In what ways did the influence and power of the Roman Catholic Church develop from AD 500 to 800?

The Roman Catholic Church slowly developed during this time.  In 344 the Council of Sardica established the court of appeals and allowed the Bishop of Rome to claim some primacy.  Then the Council of Constantinople in 381agreed that the Bishop of Rome did have authority.

The great iconoclastic controversy occurred in 731-32 and the Roman Catholic Church split over the use of icons.  The Roman Catholic Church kept icons while the Eastern Orthodox Church did not (depending on the ruler).  Today both churches have icons. Continue reading


How did Pepin II of Herstal, Charles Martel, Pepin the Short, and Charles the Great contribute politically to the formation of the Carolingian Empire?

Pepin II of Herstal became mayor of the palace in Austrasia in 680.  He supported the Merovingian king but had the real power in his area.  Pepin wanted more control so he fought the other mayors and defeated them at the Battle of Tertry in 687.  He ruled a united mayoralty until his death in 714.

Pepin II’s only adult son after his death was Charles Martel.  Charles Martel strengthened the mayoralty by keeping the nobles in line.  He escheated land from the Roman Catholic Church and gave it out to the nobles to keep them happy.  The kingdom remained strong under his rule.  He successfully stopped the Muslim advance in 732 at the Battle of Tours and Poitier.  Upon his death in 741 the mayoralty was split between his sons Carloman and Pepin the Short. Continue reading

What made the reigns of Justinian and Leo III, the Isaurian, noteworthy?

Justinian became the Byzantine Emperor in 527, and he governed for almost forty years. He made significant improvements to the Byzantine Empire. He fought off invaders but decided to pay tribute instead to keep the peace with Persia.  He subdued the Nika Revolts and rebuilt Constantinople by building twenty-five new churches (including the Hagia Sophia), aqueducts, baths, and cisterns. Justinian had Tribonius update the old Roman law so Tribonius codified over 1,000 years of law codes.  The Corpus Juris Civilis was the result.  He sent General Belisarius to retake North Africa and Italy.  During Justinian’s reign new weapons were designed such as Greek fire.  By the end of his reign the empire once again went to the western end of the Mediterranean Sea.  Continue reading

Noah Webster’s Impact on Education

noah_webster_pre-1843_img_4412Author, editor, linguist, columnist, reformer of spelling, philologist, but first and foremost patriot—all these jobs correlate themselves into one man: Noah Webster.  His is a common household name for which everyone remembers the dictionary.  However, the great life and accomplishments of this famed patriot are little known to the modern American public. Continue reading

1066: The Year of the Conquest

519QEYQaBXLIn 1066: The Year of the Conquest, David Howarth uses a village not far from the site of the Battle of Hastings to set the scene for the events of that year.  He weaves stories of the common folk with accounts of nobles.  He begins the book on January 6, 1066 with the burial of King Edward in Westminster Abbey and ends the book on Christmas Day with the coronation of King William.  Howarth interjects the necessary background information for each character when he appears for the first time in the year 1066.
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Why were the Visigoths and Ostrogoths important to the history of the late Roman Empire?

The Visigoths had originally settled in Dacia and had been peaceful for a long time. When the Huns moved west the Visigoths begged Emperor Valens to be let into the empire. Valens let them in on the agreement that the Visigoths would protect the Danube border in exchange for food. When Valens reneged on the deal, the Visigoths fought the Romans at the battle of Adrianople in AD 378. Valens was killed and the Roman army was defeated. It shocked the world that a barbarian group could beat the Roman army. The Visigoths, under Alaric, moved westward into the Italian peninsula. They sacked Rome in AD 410 for three days before moving south. Their movements were motivated by food and a desire for a permanent home. Under Wallia, the Visigoths moved further west and eventually settled in the Iberian Peninsula. The Visigoths are important because they showed the weakness of the western empire and upset the Roman way of life. Continue reading

The Contributions of Ambrose, Jerome and Augustine

Ambrose was one of the earliest of the church fathers. He became Bishop of Milan by popular acclaim. He was a great expository preacher and was known to oppose the emperor if asked to do something he thought was wrong. He was the first to put doctrine to music, providing a basis for Christian hymns. He also wrote a great deal of liturgy for the church. Continue reading

William the Conqueror: The Norman Impact upon England

747291In William the Conqueror: the Norman Impact upon England, David Douglas examines the reasons for the Norman Conquest, studies Anglo-Norman history, and outlines the known facts of William’s life.  Douglas supports his arguments with a plethora of sources located in the footnotes and appendices.  He documents the tumultuous era of William’s minority in Normandy and how those events prepared William for his role as duke and eventually king.  Throughout the book Douglas also demonstrates how the conquest was perhaps the most revolutionary event in England prior to the Reformation.  The conquest changed the monarchy, created a new style of feudalism, and developed new political and intellectual ideas.
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The History of the English People 1000–1154

1227928In The History of the English People 1000–1154, Henry of Huntingdon tells the story of the decline of the English kingdom, the Norman invasion, and the establishment of Norman rule after the victory at the Battle of Hastings.  He chronicles the reigns of each king from William the Conqueror to Stephen.  Henry includes every aspect of medieval life: murder, courtly intrigue, treachery, miracles, and saints.  His work contains the first written record of Cnut confronting the ocean’s waves and the death of Henry I from eating too many lampreys.  The author’s overarching interpretation of history is that man’s pride and glory are worthless, since man is nothing without God.
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