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Europe: 400CE to 1000CE

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Lyndsey Randall

on 19 October 2014

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Transcript of Europe: 400CE to 1000CE

Empire in the East
Feudalism in the West

Comparing the Byzantine Empire and Feudal Europe
The Byzantine Empire
After the Fall of the Roman Empire in the West in the 400s, the Roman Empire in the East continued to exist, centered in Constantinople
It became known as the Byzantine Empire
Constantinople was a gateway city between Asia and Europe: Lots of TRADE!
Constantinople was Europe's greatest commercial center until the 1100s
Politics in the Byzantine Empire
Bureaucracy based on a civil service: strong, educated aristocrats were competent and oversaw tax collection
Military campaigns with strong, skilled army extended the empire
The emperor claimed divine right
The Byzantine Emperor
Had absolute power
No separation of church and state: the emperor was also the head of the church
Byzantine citizens believed that the emperor had divine powers from God
Used network of spies to keep military and regional governors in check
Byzantine Society
Mostly Patriarchal
Women were often veiled
Marriages were mostly arranged with women marrying in their early teens and having lots of children
Elite women usually needed a male family member to escort them in public
Women could own/inherit property
Women could run businesses
Byzantine Society
Social status in the Byzantine Empire was largely influenced by two things: land ownership and relationship to the imperial bureaucracy
Aristocrats: large landowners
"Middle class": moderate landowners
Lower class: Poor; small landowners and those who didn't own land
Vast majority of society was the lower class
Emperors often protected these free farmers since they made up most of the Byzantine cavalry
The upper class (including emperors and empresses) was not discouraged from making money through trade and manufacture. Trade was an ok thing
Byzantine Interactions
Lots of major building projects
Hagia Sophia
Technological advancements
Greek Fire to defeat Arabs
Large Urban Pockets
High Agricultural productivity
Byzantine Culture
Orthodox Christian
Led by the Patriarch of Constantinople
Sent out Orthodox Missionaries
Most famous conversion: Kievan Rus Prince, Vladimir the Great
Missionaries Cyril and Methodius created the Cyrillic alphabet to help convert the Kievans
Vladimir probably converted to strengthen trade relations with Constantinope
Greek was common language
Multi-ethnic, diverse empire
Educated scholars, supported by emperors, preserved ancient Greek writings AND created new literary works
Byzantine Economy
Lots of interregional trade
Centered in Constantinople
Luxury goods
Gold, silk, spices
Byzantines produced their own silk with silkworms smuggled from China by missionaries
Mostly a grain-based agrarian economy
High agricultural productivity
Common Coinage
Imperial Taxes paid by all
Feudal Europe 400-1000CE
After the collapse of the Roman Empire in Western Europe in the 400s, the former lands of the empire became decentralized and provincial
Individual warring kingdoms, like city-states, emerged across western Europe
Occasionally, one king would become powerful and attempt to reunify portions of Western Europe
Feudal Society
Most of Feudal society members were poor peasant farmers and serfs
Serfs (60% of population) were semi-free peasants who were tied to the land. They couldn't be bought or sold and the land was also tied to them
Peasants and serfs had hard lives
Diet was poor (compared to aristocrats). Peasants often malnourished
High labor obligations to the aristocrats whose land they worked
Feudal Society
Women were viewed as property
Held in high esteem for feminine traits
Could own property, but not rule it
Arranged marriages
Husbands had more rights
Feudalism: Mutual Obligations
Kings gained control of massive tracts of land
To rule this land, kings granted pieces of land to those loyal to him. These pieces of land were called fiefs.
In return for this fief, the lords on the land would pledge military support and rent to the king
Feudalism: Mutual Obligations
The lords became "vassals" of the king
Vassals were military lords for the king
The kings' vassals also had vassals of their own. This was called subinfeudation.
The vassals of the lords would be loyal to them first, not the king
This led to a system of extreme decentralization
The kings typically held little real power over the great fief-holding lords
Each lord held power and made laws on his own lands
Feudal Society: Political
Feudal kings often claimed divine right
Extremely decentralized
Kings and lords across western Europe had individual armies, significantly cavalry-based
After collapse of empires, people were unprotected and sought protection: they gave up rights to have protection
Feudal Europe: Interactions
Low agricultural output
Ground was hard to plow
Land was left fallow in 1/2 of the land every year to allow for better growing
Though the area had been Catholic for several centuries, the pagan belief that trees were sacred persisted, preventing some forests from being cut down to make more farm land
Feudal Europe: Manorialism
Manors were agricultural estates run by knights or lords and worked by peasants and/or serfs
Lord provided land and protection
Peasants/Serfs provided work
Serfs gave up freedom in return for protection and land use
Serfs had to provide labor, pay rents (in the form of crops, usually), and submitted to the lords' power
Farmed, built barns,dug ditches: worked about 3 days per week for the lord
Had to pay to use pastures and ponds
Feudal Europe: Manorialism
Manors were technologically stagnant
Mostly using the same tools for a thousand years without improvement
Traded with close surrounding areas, but not with other regions
Mostly rural; few "cities"
Grain(bread)-based diets
Feudal Europe: Culture
Christian: Catholic
Christianity was one of the only things that united Feudal Europe
Latin was official church language
Multitude of different languages: Latin languages (like Spanish and French) and Germanic languages (like German and English). Made it hard to communicate = more warfare
"Dark Age": Lack of significant amounts of written products
Monasteries were learned places, but most of the work done there was basic copying of older writings and not the creation of new products of literature
Feudal Europe: Economy
While there were a few instances of trade in luxury goods (spices, silk, etc) between parts of Feudal Europe with the Byzantine and Islamic empires, most of the trade in Feudal Europe was local
No common coinage
Most golden coins that remained from empires were hoarded and hidden by people
Bartering for most goods
Local taxes to local lords instead of imperial taxes
Goods produced included:
Iron, timber, and furs
Comparing Rulers:
Byzantine Justinian and Western Europe's Charlemagne
Justinian (527-565)
Charlemagne (768-814)
Absolute ruler
Codified Roman Law
Imperial taxes to raise money
Used warfare and powerful military force to expand his empire
Great building projects
roads, walls, Orthodox Churches
Under Justinian, classical works from the Greeks were preserved and copied
New literature was created
Established state-dominated silk production monopoly
Empire weakened after his death
Powerful warrior king
Expanded empire (Holy Roman Empire) using war
There wasn't another Empire in Europe as large until Napoleon in the early 1800s
No imperial taxes
Granted lands (fiefs) to military leaders in return for loyalty
Difficult for him to supervise empire.
Local lords held significant power
Supported learning
Revival of learning under Charlemagne known as Carolingian Renaissance
Expensive books created by copying old manuscripts (mostly done in monasteries
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