Ch 14: Medieval Europe

About This Chapter

Watch engaging video lessons and learn about events, power struggles and religious activities of medieval Europe. Make sure you understand the subject matter by taking quick quizzes.

Medieval Europe - Chapter Summary and Learning Objectives

This chapter outlines principal events and figures of Medieval Europe. Follow along as Christianity spreads north of the Alps and power struggles erupt in the Holy Roman Empire. Uncover the reasons that universities began to displace monasteries and get a timeline of events that took place in the Great Crusades. You'll be familiar with the following topics after you've watched all the lessons in this chapter:

  • Charlemagne's Divine Right to Rule
  • Significance of the Magna Carta
  • Influences of medieval Europe on modern democracy
  • Decisions of the 4 Lateran Councils
  • Decline of papal authority
  • Spread of ancient knowledge
  • Catholic Church's role in medieval Europe

Video Objectives
Europe and Eurasia: Geography of the Land Mass Explore the topography, vegetation, climate and waterways of Europe and the Eurasian land mass.
Spread of Christianity in Medieval Europe Depict the roles that the early church and monasteries played in the spread of Christianity during this period.
Heirs of Rome: The Church and the Byzantines Describe events that took place immediately after the fall of the Roman Empire. Determine how the Byzantines lost control of the empire and what role the Church served during this period.
Order From Chaos: Establishing Stability through Feudal Ties and Manors Discover the ways that European society was affected by feudalism.
Feudalism: Charlemagne and the Holy Roman Empire Witness Charlemagne's military conquests and assess his methods for converting people to Christianity. Discuss the divine right of kings.
Charlemagne's Holy Roman Empire and the Divine Right to Rule Examine Charlemagne's role as the Holy Roman Emperor. Describe his cultural reforms.
Power Struggles of the Holy Roman Empire: Popes vs. Emperors Identify key leaders fighting for power during the High Middle Ages. Witness the clashes that took place between religious leaders and kings.
The Rise of Universities and Displacement of Monarchies Get a closer look at the decline of monastic education. Describe some early universities.
The Magna Carta & The Constitution of Clarendon: Definition & Significance Examine the documents that were used to limit the powers of rulers during the High Middle Ages.
Charter of the Forest and the Provisions of Oxford: Definition & Significance Summarize the charters that limited powers of England's king.
Medieval England's Impact on Modern Democratic Thought Outline medieval English legal and constitutional practices that influenced modern democracy.
The First Crusade: Causes and Effects Detail events that led to the First Crusade and learn about religious and secular motivations for it.
The Great Crusades: History and Timeline Enumerate the crusades that followed the First Crusade and the reasons they failed.
The Little Ice Age and the Black Death Discuss the impact of these events on Europe and the reasons they occurred.
Monasticism from St. Benedict to Cluny Outline the history of Monasticism and discover the influence of the Benedictine Rule.
The Roman Catholic Clergy Describe the duties and powers of various members of the clergy.
The Investiture Conflict: Rulers vs. the Centralized Church Analyze this controversy between church and state and meet the main characters involved in the conflict.
The 4 Lateran Councils: The Rules and Decisions Outline the results of these four meetings held by the Church.
Heresies and Inquisitions in the High Middle Ages Examine some of the groups of heretics that formed during this period. Describe the methods the Church used to reclaim power over heretics.
Mendicants: St. Francis and Church Reforms Detail the reasons that Mendicant orders were formed and describe some well-known Mendicants.
The Spread of Ancient Knowledge and Its Impact on the Church Determine how ancient knowledge was uncovered and used in Europe. Discuss growing awareness of Church corruption.
How Thomas Aquinas Saved the Faith from Reason Learn more about Aquinas' scholarly works and influences in the Church.
Babylonian Captivity of the Church and the Decline of Papal Authority Describe the impact of the pope's relocation to France and the conflicts that followed this move.
The Western Schism and the Tale of 3 Popes List the reasons that three popes were elected and details events of the schism that resulted from this division among religious leaders.
The Role of the Catholic Church in Medieval Europe Describe the role of the Catholic Church as a political and intellectual institution.
Decline of Muslim Rule in the Iberian Peninsula See the events that led to the decline of Muslim rule.

