The Middle Ages

Clare Kellough & Rebecca Lane

Middle Ages Feudal System

Peasants

Peasants worked on the lord's land in exchange for land to live. Some peasants were surfs and could not leave the lords' land. Peasants were the bottom of the feudal system and some has little rights and were treated as slaves. They had to pay taxes to use the lord's mill and life expectancy was about 35 years.

The castles and walls protected the king, lords', knights, and peasants and in the feudal system, the levels of hierarchy depended on one another.

Technological Advances

The Role of a Knight

During the Middle Ages knights wore heavy armor made of metal. There were two main kinds of armor: chain mail and plate armor. However plate armor offered better protection but was heavier and less flexible.
Greaves - ankles and calves
Sabatons - feet
Poleyns - knees
Cuisses - thighs
Gauntlets - hands
Vambrace - lower arms
Pauldron - shoulders
Breastplate - chest
Rerebrace - upper arms
Helmet - head

Knights of the Middle Ages used many weapons and some were more effective than others. Common weapons in the Middle Ages included:

Lance- the lance was a long wooden pole with a metal tip. Due to the pole being extremely long, the knight could attack from his war horse. This weapon gave the knight a large advantage against foot soldiers. The lance could also be used to knock enemy knights off their horses.

Sword- The sword was the preferred weapon after the knight was dismounted from his horse.

Mace- The mace was a club with a large steel head; these weapons designed to crush an enemy.

Longbow- Many knights considered the longbow to be a cowardly weapon. However the longbow became a major part of winning battles in the Middle Ages because the longbow could attack from a distance of even a castle wall.

Siege Weapons

Belfry- The belfry was a tall rolling tower that would allow knights to safely apporch the castle walls.

catapult- a catolpult could throw huge boulders onto the walls of a castle. These boulders could break down the walls and destroy the castle itself.

Battering ram- The battering ram was a huge heavy log used to smash down the gates of a castle.

Life of a Knight in the Middle Ages

It was the duty of a Middle Ages knight to learn how to fight and serve their liege Lord according to the Code of Chivalry. The Code of Chivalry dictated that a knight should be brave and fearless in battle but would also exhibit cultured knightly qualities showing themselves to be devout, loyal, courteous, and generous.

Roman Church Hierarchy

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Role of the Roman Church to Peasants

The church had total control over commoners. The commoners believed that the church officials decide their fate- heaven or hell. Therefore, most commoners spent their time working on church land for free when they could have been working on their own land to make food for their family.

In addition, the peasants had to pay taxes and were told they were going to hell if not paid. The tithes, taxes, were sent to a tithe barn where everything was held, and they found would usually be eaten and poisoned by rats or contaminated.

The influence of the church on the peasants was a way to manipulate them to pay taxes, work on land, and to complete the actions that were under minded. In the Middle Ages, church was the most influential part of a person's life.

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Word of the Black Plague

Also known as the Black Death or the Great Plague, the Black Has arrived and has spread along trade routes from China to Europe were it claimed 60% of the population. There were not enough survivors to bury the dead. Due to high mortality rates, mechanical, social, and economic advancements developed. Considered a factor in the emergence of the Renaissance in the late 14th Century.

A Letter to the Editor

Good evning sir, my name is Fredrick Bryar and I am servnt for Lord Baltimore of England. I am riting to you in order to ask for permission to releeve my dutees as servent to my Lord. Evryday I rise at dawn, wake my children frum the loft above, and begin to work our long, dificult hours. At noon, we ask for permission to eat lunch. My to kids and me eat one egg each and a piece of bread. We work till 8:00, when the sun gose down in the summer. Once last year, we worked until midnight with the sorce of one lantern in 30 degree weather at the request of our Lord. My chilren complain to me everyday and without a mother to help care for them (who passed) the responsibilitees are up to me to care for my boy and girl. The working conditions consisst of a small shack to live in, minimal food (we receive after work), and no plumming or elelctricite. My chilrun do not go to school and I taught myself to read and rite I work to teach them to read and rite but I aint to good myself.

Last month, there was an attempt at an intrusion of the castle, a catapult was used to break the cassle walls. The knights gathered the King, the Lord, and even us servants however many servants were killed (men, women, and chilrun) do to lack of protection from knights. The many deaths did not seem to affect the knights and my chilrun and I asked permission to go to the church; but we were declined that rite. I am riting to you, to ask you to consider the removal of my family from Lord Baltimore.

Thank you sir,

Fredrick Bryar