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Germanic Kingdoms Unite Under Charlemagne Objectives: • Know what problems the Germanic invasions caused. • Know the importance of the Roman Catholic Church to the development of the new European powers. • Know who Clovis I was and why he was important. • Know who Pope Gregory I was and why he was important. • Know who Charles Martel was and why he was important. • With this, also know what a major domo was and know the importance of the Battle of Tours. • Know who Charlemagne was, why he was important, and what the significance was of his interaction Pope Leo III. The Middle Ages • Also known as the Dark Ages because this was when Western Europe wasn‟t the great learned place it was under the Romans and wasn‟t again until the Renaissance. • Also known as the medieval period. • Also a period of great division among the powers and kingdoms. • Dates vary, but around 476-1453. You‟ll recall that when we last left the Roman Empire, it was in decline, spurred largely by the barbarian Germanic tribes that were invading the empire. • By the beginning of the sixth century, the damage was pretty much done and the western Roman Empire was no more. • The invasions caused the following problems: 1. Disruption of Trade • Centralized Roman authority broke down and with it went the protection of trade. • Recall that during the Pax Romana, the Empire was relatively safe. This enabled widespread, and long- distance, trade and commerce. Without that Roman power, though, roads and trade routes were no longer safe. Without trade and commerce, the economy tanked. 2. Downfall of Cities • Cities got a double-whammy. First, with the trade disruption, cities were no longer the vital economic centers they once were. • Second, with the breakdown of central Roman authority, cities were no longer needed as centers of governmental administration. 3. Population Shifts • With the cities no longer the important places they once were, people started migrating into the country. 4. Decline of Learning • The barbarians weren‟t very good with the fancy reading and writing. • The Germanic languages started becoming important, but they lacked a writing system. • Important stuff was all in Latin, or more likely, Greek. The science and philosophy of the ancients started getting ignored. The barbarians didn‟t have much use for it anyway. 5. Loss of a Common Language • As the old Empire was divided up among the different barbarian tribes, the Latin language started evolving differently in the different regions. • The changes came partly from the separation among the peoples as well as the influence of the Germanic peoples living in the particular areas. • The dialects became the Romance languages. 6. Decline of Infrastructure • All the great public works fell into disrepair: the aqueducts, the public baths, libraries, arenas, etc. • The barbarian overlords didn‟t really destroy them, they just didn‟t see the need to maintain them. • In most cases, due to the lack of centralized authority and tax collection abilities, they didn‟t have the means or money to maintain them anyway. • It didn‟t help that these things were mainly located in cities, which, as we have seen, were largely abandoned. The Church • The Roman Catholic Church was the one centralized institution that remained from the Empire. • It was also the only literate one. • Since literacy was necessary for the practice of the religion, the clergy was able to read. • Provided some kind of stability in the chaos. • Established monasteries and convents where self- sacrificing monks and nuns, respectively, lived. • One monk, Benedict wrote strict practical rules of monasteries. Such monasteries became part of the Benedictine order. • The monks also helped to maintain ancient works in their libraries and by copying them. The beginnings of feudalism • Without the centralized government, there was no one entity responsible for taxing, administering law and services, fielding a military, etc. • Instead, these responsibilities started falling to local or regional nobles. They would give land and/or titles to people (later known as knights) who would in turn pledge their allegiance and military skill to the noble. • In turn, peasants worked the land, often as serfs who were bound to the land. • This replaced slavery which also largely disappeared with the Empire. Provide money and King knights Grants land to Provide Nobles protection and military Grants land service to Knights Provide food Grants land and services to Peasants • Was aided by the fact that the Germanic peoples were tribal, fiercely independent, but fiercely loyal to their local tribal leaders. This made small government easy, but large centralized governments nearly impossible. The Franks • A confederation of various Germanic tribes that settled in northern Gaul (France… Franks-France, see it?) • Clovis I • First king of the