Carolingian Europe

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History, European
Anthonydi Battista

Chapter 4: Carolingian Europe (c. 700-850) Introduction • The Franks were an agrarian people • Had no effective center of government • Carolingian Empire: Vast constellation of territories welded together by the Frankish king Charlemagne o His realm was a fusion of various cultures of the past—Gallo-Roman, Christian, and barbarian • Charlemagne represented this fusion himself: he wore Frankish trousers, took title of Roman emperor, understood Latin and Greek • This mixture of traditions crated a new European culture • Charlemagne’s accomplishments are characterized as creating the “First Europe” The Early Carolingians Francia in 700 • Life was difficult, sparsely populated, extended families were important • Most basic unit of social organization was the household • Harvests were poor • Free peasants: Held and on their own account, perhaps owning rent but otherwise owing no servile services to the aristocracy • Isolated villages, hard-working peasants, and poor communications • Dominated by landowners: kings and queens, aristocrats, monasteries, and bishops • Conquest and war defined the aristocratic world o War expressed the personal loyalty that bound one aristocrat to another, provided opportunities for women to advance in family interests, and produced lots of widows because men died o Important source of profit to aristocrats • 600s:Aristocratic families in Francia grew more powerful at the expense of the Merovingians, the royal family to whom they owed allegiance o Merovingians were obliged to give away royal lands to attract followers o Split into several districts: Most important were Neustria, Burgundy, andAustrasia o As the power of the Meovingians waned, the power of the Carolingians increased • Carolingians built a power base in their nativeAustrasia by gathering around them lots of trained warriors • Wise marriages were a critical strategy because wives brought land and allegiances • Pepin of Heristal led hisAustrasian army to a victory over Neustrians in the battle of Tertry, Carolingians now control both districts o Dominated Burgundy as well Charles Martel (714-741) • Pepin of Heristal’s son, skillful and ruthless military chieftain • 732: His greatest victory; turned back anArab force at the battle of Tours-Poitiers • Rewarded his military followers with land • 741: Martel dies, his lands and authority are divided between his two sons Carloman and Pepin the Short • Carloman ruled for 6 years, rule passed on to Pepin the Short Pepin the Short (741-768) and the Franco-PapalAlliance • Makes alliance with papacy, communicated with Pope Zacharius I • Pepin was appointed to royal office by a papal representative • Carolingians henceforth ruled not by force alone but also by God’s favor • Pope Stephen II crowned Pepin • Zacharius I and Stephen II supported Pepin because they needed a strong ally in their struggle to secure their position within the Italian peninsula o Sought his military aid o Papacy wanted to establish its own autonomous state • Lombard capture of Ravenna—Stephen II asked for Pepin’s military support and Pepin obliged, defeated Lombards • “Donation of Constantine”, later proven as forged • Pepin also drove the Muslims fromAquitaine and maintained peace with Francia • 768: died, left Francia larger, more powerful, and more organized • But most significant contribution—his allegiance with papal Rome! St. Boniface (675-754) and Missions from theAnglo-Saxons • Expansion of Western Christendom through missionary activity was going on • Anglo-Saxon monk St. Boniface devoted himself to Christianizing the pagans of Frisia, Thuringia, Hesse, and Bavaria • The monasteries Boniface established, particularly the great house of Fulda in Hesse, became the centers of learning and evangelism • Charles Martel, Carloman and Pepin the Short supported him • Frankish church needed reform, Boniface reformed them o Reformed Frankish monasteries, saw the establishment of monastic schools, encouraged the appointment of dedicated bishops and abbots, and worked toward a development of an adequate system of local parishes and parish churches Manorialism • Linked the landed elite to the peasantry in a web of social obligations • Demesne: Lands whose produce went directly into manorial barns • Each tenement rented out to a peasant c
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