Medieval History Essay Topics

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  1. Describe the importance of Monasticism in e
    • arose in the late 3rd/4th c due to less persecution desert fathers such as St. Antony and anchorrites (original monks)
    • attracted ppl seeking spiritual knowledge and structure
  2. Describe the importance of Monasticism in w
    • Benedict of Nursia founded western monasticism (Benedictine monasticism) in early 500s.
    • Org of monastic community, day, edu he wanted monks to be engaged with a community and knowledge rather than living as isolated hermits anyone could join.
  3. implications of monasticism
    • preserved classical culture after fall of rome.
    • provided edu/supported scholasticism.
    • Huge center of learning copied & wrote texts
  4. devel of Papacy
    Leo the Great Called himself Pontifex maximus (chief priest) alludes to aura/pwr of emperors. he got huns& vandels to leave Rome alone. he wrote “letters” that mimicked decrees of the emperor

    Bishop Galasius – late 400s said there were 2 pwrs, rulers and bishops but relg authority >. b/c they answer to divine judgment

    pope Gregory solidify role of papacy in Rome managed civil authority recruited monks as ambassadors and combined papacy& monasticism

    conclusion – the combination of monastic organization and knowledge with church&state power gave leaders widespread influence would lead to church/state pol tension
  5. Why must one begin a history of Med Euro w/ rom world beginning ca. 285?
    • 284 – Diocletian came into reign and would divide empire into tetrarchy (future civil war)Byzaniten would go on to prosper until 1400s, w euro would fall into chaos
    • political chaos in mid-late 200s wakened empire, allowed for invasions/new leaders
    • beginning of secular vs. sacred w/ Constantine in 306 (no longer persecution)
  6. how did rome empire shape med euro?
    • rom lang, law, and local gov institutions still continued even after Germanic influence, esp in byzaniten empire (Justinian's code in w euro)
    • origins of feudalism - aristocrats, salves, ½ free pesants org around large estates
    • dominance of latin as lang of law and greek as lang of commerce/ppl, no lang barrier for spread of trade/knowledge
    • apologists combined elements of classical culture w/ relg relg ppl
    • rome had fostered spirit of universal Human Institutions of early Christianity preserved and provided org of culture/practices and laid the groundwork for intellectual Christians of the late middle ages.
  7. Feudalsim
  8. During the Early Middle Ages the feudal system was also introduced to Western
    • Europe, contributing to agricultural stability and prosperity. The feudal system
    • developed after the fall of the Carolingian dynasty as a form of social, political, and
    • economic organization and stabilization. The major features of feudalism symbolized
    • the characteristics of the Early Middle Ages. Its basic structure resembled a small
    • kingdom, with the primary emphasis on the relationship between lords, vassals, and the
    • peasantry. The lord, roughly defined as a nobleman, owned a large piece of land
    • (comparable to an average present-day county). He would then grant parcels of land
    • (called fiefs) to knights or vassals. The vassal, or Lord of the Manor, would then divide
    • up his land further and allow peasants to live on it in exchange for their labor. This
    • relationship formed the basic principles of manorialism, the major social and economic
    • component of feudalism. Serfdom emerged during this same time as well, as the
    • condition of bondage of peasants under manorialism specifically and feudalism more
    • broadly.
  9. What did the early Christian Writer Tertullian mean when he asked, “what has Athens to do with Jerusalem?” What was the answer to the question? Who were some of the important individuals involved in providing the answer(s)? Why was the answer that Late Antiquity worked out so important to Medieval Culture?
    Athens = Greek thought and philosophy Jerusalem = Christianity and its Biblical heritage

    • Who were some of the important individuals involved in providing the answer(s)?
    • Cappadocian fathers, Latin doctors in the west (Ambrose, Jerome, Augustine of Hippo, Gregory the 1st) Augustine of Hippo maintained that the 2 cities Jerusalem and Babylon are bound together and are inseparable in his book the City Of God.

    • Why was the answer that Late Antiquity worked out so important to Medieval Culture?
    • apologists who incorporated classical culture preserved early Christianity.conversely, we know so much about classical culture b/c of the reconciliation b/w Christian & classical culture.
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Medieval History Essay Topics
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