Franks, starting in 481. • Through war and diplomacy, he united all the disparate Frankish tribes under his leadership. • He also converted from paganism (one source says he worshipped Roman gods) to Roman Catholicism. • This was a big step. • Most of the other Germanic kings, if they were Christian at all, believed in Arian Christianity. Arians believed that Jesus was divine, but was a created creature and not equal to God the father. He was inferior. This was a heretical view. • The conversion also created a new bond between the Franks and the RCC. • The Franks become the defenders and protectors of the Church. • Also helped the strengthen ties between the German conquerors and their Roman subjects. • Clovis then proceeded to conquer the rest of Gaul and unite it under him. • From Clovis, the names Louis and Ludwig are derived. Pope Gregory I • Pope from 590 to 604. • Was born into a wealthy Roman patrician family in 540, but by 575 had converted his properties into monasteries. • In 579, he became Pope Pelagius‟s representative in Constantinople. • While there, he argued with the Eastern Orthodox patriarch. The patriarch claimed that the saved would be resurrected as incorporeal (non-physical) souls, whereas Gregory countered that the physical bodies would be resurrected, citing Jesus as a case study. • As pope, Gregory greatly expands the political power of the papacy. • The Lombards were attacking Rome. The Byzantine emperor‟s representative in the west (this was shortly after Justinian‟s time when the west was reconquered by the Byzantines) refused to negotiate. So Gregory negotiated for peace on his own, essentially poking the secular authorities in the eye. This established him as independent. • He also appoints governors, raises armies, and acts as a temporal authority. • Interestingly, though Gregory established the papacy as the central political power in Italy (and expanded his influence elsewhere in Europe), he believed in a strict division of church and state. • The emperor, he thought, was God‟s representative and choice to rule in temporal, secular matters. The pope was God‟s representative in spiritual matters. And the two should be kept as distinct as possible. • The last sentence was the problematic one. Gregory is one of only three popes given the title „the Great.‟ • Leo I, the guy who turned Attila the Hun away from Rome is one other. • Nicholas I is the third. • In my humble opinion, John Paul II should and will also be known as „the Great.‟ The Franks again • As we saw, Clovis united all of modern-day France under his leadership by the time of his death in 511. • He began the Merovingian dynasty of Frankish kings. • By 700, though, the king served mainly a ceremonial function and the real political power lay with the major domo – the mayor of the palace. • In 719, the major domo was Charles Martel, aka Charles THE HAMMER. Ok, while still a great name, he was more like this: • Charles extended Frankish territory. • His main accomplishment, though, was at the Battle of Tours in 732. • The Muslims were unable to break into eastern Europe due to the Byzantines. So they went in another way. • At this point, Muslims held Spain and one Muslim leader sent a raiding party across the Pyrenees and into France. • They weren‟t out to conquer territory on this mission, they were just pillaging and getting loot from the Frankish countryside. • By the time of the battle, the Muslims had already accumulated significant booty which they had already stashed and/or dispatched back to Spain. • 80,000 Muslims (some modern historians claim it was closer to 30,000) engage 30,000 Franks under THE HAMMER. • The Muslims relied on heavy cavalry charges, armed with lances and scimitars. • The Franks were mainly infantry armed with axes, swords, and javelins. • The Franks establish a defensive square and dare the Muslims to attack – they do. • Repeated attack waves by the Muslims fail to break the defensive square. But they get cut down. • Some Muslims break off the attack when word gets out that the Franks are raiding their plunder (it was a ruse by Charles), so they go to protect it. The other Muslims see this, think it‟s a retreat and so they run too. (Many a battle has been lost because soldiers were more concerned with loot than with defeating the enemy.) • The Muslim general is killed in the process. • After Tours, the Muslims never again make a serious incursion across the Pyrenees. The battle is thus hailed as stopping Muslim conquests in the west, saving Western Europe (which likely would not have been able to stop a full-scale invasion that almost certainly would have occurred had Charles lost), and saving Christianity. • It was also for this victory that Charles got his nickname: THE HAMMER! Pepin the Short • Actually Pepin the Younger… the Short is a bad translation. • Charles Martel‟s son and becomes major domo in 741. • He thought he should be