After the technical "fall" of the western half of the Roman Empire in 476 AD, Europe continued to transform into new political, economic and social orders. There was not chaos in 476 AD when the Roman emperor, Romulus Augustulus was removed from the throne. Rome had been in a state of decline for almost two centuries. With the relocation of the capital to Constantinople (Byzantium) in 330 AD, the west continued to decline. Invasions by Germanic tribes from northern Europe would change the face of European history. By 600 AD, there was a new order in Europe.
Early Medieval Period and Institutions - The Church and Monasteries
This clip addresses the light that still flickered in the early centuries of the Middle Ages. The Roman Catholic Church through its wealth, influence and common language held on and controlled the world of education and knowledge. Men of Cloth, Men of Letters
Charlemagne - King of the Franks & Holy Roman Emperor 800 A.D.
The rise of the Franks was due not only to their military strength, but their keen partnership with the Roman Catholic Church. Both of these powerhouses used each other to gain power and control in the post-Roman Europe. Charlemagne built the greatest empire since the fall of Rome in 476 A.D. He encouraged education, organized his empire by controlling his nobles, used the missi dominici (messengers of our Lord) to be his eyes and ears and kept the Muslims at bay. The Greatest King
Invasions Lead to Feudalism
Beginning around 750 A.D. , various groups invaded into an already weakened Western Europe. The Muslims pushed from the south, with Spain as their base. The Magyars came from the east and the Vikings from the north, present-day Scandinavia. The Viking swift and fierce attacks brought chaos to Europe. The need for protection drove people in the countryside to pledge themselves to those who could protect them. Eventually, this became known as feudalism, the new political order of the day, in which individuals were bound to each other through obligations and duties. The Vikings