Rise of the Feudal States
by Chuk Esedebe & Michael Davis

EQ: How does leadership affect the development of a society

Rise of feudalism

Barbarian Invasions

-This was the time period of human migration from about the 370s to the 800s. This occurred during the transition to the Middle Ages. These invasions from many Germanic tribes is what brought an end to not only the Roman army, but the entire western Roman Empire in 476. Some of these Germanic tribes included the Huns, Goths, Vandals, Bulgars, Alans, Suebi, Frisians, and Franks, among other Germanic and Slavic tribes. They also left much of Europe's government in pieces.

Why Feudal States Emerged

-Vikings and many other Germanic tribes posed threats to the safety of people throughout Europe. It became more and more difficult to defend their emperors as centralized governments. People started to turn to local landowning aristocrats, or nobles, to protect them. For survival, it was important to find a powerful noble, or lord, who would offer protection and land in return for service. This led to a new political and social system called feudalism. As the Carolingian dynasty expanded its territory, lords started claiming land and those who lived upon it for themselves required oaths of fealty to the lord who claimed those lands. In return the people who live upon the feif, or land given to them by their lord, can return the generosity, of land and protection, by joining the army and by giving part of their harvest to the lord.

Check for understanding

The Franks

-Clovis, who was a strong military leader, established the kingdom of the Franks. He was the first Germanic ruler to convert to Christianity. When his army was about to lose a battle, he cried out to Jesus for help. When he eventually won the battle, this led him to convert to Christianity. This helped him gain support of the Roman Catholic Church. By 510, the empire stretched from the Pyrenees, to modern day France. After his death, the kingdom was divided, and his sons followed the Frankish customs. The Franks developed most of the ideas in feudalism which is why they are important.

Charlemagne & the Carolingian Empire

-during the 7th and 8th centuries, the Frankish kingdom was gradually losing power to the mayors of the palace. These were chief officers of the Kings household. One of these mayors, Pepin, eventually assumed kingship for himself and his family over the Franks. Pepin was the son of Charles Martel, the leader who defeated the Muslims at the Battle of Tours in 732. When Pepin died in 768, his son claimed the throne. The new king was known as Charles the Great, or Charlemagne. He was a determined King who ruled his kingdom with intelligence and defense. He ruled the kingdom from 768 to 814. He greatly expanded the territory of the Frankish empire and created what was known as the Carolingian empire. At its peak, it covered much of western and Central Europe. Charlemagne developed the missi dominici ( messengers of the king ) who were sent out to make sure the counts (German nobles) were carrying out the kings wishes.

Charlamagne as Holy Roman Emperor

-Eventually in 800, Charlemagne was declared emperor of the romans. This demonstrated the strength of the Roman Empire especially after the fall of the western Roman Empire 300 years ago. This was very significant because it showed the strength of the long enduring empire. His strong desire to promote learning and culture led to what was called the Carolongian Renaissance. This was a blend of Roman, European, and Classical Greek culture.

EQ: How does leadership affect the development of a society

Critical Thinking Question: How would the concept of feudalism be viewed in our modern society?

(1 page essay on a separate sheet of paper answering both these questions)



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