27 Lessons in Chapter 14: Medieval Europe
Test your knowledge with a 30-question chapter practice test
Europe & Eurasia: Geography of the Land Mass

1. Europe & Eurasia: Geography of the Land Mass

The settlements of Europe, from snowy Norway to sunny Sicily, have all been affected by the geography of their local surroundings. In this lesson, we discuss the influence of geography on Europe as a whole.

Spread of Christianity in Medieval Europe

2. Spread of Christianity in Medieval Europe

Christianity may have began as a small religious tradition in the Middle East, but it soon spread throughout much of the known world. This lesson takes a look at how Christianity spread throughout Europe in the early Middle Ages.

Heirs of Rome: The Church and the Byzantines

3. Heirs of Rome: The Church and the Byzantines

The Roman Empire covered a vast area, and when it fell, its people were in danger of losing their civilization. This lesson explores some of the things that remained as the Empire fell, as well as how they affected Roman citizens.

Order From Chaos: Establishing Stability through Feudal Ties and Manors

4. Order From Chaos: Establishing Stability through Feudal Ties and Manors

This lesson will explore the impact of feudalism on European society. While explaining the system of feudalism, it will highlight how it offered protection and stability to Europe, specifically after the 5th century fall of Rome.

Feudalism: Charlemagne and the Holy Roman Empire

5. Feudalism: Charlemagne and the Holy Roman Empire

This lesson explains the rule of Charlemagne and his control over the Holy Roman Empire. It highlights his many military conquests and his divine rights as king, while also focusing on the role feudalism played before, during, and after his reign.

Charlemagne's Holy Roman Empire and the Divine Right to Rule

6. Charlemagne's Holy Roman Empire and the Divine Right to Rule

This lesson will explore the rule of Charlemagne and his exercise of the divine right of kings. It will highlight his reign as Holy Roman Emperor, focusing on his military conquests and his cultural reforms.

Vikings: From Lawbreakers to Lawmakers

7. Vikings: From Lawbreakers to Lawmakers

Portrayed as little better than pirates, the Vikings were actually an important influence on the development of Europe as we know it. From establishing cities from Ireland to Russia and conquering England many times, the Vikings changed Europe forever.

Power Struggles of the Holy Roman Empire: Popes vs. Emperors

8. Power Struggles of the Holy Roman Empire: Popes vs. Emperors

The High Middle Ages was characterized by constant struggles for power. This lesson explores fighting between the papacy, Germany, and Italy for authority over the Holy Roman Empire.

The Rise of Universities and Displacement of Monasteries

9. The Rise of Universities and Displacement of Monasteries

Before the Middle Ages, education was the responsibility of the Church. As the need for education spread to those who were not clergy, monasteries could no longer meet the needs of education. This lesson explores the decline of monastic education and the rise of the university.

The Magna Carta & The Constitutions of Clarendon: Definition & Significance

10. The Magna Carta & The Constitutions of Clarendon: Definition & Significance

In the High Middle Ages, rulers fought for supreme power. This lesson explores two of the earliest documents to limit power of an authority figure, whether it was the pope or a king.

Charter of the Forest and the Provisions of Oxford: Definition & Significance

11. Charter of the Forest and the Provisions of Oxford: Definition & Significance

In the High Middle Ages several charters were created that limited the authority of ruling powers. This lesson explores two of these charters, both of which limited the authority of the king of England.

Medieval England's Impact on Modern Democratic Thought

12. Medieval England's Impact on Modern Democratic Thought

Going back almost a thousand years, the English have had an enormous impact on the democratic ideals we value today. Learn how the English were among the first to use trial by jury and many other democratic practices.

The First Crusade: Causes and Effects

13. The First Crusade: Causes and Effects

This lesson covers the motivations of Pope Urban II in calling for the crusade at Clermont and at the religious and secular motivations of European laymen. We will also look at the startling success of the first crusade.

