Medieval Literature Notes
The changing face of England
• William unites England. Norman and Anglo Saxon Cultures Blen
• Normans introduce European feudalism – social hierarchy (peasants… ect)
• The Domes day book compiled – under direction of William the conquerer
o Record of all the property and men in England.
o he could tax with this kind of information
o he also used this information for the military
• The age of castles, knights, and chivalry (code of conduct)
o respect women
o show allegiance to king
o reverence to God
• Christianity strengthens and dominates
o Great church building
o corruptions in the higher officials
indulgences – buy your way into heaven
priests who father children
• England undergoes regular political change with 16 rulers from three lineages
• An economic, political, and social system for dividing land and power.
• overlords, vassals, and serfs and of course the king at the top
• repressive and cruel in practice.
• Instituted by William the Conqueror
• needed to know the tax base
• made a fairly accurate accounting of land and property holdings
• Also kept a census, albeit not very accurate being it only tracked male heads of the household.
Castles, Kings, Knights, and Chivalry
• Knights worked in service to their overlords and the church
• Expensive castles and the crusades placed great burdens on the people
• Chivalry was an ideal rarely met in reality
• literature written about romantic ideals of Nobility in Medieval Romances
• Adventurous tales celebrating a knight’s courage, loyalty and obedience to the king
• in these romantic tales the knight honors womanhood and is gentlemanly
• the most famous are the tales of King Arthur
• throughout history, artists return to these stories, Even today, period romance is burgeoning
Religion and the Church
• The medieval period is often known as the “Age of...