Early Middle Ages—Study Aids

Saints and Heroes Unit #4 — Early Middle Ages
covers the Age of Charlemagne, the conversion of pagans in Europe and the rise of Christian kingdoms formed by Franks, Anglo-Saxons, Danes, Slavs, and Magyars.
[600 to 1000 A.D.]

Information Pages

These pages summarize much of the material needed to study for the Early Middle Ages review questions. Most are derived from Leading Events in Church History, saint dictionaries, and other public domain sources.

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Overview — Rise of Christian Kingdoms
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Frankish Empire (500-850 A.D.)
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Rise of France and Germany (850-1100 A.D.)
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Other Kingdoms of Europe
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Vikings, Normans, Magyars
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Regional Saints and Missionaries
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Printable Homework Questions

Worksheet
Recommended Reading

The following histories from Seton and TAN books are popular with Catholic students but other Church histories cover most essentials topics. Reading assignments that correspond to the Early Middle Ages are given below.

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Church History by Fr. John Laux (TAN books)
This church history is written for a college prep high school audience and assumes a basic knowledge of European history. Starting at the dawn of the Roman Empire and proceeding in to the 20th century, Fr. Laux presents the story of the Church is a masterful and readable manner appealing to older students as well as adults. The period of interest for the Christian Kingoms unit, covers 600-1100 A.D., and corresponds to 'Section II, Period I. from the Pontificate of Gregory the Great, beginning in 590 A.D. to the Great Schism of 1054.

Reading Assignment: Section II, Period I, pp 190-297
(1) Pontificate of Gregory the Great, pp 190-199, (2) Irish Missionaries in Britain and Continent, pp 200-216, (3) Anglo-Saxon missionaries in Germany, pp 217-230, (4) Mohammedanism and the Church, pp 231-238, (5) Papacy, Franks and Charlemagne, pp 239-260, (7) Decline of Carolingian Empire, pp 261-274, (8) New Nations Won for the Church, pp 275-289.

Witness to the Faith by Seton Press
This introductory church history is written at an eighth grade level so it is accessible and covers most of the main topics of Christian history. The complete book covers the founding of the Church through the developments of the late twentieth century. Chapters relating to the period 600-1100 A.D., including the rise and fall of Charlemagne's Empire, and the rise of Christian kingdoms in Britain, the Iberian Peninsula, and Eastern Europe are as follows:

Reading Assignment: Chapters 7-8,10, pp 105-132,143-157
(7) Church Converts Europe, (8) Infidels Without and Heretics Within, (10) Gospel North and East.


The saint biographies and Catholic histories listed below are in the public domain.

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Church History—Vol II : Early Middle Ages   by Sisters of Notre Dame
Second of a five volume history of the Church, this book covers the events following the collapse of the Roman Empire. Topics include the foundation of the monasteries, the reign of Gregory the Great, the rise of Mohammedism, Charlemagne, the Conversion of the Teutons in the West, Vikings in the North and the Slavs and Magyars in the East, the Order of Cluny, and the East-West Schism.


St. Gregory the Great   by Sisters of Notre Dame
Gregory the Great lived in the sixth century during a time of great turmoil. The western imperial government at Rome had broken down. Germanic leaders controlled most of the old Roman provinces, commerce was hindered by lawless bandits, and civilization was breaking down. At this critical time Gregory undertook many important reforms of the Church, sent evangelists all over pagan lands, and helped to usher in the "Age of Faith" in Europe.


Online Videos of Interest

A very good video on the Viking age, is listed below, although I cannot find much information about where it originated.

Another source of Historical Videos for the Early Middle Ages period is Ryan Reeve's Historical Theology for Everyone Youtube channel. The two videos of greatest interest for the period 500-1000 A.D. are as follows: