W-15  Charlemagne



R-16  Vikings

          358-359, #1 Vikings


F-17  American Indian Test


T-21  Cathedrals

          370-373, 379-386, #2 St. Francis  (much reading)


W-22  Chivalry



R-23  Scholasticism

          387-392, #3 Aquinas (reading for discussion)


F-24  Joan of Arc

          398-403, #4 (writing assignment)


FCAT  Feudalism & the rise of the kings

          360-363, 352, 393-397


R-2  Byzantine heritage

          301-313 (much reading)


F-3  Map Quiz 


M-6  Medieval Test








          Terror attacked Europe.  Sleek Viking ships nosed their way up rivers and streams into the heartland.  Raucous Viking horns sent shivers down the spines of townsmen, peaceful farmers, and mothers.  These raiders plundered and killed, respecting only the brave.


          Two hundred years had slipped by since Charlemagne's time.  People thought of themselves now as Europeans.  The Vikings set out to plunder all Europe and more.  From Norway, Denmark and Sweden, they explored into Scotland, England, Ireland, France, Spain, across to Arab north Africa and Italy.  Sometimes they settled; more often they moved on. They pushed down through the other side of the continent and began the government of Russia.  And they kept on moving until they reached Byzantium and Persia.  Vikings surrounded all Europe.  And they pushed on to the west-­-Iceland, Greenland, all the way to America.


          Europe began as an idea in the minds of people like Charlemagne.  But such people tried to imitate the dead Roman empire.  They even adopted the religion and language of the dead Romans.  But for Europe to begin a new civilization, it needed new vigor.  Vigor is what the Vikings supplied.


          The first Vikings believed in the old Norse gods--­not gods of love or pity, but gods of action.  Brave action by humans earned them godlike respect.  For instance, the O'Neill family ruled northern Ireland because their ancestor chopped off his own hand and flung it ashore so he could touch land before his rival in the ship which just passed him.  Here are other examples of heroic people from the north.  It is probably not important to remember the names-­just the vigor of Viking times.


          LEIF ERICSON–led the first ships across the Atlantic to the shores of North America.


          FREYDIS–sister of Leif Ericson, led the fourth journey to the new world.  Rather than share the treasure she gathered, she had two of her brothers killed; but her soldiers hesitated to kill the women of her brothers' families.  So she grabbed the axe and killed them herself.


          OLGA--daughter-in-law of the first Viking ruler of Russia, she took over as ruler after the citizens of one town murdered her husband.  She punished them by fining each citizen two doves.  Then she tied burning torches to their tails and let them fly back home.  With the town burned down, she resigned in favor of her son.


          CANUTE--king of Denmark, captured England and Norway.  It began to look like he would establish an empire as big as Charlemagne's, but he died suddenly.


          LADY GODIVA--wife of an English lord, threatened to ride through town naked unless her husband lowered the taxes.  She did exactly that.  (Six hundred years later, people tried to clean up the story by claiming that the citizens all went indoors and would not look--except for one whom they called Peeping Tom.)


          HEREWARD THE WAKE--may have been Lady Godiva's son.  When William the Conqueror invaded England from the south, Hereward hid in the swamps and resisted longer than all other Englishmen.


          Gradually, the northmen switched to Christianity--not the dead Christianity of the Romans, but a new and vigorous Christianity which gripped men's souls.  Woodcarvings in Christian churches became as lively as the dragon heads which had graced Viking ships.


          Perhaps the birth of a civilization can be compared to any other birth: the idea (conceived by Charlemagne) became flesh in the painful stirrings of Viking times.









O Lord make me an instrument of Thy peace:

Where there is hatred, let me put Love.

Where there is resentment, let me put Forgiveness.

Where there is discord, let me put Unity.

Where there is doubt, let me put Faith.

Where there is error, let me put Truth.

Where there is despair, let me bring Happiness.

Where there is sadness, let me bring Joy

Where there is darkness, let me bring Light.

O Master grant that I may desire rather:

To console* than to be consoled.                                                                            *comfort

To understand rather than bo be understood.

To love, rather than to be loved.

Because it is in giving that we receive;

In forgiving that we obtain forgiveness;

In dying that we rise to eternal life.





