Culture of the High Middle Ages

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Transcript Culture of the High Middle Ages

Culture of the High Middle Ages
Chartres Cathedral
Symbolizes the Age of Faith
The builders rarely saw the completed Cathedral
River Valleys in Western Europe were good for
• Dramatic changes
occurred in the way
peasants worked the
• Soil was rich & deep
but required a heavier
• Peasants were better
fed since better
harvests produced
more food
Innovations increased food production
• Heavier plow needed
for the rich deep soil
of the Western River
Valley area
Heavy plow being used with
an oxen
Innovations increased food production
• Horse collar
• Twice as much land could be plowed in a day
using a horse rather than oxen
The horse played a vital role
Innovations increased food production
• Three Field System
• More land is available for
planting increasing the
production of food
• Peasants have a
healthier diet and a
longer life span
• One field will lay fallow or
not planted
• Fallow field allows the
ground to retain and
renew its nutrients
Environment Changed
• In England, France and
Germany forests were
cleared to provide more
land for farming
• Peasants built huge
seawalls to drain more
land for farming
• Building of towns
Results of the increase in food production in
Western Europe
A surplus of food to trade
An increase in the population
The rise of towns
Decline in feudalism
Medieval Walled Towns
The town was called a burgh.
The town dwellers were know as burghers
Bourgeoisie – French for Middle Class
Jews and the Middle Ages
• Jews were not allowed to own land
• They were usually segregated in the city but were
required to help defend the walls in their area
during an attack
Symbol designating
the women is Jewish
The Church prohibits usury – the charging of
• The Church insisted that
merchants and craftsmen
charge a just price – a
reasonable profit
• The church believed a
large profit was sinful
• Literate Jews became
moneylenders or early
• They were active in longdistance trade
• Many myths developed
about Jews causing them
to be attacked & abused
Persecution of the Jews
Jews were survivors and their dietary laws often kept them from getting ill.
Unfortunately, they often became the scapegoat and were accused of
starting plagues and causing other disasters which led to their persecution.
The Town Cathedral
• The Cathedral was
the most important
building in a Medieval
• Pilgrims visited the
Cathedral to honor
• Relics – items
believed to belong to
Jesus or the saints
Reliquary of St. Stephen
Reliquaries house the relics
Reliquary of St. Catherine
Medieval Fairs - Chartres
• Peasants came to sell their goods to the towns people
during the local fairs.
• The great fairs provided customers with goods such
as cloth, fur, iron, dyes, honey, oil, butter, fruit, wine,
etc. Some goods were from far away places.
• No longer was everything produced on the manor
• Fairs also provide entertainment.
• An association of
people who worked in
the same occupation.
• Merchants formed the
first guilds
• Merchant guilds
controlled all the trade
in a town
Medieval Guild Halls
• Guild members erected guild
halls where they met to make
rules and arrange the details
of their businesses
• Members of the merchant
guild controlled all the trade
in their town.
• Example: Only a member of
the local merchants guild
could sell Flemish wool in
their town
Merchant Guilds, such as the Hanseatic League also
controlled towns & trade routes
Craft Guilds
• Skilled artisans also
banned together to
create craft guilds
• Both husbands and
wives worked in the
family business
• Craft guilds also
trained new workers
Since most people could
not read, craftsmen used
signs to advertise their
Cobbler - Shoemaker
How the Guild functions
• Each guild had their own standards of
quality dealing with the size, weight, and
price of an item
• Guild members who sold substandard
goods could be punished by the guild
• Each guild had a monopoly or exclusive
control of their product
Neck violin for feuding women
Bakers Baptism for selling under
weight bread
The Church insists on Just Price
• Guilds fixed the price on
everything they sold
• There was no competition
between guild members
• The “just price” of an item
was based on the cost of
labor and materials plus a
reasonable profit
• The Church viewed
making a large profit as a
Guild benefits for the Master Craftsman
• Dues functioned as
an insurance policy
• Funeral expenses
were paid
• Support of the family
• Social organization
• Political leaders of the
Training new workers
• Apprentice – person learning a craft, who also
lives with the master craftsman.
