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HIST 2200 Chapter Notes -Barter, Feudalism, Alcuin

Course Code
HIST 2200
Susannah Ferreira

of 4
Enemies and Recovery
Charles the Great
Information found in the Royal British Annals, some by Einhard(770-849),
lived in the court of
Charlemagne, witnessed many events he describes, was educated at the
palace school, became
trusted advisor and friend to the king, wrote Life of Charles(829-835),
described his intent
o Large man, Loved feasting and hunting, good swimmer(uncommon), drank
moderation, liked steam baths, spoke Latin(significant for a Germanic),
some Greek, native tongue was a form of German, was illiterate,
dominant figure
of his day
o Became a legendary hero
o Practiced serial monogamy, had many concubines with numerous children
o Wouldn’t let his daughters get marriage, loved them too much and wanted
keep them close since marriage would mean they would leave the
Military Activities
o Lombards blinded Pope Leo III, used as excuse to capture the Lombard
and sent the king to a monastery, took the crown of Lombardi for
o Major campaign in Saxony, attempt to complete what his father Kevin the
had tried to do
Wanted to tame the wild Saxon borderlands
775 Charles subdued the Saxons, as soon as Charles left the
rebelled and refused any authority, proud pagans and violent anti-
They linked Christianity with the Frankish monarchy, resisted
Charles had to fight the Saxons for 23 years. 780 parts were
780-785 campaigns to the North, these wars helped to subdue
the area we
know as the Netherlands
792-last Saxon revolt, effectively crushed and end of resistance,
with problem of how to stabilize the area
• Built garrison fortresses, brought in Frankish counts and gave lands to
them for permanent presence, mass deportation of Saxons to the West in
Frankia, sent Frankish peasants to the east(broke up their ties with each
• Calming effect of the church, forced them to accept Christianity
787-invaded Bavaria, already Christian, came into direct contact
with the Avars,
791, led army against the Avars, 805, leader of them converted
to Christianity and
became ally of Charles
778-Army to northern Spain, fighting Christian Basques, failed in
action to the Muslims, most important defeat here(found in the song
of Rolland)
Battle of Roncevaux Pass, eventually Charlemagne won strips of
Almost every year the army was mustered to some frontier area to
Wars were profitable due to booty, unscripted warfare, peasants
were fair game,
all booty was split among all soldiers according to rank
Avar conquest of 795, more loot than any other campaigns
combined, 15 wagons
need just for gold and silver
o Administrative network, peaceful core in Frankia taken care of by local
o Border regions needed defence, had rank of official called Margruff, was
count of a borderland, supervised by small group of lieutenants who would
report to the king
o System of loyalty to the king
o Established system of missi dominici, messengers from the king, always 2
and work as a team
One is a cleric and one is a nobleman, sent to survey area and take
orders to the borderlands
Never spend 2 years with your partner, no bonds formed
Always sent to different regions so no relationship with the local
population is formed
Valuable means for Charles to supervise, their authority was direct
o Ordered law codes of all peoples to be written down, oral culture in many
groups under Charles,
o Capitularies, a series of legislative or administrative acts emanating from
the Frankish court to discuss anything in the kingdom(from the clergy to the
army), diversity is tolerated
o May have proposed and supported education for pragmatic reasons
o Recognized the fact that good government required educated officials
o Slept with tablets under his pillow to try and absorb information
o Gathered around him well educated men from around the Empire
o Hired Alcuin to run the palace school, leader of the educational movement
Was English lived 735-804, educated at York
Returning from mission to Rome, offered job by Charles to head the
school, wanted it to be the centre of learning in his kingdom, later on he
retired to a monastery
Was well loved teacher whose advice was constantly sought
Charles was educated by him on how to behave and address
theological issues
King to major interest in the school
o Transformation of learning in the period
o Wholesale copying of all texts from Religious texts to anything else
o Books of ancient literature
o Period that they copied so many manuscripts that they preserved
knowledge for us
o Libraries were located in monasteries, Scriptora developed, handwriting
improved with much practice
o Carolingian miniscule was a writing style developed from the Merovingian
Miniscule, developed at Abbey or Corbee, first found in 778, first to be well
formed and had spaces between words
Based on script developed in Ireland during period when Ireland was
completely cut off by marauders, developed form called insular,
popularized by Alcuin, basis for some lower case and upper case
- Empire was divided among grandchildren
- Led to civil war and anarchy
- Break down in authority, armed force became the only way to enforce law
- Series of new invasions made the state more difficult
- Viking, Magyar and Islamic invasions in the 11th centuries,
o Islam moved from Spain towards the Byzantines through Italy, Magyars
from the Russian Steppes and settled in Hungary, Vikings go everywhere
- Nothing is safe anymore