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Lecture 4

Lecture 4 - Dark Ages.docx

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University of Toronto St. George
Piotr Wr�bel

th East Central European History – Sept. 20 2012 Lecture 4: “Dark Ages”: Rome’s successor states and the “barbarians” of East Central Europe between Byzantium and the West In the North of Europe – a new group of people – the Slavs – appeared What is a state? It should include a fiscal apparatus. A confederation of tribes is not necessarily a state – but this is a matter for debate The Slavic people are a mystery – we don’t really know where they came from. They appeared suddenly in central and northern Europe. There are many theories about the origins of Rus, but the Slavic group of tribes definitely grew fast. Around the year 500 they crossed the valley and entered the Byzantine Empire. Ptolemy’s map from Alexandria calls the Carpathian Mountains the mountains of the Slavs, and he calls the Baltic Sea the sea of Slavs. After several hundred years the Slavic tribes controlled most of East Central Europe. It was an agricultural society, used the slash and burn method to make clearings in the forest, and was ruled by tribal democracies and followed pagan religions. They lived in clans that made up little tribes, which made up large tribes. There were about 9 big tribes in the 9 century in the area of Poland. They spread in all directions from their original habitat and quickly controlled most of the territory. However, East Central Europe was like a corridor leading to Western Europe, and soon nomadic tribes were moving through the corridor Sometime in the 6 century, the Avars a nomadic tribe from Asia established a state in central Europe – it was a mix between Slavic and avar population. Sometime later the Bulgars came from the far east of Europe. Of the tribes coming from central asia to Europe, one of them was the Khazars who were Turkic-Central Asian. They established a large state in the 7 century, Kiev being one of the cities under their control. The Byzantine Empire was fighting for recreation and survival of the Roman Empire, and one of their specialties was diplomacy, ideology and religion. The Khazars established a state, and the Byzantine empire realized they were dangerous so they send messengers trying to arrange an alliance. The Khazars learned about Christianity from them, and found their central Asian religion to be underdeveloped in comparison. Kagan decided he had to change his religion in order to strengthen his state. So he invited reps from different religions, and was hesitant because he realized that if he became Islamic he would become part of their empire, and if he accepted Christianity missionaries would come to supervise him on behalf of Byzantium – so he converted to Judaism so that no one could control him. Some claim that the definition of e c Europe is where german and jewish minorities were large and powerful Why were Jewish people so prevalent in East Central Europe? They looked different from Hebrews from Israel th In the 10 century Kievan Rus beat the Khazars Khazars dispersed from the area and perhaps the Jews of E C Europe were actually Khazars, and the reason that many Jews had blue eyes and blonde hair because they were khazars mixed with local population Slavic invasion of East Central Europe; they colonize the Balkan Peninsula, but the nomads keep coming in waves The Avars did not survive because they landed between the Frankish and Bulgarian Empires The barbarians entered the empire and destroyed the western northern empire and a Frankish warrior took Galia, where the local Celtic population mixed with the Franks which was the beginning of France Initially the kingdom was ruled by a dynasty which eventually became inefficient, important courtiers became more efficient. Charlemagne created a large Roman Frankish Empire; the franks almost recreated the Western Roman Empire Franks were important because they developed a new system based on land donations to aristocracy, called feudalism – as opposed to slave based economy, although slaves still existed Feudalism was extremely important – there were feudal elements still left in society up to now in places such as Poland, where you can still tell if people are descendents of peasants or of nobility – there are different pictures, furniture, et cetera – consequences of the feudal system In ancient times slave owners were in power because they controlled slaves, the means of production Under feudalism, land was the means of production and therefore landowners had the power The feudal system influenced central European territories – there was exchange across borders and they were following Frankish patterns. th In the early 7 century there was a Slavic rebellion against the Avars – an ind
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