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The Middle Ages


									Interesting Facts
 The Romance of the Rose is one of
the most important medieval
allegories (a story with personified
virtues and vices). In this dream-
poem, the poet goes to the
Garden of Delight, where he
meets Rose, his courtly love.
• Green symbolizes new love.
• Blue symbolizes fidelity.
• The enclosed garden
  symbolizes purity.
• The fruit on the trees
  symbolizes fertility.
When William conquered England, he
assumed every bit of property was his. All
those who supported the old king lost their
property, which William divided out to 200+
Norman lords. As was customary in those
times, the lords swore loyalty to William in
exchange for the land.
Oaths of loyalty were the backbone of the
feudal society. Solemn and unbreakable,
these oaths were sworn by a vassal to his
chosen lord. The lord, in return, expected
faithfulness and service without deception.
Often vassals made these pledges over
religious relics, or the pledge would be
sealed with a kiss. This is where we get the
custom of the wedding kiss. The married
couple is sealing their oaths with a kiss.
One of the few female literary voices of
the Middle Ages that survived was that
of Margaret Paston. The wife of a
nobleman, Paston wrote letters
describing, among other things, ways in
which others did not honor feudal
obligations, attacks on her own manor,
and uncertainty about her future and
the safety of her lands and possessions.
• To be a knight, a boy’s parents had to be
  rich enough to buy a horse, armor, and
• A knight’s education began at the age of
  7, with instruction in good manners and
  social skills, such as singing, dancing, and
  playing chess.
• Young boys were also taught to use a
  sword and shield at this time.
• At age 14, a boy became a squire, a kind
  of personal servant to a knight.
How do the roles of medieval men
and women differ in the three
pieces of art?

What about the differences
between the classes?
Women could wield power when the lord
of the castle was off fighting somewhere
else and their own castle was attacked.
In that case, the noblewoman might act
as military commander or even a warrior.
At the very least, she might hurl boiling
water, hot sand, or stones at the castle’s
The two major institutions of power were the Catholic
Church and the system of feudalism. Both had a
similar system of hierarchy.
          God                        King

          Pope                      Barons

        Cardinals                   Vassals

         Bishops                    Knights

          Priests                    serfs

        The faithful
Siege warfare was often used during the
Crusades as invaders attempted to destroy
a city’s protective walls and block off its

Speculate on the function of the rectangular
mantelets shown in the lower right of the
Under Henry II, a system of COMMON LAW
was developed. Common law applies to
ALL the people of a country, not just
certain people.

The conflict between Henry and Becket
developed when Henry attempted to bring
the Church under this common law system.
Before this time, Church courts had often
dispensed their own forms of justice.
How the did murder of Thomas à Becket lead
to corruption within the Catholic Church?

Public outrage caused a backlash against
King Henry II; therefore, when there was
corruption in the Church, Henry was
powerless to do anything about it.

As a result, the power of the Catholic Church
grew and grew.
The best-known figure to come out of the Hundred
Years’ War was a young, illiterate French peasant
woman known in English as Joan of Arc.

She persuaded the king of France to allow her to
lead the French armies to fight the English.

For almost two years, she was incredibly successful,
until she was captured in Burgundy and sold to the
English. She was found guilty of witchcraft and
burned to death.
Notice the weaponry. What kinds of
weapons do you see?

The French are using the heavier

The English are using arrows—faster and
There are three different kinds of plague, each one
begin worse than the one before.




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