Advanced Placement World History  Learning Targets


Chapter 10 European Christendom, 500-1300

Chapter Learning Targets

Big Picture Questions

1. How did the histories of the Byzantine Empire and Western Europe differ during the era of third-wave civilizations?

2. What accounts for the different historical trajectories of these two expressions of Christendom?

3. How did Byzantium and Western Europe interact with each other and with the larger world of the post-classical era?

4. Was the civilization of the Latin West distinctive and unique, or was it broadly comparable to other third-wave civilizations?

5. How does the history of the Christian world in the post-classical era compare with that of Tang and Song dynasty China?

Margin Review Questions

1. In what respects did Byzantium continue the patterns of the classical Roman Empire? In what ways did it diverge from those patterns?

2. How did Eastern Orthodox Christianity differ from Roman Catholicism?

3. In what ways was the Byzantine Empire linked to a wider world?

4. How did links to Byzantium transform the new civilization of Kievan Rus?

5. How did the historical development of the European West differ from that of Byzantium in the post-classical era?

6. What replaced the Roman order in Western Europe?

7. In what ways was European civilization changing after 1000?

8. What was the impact of the Crusades in world history?

9. In what ways did borrowing from abroad shape European civilization after 1000?

10. Why was Europe unable to achieve the kind of political unity that China experienced? What impact did this have on the subsequent history of Europe?

11. In what different ways did classical Greek philosophy and science have an impact in the West, in Byzantium, and in the Islamic world?

Key Terms

Aristotle and classical Greek learning: Some works of the Greek philosopher Aristotle (384–322 b.c.e.) had always been known in Western Europe, but beginning in the eleventh century, medieval thought was increasingly shaped by a great recovery of Aristotle’s works and a fascination with other Greek authors; this infusion of Greek rationalism into Europe’s universities shaped intellectual development for several centuries.

 Byzantine Empire: Term used by modern historians to refer to the surviving eastern Roman Empire during the medieval centuries; named after the ancient Greek city Byzantium, on the site of which the Roman emperor Constantine founded a new capital, Constantinople, in 330 c.e. (pron. BIZ-an-teen)

caesaropapism: A political-religious system in which the secular ruler is also head of the religious establishment, as in the Byzantine Empire. (pron. SEEZ-ar-oh-PAPE-ism).

Charlemagne: Ruler of the Carolingian Empire (r. 768–814) who staged an imperial revival in Western Europe. (pron. SHAHR-leh-mane)

Christianity, Eastern Orthodox: Branch of Christianity that developed in the eastern part of the Roman Empire and gradually separated, mostly on matters of practice, from the branch of Christianity dominant in Western Europe; noted for the subordination of the Church to political authorities, a married clergy, the use of leavened bread in the Eucharist, and insistence on church councils as the ultimate authority in Christian belief and practice.

Christianity, Roman Catholic: Western European branch of Christianity that gradually defined itself as separate from Eastern Orthodoxy, with a major break in 1054 c.e.. that has still not been healed; “Roman Catholic” was not commonly used until after the Protestant Reformation, but the term is just since, by the eleventh century, Western Christendom defined itself in centralized terms, with the bishop of Rome (the pope) as the ultimate authority in matters of doctrine.

Constantinople: New capital for the eastern half of the Roman Empire, established by Emperor Constantine in 330 c.e. on the site of the ancient Greek city of Byzantium; Constantinople’s highly defensible and economically important site helped assure the city’s cultural and strategic importance for many centuries. (pron. con-stan-tih-NO-pul)

Crusades: Modern term meaning “ventures of the cross,” used to describe the “holy wars” waged by Western Christendom from 1095 until the end of the Middle Ages and beyond; Crusades could only be declared by the pope and were marked by participants swearing a vow and receiving an indulgence in return.

Cyril and Methodius: Ninth-century Byzantine missionaries to the Slavs whose development of Cyrillic script made it possible to write Slavic languages. (pron. SIR-uhl, meth-ODE-ee-us)

Cyrillic: Alphabet based on Greek letters that was developed by two Byzantine missionaries, Cyril and Methodius, to write Slavic languages. (pron. sih-RIL-ik)

European cities: Western Europe saw a major process of urbanization beginning in the eleventh century, with towns that created major trade networks and that were notable for the high degree of independence they often enjoyed.

Greek fire: Form of liquid fire that could be sprayed at the enemy; invented by the Byzantines and very important in their efforts to halt the Arab advance into Byzantine territory.

guild: An association formed by people pursuing the same line of work that regulated their professions; it also provided a social and religious network for members.

Holy Roman Empire: Term invented in the twelfth century to describe the Germany-based empire founded by Otto I in 962 c.e.

 “hybrid civilization,” the West as a: The distinctive path of Western Europe in the centuries following the fall of the western Roman Empire, leading to a society that included elements of ancient Rome, the practices of Germanic invaders who formed new states, Christianity, and elements of pre-Roman culture that still survived.

iconoclasm: The destruction of holy images; a term most often used to describe the Byzantine state policy of image destruction from 726 to 843. (pron. eye-KON-oh-klasm)

indulgence: A remission of the penalty (penance) for confessed sin that could be granted only by a pope, at first to Crusaders and later for a variety of reasons.

Justinian: Byzantine emperor (r. 527–565 c.e.), noted for his short-lived reconquest of much of the former western Roman Empire and for his codification of Roman law.

Kievan Rus: State that emerged around the city of Kiev in the ninth century c.e.; a culturally diverse region that included Vikings as well as Finnic and Baltic peoples. The conversion of Vladimir, the grand prince of Kiev, to Orthodox Christianity in 988 had long-term implications for Russia. (pron. key-YEV-an ROOS)

natural philosophy: The scientific study of nature, which developed, especially in Europe, in the later Middle Ages.

Otto I: King of Germany (r. 936–973) who built a consolidated German–northern Italian state and was crowned emperor in 962, creating what became known in time as the “Holy Roman Empire.”

system of competing states: The distinctive organization of Western European political life that developed after the fall of the western Roman Empire in the fifth century c.e. in which the existence of many small, independent states encouraged military and economic competition.

Vikings: Scandinavian raiders who had an impact on much of Western Europe in the late eighth to eleventh centuries; their more peaceful cousins also founded colonies, including Newfoundland, Greenland, and Iceland.

Vladimir, prince of Kiev: Grand prince of Kiev (r. 978–1015 c.e.) whose conversion to Orthodox Christianity led to the incorporation of Russia into the sphere of Eastern Orthodoxy. (pron. vlad-IH-mir)