The Birth

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					    The Birth

France and Germany
   The Formation
       Of the
European Continent
                France and Germany
• The collapse of the Carolingian Empire left a
  political vacuum in Europe.

• It resulted in the emergence of the Capetians and
  the Ottonians as the new ruling dynasties.

• After the Carolingian dynasty died out in the
  male line in East Francia in 911, Conrad I, the
  first of a series of territorial dukes, was elected
                France and Germany
• Conrad was followed a
  vigorous line of ambitious
  Saxon rulers; the most
  successful Saxon was
  Otto I;
• Claimed the Lombard
  Kingdom in Italy;
• Defeated an Hungarian
  (Magyar) army in
• Had himself crowned
  Holy Roman Emperor in
  Rome in 962AD.
               France and Germany
• In contrast in West Francia the last of the
  Carolingian rulers was succeeded by Hugh Capet,
  or the Capetian dynasty.

• Ruled in mostly the River Seine valley and Paris.

• Though powerful in their local regions, mostly
  overshadowed by other stronger territorial Lords
  and Barons. Essentially shared power with other
  castellans or castle dwellers.
                   France and Germany
• East Francia would be
  different, Otto I managed to
  avoid sharing power.

• And, for a time became the
  strongest Christian Dynasty on
  the European continent;

• The Ottonians became the
  corner stone of the Holy
  Roman Empire; They hijacked
  the emperor title for
  themselves and their heirs.
                 France and Germany
• Each section developed
  different identities;

• Different political and
  social structures;

• Different nationalist

• They became uniquely
  German and French
             France and Germany
• As the Carolingian Empire eroded into memory;
  Various local aristocrats began to seize local
  power forming small familial dynasties;

• This dissolution of Carolingian power is known
  as Devolution. Power in the hands of the Counts
  not Carolingian Rulers; everyday power now held
  at lower level;

• West Francia (France) would always be weaker
  for the most part than East Francia (Germany)
               France and Germany
• 64$ question is how and why did each
  geographical region develop the way it did?

• It begins with the Treaty of Verdun—Francia is
  divided equally—three in the beginning, but
  quickly became just two regions—east and west.

• 9th century Carolingians lost control and loyalty
  of the west to the Counts, especially the
  Capetians at first.
                   France and Germany
• Counts essentially seized

• Recall Charlemagne gave
  each Count a county to
  administer, as did Louis the

• However, the sons wishing to
  attract alliances gave Counts
  several counties to administer
  for their loyalty;

• This backfired on them
                    France and Germany
• The Counts exacted a
  hereditary order to the office
  or title of Count;

• Charlemagne and Louis had
  always appointed the counts—
  so they could fire them;

• Now the Count title would be
  passed on to male heirs; no
  longer accountable to
  Carolingian rulers
                 France and Germany
• These Counts would take Gavelkind to the next level;

• They assumed all royal lands, property, estates for
  themselves; Passed along in primogeniture and entail;

• Stopped paying tribute, fines and taxes to the Carolingian

• Assumed control of the ecclesiastical appointments;
  created their own law courts—used to be kingly powers
  were now held in the hands of the Counts at the local
  level; Devolution of power.
                 France and Germany
• First true creation of the
  landed gentry and
  Aristocracy; would from
  then always be a thorn in
  any Monarch’s side;

• how does one gain respect
  of the peasantry—one
  must first now gain
  respect of the Aristocracy;

• Louis XVI-be his undoing
                France and Germany
• By 900AD, there were
  over 30 independent
  principalities in West
  Francia; mostly

• No longer answered or
  acknowledged Carolingian

• Carolingian Rulers were
  not welcomed in their area
  of influence.
                France and Germany
• East Francia developed very differently;

• Dukes became administers of Duchies; Duchies were an
  area consuming several counties;

• Dukes over saw several Duchies; this limited the
  amount of devolution of power;

• They too, appointed Bishops and Abbotts;

• Essentially east Francia did not fragment as much as
  West Francia, where West had over 30 political units, the
  East had five or six; easier to manage and colelctively
                 France and Germany
• Devolution stopped with
  the Dukes in the east;

• A family dynasty
  emerged; Otto I (10th

• Germans have always
  accepted regimentation
  and authoritarianism more
  easily than other
              France and Germany
• Political structure and devolution did encourage
  differences and fragmentation;

