Medieval Time Period: Facts, Information, History
Hierarchy, Chivalry, Dualism, Symbolism - Religion, Monasteries, Impact of The Crusades

  Research Topics Presentation Tips History Essays Middle Ages

European society was very insecure during the early medieval period. Rome, which was the center of civilization, was corrupted in government. The German barbarians were constantly attacking Rome's borders. There was a huge gap between Rich and poor. Christianity was inexpensive and had no cumbersome rituals. It offered a life after death without the need for riches and Jesus was a historical figure so therefore believable. People turned away from the cruelties of society and sought salvation or a relief from the harshness of the day. Hence the monastery was established to offer this sanctuary. Benedictine monasteries offered shelter to the oppressed and would never turn down aid to another human being.

Islamic world controlled the trade route to the east. This contact with China helped diffuse cultures and exchange modern technologies. Rome had to go through Islamic countries for eastern goods. There was not yet a route to the east around Cape Horn South Africa. There has always been a conflict between Christians and Muslims. Both religions think they are right and the other is wrong. There has always been a battle over Jerusalem between Muslims, Christians and Jews. All three religions claim rights to the Rock as a Religious Shrine.

Pope Urban II inaugurated the Crusades. The Crusades was fought over religion. The Turk Muslims had control over Jerusalem and would not allow Christian Pilgrims to bring weapons into the city of Jerusalem. Christian Pilgrims were being harassed and killed on their Pilgrimages to Jerusalem. So, the European Christians started the Crusades in the 11th century to take back Jerusalem. There were 4 major crusades. The only crusade to successfully capture Jerusalem was the first crusade. The second crusade failed because of the symbolic beliefs that the noblewomen could not touch the ground and had to be carried by 4 men. Women and children accompanied the Crusaders. Carrying the noble women wore the troops down that much more. They gave up, half returned home and half stayed.

The crusades were very costly in life but its return in monetary value was tremendous. In the 4th crusade, Constantinople (Istanbul) was sacked so bad that it weakened the city and the Turks marched in without much ado. The city and the region never recouped the power it had before the 4th crusade.

The Crusades brought back wealth to the west in the form of both monetary and intellectual contributions. Numbers was the main contribution Islam made to the West. Access to the Mediterranean brought more trade and more interaction.

The rise of the University was a result of the contact with the Islamic world. The crusades made possible the spread of Aristotle Philosophies, which the Muslims had preserved. The philosophy of St Thomas Aquinas relied heavily on Aristotle. More Greek texts were translated and more Greek personages were studies. A reconsidering of the notions of the ancient Greeks took place, notions regarding science and Christianity.

The First University in the West was established was the University of Bologna. The rapidity of the medieval lecture in the University was to improve memory. It was thought auditory comprehension prevents forgetfulness. The disputatio quodlibet was held one day a week. An instructor or a student would propose some theory and they would discuss it completely. According to Benedict, forgetfulness is lethal for monks. Abelard wrote Sic et Non. Saint Ambrose composed the Hymn to Light St Augustine, in his Confessions argues that one must have faith to understand

The consolidation of Church powers started with Constantine who made the Edict of Milan that stopped the persecution of the Christians in 313 AD. In 325, Catholic Church doctrines were laid out, the Nicene Creed which dictated how people were to believe. Heretics (those who believe otherwise), were punished severely often with their lives. The Nicene Creed was responsible for codifying Christian doctrine.

Medieval Philosophers and their Philosophy

Leonardo Bruni (1370-1444) suggested man's nature equips him for action, usefulness for family and serving the state. Material gain is natural outgrowth of human progress.

Leon Alberti (1404-1472) suggested nuclear family instituted by nature for the welfare of humanity. Man is by nature more energetic and industrious. Woman is to continue the generations and care for the young.

Lorenzo Valla (1407-1457) was an expert on grammar and rhetoric. He Introduced the concept of anachronism to the study of historical thought. He Proved the donation of Constantine to be a forgery. This document had been used to justify Papal control over temporal matters. The Donation of Constantine was proven a forgery because the text was written in the wrong vernacular or the wrong type of writing for that time period.