The European institutions

   1. The European institutions

   Throughout the Middle Ages, a series of government institutions that were very similar all throughout Europe developed, except in Spain, where they were engaged in The Reconquista against the Muslims. The main institutions were:

   - THE MONARCHY. The King was primarily the leader, that is, a warrior with prestige among his peers, which elevated and cheered him above his shield. The king could declare war and make peace. But in other cases decisions were made by the Assemblies or from the meetings of princes and warriors. At the end of the Middle Ages, the authority of kings became consolidated.

   - FEUDALISM. There were three social groups, besides the king, in the society:
    + The warrior nobility (counts, dukes, marquises and gentlemen) who possessed castles to protect their fiefdoms;
    + The Farmers living in villages under the protection of the nobility; and
    + + The ecclesiastical body (bishops, abbots and monks).
   At the beginning of the Middle Ages, the king was merely another man and sometimes not the most powerful. The noble warriors possessed their own armies, exercised justice and collected taxes.

   - The REACTION OF THE MONARCHY. The kings sought the support of the cities to strengthen their authority before the nobles. Moreover, the Crusades ruined many of the nobility and social forces favored the kings.


   2. Indicate if these statements refer to the monarchy, feudalism or the monarchy’s reaction:
 

There were three social groups: monarchy, the monarchy’s reaction and

The king was the leader

They sought the support of the cities

There were earls, dukes and marquises

The Crusades ruined the nobility

The king listened to the Assemblies


    3. The Cities

   The invasions of the barbarians ruined most of the cities built by the Romans. But from the XXI century, cities tended to develop splendidly with the support of the kings. A new social class, the bourgeoisie, developed and it is enriched by commerce and industry. We can distinguish the structure of the city and the social life as follows:

   - STRUCTURE OF THE CITY. Ancient walls surrounded the city and the streets were narrow with multistory houses in order to better use space. The building of the cathedral was highly visible, which sometimes served as a defense shelter.

   - LIFE IN THE CITIES. Every street was occupied by a guild of craftsmen such as carpenters, masons, blacksmiths, etc. People gathered around the fountain and the market.
   During the holidays, in addition to going to Mass, people held processions, foot and horseback races as well as ball games. The great enemies of the cities were fire and epidemics.


     4. Indicate whether these statements relate to the structure or the life of the cities:

The streets were narrow

In every street there was a guild

There were carpenters, masons and blacksmiths

The houses were high

They met by the fountain of the market

The cathedral was highly visible

They held processions and games

The cathedral served as a refuge

They feared the fire and epidemics


    5. The Social classes

   - NOBILITY. We can distinguish:
   + The high nobility was formed by men who possessed large territories, administered justice and could even impose the death penalty.
   + The lower nobility could be transmitted by blood or inherited by the nobility and the privileged nobility could be granted by the kings to pay a special service.

   - THE URBAN CLASSES. Some were rich, such as large landowners, industrialists and power brokers. Others were poor, such as artisans and small merchants. In general, they lived quite well and there was no class hatred between them.

   - THE RURAL CLASSES. They lived in villages or towns. They were engaged in agriculture and livestock and had to pay many taxes. They lived in houses with few amenities and suffered periods of starvation.

   - THE SERVANTS. They were men without freedom and their condition was miserable. They were engaged in working the land and in domestic services. Sometimes they would revolt and kill their masters.


     6. Indicate whether the statements refer to the nobility, the urban classes, the rural classes or the servants:

They were large industrialists

They were men without freedom

They could impose the death penalty

They lived in towns and villages

They carried out domestic services

They suffered periods of starvation

They were artisans and small merchants

They could pay some special services






     7. The Monasteries

   From the III century AC, there were Christians who retreated into the wilderness to devote themselves only to prayer. Some were hermits living in the desert and other monks or lonely. We can distinguish several stages:

   - THE FIRST MONASTERIES. Several hermits joined and formed monasteries, the first of which was founded in Egypt in 350 AC. St. Anthony the Abbot divided his property among the poor and entered a monastery.

   - THE BENEDICTINE ORDER. It was founded by St. Benedict, an Italian nobleman. His rule imposed upon monk’s prayer and work. Each monastery had a farmland, mills and workshops.

   - THE NEW MONASTIC ORDERS. St. Odo, the Abbot of Cluny, conducted the reform of the Benedictine Order and the Cluniacs were formed. Later, St. Bernard of Clairvaux, from the monastery of Citeaux, conducted another reform and the Cistercians were formed.

   - THE BEGGARS ORDERS. In addition to engaging in prayer, they led a life of preaching among the people for their own salvation and contributed to the general salvation of the faithful. St. Francis of Assisi founded the Franciscans (see the chart above. Giotto. Assisi. Italy) while St. Dominic of Osma founded the Dominicans.


     8. Indicate whether the statement refers to the first monasteries, the Benedictine order, the new orders or the beggars orders:

The Abbot was Odo of Cluny

The founder was St. Benedict

The first monastery was in Egypt

St. Francis of Assisi

St. Anthony the Abbot

St. Dominic

They prayed and worked

St. Bernard of Clairvaux

There were mills and workshops



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®Arturo Ramo García.-Record of intellectual property of Teruel (Spain) No 141, of 29-IX-1999
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