HIST 203 Lecture Outline (Fall 2016 – Week 9)

Week 9: Tuesday



The Story of English: episode 2, The Mother Tongue (Robert MacNeil, Part 1, 9:18 min.):
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7UG6vHXArlk&list=PLCF16776907155D79 (with remaining segments of this episode)

The Story of Beowulf, by Michael Wood (59:13 min.):

The Lord’s Prayer in Old English (West Saxon dialect, 0:49 min.):

The Lord’s Prayer in Old English (Mercian dialect, 0:28 min.):

The Lord’s Prayer in Old English (Northumbrian dialect, 0:26 min.):

Anglo-Saxon poem “Deor” accompanied by lyre (6:56 min.):

ENGLAND: A period of unification

by late 8th C. 4 major kingdoms: Northumbria, Mercia, East Anglia, Wessex
9th-11th C. Wessex dominant
793 Viking attacks begin; Lindisfarne sacked
865-870 Viking army invades and conquers Northumbria, East Anglia, and Mercia
871-899 Alfred the Great of Wessex. Achievements include:

899-978 Alfred’s successors reconquer and rule all of England
978-1016 Æthelred II Unraed” (“the Unready” or “the Redeless” = “the Ill-Advised”) renewed Viking attacks (including Battle of Maldon, 991)
1002 St. Brice’s Day massacre
1013-14 Æthelred expelled by Swegn of Denmark; flees to Normandy
1017-1035 Swegn’s son Cnut (or Canute), king of Denmark, Norway, and England; marries Emma of Normandy, widow of Æthelred II

FRANCE: A period of fragmentation

9th C. Viking raids
c. 890-955 Magyar raids
911 Rollo given Normandy
10th C. Disintegration of monarchy; rise of vassalage or “feudalism;” castle-building
987 Last Carolingian king (Louis V “the Sluggard”) dies; Hugh Capet, count of Paris, is elected king
late 10th C. “Peace of God” proclaimed



GERMANY: Fragmentation and unification

Early 900s Germany (East Francia) dominated by 5 duchies: Saxony, Swabia, Bavaria, Franconia, and Lorraine. Last Carolingian king, Louis the Child, dies in 911, and Conrad I, Duke of Franconia is elected. At his death in 919 the crown passes to his brother, Henry the Fowler, Duke of Saxony (919-936), whose descendants rule Germany (and, from 962, N. Italy) until 1002.
936-973 Otto I (“the Great”) of Saxony (son of Henry the Fowler) has 3 main goals:

  • defend Italy against the Magyars (he annihilates their army at Lechfeld in 955)
  • crush rival dukes and recover royal lands and powers seized by them
  • extend German royal control into crumbled Lotharingia (Lorraine, or the “Middle Kingdom”)

(click here for a map of the empire at Otto’s death)

He also:

  • Leads army into Italy and marries widow of Italian king, taking title of “King of Italy” (951)
  • Asserts own right to invest new bishops and abbots with ring and staff (“lay investiture”)
  • Assists pope vs. Lombards and is crowned emperor by pope in Rome (962)
  • Opens important new silver mine (970s)
  • Marries his son Otto II to Theophano, a Byzantine princess, thereby securing S. Italy for his heirs
  • Initiates an “Ottonian Renaissance” of learning and culture, based in monasteries such as Gandersheim, where the canoness Hrotswitha or
  • Hrotsvit (c. 935-1003) writes the first plays since Classical times
973-1002 Otto II (973-983) and Otto III (983-1002): both die young

ITALY: Rise of city-states

late 800s Collapse of Carolingian control over N. Italy
early 900s

Counts and dukes control countryside, but bishops control cities

(click here for a 9th-cent. fresco from the Oratory of San Benedetto, Malles Venosta, perhaps showing a benefactor of the church)

951 Beginning of German rule, under Otto I (see map), but Ottonians never establish administrative structure in Italy, relying instead on unstable loyalties of nobles and bishops and popes
late 900s Rise of Italian mercantile cities:

  • Genoa, Pisa, and Venice (northern sea-traders)
  • Amalfi, Naples, and Salerno (southern sea-traders)
  • Milan, Florence, and Bologna (northern inland cities)

Map of Italy, c. 1000