HIST 204 Lecture Outline (Spring 2023 – Week 3)

HIST 204

Week 3: Tuesday

NEW PATHS TO GOD, 1000-1300


Medieval music in honor of the Virgin Mary:

Mariam matrem (Montserrat codex, 14th cent., 2:00 min.): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BtbApf3CiJ8&feature=related
O virgo splendens (Montserrat codex, 14th cent., 3:00 min.): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mnUrC8jLWqo
Gaudete, Christus est natus ex Maria virgine (Christmas song, sung by Steeleye Span, 2004, 2:11 min.): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EDc2FD-vy8M&feature=results_video&playnext=1&list=PLA2C5CD1E425819C2


For a medieval toothpaste recipe: go to my online collection of Middle English medical recipes (https://sites.uwm.edu/carlin/some-medieval-english-medical-recipes-from-british-library-harley-ms-2378/) and scroll down to the 3rd recipe from the end (folio 38v).


Rule of St. Benedict of Nursia (c. 480-550):

Triple vows: obedience (to abbot or abbess), stability (to house), and conversion of manners (to monastic life)

Daily duties of monks and nuns include:

  • Opus dei (“work of God”): 7 daily liturgical services in the abbey’s church
  • Chapter meeting (daily business meeting, and reading of one chapter of the Rule)
  • Silence most of the day (including at meals)
  • Daily work (originally manual; subsequently mostly intellectual, such as copying manuscripts)

Organization of the Roman Catholic Church:

  • Pope (Bishop of Rome)
    • Archbishop
      • Bishop
        • Parish Priests
      • Bishop
        • Parish Priests
    • Archbishop
      • Bishop
        • Parish Priests
      • Bishop
        • Parish Priests


Cardinals = senior churchmen (often bishops) appointed by the pope beginning in the 1050s to be the sole electors of new popes (thus cutting out the Holy Roman Emperor from claiming the right to choose popes)

Jewish communities were scattered throughout the Christian and Muslim worlds, and there was some circulation of ideas among scholars of all three religions (e.g., on philosophical and scientific subjects)

Major new religious movements:

  • Cult of the Virgin Mary (click to see the “Golden Madonna of Essen,” c. 980) 
  • Focus on the redemptive suffering of Jesus’s Crucifixion

Major causes of anticlericalism:

  • Simony (buying and selling of church offices)
  • clerical concubinage
  • clerical corruption and wealth
  • poor preaching by poorly-educated clergy

Major new heresies, partly inspired by anti-clericalism, included:

  • Catharism (also called Albigensianism, after the city of Albi in S. France): saw spiritual universe as good and material universe as evil
  • Waldensianism (so called after its founder, Peter Waldo or Valdez of Lyons): laypeople sought to preach apostolic poverty in the towns

Major new religious orders:




Life in an Enclosed Convent (4:51 min.):


Medieval Jewish music for the Sabbath:

Rabbi Abraham ben Meir ibn Ezra (1092-1167), “Ki eshmera Shabbat” (Hebrew, 3:31 min.)

Música Arábigo-Andaluza
, 13th cent. (3:49 min.)


Mendicant orders: Dominicans and Franciscans


Saint: Holy person, believed to have intercessory powers with God, and to be able to perform miracles
Relic: Physical remains of a saint (e.g., tooth), or object associated with saint (e.g., clothing), often stored and displayed in a special case called a reliquary (arm reliquary of St Maurice: NY, Metropolitan Museum)
Pilgrimage: Journey to holy place, person, shrine, relic 
7 Sacraments: Baptism, Confirmation, Matrimony, Holy Orders (Ordination), Extreme Unction, Penance, Eucharist. Administered by priests (Confirmation and Holy Orders administered by bishops/archbishops).
Excommunication: Expulsion from communion with the Church and with fellow-Christians; those who die excommunicate are irrevocably condemned to Hell
Regular clergy: Monksnunsfriars, and others living under a monastic rule (Latin regula)
Secular clergy: Clerics (such as many parish priests and bishops) who are not members of a monastic community or other religious order
Lay investiture: Control by secular (“lay”) lords of elections of prelates (holders of high electoral church office), such as popes, bishops, or abbesses, symbolized by investing them with the symbols of office (the ring and pastoral staff)
Apostolic poverty: Belief that Jesus and his disciples had lived their lives in voluntary poverty, owning nothing, and that the Church and clergy should do likewise
Heresy: Erroneous or forbidden variant of established religious belief. One who believes in a heresy is a heretic.

Online readings:

Archbishop Eudes of Rouen: Visitation (inspection tour) of monastic houses and parish clergy, 1248-9