            My little sisters, the birds, much bounden are ye unto God, your Creator, and always in every place ought ye to praise Him, for that He hath given you liberty to fly about everywhere, and hath also given you double and triple raiment.  Moreover He preserved your seed in the ark of Noah, that your race might not perish out of the world; still more are ye beholden to Him for the element of the air which He hath appointed for you; beyond all this, ye sow not, neither do you reap; and God feedeth you, and giveth you the streams and fountains for your drink; the mountains and the valleys for your refuge and the high trees whereon to make your nests; and because ye know not how to spin or sew, God clotheth you, you and your Children; wherefore your Creator loveth you much, seeing that He hath bestowed on you so many benefits; and therefore, my little sisters, beware of the sin of ingratitude, and study always to give praises unto God..






          From the Spanish-Arab philosopher, Averroes (a-VAIR-o-eez), Europeans learned about the logic of Aristotle.  At first, church leaders opposed this non-Christian learning.  They had long used Plato's notion of the Ideal to explain the difference between body and soul.  But they distrusted the scientific thinking of Aristotle.  St. Thomas Aquinas (a-KW¦-nas) came to the rescue.  He showed how to use Aristotle's logic to prove even the existence of God.  Logic became the favorite tool of religious spokesmen.



1.  Sort out in your mind where you have heard each of these 5 points before.

2.  Try to discover the flaw that runs through all of these arguments.

3.  Come prepared to contribute to intelligent discussion.





            The existence of God can be proved in five ways.


            The first and more manifest* way is the argument from motion.  It is certain, and evident to our senses, that in the world some things are in motion.  Now whatever is moved is moved by another, for nothing can be moved except it is In potentiality to that towards which it Is moved; whereas a thing moves inasmuch as it is an act.  For motion is nothing else than a reduction of something from potentiality to actuality.  But nothing can be reduced from potentiality to actuality, except by something in a state of actuality.  Thus that which is actually hot, fire, makes wood, which Is potentially hot, to be actually hot, and thereby moves and changes it.  Now it is not possible that the same thing should be at once in actuality and potentiality In the same respect, but only in different respects.  For what Is actually hot cannot simultaneously+ be potentially hot; but it is simultaneously potentially cold.  It is therefore impossible that in the same respect and in the same way a thing should be both mover and moved, i.e.,# that It should move itself.  Therefore, whatever Is moved must be moved by another.  If that by which it Is moved be itself moved, then this also must needs be moved by another, and that by another again.  But this cannot go on to infinity, because then there would be no first mover, and consequently, no other mover, seeing that subsequent@ movers move only inasmuch as they are moved by the first mover; as the staff moves only because It is moved by the hand.  Therefore it Is necessary to arrive at a first mover, moved by no other; and this everyone understands to be God.


            The second way is from the nature of efficient* cause.  In the world of sensible things we find there Is an order of efficient causes. There is no case known (neither is it, Indeed, possible) in which a thing is found to be the efficient cause of itself; for so it would be prior to+ itself, which is impossible.  Now in efficient causes it is not possible to go on to infinity, because in all efficient causes following in order, the first is the cause of the intermediate# cause, and the intermediate is the cause of the ultimate@ cause, whether the intermediate cause be several, or one only.  Now to take away the cause is to take away the effect.  Therefore, if there be no first cause among efficient causes, there will be no ultimate, nor any intermediate, cause.  But if In efficient causes it is possible to go on to infinity, there will be no first efficient cause, neither will there be an ultimate effect, nor any intermediate efficient causes; all of which is plainly false, Therefore it is necessary to admit a first efficient cause., to which everyone gives the name of God.


            The third way is taken from possibility and necessity, and runs thus.  We find in nature things that are possible to be and not to be, since they are found to be generated,* and to be corrupted,+ and consequently, it is possible for  them to be and not to be.  But it is impossible for those always to exist, for that which can not-be, at some time is not.  Therefore, if everything can not-be, then at one time there was nothing in existence.  Now if this were true, even now there would be nothing in existence, because that which does not exist begins to exist only through something already existing.  Therefore, if at one time nothing was in existence, it would have been impossible for anything to have begun to exist; and thus even now nothing would be in existence--which is absurd.  Therefore, not all beings are merely possible, but there must exist something the existence of which is necessary.  But every necessary thing either has its necessity caused by another, or not.  Now it Is Impossible to go on to infinity in necessary things which have their necessity caused by another, as has been already proved in regard to efficient causes.  Therefore we cannot but admit the existence of some being having of Itself its own necessity, and not receiving it from another, but rather causing in others their necessity.  This all men speak of as God.


