Saint Thomas Aquinas: Saint Thomas Aquinas was a Catholic Priest in the 13th Century, and he was regarded as one of the greatest philosophers of the Middle Ages. He is also regarded, by the Church, to be its greatest theologian. He brought new ideas to light as strength in Christian beliefs was weak, and he helped to reinvigorate the Church. He was the father of Thomism and natural theology. In his early career, he taught at the University of Paris, the same school that he had studied at. He went on to teach at other universities and hold other related professions in France and Italy.Order now
In this time, he gained a reputation as a noted philosopher, and he had attracted the attention of the Roman Catholic Church. In 1265, he was summoned to Rome to serve as papal theologian. After this, he became widely known around the Christian world. He died of illness in a monastery on his way to the Second Council of Lyon in 1274. Emperor Henry IV: Henry IV was the emperor of the Holy Roman Empire from 1056 – 1105. His father, Emperor Henry III died when he was 6 years old and left him the throne. In 1066, he became old enough to rule on his own. He is widely known for his goal to expand the Holy Roman Empire. For this, he caused multiple wars, including a civil war, and conflict with the Roman Catholic Church.
The Pope excommunicated him three times during his reign. In 1105, he was forced to abdicate the throne by his son. Henry died on August 7, 1106 in Liège, Lorraine. Pope Gregory VII: Gregory VII was the pope of the Roman Catholic Church from 1073 – 1085. He was born Hildebrand of Sovana. One of the great reforming popes, he is best known for the part he played in the Investiture Controversy, his dispute with Henry IV, Holy Roman Emperor that affirmed the primacy of papal authority and the new canon law governing the election of the pope by the College of Cardinals. He was also at the forefront of developments in the relationship between the emperor and the papacy during the years before he became pope.
He was the first pope in several centuries to rigorously enforce the Western Church’s ancient policy of celibacy for the clergy and also attacked the practice of simony. Pope Urban II: Urban II was the pope of the Roman Catholic Church from 1088 – 1099. He is best known for his role in beginning the crusades. Specifically, he ordered the First Crusade. He was born c. 1035 and was originally from Reims, France. In 1080, Pope Gregory VII named him Cardinal, and he became Pope in 1088. In 1095, the Church was requested by the Byzantine Empire to help take back parts of their former territory and free the eastern churches from the control of the Seljuk Turks.
With the support of most of the church behind him, Urban II ordered and initiated the First Crusade to retake the area known as the Holy Land. He died shortly after the crusaders had taken the city of Jerusalem, before the news of it reached Rome. Saladin: Saladin was the first sultan of Egypt and Syria and the founder of the Ayyubid dynasty. A Sunni Muslim of Kurdish ethnicity, he led the Muslim military campaign against the Crusader states in the Levant.
At the height of his power, his sultanate included Egypt, Syria, Upper Mesopotamia, the Hejaz, Yemen and other parts of North Africa. He led many military victories over the crusaders and began to be revered in the West as a great obstacle of the European and Christian forces. The armies of Saladin frequently engaged in combat with the army of King Richard. At last, Richard agreed to demolish the fortifications of Ascalon, while Saladin agreed to recognize Crusader control of the Palestinian coast from Tyre to Jaffa.
The Christians would be allowed to travel as unarmed pilgrims to Jerusalem, and Saladin’s kingdom would be at peace with the Crusader states for the following three years. Saladin died of a fever on 4 March 1193, at Damascus, not long after King Richard’s departure. King John I: John was the King of England from 1199 – 1216. He was born in Oxford in 1166 to King Henry II. During his reign, he focused heavily on conquering parts of France, specifically the region of Normandy. He was never successful, and he had more defeats than victories. He later faced rebellion from barons within England, and he was forced out of London by the rebels.
He attempted to negotiate peace with a charter for government called the Magna Carta, but it was refused by the rebels. He later faced more challenges from both the rebels and the French, whose prince, Louis VIII, claimed the throne of England. In 1216, King John I died of illness and was not able to see the war resolved. After his death, many abandoned their support of Louis for John’s son, Henry III. King John I became infamous not for being a revolutionary leader, but for being one who was controversial and had much ambition but little success.
