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The Middle Ages

The Middle Ages

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The Middle Ages

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  1. The Middle Ages A general overview so you can better understand Sir Gawain and Chaucer

  2. The beginning • 55 BCE: Julius Caesar invades Britain • By 77 AD Roman conquest of Britain is complete • 122 AD – in response to raids from the north, Emperor Hadrian builds a wall across northern England

  3. The fall of Rome • From 372-410 A.D. Roman Empire • Raiders from the north – Goths, Visigoths, and Vandals • 410 A.D. Rome sacked, citizens slaughtered, temples looted – official end of PaxRomana • Empire broke apart • Western section decayed into warring kingdoms • Eastern section became the Byzantine Empire • Much more unified – Constantinople becomes the largest, wealthiest city in the world

  4. Arrival of the invaders • Britain under attack by various tribes from the north, east • Jutes, Angles, Saxons, Danes (Vikings) • Tribes attacked and then settled, prompting a migration from modern day Scandinavia and Germany to Britain • Constant battling between groups leads to creation of kingships (think Beowulf) • Time marked by violence

  5. Britain, C. 540 A.D.

  6. Role of the Church • 314 A.D. – arrival of Christian Church in Britain • 597 A.D. – St. Augustine arrives in Britain • Sent by Pope Gregory to convert pagan British who have melded Christianity with their Celtic gods • Establishes major seats for the church in Canterbury, York • Effectively overpowers the Celtic church • Creation of monasteries – way to keep teachings of church, place of knowledge

  7. The many kingdoms • 7th to 8th centuries – rise and fall of many kingdoms • Kent, Northumbria, Mercia, Wessex • Aethelbold (726-57) first to call himself King of Britain – kingdom much of southern England • Kingdoms brought rule, law, structure • Established rules for interacting with the church

  8. Britain, C. 800 A.D.

  9. Alfred the Great • 870 A.D. – King of Wessex (southern England) • Successfully defends area from raids by Vikings • Vikings not interested in settling – just looted, killed and left • Developed treaties with surrounding kingdoms which helped secure large area • Reclaimed London from Danish control • Helped create political unity throughout England • Laws of his kingdom, first basis for British laws • Ruled against the custom of blood feuds – “wirgild” • Increased the role of church, tried to restore education

  10. Rise of Wessex • Alfred dies in 899 A.D. – left kingdom to son Edward • Continued his father’s work • Established the dominance of the West Saxon kingdom • Opposite to northern England – under control of Danes and part of Scandinavian empire • York – Viking city run by Eric Bloodaxe

  11. 1066 A.D. • Norman invasion part of political battle between King Edward the Confessor and Harold, Duke of Wessex • Edward promised his crown to William of Normandy • Upon his death, Harold seized control • William invades – defeats Harold at the Battle of Hastings • Crowned on Dec. 25, 1066 A.D.

  12. Norman rule • William the Conqueror brought Norman rule to England, now linked with France, not Scandinavia • Replaced old Anglo-Saxon ruling families with Norman • Destroyed/overpowered old kingdoms • Required allegiance in form of set number of knights from each area • Created new social class • Doomsday Book – full accounting of who, what was in southern England for taxation, tything purposes • Brought language, culture to England (very behind in cultural development)

  13. Turnover I • William dies in 1087 A.D. • Decedents William II and Henry I struggle to keep the kingdom together, face insurrection • Stephen, nephew of Henry I looses control of kingdom to Geoffrey the Fair and his wife Matilda • Begins the Plantagenet line • Their son Henry II married Eleanor of Aquitaine • England gains more control of France, becomes one of the most powerful leaders in Europe • Creation of common law, replacing some of the old Anglo-Saxon feudal laws • Growth in economy, trade in England, spurred by First Crusade • Henry responsible for death of Thomas Becket, Archbishop of Canterbury in ongoing dispute over power, influence of church

  14. Turnover II • Henry II dies in 1189 A.D. after failing to stop son Richard from seizing the throne, aided by his mother, Eleanor • Richard the Lionheart captured while on crusade in the Holy Land • Ransomed and then taken prisoner again in Germany • Raised taxes, created many new taxes to pay for crusade, ransoms

  15. A +: The Magna Carta • John I, Richard’s brother, takes over in 1199 A.D. • Almost looses control of whole kingdom • Creates income tax, continues harsh taxing rules left by his brother • Battle with barons leads to signing of the Magna Carta in 1215 A.D. • John dies in 1216 and is first English monarch to be buried in England

  16. Other + developments • Henry III (1216-1272) • Completion of Westminster Abby • Creation of Parliament • Edward I (1272-1307) • Conquest of Wales, peace with Scotland

  17. Turnover III • Edward II (1327-77) • Abandons the throne to his young son • Alienated his wife as homosexual, she took refuge in France, raised forces against him • Edward III (1327-77) • Began 100 Years War with France • 1348 A.D. – arrival of Black Death in England • 50 percent of population dead by 1350 • Did oversee a growth in Parliament

  18. Turnover IV • Richard II (1377-99) • Took throne at age of 10 • Betrayed by nobles and deposed by Henry Bolingbroke, a nobleman • Henry IV (1399-1413) • Encountered serious legitimacy issues as usurped the throne

  19. Turnover V • Henry V (1413-22) • Successfully expanded English territory back into France, made English empire greater • Henry VI (1422-71) • Battled Joan of Arc over French lands occupied by England • Beginning of French nationalism • Beginning of War of the Roses • Civil war among the aristocracy • House of York (white rose) led by Richard of York • House of Lancaster (red rose) led by King Henry • War lasts for 30 years – destroys aristocracy • Ends at Battle of Tewkesbury, Edward (York’s son) defeats Henry • Henry executed at Tower of London

  20. Turnover VI • Edward IV (1461-83) • Brings relative peace to England • Richard III (1483-85) • Brother of Edward • Leads coup against his nephews for throne • Has two young boys killed • Challenged by nobles • Killed at the Battle on Bosworth Field • Defeated by Henry Tudor, married to Elizabeth York, Edward’s daughter • Tudor’s assentation to throne marks end of mediaeval period – last king to gain throne through combat