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HIST 2200 Chapter Notes -Cistercians, Investiture Controversy, Dictatus Papae

Course Code
HIST 2200
Susannah Ferreira

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The Medieval Church
Developed in Egyptian desert in 2nd century, enthusiastic Christians
moved to desert to isolate themselves from worldly distractions, began to
band together and form small communities with rules controlling them,
one superior person to rule them
St Anthony the Egyptian(251-356) – considered the father of
Gaul on the other hand was uncivilized, had peasant farmers scattered
around the land, peasantry was pagan mainly, monks here were serious
about conversion of the people and helping the countryside become
Cassiodorus(485-585)(see earlier notes)
1st western monasticist
St Benedict of Nursia(480-547) – father to the monastery in the West,
founded Abbey of Monte Casino(524-1944), wrote rule books for monks
to structure their lives, established ideals that come to be the hallmark of
the monk(poverty, chastity, obedience),
Monasteries were meant to be self-supporting with enough land for
themselves, supposed to maintain an orderly life on their own while the
world around disintegrates
Ruins left in England and Ireland
Ora et labora – pray and work, motto of the monk, copied manuscripts
books, preserved them for us, English and Irish adopted this after Gregory
the Great decreed that the Anglos were to be converted
Expansion 6th to 8th Centuries
Christianity was reintroduced to Europe and England after the Barbarian
Boniface (680-755) , Pope not impressed with Christianity under the
of Charles Martel, it is only there in name, English missionaries sent over,
Boniface is consecrated as a bishop to the Germanic lands to convert the
people, founded Benedictine monasteries, reformed the Church, went to
Frankia after the death of Charles Martel, returned to Germania and
insulted by pagans worshipping a holy tree, he attempts to cut it down
is killed
Charles Martel(686-741) – used the religion to his own ends, misuse of
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10 and 11th centuries, they expanded all over Europe, people accepted
monks , people began to bequeath land to the monasteries, began to
develop ties to the laity for protection
All monasteries are Benedictine, becoming sloppy and falling into
Attempts in 10th century to reform
Monastary of Cluny, founded in 910 by Duke William of Aquitaine
1. Different because it didn’t hold land that required people to pay
dues and services to some overlord in the feudal system
2. Would only accept free non conditional gifts
3. Charter stated that monks had to be free to elect the abbot, no
outside influence by the local lord
4. Directly under the papacy, meant no interference from the laity
unlike the Benedictines
5. Very strict but wild imaginations of the monks, Cluniac tradition
of wild and fantastic artistic works in carvings and books for
6. Developed strict system of centralization to limit other groups
trying to claim they were Cluniac, all Cluniac monasteries had one
abbot above all(the Abbot of Cluny)
7. Spread rapidly with high level of discipline, soon there is an
empire of Cluniac monasteries
1. New order of monks, 1145 there was 6 orders, expansion over 100
years from 1 group
2. Very widespread, more than Cluniacs
3. Founders were Robert of Molesme, Alberic, Stephen Harding
4. Robert was discouraged due to lack of reforms, left his monastery
with 6 men and founded new one at Citeaux, eventually returned
5. Citeaux continued under the others, 1109 Harding became Abbot,
very enthusiastic and helped it expand
6. 1113, young nobleman from Burgundy named Bernard of
Clairvaux(1090-1153), came with 30 friends, 1116 he became Abbot of a
daughter house at Clairvaux till his death in ’53, dominant figure in the
Church, almost a fanatic with no doubt in his own knowledge(always
thought he was right), persecuted his enemies, with his monks he was
gentle and kind with practical sense
a. Offered to give advice on public matters, advisor to King Louis VII,
founded the Knights Templar
b. Was a mystic, thought the soul had to go through four levels of being
to be with God
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