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The Earth and Its Peoples: A Global History, Second Edition
Richard W. Bulliet, Pamela Kyle Crossley, Daniel R. Headrick, Steven W. Hirsch, Lyman L. Johnson, David Northrup
History WIRED

Chapter 10: Christian Europe Emerges, 300-1200


Barbarian Invasions, 350-600 C.E.

Barbarian Migrations in Late Antiquity

The Invasion of Italy by the Ostrogoths, 490 C.E.

The Invasion of Italy by the Lombards and the Rise of the Avars, 600 C.E.

Remnants of the Roman Empire, 500 C.E.

Europe, 526 C.E.

Europe, 600 C.E.

Europe after the Great Conquest of the Arabs and their defeat by the Franks at Poitiers

Europe during the reign of Charlemagne

Europe after the Dismemberment of the Frankish Empire, 880 C.E.

Europe, 910 C.E.

Suggested Viking Routes, 8th-11th Centuries

Russian Territory and Trade Routes, 878-912 C.E.

Europe, 1000 C.E.

Europe after the invasions of England by the Normans, the Breakup of Cordova, and the defeat of the Byzantines by the Seljuk Turks, 1075

Europe after the First Crusade, 1120

Europe, 1205


First Europe Tutorial: Art and Architecture
This site offers several images of the evolution of art and architecture in Western Europe from Roman times through the first millennium.

Images from World History: Carolingian Era
This site focuses on print and metal work artifacts from the eighth and ninth centuries.

Images from World History: Carolingian Italy
Most of these images are from eighth and ninth-century Italian churches.

Images from World History: Carolingian Frescos
This site explores examples of this art form in ninth-century Europe.

Images from World History: Carolingian Architecture

Wharram Percy
This interesting virtual tour provides many images of this medieval manor in England.  The tour provides an excellent exploration of this medieval economic and social institution.

Castle Acre
This site provides images of this medieval fortress analyzed in the Environment and Technology box on page 255 of The Earth and Its Peoples (Second Edition).

The Bayeux Tapestry
This unique site allows one to view the entire tapestry depicting William the Conqueror's exploits.

Viking Ship
A detailed drawing of this hearty ocean vessel.  The Vikings used these ships to plunder many areas of Europe and to create settlements throughout the North Atlantic.

Metropolitan Museum of Art: Byzantine Galleries
This site provides many images with detailed descriptions from the Byzantine Empire during its various stages.

Images from World History: Early Byzantine History
These images explore the Byzantine world from the sixth through the eighth century.

Art Images for College Teaching: Early Christian and Byzantine Art and Architecture
This extensive site offers numerous images of the Byzantine world from the fourth through the eleventh century.

Hagia Sophia: The Eternal Monument
Numerous images of both the interior and exterior of this seventh-century Byzantine architectural masterpiece.

The Byzantine Monuments: Hagia Sophia
The video clips at this site provide a virtual walking tour of this monument to Byzantine glory built in the fourth century.

Activity One:

The emergence of a different kind of civilization in Europe after the collapse of Roman authority is a major theme in world history.  The process was very long but also very dynamic.  For an overview of this development, begin by examining the map at Remnants of the Roman Empire, 500 C.E..  According to this map, where did Roman authority still remain?  Where had new Germanic kingdoms emerged?  Next, examine the map at Europe after the Great Conquest of the Arabs and their defeat by the Franks at Poitiers.  This map depicts the middle of the eighth century.  Note the appearance of the Islamic world.  Where according to this map did Roman (or Byzantine) authority remain?  Where were German, Slavic, or Avar kingdoms?  Finally, study the map at Europe, 1000 C.E.  How does this map depict the emergence of a Christian Europe?  In other words, how does it demonstrate a culmination of trends you can observe in all of these map?  What happened to Roman authority?  What replaced the old Roman Empire?  (Be sure to consider developments throughout the Mediterranean region.)  Where were the Christian areas?  Where were the Muslim areas?  As you can see, a new civilization had emerged from the upheavals of the third and fourth centuries.  It was not politically united.  Nor did it have as much in common with North Africa and the Middle East as it perhaps did during Roman hegemony.  However, Christianity had given the peoples of this part of the globe a common framework for understanding their world and their role in it.