• Parents usually paid a fee to the master to train
their child
• An apprenticeship lasted for 3 to 12 years,
without pay except for room and board
• Apprentices were not rapidly promoted
• After the period of apprenticeship you
became a journeyman
• A journeyman is paid a daily wage
• A journeyman can become a master if
his “masterpiece” meets guild
• If accepted, he can train apprentices,
hire journeyman, and open a shop
• As time went on, it became
increasingly difficult to become a
Growth of Towns
• A serf was considered free if
they lived in a town for a year
and a day
• “Town air makes you free”
• Feudal lords ruthlessly taxed
towns on their lands
• Nobles charged fees for
everything – fairs, using
bridges, holding courts of law
Towns gain independence
• Burghers worked together to free
themselves from the lord or
bishop on whose land the town
• Sometimes the fought for their
• They also bought their
independence since burghers
had cash
• They received a charter with the
lord’s seal which listed the towns
special privileges and tax
Medieval Walled Towns
By 1200, towns were growing in population and gaining liberties.
Towns were independent of the feudal system.
Medieval University
• The new educational
institution that developed
during this period
• Most students came from
the Middle Class
• Classes were held in
rented rooms
• Books were handwritten
and expensive
• Women could not attend
the University
Notice how small the
students are portrayed
Medieval students after a
drinking binge
Language of the educated and the commoners
• Latin continued to be
the language of the
• Latin was also used in
law and by the church
• Vernacular is the term
used to describe the
common language of
the people
Scholars rediscover Greek writings
• Revival of learning made
Europeans more
interested in the works of
ancient scholars
• Growth of trade brought
Europeans into contact
with Muslims and
Byzantines who still had
access to the ancient
The problem with the ancient writings
• Greeks were pagans
• Their knowledge was
based on human reason
rather than the Bible
• Could Aristotle’s logical
approach to truth be used
and still keep faith with
the Bible?
• Scholar, Thomas Aquinas
found there was no
conflict between faith and
Thomas Aquinas, author of
Summa Theologiae (21 volumes)
He was a Dominican monk
who taught at the University of Paris
Chansons de geste (songs of deeds)
show how ideals of noble society were changing
• Heroic poems sung to a lute
in the vernacular or common
spoken language
• Song of Roland in France
• King Arthur and the Knights
of the Round Table
• Tristan and Isolde
• Beowulf
Chivalry – the Knights code of behavior
• Cheval & Chevalier –
horse & horse riding lord
• Knight must fight bravely
in defense of:
– His earthly lord
– His heavenly lord
– His chosen lady
• He should aid the poor
and defend the weak
Steps to Knighthood
• Page – age 7 to 14
– Sent to another castle
– Waited on hosts while
learning manners and
playing at being a Knight
• Squire – 14 – 24 or so
– A Knights assistant
– Cared for horse & armor
• Knighting
– A solemn ceremony
French page
14th century
A knight and his squire
A night of solemn vigil before becoming a knight
mock battles for glory
14th Century armor
The idea of romantic love arose
• Under the code of
chivalry, a knights duty
to his lady became as
important as his duty to
his lord
• Poet singers, called
troubadours sang
praises of noble ladies
and the knights who
loved them
• These wandering
minstrels even carried
their songs to court
Eleanor of Aquitaine 1122-1204
The most celebrated women of the age
• Troubadours flocked to her court
in the French duchy of Aquitaine
• While Queen of France she went
on a Crusade with her husband
Louis VII
• She becomes queen of England
when she later marries Henry
Plantagenet who become Henry II
king of England
• She was the mother of two
English kings, Richard I the lionhearted and John I
Women’s roles change during the High Middle Ages
• In the Early Middle Ages
many Queens participated
in ruling their kingdoms
• In the Late Middle Ages
Queens did not play a large
role in ruling kingdoms
• During the High Middle
Ages the role of women was
limited to the home and
• The idea of romantic love
placed women on a
Tapestry – The Quest for the Holy Grail
Marriage in the High Middle Ages
• Girls from noble families
usually married around age 16
to men in their 30’s – 50’s
• Young men could not marry
until had property of their own
• Girls had little choice of a
• Women had their greatest
power and independence while
their husbands were away
15th century clothing of the nobility