History Study Guide

Chapter 18

Popes and Kings Rule Europe

In the Medieval Ages, nobles and knights both held a lot of power. As time passed, though, power moved to popes and kings. Popes held the spiritual power while kings managed cities and politics. Popes and kings started to control most of the European society.

The Power of the Popes

The pope was the head of the Christian Church in Europe. People saw the pope as God's representative on Earth. The people looked at the pope for advice about preying and daily life. It was the popes job to decide what the church can and can not teach. The pope also decided if someone was acting against the church. If the Pope though someone was acting against the church, he would excommunicate them.

In addition to spiritual power, the pope also had political power. After Rome fell, many people looked at the pope for help. The pope became rich and built palaces and lived in royalty. Soon a conflict grew between popes and kings.

The Power of Kings

Europe was divided into many states ruled by kings. The most powerful of these states were England, France, and the Holy Roman Empire.

Popes Fight for Power

Although people of western Europe considered the pope to be the highest religious power, people of eastern Europe disagreed. People of eastern Europe thought that bishops help more religious power than popes. In the mid-1000s, though, popes looked to increase religious power in eastern Europe. One of those popes was Pope Leo IX. Pope Leo argued that the first pope, Pope Peter, had been the leader of the whole Christian church, so following popes should be too. Although he said this, bishops of the east rejected this, so Pope Leo excommunicated them.

The Crusades

A group of Turkish Muslim attacked and conquered the Holy City of Jerusalem. The Byzantine empire and Pope Urban II called all Christians around Europe to fight to retake Jerusalem. In 1099, Crusaders, or people marked with a cross, retook Jerusalem.

The Second and Third Crusades

Although the first Crusades was a success, Muslims started taking back the Jerusalem. The second Crusades were a terrible failure due to losses on the way there. The third Crusades was not as bad, but it still was a failure.

End of the Crusades

Other Crusades happened, but most are not important. Muslims kept control of Jerusalem.

The Monks of Cluny

The Monks of Cluny and other people thought that the church became obsessed with political power and wealth.


Some people want to be educated, which formed Europe's first universities. Some universities were created by the church to educate people about religion, while others were created to teach students about the world.

Magna Carta

The Magna Carta restricted what a king can and cannot do. The Magna Carta influenced the creation of British parliament.

The Hundred Years' War

The Hundred Year's war was a war that lasted for about one hundred years. This war was caused by the death of a French king. The king had no sons and two men claimed the throne. One was English wile the other was French. The French won, but this did not settle well with the English king. The English king launched an attack against the French. Although the English armies won a lot of battles, a teenage peasant girl named Joan of Arc rallied up the French troops and they pushed the English out in 1453

The Black Death

While the Hundred Years War was going on, a deadlier crisis surfaced. The Black Death was a deadly plague that infected most of Europe during 1347 - 1351. This plague killed millions of people in Europe and more around the world.