Activity Two:

Besides Christianity, many Europeans shared similar economic and political arrangements by the year 1000, albeit in different forms.  Historians in the past have usually referred to this complicated system as "feudalism" in reference to an absence of a strong central government and thus the domination of a small land owning class over most internal affairs.  Your textbook adds, however, that this term is an "oversimplification" because arrangements between landowners and the landless varied over time and place.  Nevertheless, an understanding, in general terms, of "feudalism" and manoralism" is important.  For an overview, see The End of Europe's Middle Ages: Feudal Institutions.  Note that feudalism refers to political relationships among landholders (nobility) in Western Europe.  Manoralism refers to economic relations between landowners (nobility and the church)  and the landless (peasants or serfs).  To better understand manoralism, go to Medieval Sourcebook: Doomesday Book: Manors of the Abbey of St. Peter, Winchester, 1086.  This primary source describes the economic arrangements between an Abbey (a church institution) and the people who live on its lands.  For a virtual tour of a manor, see Wharram Percy.  For a description of life on the manor, see The Peasants Realm.  After reviewing these sites, describe feudalism and manoralism, the common political and economic arrangements in Europe by 1000 C.E.  Also explain why feudalism and manoralism did not provide the kind of political and economic arrangements that led to technological innovation, long-distance trade, and strong communication.  Why do you believe that these institutions were so dominant in Europe during this time period despite these disadvantages?  What advantages did they provide for Europeans?

Activity Three:

One source of the instability that led to feudalism and manoralism in Europe before 1000 C.E. was the Vikings.  During the ninth and tenth centuries, Viking groups from Scandinavia often raided the coastal areas and navigable rivers in Europe.  To assess the impact of these invasions, go to Medieval Sourcebook: Three Sources on the Ravages of the Northmen in Frankland, c. 843 - 912.  While reading these three documents, pay attention to who organized the resistance to the Vikings.  What influence did this give them over the people they protected? How did the Vikings contribute to the growth and spread of feudal and manorial arrangements in Europe?  The Vikings were not only pillagers and plunderers; they were also traders.  For example, go to Birka at the Silk Road and read this essay thoroughly.  Although many of this author's assertions are unproven, his emphasis on the trading aspect of the Vikings is sound, particularly the map provided.  What areas did the Vikings connect through long-distance trade?  For another positive assessment of the Vikings, see Where the Vikings Really that Bad?   Analyze the impact of the Vikings on the emergence of Christian Europe.  Use specific references.

Activity Four:

Study the map at The Glory of Byzantium, which depicts two evolving traditions after the collapse of the Roman Empire.  It refers to the western part of Europe as the Latin West; the eastern part is  Byzantium.  This map symbolizes the evolution of two versions of Christianity in Europe between 300 and 1200.  The Latin West and Byzantium thus represent two smaller traditions within a large tradition.  Despite the disappearance of the Byzantine Empire in the fifteenth century, it had a profound influence on the history of Christian Europe.  Go to A Brief Summary of Byzantine History, a site sponsored by the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City.  Be sure to read all the hyperlinks and observe the artwork embedded in this site.  While doing so, make a list of various aspects of Byzantine civilization that separated it from the rest of Europe.  Pay special attention to politics and religion.  You may want to review "The Byzantine Empire" on pages 263-266 in your textbook as well.  Also consider ways in which the Byzantine tradition influenced the history of Europe.   When finished, analyze the impact of the Byzantine tradition on the emergence of a Christian Europe.  Be exhaustive in your analysis.  Consider religious, political, military, cultural, and economic developments.