- Explain the political world that existed in the Italian states before the 15th century (Milan, Venice, Florence, Papal States -Rome-)
➣Florence: was dominated by the Tuscany religion; it was small but wealthy and a group of wealthy merchants controlled the government; they also had a series of successful wars. In 1434 Coisimo de’Medici took control (Medici family) of the city. Using his wealth and influence, he dominated the city of Florence becoming the cultural center of Italy.
Around the late 1400s, Florence had an economic decline.
➣Milan: located in northern Italy; it was ruled by the Visconti family and later by the Soforza dukes. The rulers created a very efficient tax system, but the economy also rose because of trade.
➣Papal states: states ruled by popes of the Catholic church; they gained control over central Italy.
➣Venice: a very important city-state because it worked as a bridge between Asia and Western Europe; the city was a rich trade empire ruled by a small group of aristocrat merchants. Their elected leader was called doge. Venice became very powerful internationally.
- How was the land divided in the medieval times in Europe?
The land was divided through the feudal system, which consisted in the King dividing the land into big feuds and assigning them to Lords, that would subdivide the land and assign it to vassals; these territories that were assigned to the vassals were called fiefs. In the big territories you would find crop fields (mainly barley, wheat, rye, oats, peas and beans), and also manors, were you would find the lord’s house and some of the other people’s houses -only the ones who could afford to buy those pieces of territories to the lord-.
- Why do you think the feudal system collapsed?
Because of two main reasons. First, the Black Death caused many of the peasants to die (because those were the ones who couldn’t afford good medicine even though it wasn’t very accurate). Since the majority of the peasants died or got sick, there was no one to take care of the agriculture and the livestock, so when there was no food, the manors were disorganized and eventually larger centralized governments overwhelmed the smaller feudal states.
- What were the Crusades?
A series of Holy Wars launched by the Roman Catholic states against the “Saracens”. They were performed around the city of Jerusalem. They started in 1095 and ended in 1291.
- Why did cities such as Venice flourished after the Crusades?
Because them, being port cities, had more connection with other cities and benefited from the transport and trading opportunities brought by the Crusades and the Christian kingdoms that flourished for two hundred years in the Holy Land. The crusades also gave a considerable boost to the knowledge, availability, and desire for eastern goods like silk and spices.
- Mention 10 facts from Medieval Times and briefly describe them.
a. The church was a very influential institution. People obeyed everything the priests said.
b. The whole period was full of wars. For example, the 100 Years War or the Crusades
c. The government was a monarchy, but the feudal lords and the church had a lot of influence over people.
d. The economy was very bad at the time; most people were peasants or serfs.
e. Sciences like astronomy and medicine were very delayed in comparison to the rest of the world, due to the religious beliefs mainly.
f. Marriage became a very serious institution, even though divorce was accepted.
g. Latin was the official language, but it was influenced by the local language in each state.
h. Jousting, football and golf were common sports; the last one was for richer people.
i. Castles were made of stone or wood; these were for the rich.
j. The architectonic style that prevailed was Gothic.
- What was the base of the economy of the medieval society?
The foundation of the Medieval economy was agriculture. Barley, wheat, rye, oats, peas and beans were the main crops. 70% of the population were either serfs or peasants and worked in the crop fields. Serfs were attached to a piece of land in which they always had to work. Manors were self-sufficient. Everything people needed was produced in the manors. Even though farming was very important, trade was also a basic element and the merchants became wealthy people.
- Describe the role of the church in the Medieval Times.
The church was very important during the Medieval Times. People thought their soul was the most important, so they let the church guide them through all their lives, with rituals like baptism, confession, confirmation, etc. The church launched many wars, like the Crusades; a war contradicts all of the principles of church, but that was the way things worked back then. Thanks to this wars, Catholics are able to enter to the Holy Land nowadays. Many people say that church was also very abusive because of the taxes and the lack of allowance for people to choose their own religion. The church was also very influential.
- What is Gothic style?
Gothic style is a type of architecture which was developed during the high and middle ages of the Medieval times. It was mainly developed in France. A clear example of this architecture is the Notre Dame Cathedral. This architecture is characterized by the pointed arch, massive piers, stained glass windows and flying buttresses.