Charlemagne Unites Germanic Kingdoms (Invasions of Western Europe…
Charlemagne Unites Germanic Kingdoms
An Empire evolves
After the Roman Empire dissolved, small kingdoms sprang up all over Europe. Some of them were no
For example, England splintered into seven tiny kingdoms
The Franks controlled the largest and strongest of Europe’s kingdoms, the area that was formerly the Roman province of Gaul.
When the Franks’ first Christian king, Clovis, died in 511, he had extended Frankish rule over most of what is now France.
Charles Martel Emerges
By 700, an official known as the major domo, or mayor of the palace, had become the most powerful person in the Frankish kingdom.
Officially, he had charge of the royal household and estates.
Unofficially, he led armies and made policy. In effect, he ruled the kingdom.
Why might someone be content with the title major domo rather than seeking to be crowned king?
Major domo is the most powerful person in the kingdom. power is already associated with the name major domo.
The mayor of the palace in 719, Charles Martel (Charles the Hammer), held more power than the king.
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Charles Martel extended the Franks’ reign to the north, south, and east.
He also defeated Muslim raiders from Spain at the Battle of Tours in 732.
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This battle was highly significant for Christian Europeans.
If the Muslims had won, western Europe might have become part of the Muslim Empire.
Charles Martel’s victory at Tours made him a Christian hero.
At his death, Charles Martel passed on his power to his son, Pepin the Short.
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Pepin wanted to be King
He shrewdly cooperated with the pope
On behalf of the Church, Pepin agreed to fight the Lombards, who had invaded central Italy and threatened Rome.
In exchange, the pope anointed Pepin “king by the grace of God.”
Thus began the Carolingian Dynasty, the family that would rule the Franks from 751 to 987.
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How did Pepin The Short expand the authority he had inherited?
He already had the power of the title major domo, and he is crowned king by the pope. Also, he now had support of the church because the church is the one that declared him king.
Invasions of Western Europe
Germanic invaders overran the western half of the Roman Empire
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Repeated invasions and constant warfare caused a series of changes that altered the economy, government, and culture
Downfall of Cities
With the fall of the Roman Empire, cities were abandoned as centers of administration.
As Roman centers of trade and government collapsed, nobles retreated to the rural areas.
Roman cities were left without strong leadership.
Other city dwellers also fled to the countryside, where they grew their own food.
The population of western Europe became mostly rural.
Disruption of Trade
Merchants faced invasions from both land and sea.
The breakdown of trade destroyed Europe’s cities as economic centers.
Their businesses collapsed.
Money became scarce.
Why were cities particularly hard hit when the Roman Empire declined?
Cities were no longer the center of trade, governments failed, and many city dwellers moved to the country
The Decline of Learning
The Germanic invaders who stormed Rome could not read or write.
They had a rich oral tradition of songs and legends
But they had no written language.
Why didn't they have a written language?
Because their oral history was part of their culture, and they just wrote in Latin, Roman, and Greek
Germanic Story Example
As more and more Roman families left for rural areas
the level of learning sank
Why did the move to rural areas contribute to a decline in literacy?
The more people were spread out, the harder it was to obtain school and priest and church leaders stayed literate
Few people except priests and other church officials were literate.
Knowledge of Greek was almost lost
Few people could read Greek works of literature, science, and philosophy.
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Loss of a common language
As German-speaking peoples mixed with the Roman population, Latin changed.
While it was still an official language, it was no longer understood.
Different dialects developed as new words and phrases became part of everyday speech.
By the 800s, French, Spanish, and other Roman-based languages had evolved from Latin.
What languages have evolved from Latin?
French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, and Romanian
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Germanic Kingdoms Emerge
In years of upheaval between 400 and 600, small Germanic kingdoms replaced roman provinces
The borders of those kingdoms changed constantly with the fortunes of war. But the Church as an institution survived the fall of the Roman Empire. The Church provided order and security.
The Concept of Government Changes
Unlike Romans, Germanic peoples lived in small communities that were governed by unwritten rules and traditions.
Loyalty to public government and written law had unified Roman society.
Family ties and personal loyalty, rather than citizenship, held Germanic society together
Every Germanic chief led a band of warriors who had pledged their loyalty to him
In peacetime, the warriors lived in their Lord's hall.
He gave them:
Warriors fought to the death at their lord’s side.
Considered it a disgrace to outlive their Lord
Why did they consider it a disgrace to outlive their lord?
Because they pledged their loyalty to him, so they would fight to their death for their lord
But they felt no obligation to obey a king they did not even know
Nor would they obey an official sent to collect taxes or administer justice
How did Germanic and Roman Soldiers differ?
Roman soldiers were loyal to an emperor and Germanic soldiers were loyal to a local lord
it was impossible to establish orderly government for large territories because of the stress on personal ties
Clovis Rules the Franks
In the Roman province of Gaul, a Germanic people called the Franks held power
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Their Leader was Clovis
He would bring Christianity
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In 496, Clovis led his warriors against another Germanic army. Fearing defeat, he appealed to the Christian God.
“For I have called on my gods,” he prayed, “but I find they are far from my aid. . . . Now I call on Thee. I long to believe in Thee. Only, please deliver me from my enemies.”
The tide of the battle shifted and the Franks won.
Afterward, Clovis and 3,000 of his warriors asked a bishop to baptize them.
The Church in Rome welcomed Clovis’s conversion and supported his military campaigns against other Germanic peoples.
