Humanities in the Early, High and Late Middle Ages

Topics: Middle Ages, Renaissance, Periodization Pages: 6 (2238 words) Published: August 10, 2005
Learning Team A will use several research methods including text, internet and other methods to explore the humanities and the effects and developments that the humanities of the Early, High and Late Middle ages had on society. We have made some very interesting findings and come up with some intriguing conclusions. The findings are most definitely in condensed form for the simplicity of our assignment, although if given an unbridled word count, surely we would demonstrate volumes of text form such interesting periods.

The Early Middle Ages
Before we can talk about humanities, we must first define the word "Humanities". Humanities are the investigation of human beings and their culture and their self-expression. We are going to discuss how humanities reflect changing concepts of nature and human beings in different historical periods. Human beings in today's society are not aware of the history of people. In just about every area that we participate in on a daily basis, the humanities of our ancestors contributed to that area. The reason we study the different parts of the humanities is to get a better understanding of where human beings have been and where we need to go. The more we study the further we can go and improve the future based off the past. Christianity greatly influenced the Early Middle Ages. This epoch existed between 500-1000 C.E. There was little stability during this time. Western Europe was under attack from Germanic tribes and Eastern Europe was battling against the Arabs. Fiero (2002) states, "the Germanic tribal people and practices blended with those of classical Rome and Western Christianity to forge the basic economic, social and cultural patterns of medieval life" (p.69). According to the website German Culture, in the Merovingian Dynasty (482-751 C.E.) under the rule of Clovis, "the Franks reluctantly began to adopt Christianity following the baptism of Clovis, an event that inaugurated the alliance between the Frankish kingdom and the Roman Catholic Church" (Medieval Germany -, n.d.). Christianity would reach an all time high during the reign of Charlemagne. After being crowned emperor of the Romans in 800 by Pope Leo III, Charlemagne brought education and enlightenment to his people (Fiero, 2002, p.74-75). The Metropolitan Museum of Art website outlines Charlemagne's accomplishments He founds schools, brings the scholar Alcuin of York to his court, and encourages artists to reinvigorate Greco-Roman traditions. He commissions lavish manuscript books, copies of sacred and classical tests, and sets a fashion emulated by his heirs. Some Carolingian books have gem-encrusted covers, purple-dyed pages, text written in gold and silver inks, and miniature illustrations executed in a lively, confident style. Court workshops also produced bronze figures, ivory carvings and treasure objects that incorporate precious metals, gemstones and antique cameos. (Central Europe, 2000-2005) After Charlemagne's death, Western Europe again was torn in many different directions. Fiero (2002) states, "Charlemagne's three grandsons divided the Empire among themselves, separating French form German-speaking territories" (p. 76). A new social class was defined during this time. Similar to the Roman social structure of plebian, patricians, and military men, the feudal system divided the classes again. According to Fiero (2002), "feudalism involved the exchange of land for military service. In return for the grant of land, a vassal owed his lord a certain number of fighting days (usually forty) per year" (p.76). During the holy wars, these men fought with honor and courage. The knights lived by the code of chivalry. Fiero (2002) defines chivalry as "courageous in battle, loyal to his lord and fellow warriors, and reverent toward women" (p. 77). While most of the population consisted of serfs, these knights and ladies were the echelon of the feudal society. Art and literature during this time...

References: Central Europe (including Germany), 500-1000 A.D. (2000-2005). Retrieved July 30, 2005, from The Metropolitan Museum of Art Web site:
Duffy, S.L. (n.d.), Europe 1000-1300: the high middle ages. Retrieved July 27, 2005, from
Fiero, G. K. (2002). The Humanistic Tradition (Fourth ed.). New York: McGraw-Hill.
Lindisfarne Gospels. (n.d.). Retrieved July 28, 2005, from British Library: Online Gallery European Manuscripts Web site:
Medieval Germany - The Merovingian Dynasty, ca. 500-751. (n.d.). Retrieved July 27, 2005, from German Culture Web site:
Snell, M. (n.d.). The Book of Kells: Splendid Medieval Manuscript. Retrieved July 28, 2005, from
The Brainy Dictionary (2005). Definition of Schism. Retrieved July 27, 2005 from
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