Holy Land: The Holy Land is a region in southeastern Asia that is considered to be religiously significant to followers of the three major Abrahamic religions. This region is roughly synonymous with the areas of the modern States of Israel and Palestine. The Holy Land is significant to the Middle Ages because there were multiple military campaigns, called the Crusades, led by European forces and the Roman Catholic Church to reclaim it from the control of the Muslims. Crusades: The Crusades were a series of religious wars sanctioned by the Roman Catholic Church, but the term ‘Crusades’ is also applied to other church-sanctioned campaigns.
These were fought for a variety of reasons including the suppression of paganism and heresy, the resolution of conflict among rival Roman Catholic groups, or for political and territorial advantage. At the time of the early Crusades the word did not exist, only becoming the leading descriptive term around 1760. In 1095, Pope Urban II called for the First Crusade in a sermon at the Council of Clermont. He encouraged military support for the Byzantine Empire and its Emperor, Alexios I, who needed reinforcements for his conflict with westward migrating Turks colonizing Anatolia.
The two-century attempt to recover the Holy Land ended in failure. Following the First Crusade there were six major Crusades and numerous less significant ones. After the last Catholic outposts fell in 1291 there were no more Crusades but the gains were longer lasting in Northern and Western Europe. Magna Carta: The Magna Carta is a charter of rights agreed to by King John of England at Runnymede, near Windsor, on 15 June 1215.
First drafted by the Archbishop of Canterbury to make peace between the unpopular King and a group of rebel barons, it promised the protection of church rights, protection for the barons from illegal imprisonment, access to swift justice, and limitations on feudal payments to the Crown, to be implemented through a council of 25 barons. Neither side stood behind their commitments, and the charter was annulled by Pope Innocent III, leading to the First Barons’ War. After John’s death, the Magna Carta was reissued in the form of the Treaty of Lambeth by his son, King Henry III.
Later on, it continued to be reissued by succeeding monarchs. The Magna Carta is one of the most prominent documents of the Middle Ages and is seen by many as a revolutionary document that inspired the ideas of liberty and republican government near the end of the Renaissance. Black Death: The Black Death, also known as the Black Plague, was a massively devastating pandemic that killed somewhere from 75 million to 200 million people. Somewhere from 30% to 60% of Europe’s population was killed by the Plague. No country in Europe was spared from the Black Death.
Many Europeans blamed and targeted certain groups for the Plague, such as foreigners, beggars, lepers, and Jews, and many were persecuted for this. A lack of knowledge of medical issues only exacerbated the problem, with many attempting solutions that had the opposite of the intended effect. Heresy: Heresy is any belief or theory that is strongly at variance with established beliefs or customs, in particular the accepted beliefs of a church or religious organization. In the Middle Ages, heresy was often a high crime and was severely punished. People of other faiths were seen as heretics. In Christianity, belief in a different denomination than the one that was official in the state could be recognized as heresy. The criminalization of heresy was also used to advance prejudicial views against many other groups.
Lay Investiture: The controversy surrounding lay investiture was a conflict between the Popes of the Roman Catholic Church and the kings of Europe. The kings most involved were the monarchs of the Holy Roman Empire, France, and England. The controversy had began as a result of disagreement between Emperor Henry IV of the Holy Roman Empire and Pope Gregory VII. Henry IV first declared that Gregory VII was to be replaced in order to gain popularity. Gregory then retaliated by excommunicating Henry and supporting somebody else to take his place.
This ended in Gregory being forced from the papacy. However, this conflict caused much larger controversy between the Popes and the European monarchs about the power to appoint bishops and church officials within their domain. Reasons for the Crusades: The main reason most people believed for the Crusades was to retake the Holy Lands for the Christians from the Muslims after the Muslims had taken Jerusalem and other Holy Lands. The Crusaders also believed that fighting in a Holy War would result in the forgiveness of their sins, and most wanted this. Some Crusaders also realized that this would allow them to expand their businesses by going to new areas, which would make them more money and riches.
The Crusades also allowed the sons of nobles and other landowners to add to the lands that were owned by their families, which was another way to build their reputation and riches. Consequences of the Crusades: One of the main consequences of the Crusades was that they ultimately expanded Europe’s role in trade and commerce. Prior to the crusades, Europe was not an area known for a lot of trade. However, the Crusades changed that because the Europeans saw how other regions were organized, how they set up their ruling groups, and how they conducted business. The Europeans were able to copy this, and that expanded the impact and resulted in more growth and larger markets.