king so asked the pope to decide who should be king: the guy with the title or the guy with the power (de jure vs. de facto). • Since the pope depended on the Franks for defense, especially against the Lombards, he sided with Pepin and declared him king. The Frankish nobles make it official by electing him king (and to avoid the many soldiers Pepin had on hand if they thought differently). • He becomes the first of the Carolingian dynasty. Pepin. Not Short. Charlemagne • Pepin‟s son Charles (henceforth known as Charlemagne: Charles the Great) becomes king in 771. • His contemporary biographer described him thus: • Charles was large and strong, and of lofty stature, though not disproportionately tall (his height is well known to have been seven times the length of his foot); the upper part of his head was round, his eyes very large and animated, nose a little long, hair fair, and face laughing and merry. Thus his appearance was always stately and dignified, whether he was standing or sitting; although his neck was thick and somewhat short, and his belly rather prominent; but the symmetry of the rest of his body concealed these defects. His gait was firm, his whole carriage manly, and his voice clear, but not so strong as his size led one to expect. Prominent belly. Short neck. Yet pleasantly symmetrical. • Charlemagne proceeds to conquer to the east and south, taking on Germanic tribes and Muslim forces, and greatly expanding his territory. • Also comes to the aid of Pope Hadrian by conquering the Lombards in Italy who were threatening papal lands in 773. • Really comes to aid of Pope Leo III in 800. • Leo III was from a commoner background which annoyed Rome‟s nobility who thought only nobles should be pope. They accused him of various crimes • So a mob seized him and nearly put out his eyes and cut off his tongue. They wind up deposing him and imprisoning him in a monastery. • L3 manages to escape to Charlemagne. • Charlemagne doesn‟t recognize the deposition. He thinks no earthly power can judge the pope, marches him back to Rome, makes him swear an oath of innocence of the crimes of which he was accused, and then reinstates him. • Shortly afterward, on Christmas day, Charlemagne goes to St. Peter‟s Basilica to celebrate mass. As he‟s praying, he raises his head to find Leo III placing a crown on his head and repeating three times, “Hail to Charles the Augustus, crowned by God the great and peace-bringing Emperor of the Romans.” • Leo III thus makes Charlemagne an emperor, ostensibly the Roman emperor. • That Leo III crowned Charlemagne is a big deal. It indicated that the pope had the power to dictate who would be ruler. • Charlemagne seemed to want something like this, but on his own terms and not by Leo. His biographer says that had Charlemagne known what Leo was going to pull, he wouldn‟t have gone into St. Peter‟s to pray. • Goes along with it anyway. • For his part, this was Leo‟s way of asserting authority over Charlemagne, no matter how powerful he was (he may also have been put out by the humiliating public oath he was forced to swear and so was sticking it to Charlemagne). • At any rate, this precedent has far-reaching consequences in European politics and royalty. • The crown used continued to be used in French coronation ceremonies up until the late 1700‟s when it was destroyed during the French Revolution. • Interestingly, when Napoleon became emperor of the French in 1804, he specifically crowned himself, instead of the pope doing it, in order to demonstrate the pope was not his overlord. • The act also creates conflict with Constantinople. • At the time, the Byzantine ruler was an empress: Irene. She took power when her husband died and their son was too young to rule (she eventually has his eyes put out when he attempts a coup). • Since there was no male occupant of the throne in Constantinople, Leo III considered it vacant and could therefore appoint Charlemagne to it. • The Byzantines were outraged and thought Charlemagne makes overtures to taking the Byzantine throne, it goes nowhere and he abandons the effort. The Byzantines continue with their own emperors. • This was also an outrage to the Byzantines because under their system, the patriarch was • Charlemagne makes a number of other reforms. He consolidates power in himself and away from the nobles. He also spurs a new era of learning in France. • He dies in 814 and is buried in a cathedral in northern France. • According to the stories, when the vault was opened in 1000, Charlemagne‟s body was found seated on a marble throne, crown on his head, scepter in hand, dressed in his royal robes, and with the Gospels opened on his lap. • His body was moved a couple of times, but the remains now reside in this casket. The marble throne on which he was seated. • Oh, and in the 1700‟s, they measured his bones and found that he was about 6‟4”.
"Germanic Kingdoms Unite Under Charlemagne"