The Middle Ages: Feudalism

The Middle Ages
The period of history in Europe following the fall of the Roman Empire and lasting from about 500 to 1350.
Clovis
Clovis
Under his rule, the Franks became Christians and created one of the strongest kingdoms in Europe. The Franks were unified under his rule. When he died, his sons divided the kingdom into 3 areas.
Charlemange
Charlemange
King of the Franks from 768 to 814. Ruled over 40 years. Most important leader of the Franks because he unified nearly all of the Christian lands of Europe into a single empire. He could not write, but was a supporter of learning.
Carolingian Empire
Charlemagne’s empire, which covered much of western and central Europe.
missi dominici
Charlemange set up these “messengers of the lord king.” They were 2 messengers sent out to local districts to ensure that the counts carried out the king’s wishes.
feudalism
A political and social system that developed during the Middle Ages. Nobles (lords) offered protection and land in return for service.
vassal
vassal
A noble who usually was given a fief (land), by his lord in exchange for loyalty. The noble would then fight and protect his lord.
knight
A noble in Europe, who served as a mounted warrior for a lord in the Middle Ages.
noble
noble
A person of high rank by birth or title.
fief
fief
Land given by a lord to a vassal in exchange for loyalty and service.
peasant
A person who is a member of a class of poor agricultural (farm) laborers (workers), usually serving a wealthy landowner or feudal lord.
serf
In the Middle Ages, a person who is bound to the land and who is owned by the feudal lord.
manor
In medieval Europe, a large, self-sufficient piece of land, consisting of the lord’s residence (manor house), outbuildings, church, peasant village, and surrounding land.
medieval
When this word is used, it means: relating to, or, belonging to the Middle Age time period.
feudal contract
feudal contract
Under feudalism, it is an agreement between lord and his vassal, either written or unwritten. They both had responsibilities to the contract: lord to vassal and vassal to lord.
chivalry
The code of conduct for knights during the Middle Ages. The knights had to behave properly. The knight had to be loyal to the church, his lord, to women, and to the weak.
secular
The word means non-religious.
sacrament
sacrament
Sacred ritual of the Roman Catholic Church. There are seven sacraments.
Canon law
Canon law
It is the church law that all medieval Christians were subject to.
excommunication
excommunication
When a person is kicked out of the Catholic church.
tithe
tithe
A church tax.
The Black Death
The Bubonic plague that was spread by black rats infested with fleas carrying a deadly bacterium. It followed trade routes and is believed to have started in China. 1/3-1/2 the population of Europe died.
heresy
Any belief that is strongly opposed to (against) the established beliefs of the Church.
interdict
interdict
To forbid, to prohibit.
anti-Semitism
Prejudice against Jews.
guild
guild
A medieval organization of crafts workers or trades people. There were guilds for every type of craft. They set standards for products (goods) that were produced.
apprentice
apprentice
Person who learns a trade or craft from a master of the trade.
journeyman
A person who has learned a particular trade or craft but has not become an employer, or master.
master
An authority who is qualified to teach apprentices.
Common law
Common law
Laws that were common to the whole kingdom — this began to replace law codes that varied from place to place.
jury
jury
A group of citizens chosen to hear evidence and make a decision in a court of law.
vernacular
The everyday language of ordinary people.
self-sufficiency
self-sufficiency
The ability to independently produce all the materials you need to survive. Example: the manor is self sufficient and doesn’t need outside help for anything to survive.

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