Unit 6 Key Concepts

  • What caused the Middle Ages to occur?—The collapse of the Roman Empire led to a lack of a unifying empire in Europe. As a result people turned to the powerful lords for protection and entered into feudal contracts. Trade ceased inland and education became non-essential.

    Charlemagne—Frankish king who was crowned Holy Roman Emperor on Christmas Day in the year 800. He established an empire that stretched across France, Germany, and part of Italy. Upon his death, however, the empire fell apart.

    Feudalism—A loosely structured political and social system in which Lords owned large sections of land. The serfs entered into this system for protection.

    Chivalry—Moral code of conduct for knights. Similar to the Japanese code of conduct known as bushido.

    Manorialism—An economic system that was the basis for the medieval economy. It was centered around a lord's manor. The manor was self-sufficient; all food, tools, clothes, and any other necessary products were manufactured on the manor.

    Roman Catholic Church—The Church played an integral role in stabilizing society during the Middle Ages. They were the only institution that united the people of Europe.  Besides spiritual guidance, the Church was also actively involved in secular (worldly) leadership as well.

    How did this period end?—This time period came to an end  as a result of the Crusades. Fighting between Christians and Muslims led many Europeans abroad. As they traveled to new, distant lands cultural diffusion took place. Europeans began to seek new trade goods and desire greater learning. This event paved the way for the Renaissance, or rebirth, of Europe.