3 Assessment Answer Key” (PDF).