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The documents that follow relate information about the Middle Ages. Examine each
document carefully and then answer the question(s) that follow it using complete
sentences. These answers will help you in Part B.
Document 1
Cathedrals were very important in the Middle Ages. First, they were
a house of worship and had to be large enough to hold most of the
population for important church services. Between 1050 and 1350 in
France alone, over 500 large churches were built and 1,000 parish
churches, so that there was a church or chapel for every 200 people.
During the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, more stone was quarried in
France for building churches than had been used in all the buildings of
ancient Egypt. Cathedrals also helped carry on learning in the Middle
ages by running schools in which youngsters were taught reading,
writing, and Latin.
Cathedrals were the art museums of the Middle Ages. Since religion
was at the center of life, nearly every
work of art was in some way religious.
They were called "bibles for the poor"
because many common or poor
people didn't know how to read and, if
they did, they couldn't afford a book.
They would look at the stained glass
windows. Each picture told a story
either from the new or old testament
or from the lives of saints.
Notre Dame, one of the world's best-known Cathedrals

1. Why were cathedrals built so large during the Middle Ages? ____________________
2. Besides being a place of worship, name two other purposes of cathedrals. _________

Document 2
Diagram of a medieval manor, c. 1200.
The Warder Collection, New York.

Manors, not villages, were the

economic and social units of life in the
early Middle Ages. A manor consisted
of a manor house, one or more
villages, and up to several thousand
acres of land divided into meadow,
pasture, forest, and cultivated fields.
The fields were further divided into
strips; 1/3 for the lord of the manor,
less for the church, and the remainder
for the peasants and serfs. This land
was shared out so that each person
had an equal share of good and poor.
At least half the work week was spent
on the land belonging to the lord and
the church. Time might also be spent
doing maintenance and on special
projects such as clearing land, cutting
firewood, and building roads and
bridges. The rest of the time the
villagers were free to work their own
1. What three groups were the fields divided among? _________________________
2. What is another name for Parsons Fields? _______________________________
3. What was the church given that is not a privilege of the church today? _________

Document 3
The system for organizing
Christianity was created in
late Roman times. The Pope
was the head of all
Christianity. The Pope had
more power than the King
because Knights and Lords
were scared of God. Since
the Pope could not look over
the entire land at once a system similar to feudalism was set up. Next to
the Pope the most powerful religious leaders were the bishops. The Pope
gave Bishops a large piece of land to look over and make sure everyone
was following the church. Then in each community there was a priest
who was head of the church in that town.
At the church were monks and nuns who spent their lives learning
about the Bible and God. If priests, monks, or nuns were accused of a
crime they went before the bishop as their judge. The Bishop would
decide what happened. If the case were beyond him then it would go
over to the Pope. The case would go immediately to the Pope if the
Bishop were the one being accused. Rarely would this happen because
church members were considered "gods servants".
1. Who had more power than kings during the Middle Ages? _________________
2. Why would Bishops rarely be accused of a crime? ________________________
3. Why did medieval people listen to the Pope for guidance? __________________

Document 4
Christianity affected the Middle Ages in a tremendous way. The Pope
had more power than the King. Since the church had so much power
things began to change. Knights for example started following a
code of chivalry. This code said that Knights should: protect the
weak, give to the poor, and be kind to the ladies. Knights started
following this code because the Pope said that Knights should be
defenders of the church not "armored horse-men".
The Ten Commandments of the Code of Chivalry
From Chivalry by Leon Gautier


Thou shalt believe all that the Church teaches, and shalt observe all its directions.
Thou shalt defend the Church.
Thou shalt repect all weaknesses, and shalt constitute thyself the defender of them.
Thou shalt love the country in which thou wast born.
Thou shalt not recoil before thine enemy.
Thou shalt make war against the Infidel without cessation, and without mercy.
Thou shalt perform scrupulously thy feudal duties, if they be not contrary to the
laws of God.
8. Thou shalt never lie, and shall remain faithful to thy pledged word.
9. Thou shalt be generous, and give largess to everyone.
10. Thou shalt be everywhere and always the champion of the Right and the Good
against Injustice and Evil.

1. According to the Ten Commandments of the Code of Chivalry, what should

Knights first and foremost defend? _____________________________________

2. Name two differences between a knights expectations and a modern soldiers

expectations. _______________________________________________________

Document 7
Peasants worked long hours every day,
rain or shine, to ensure that their families
had enough to eat. Most peasants were
farmers, although a few were millers,
blacksmiths, and tavern owners. Peasant
farmers were the backbone of medieval
society. They worked land leased to them
by wealthier landholders in the nobility.
The farmers produced all of the food, and
paid most of the taxes. Their lives weren't
all hard work though. They had feasts on
holidays, and celebrated births and
marriages. They rested each Sabbath day
and attended church.
Childbirth was very dangerous during
the Middle Ages. If both mother and infant
survived childbirth, the child was usually
bathed in lukewarm water and then
swaddled in warm cotton or wool fabric. If
it was thought the infant would not live, it was immediately baptized by the
midwife or by a man nearby, often the father. If the infant was thought to
survive it was baptized several days after its birth in a local church. Here it was
named, often after a close relative or a saint, and was promised to be brought
up as a Christian.

1. What were the days of rest for a peasant? __________________________________

2. According to the passage above, name two ways religion affected the life of a peasant.