The Early Medieval World

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The fall of the Roman Empire was in 476AD. As a result Europe became a patchwork of authorities, a series of petty princedoms and kingdoms. Medieval Europe resembled modern day Africa as there was a terrible harvest and a starvation.

France

The King of France lacked large authority. The Dukes and Counts were local warlords, they owed allegiance to the King but had independant power. The King had very little control over the warlords because of the castles they had built.

90% of the population of Europe were peasants. The average life expectancy was 40 years old for men, but less for women due to the dangers of childbirth. Infant mortality was incredibly low due to disease. Most peasants never left their place of birth.

Church

The Church was a key part of medieval society. Most people had a genuine believe in heaven, hell and purgatory. (Purgatory was the level in between heaen and hell, people would pray in order to help them go to heaven and to avoid being stuck in Purgatory).

Only priests could read or write so they had to interpret the church teachings. It was all done in Latin which nobody else could understand. The church was central to every town and village. It was the meeting place, gave parishoners news. The church also held a large political role in society the priest handed messages of prayer from the King to the congregation.

The church was an international institution as the papacy is situated in Rome but it had spread all across the world. The most ambitious Popes were often the better ones. They were reform minded and wanted more power both politically and spiritually. These were the Popes that often clashed with Kings. There were, unfortunately many corrupt Popes.

Monasticism (monks and nuns) was seen as the highest form of devotion as they cut themselves off from the rest of the world. There was large amounts

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