            The fourth way is taken from the gradation to be found In things.  Among beings there are some more and some less good, true, noble, and the like.  But more and less are predicted of different things according as they resemble In their different ways something which is the maximum, as a thing is said to be hotter according as it more nearly resembles that which is hottest; so that there is something which is truest, something best, something noblest, and consequently, something which is most being, for those things that are greatest in truth are greatest in being, as it is written in Aristotle's Metaphysics, chapt. 2.  Now the maximum of any genus# is the cause of all in the genus, as fire, which is the maximum of heat is the cause of all hot things, as is said in the same book.  Therefore there must also be something which is to all things the cause of their being, goodness, and every other perfection; and this we call God.


            The fifth way is taken from the governance of the World.  We see that things which lack knowledge, such as natural bodies, act for an end,@ and this is evident from their acting always, or nearly always, in the same way, so as to obtain the best result.  Hence it is plain that they achieve their end, not accidentally, but designedly.  Now whatever lacks knowledge cannot move towards an end, unless it be directed by some being endowed with knowledge and intelligence; as the arrow is directed by the archer.  Therefore some intelligent being exists by whom all natural things are directed to their end; and this being we call God.



+at the same time

#that is















Assignment:  This presentation raises many points (some of them concerning human nature that hasn't changed much over the centuries).  Focus on ONE point and write a one-paragraph commentary--due at the beginning of class.  I am not looking for a sermon, so much as evidence that you are thinking while you read.



          By marrying wealthy land-owning women, the kings of England gradually inherited over half of France.  One English king married a French princess; and according to the normal rules, their descendants should have been kings of both countries.  But the French went by their own special rule that no one could become king of France through his mother's side of the family.  This disagreement triggered off the Hundred Years' War.


          After a hundred years of struggle, one French king inherited insanity from his mother, and lost all of France to the English.  Since Crown Prince Charles also showed signs of mental weakness, the old French king married his daughter to the English king and arranged that their baby son, Henry VI, should rule both countries.  That solution might have worked except that (1) Henry inherited the insanity too, and (2) many French people preferred their own Charles VII even with his weaknesses.  So there were two feeble kings, both claiming to rule all France.


          But after seven more years, Charles still had not gotten ground to becoming officially crowned.  His excuse was that the English held the cathedral city where the crowning was usually done.  Then a sixteen-year-old girl announced that God had told her to drive the English out of France.  She was Joan of Arc.  People laughed, but she found one general who believed in her.  Soldiers called him Bluebeard, because of his dark bluish-black whiskers.


          Dressed in white armor, Joan fired the weary soldiers with her spirit.  They captured the cathedral city, with Joan and Bluebeard leading the charge.  Charles was crowned, and Bluebeard was promoted to head of the army.  But the people flocked around Joan--to touch her spear or kiss it.  Many already called her a saint.


          King Charles hoped that he could now relax.  But Joan had no such intentions.  She ordered the surrounding castles and cities to surrender, and she stood beside the king to receive the surrendering lords.  She demanded that Charles be active, and she led the soldiers into more battles.  One time she rode so far ahead of her soldiers that she was captured.


          The English did not want to just kill her.  They wanted to break the French spirit by proving that Joan was no saint.  Since she claimed to hear heavenly voices, they brought her to trial for witchcraft.  The church leaders found her guilty, and condemned her to death.  But according to church law, a person could confess to spiritual crimes and be forgiven; only the unrepentant were punished.  So Joan confessed to all of the charges.  Her enemies had to find another way to get rid of her.  They finally got her on the charge of wearing trousers (perhaps because they had taken her other clothes).  Anyway, they said it showed that she planned to go back to a soldier life, and they burned her at the stake.  She was nineteen.


          Meanwhile, Charles and the government officials had not raised a finger to help her.  They felt relieved to have the demanding girl out of the way.  Only Bluebeard and a few soldiers tried to rescue her.


          Bluebeard continued the conquests which Joan had begun.  And at every opportunity, he scolded the government officials for abandoning her.  They finally decided to get rid of him too.  Since he experimented with chemicals, they brought him to trial for witchcraft.  There was also a charge that he molested and murdered children.  The church court found him guilty of witchcraft.  And, like Joan, he saved himself by confessing to all of the charges.  Then the French government held a very unfair trial of its own, declared him guilty, and hanged him.


          King Charles thought he could finally rest.  But his conscience would not let him.  So he roused himself, and finished chasing the English out of France.  He asked the church to review Joan's witchcraft trial.  The church reversed its earlier verdict.  Almost five hundred years later, in 1920, the church declared Joan of Arc a saint.


          The story of Bluebeard got twisted up.  A legend spread that he had murdered each of his seven wives.  (Actually, he only had one wife, and she outlived him.)  But the real crime of both Joan of Arc and Bluebeard was that they would not let a lazy man rest.



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