Why did the Church support Clovis’s campaigns against other Germanic people?
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By 511, Clovis had united the Franks into one kingdom.
The strategic alliance between Clovis’s Frankish kingdom and the Church marked the start of a
partnership between two powerful forces.
Germans Adopt Christianity
Politics played a huge role in spreading Christianity
By the year 600, the church and Frankish rulers, converted a lot of Germans to Christianity
The new converts had settled in Rome’s former lands.
Missionaries also spread Christianity
These religious travelers often risked their lives to bring religious beliefs to other lands
During the 300s and 400s, they worked among the Germanic and Celtic groups that bordered the Roman Empire
Origins of missionaries
What caused Christianity to spread through Europe and why was it important?
The church and king started working together to spread faith and missionaries came about. This was important because it created monasteries, which helped with history and knowledge during this time period.
A lot of people were also scared of coastal attacks by muslims and that made many people turn into Christians.
Monasteries, Convents, and Manuscripts
To adapt to rural conditions, the Church built religious communities called monasteries
There, Christian men called monks gave up their private possessions and devoted their lives to serving God.
Women who followed this way of life were called nuns and lived in convents
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Around 520, an Italian monk named Benedict began writing a book describing a strict yet practical set of rules for monasteries.
Benedict’s sister, Scholastica, headed a convent and adapted the same rules for women.
What role did monasteries play during this time of chaos?
These guidelines became a model for many other religious communities in western Europe
Monks and nuns devoted their lives to prayer and good works.
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Monasteries also became Europe’s best-educated communities.
Monks opened schools, maintained libraries, and copied books.
In 731, the Venerable Bede, an English monk, wrote a history of England.
Scholars still consider it the best historical work of the early Middle Ages.
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In the 600s and 700s, monks made beautiful copies of religious writings, decorated with ornate letters and brilliant pictures.
These illuminated manuscripts preserved at least part of Rome’s intellectual heritage.
Papal Power Expands Under Gregory I
In 590, Gregory I, also called Gregory the Great, became pope.
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As head of the Church in Rome, Gregory broadened the authority of the papacy, or pope’s office, beyond its spiritual role.
the papacy also became a secular, or worldly, power involved in politics.
The pope’s palace was the center of Roman government.
Pope Gregory used church revenues to build armies, repair the roads and help the poor.
He also negotiated peace treaties with invaders such as the Lombards.
How was Pope Gregory I like a Roman Emperor?
He raised armies, repaired roads, helped the poor, negotiated peace treaties with other nations, and had a great influence on kings
According to Gregory, the region from Italy to England and from Spain to Germany fell under his responsibility.
Gregory strengthened the vision of Christendom.
It was a spiritual kingdom fanning out from Rome to the most distant churches.
This idea of a churchly kingdom, ruled by a pope, would be a central theme of the Middle Ages.
Charlemagne Becomes Emperor
In 768, Pepin the Short died, leaving a greatly strengthen Frankish Castle to his two sons, Carloman and Charles.
3 years later, in 771, Carloman dies, Charles (a.k.a Charlemagne or Charles the Great) became the ruler of the kingdom.
He was an imposing figure, as he stood 6 feet 4 inches tall.
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Charlemagne Extends Frankish Rule
In 800, after taking down an unruly mob attacking the pope in Rome
In gratitude, Pope Leo III crowned him emperor
A pope had claimed the political right to confer the title “Roman Emperor” on a European king.
This event signaled the joining of Germanic power, the Church, and the heritage of the Roman Empire.
The coronation was historic.
Charlemagne built an empire greater than any known since ancient Rome.
By 800, his empire was larger than the Byzantine Empire, becoming the powerful king in western Europe.
Each summer he led his armies against enemies that surrounded his kingdom.
He fought Muslims in Spain, as well as tribes in other Germanic Kingdoms.
He conquered new lands to both the south and the east.
Through these conquests, Charlemagne spread Christianity.
In the painting, what do the sword and cross symbolize?
The sword symbolizes the conquests the Charlemagne went on every summer with his armies and the cross symbolizes the Christianity that he spread through these conquests.
He had become the most powerful king in western Europe.
He reunited western Europe for the first time since the roman empire
Charlemagne Leads a Revival
Charlemagne strengthened his royal power by limiting the authority of the nobles.
How did Charlemagne challenge traditional Germanic Government?
The germanic tribes didn't operate under a written set of laws, he had centralized government (power), he set his own agents that helped govern different parts of the empire, one of the most important contributions of Charlemagne was the he encouraged learning.
To govern his empire, he sent out royal agents.
They made sure that the powerful landholders, called counts, governed their counties justly.
Charlemagne regularly visited every part of his kingdom.
He also kept a close watch on the management of his huge estates
One of his greatest accomplishments was the encouragement of learning.
He surrounded himself with English, German, Italian, and Spanish scholars
For his many sons and daughters and other children at the court, Charlemagne opened a palace school.
He also ordered monasteries to open schools to train future monks and priests.
A year before Charlemagne died in 814, he crowned his only surviving son, Louis the Pious, as emperor.
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Louis was a devoutly religious man but an ineffective ruler.
He left three sons:
Charles the Bald
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Louis the German
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They fought one another for control of the Empire
In 843, the brothers signed the Treaty of Verdun, dividing the empire into three kingdoms
As a result, Carolingian kings lost power and central authority broke down.
The lack of strong rulers led to a new system of governing and landholding—feudalism