Hum 111 4-12 Early Middle Ages, The Middle Ages and the Search for Order

Hum 111 4-12 Early Middle Ages, The Middle Ages and the Search for Order

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Late Roman Empire Early Middle Ages “Dark Ages” versus “Middle Ages” (or Medieval Ages) Not really dark, but lack of writing Also called middle ages, because it is in between end of Rome and beginning of Renaissance Most appropriate name is Medieval Weakening of Roman Bureaucracy: Roman state unable to protect vast borders Overexpansion, loss of unity. Changes in climate: northern tribes moved south About year 400, weather changed dramatically It becomes very cold People living in Northern Europe could no longer live there So, we see the northern tribes beginning to move south into tht Roman Empire across those undefended borders and people who were living up in Northern Europe were forced to move south Invasions or Migrations? Huns, Visigoths, Ostrogoths, Vandals, Vikings Fall of strong central government: decline in standards of living All these invasions weakended the gov’t, with this, decline in the standard of living also. No central government to provide services and bath houses, etc. decline of minted coins, trade, communication, roads, cities, housing, etc. No coins, so trade stopped. Not as much food coming in, diets become worse, decline in population because people lived not as long. People flee the cities. Rome went from over a million to less than a million. People go to live in the countryside. Decline in Roman Roads. No one wanted to go on the roads anyways, because lots of thieves and highway robbers little monumental art or architecture Everything has to be small, people don’t have resources to build big things small, portable, intrinsically valuable arts (interlace, cloisonné) Emphasis no longer on humanism, mythical beings from the Germanic peoples. Strange little composite creatures, emphasis on animals. “Non- western.” Hun and Asian technology. Interlace comes out of the wandering tribes. Psychological reflection of their nomadic lifestyle. Things they carried with them were small and valuable. Intrinsically valuable (had a person). If you got into trouble, you could trade these valuables for your life.
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Celtic pin, adorned with beautiful jewels and diamonds, probably held a kilt together. Princes of the time were called “treasure givers.” They would give worthy people pins like these. Vikings Traveled all over Europe. 9 th and 10 th centuries A.D. Went to England, Mediterranean, Moscow, everywhere. Would travel by boat on sea and river, when the rivers ran out they would travel by land and carry their boats. Serpents on staffs and boats. In Scotland, maybe legends of sea serpents came from the serpents on their boats. They called themselves Norsemen. Other people called them Vikings (“pirates). After all the
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This note was uploaded on 04/15/2008 for the course HUM 111 taught by Professor Sorrell during the Spring '06 term at Pepperdine.

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Hum 111 4-12 Early Middle Ages, The Middle Ages and the Search for Order

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