• Need more explanation; The Viking Raids were
  more severe in the West; Rivers in the west were
  more navigable and entered big trade centers;

• West Francia bordered Al-Andalus (Spain); not
  easy rivals; mostly warred against one another
              France and Germany
• East Francia, less navigable rivers, less Viking

• Frontier with illiterate Pagan Slavs; the slavs
  were fragmented into many villages and
  principalities; they were difficult to conquer but
  easy to raid;

• So inward bellicosity could always be turned
  outward, away from internal Civil War
                 France and Germany
• Unexpected; Castellans;

• As the Counts ousted the
  Carolingians, the
  castellans erected castles
  and essentially ousted the
  Counts, at least as the
  dominant power;

• Castellan—someone who
  possessed a castle or
  several castles.
• Castellans and their Knights were considered the
  lowest rank of European Aristocracy; however,
  wielded great military power.

• Charlemagne, if he found a castle, he destroyed it
  and punished one for erecting it; a castle was
  viewed as a direct challenge to the Carolingian

• To own a castle was akin to owning a tank;
  powerful and dangerous. Counts saw these as a
  challenge to their rule—what goes around …
• As did the Counts, the Castellans seized property,
  monasteries, land and the local courts and placed
  them under their jurisdiction or armed influence;

• For instance, if your Manure Cart was speeding
  through castellan lands, one did not go to the
  Count’s courts for fines, it was done under the
  authority of the castellan and enforced by hid

• How did, Castellans secure this power? I’m glad
  you asked.
                    Castellans and Knights
• He established a Seigneurial

• List of taxes and fines to be
  paid by all in his jurisdictional
  area—usually 15-20 mile
  radius of the castle;

• Still enforcement was an issue;
  he hired armed Thugs (or
  muscle) to strong arm and
  enforce this so-called
  protection and police force.

• Knights were more closely
  resembled to Tony Soprano
  than Sir Lancelot.
                   Castellans and Knights
• Knights did not work for free;

• They were given a parcel of
  land to support themselves; a
  Fief or Feudum;

• This became known as the
  “Feudal Revolution” so many
  castellans hired so many
  Knights for enforcement, large
  increases in feudal Fiefdoms;

• Also created internal jealousy
  and strife.
                 France and Germany
• West Francia would be a political mess for many years;

• Eventually the Capetians would after a long tenure of
  mediocre power establish a claim to the French
  thrown—for a while the counts and castellans agreed the
  king as a superior title, but they disregarded any king as
  worth their time.

• Hughs Capet eventually established a line that would
  rule France for hundreds of years—his reign began in
  Paris—but would take many years before gaining
  monarchical power.
              France and Germany
• East Francia developed somewhat differently;

• German aristocracy elected one of its own named
  Conrad—he was ambitious, but spent too much
  time fighting other German Aristocrats; he
  ignored a big problem, the eastern frontier and the
  Magyar invasion;

• Henry I confronted the Magyar issue and became
  the true first Ottonian King; he negotiated a truce
  with the Magyars; paid a tribute for peace …
                France and Germany
• Just buying time, and
  in933AD at battle of
  Riade he defeated the
  Magyars(related to the

• Crushed them in 955AD
  Battle of Lechfeld;

• Ottonians a legitimate
  ruling dynasty and very
  much Christian
              France and Germany
• Otto very ambitious; sought Pope to coronate him
  as Holy Roman Emperor; birth of the Holy Roman
  Empire; he defeated the Lombard's in northern
  Italy and negotiated a deal with the Pope;

• To assure his eminence over the Pope, Otto issued
  a charter, the Ottonianum—gave Monarchical
  ower over the Pope—for a Pope to be elected, he
  first would have to notify the King of Germany
  and await the Kings approval before undergoing
  consecration—in fact before a Pope could be
  elected, one must be approved by Otto.
                France and Germany
• Jealous Italian families,
  however, murdered many
  German appointed Popes;

• East Francia became the
  new Kingdom of
  Germany (1st Reich);

• No longer the regnum
  Francorum now the
  regnum Teutonicum.
• East Francia or now the Kingdom of Germany had
  succeeded in consolidating power and established
  a Holy Roman Empire that looked to be successful
  for centuries to come;

• West Francia, fragmented and squabbling, looked
  to be weak and negligible at best;

• But West Francia, or the Kingdom of France
  would become the most powerful Kingdom on the
  European continent—who would’a thunk!!

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