The Great Crusades: History and Timeline

14. The Great Crusades: History and Timeline

This lesson examines the utter failure of the later crusades. We look at some of the factors that led to this failure. We then have a glimpse at each of the major crusades abroad, as well as the political and heretical crusades in Europe.

The Little Ice Age and the Black Death

15. The Little Ice Age and the Black Death

Fourteenth century Europe experienced a devastating population decline due to a climate cooling, famine, and the plague. This lesson explores how these factors occurred and their impact on Europe.

Monasticism from St. Benedict to Cluny

16. Monasticism from St. Benedict to Cluny

This lesson will trace the history of Western monasticism from Benedict to Cluny. It will focus on the Benedictine rule while also highlight monastic contributions to society.

The Roman Catholic Clergy

17. The Roman Catholic Clergy

This lesson will list and describe the different members of the Medieval clergy. Beginning at the lower levels and ending with the Pope, it will outline the duties of each office.

The Investiture Conflict: Rulers vs. the Centralized Church

18. The Investiture Conflict: Rulers vs. the Centralized Church

This lesson will explore the Investiture Conflict of the 11th and 12th centuries. In doing so, it will highlight the roles of Pope Gregory VII and Henry IV. It will also explain the Concordat of Worms.

The 4 Lateran Councils: The Rules and Decisions

19. The 4 Lateran Councils: The Rules and Decisions

This lesson will discuss the Four Lateran Councils held between the years 1123 and 1215 CE. In doing so, it will explore and highlight the main themes and decisions of each.

Heresies and Inquisitions in the High Middle Ages

20. Heresies and Inquisitions in the High Middle Ages

During the Middle Ages the term heresy referred to religious beliefs that were in disagreement with an established Christian doctrine. This lesson explores the often violent results of the growing popularity of heretical beliefs in the High Middle Ages.

Mendicants: St. Francis and Church Reforms

21. Mendicants: St. Francis and Church Reforms

Catholicism spread throughout Europe in the Middle Ages. In response to growing power and separation from urban middle-class citizens, mendicants lived in poverty and reached out to the poor. This lesson explores the orders formed by the mendicants.

The Spread of Ancient Knowledge and Its Impact on the Church

22. The Spread of Ancient Knowledge and Its Impact on the Church

Classical knowledge comes from ancient cultures like the Greeks and Romans. When Christians fought in the Crusades, they discovered some of these texts. This lesson explores the impact of classical learning on the Catholic Church in the Middle Ages.

Thomas Aquinas' Influence on the Catholic Church

23. Thomas Aquinas' Influence on the Catholic Church

St. Thomas Aquinas was perhaps the most important figure of the Catholic Church during the Middle Ages. This lesson examines what he did to help protect the Church against a rebirth of critical thinking by using critical thinking to defend the Church.

Babylonian Captivity of the Church and the Decline of Papal Authority

24. Babylonian Captivity of the Church and the Decline of Papal Authority

In the Middle Ages, the power of the papacy began to decline. A French pope chose to move his court to France. This lesson explores this event, its background, and its impact on Catholicism.

The Western Schism and the Tale of 3 Popes

25. The Western Schism and the Tale of 3 Popes

In the Middle Ages, the Catholic church ended up with three elected popes, creating a division in loyalty. This lesson explores how this incident occurred and how it was finally resolved.

The Role of the Catholic Church in Medieval Europe

26. The Role of the Catholic Church in Medieval Europe

More than any other force, the medieval Church held Europe together. This lesson details some of the ways that the Church was able to not only maintain control but also to expand its finances and its artistic endeavors.

Decline of Muslim Rule in the Iberian Peninsula

27. Decline of Muslim Rule in the Iberian Peninsula

Spain used to be one of the richest and most intellectually progressive places in the Islamic world. This lesson explains how Spain went from being a thoroughly Islamic region to being completely re-conquered by Christians.

Chapter Practice Exam
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Practice Final Exam
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