What You Will Learn…
In this chapter, you will learn about life in Europe during the later Middle Ages. Christianity was a major influence on people’s lives during these years. This photo shows the monastery at Mont St. Michel in France. Chapter Time Line|
Themes: Religion / Society and Culture |
| Focus on Themes In this chapter you will learn about Europe in the late Middle Ages, a period important change and new developments. You will see how the Christian religion was a major influence on people’s lives. You will also read about the conflict between religious and political leaders and how this conflict shaped society and culture. Finally, you will learn about important events that changed medieval society and opened up the way towards the development of modern life. Stereotypes and Bias in HistoryFocus on Reading Historians today try to be impartial in their writing. They don’t let their personal feelings affect what they write. Writers in the past, however, didn’t always feel the need to be impartial. Their writings were sometimes colored by their attitudes about other people, places, and ideas. Identifying Stereotypes and Bias Two ways in which writing can be colored by the author’s ideas are stereotypes and bias. A stereotype is a generalization about whole groups of people. Bias is an attitude that one group is superior to another. The examples below can help you identify stereotypes and bias in the things you read.|
You Try It!
The following passage was written by a French poet and knight named Rutebeuf. Rutebeuf, who lived from about 1245 to 1285, explains his reasons for not wanting to join the Crusades. As you read the passage, look for examples of stereotypes and bias in his writing. |
A Knight SpeaksAm I to leave my wife and children, all my goods and inheritance, to go and conquer a foreign land which will give me nothing in return? I can worship God just as well in Paris as in Jerusalem.... Those rich lords and prelates [priests] who have grabbed for themselves all the treasure on earth may well need to go on Crusade. But I live at peace with my neighbors. I am not bored with them yet and so I have no desire to go looking for a war at the other end of the world. If you like heroic deeds, you can go along and cover yourself with glory: tell the Sultan from me that if he feels like attacking me I know very well how to defend myself. But so long as he leaves me alone, I shall not bother my head about him. All you people, great and small, who go on pilgrimage to the Promised Land, ought to become very holy there: so how does it happen that the ones who come back are mostly bandits? –Rutebeuf, from The Medieval World by Freidrich Heer, translated by Janet Sondheimer| Popes and Kings
If YOU were there...|
You are 13 years old, the youngest child of the king of France. One day your father announces that he wants to make an alliance with a powerful noble family. To seal the alliance, he has arranged for you to marry one of his new ally’s children. Your father wants you to be happy and asks what you think of the idea. You know the alliance will make your father’s rule more secure, but it means leaving home to marry a stranger. What will you say to your father?|
BUILDING BACKGROUND In the Middle Ages, kings were some of the most powerful men in Europe. Many kings, like the one described above, looked for ways to increase their power. But in their search for power, these kings had to deal with other powerful leaders, including popes. These other leaders had their own plans and goals.|
Popes and Kings Rule Europe
In the early Middle Ages, great nobles and their knights held a great deal of power. As time passed, though, this power began to shift. More and more, power came into the hands of two types of leaders, popes and kings. Popes had great spiritual power, and kings had political power. Together, popes and kings controlled...