Medieval Europe - Middle School

Don’t know a fief from a friar? Then you'll want to study this list of terms related to medieval Europe. Take a spin through the Middle Ages and learn about the Black Plague, the Crusades, and the legendary kingdom of Camelot.
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Full list of words from this list:

  1. abbess
    the superior of a group of nuns
  2. abbey
    a church or building associated with a monastery or convent
  3. abbot
    the superior of a community of monks
  4. Agincourt
    a battle in northern France in which English longbowmen under Henry V decisively defeated a much larger French army in 1415
  5. Alfred the Great
    king of Wessex
  6. Angle
    a member of a Germanic people who conquered England and merged with the Saxons and Jutes to become Anglo-Saxons
  7. Anglo-Saxon
    English prior to about 1100
  8. annals
    a chronological account of events in successive years
  9. apprentice
    someone who works for an expert to learn a trade
  10. archbishop
    a bishop of highest rank
  11. aristocrat
    a member of the nobility
  12. armor
    protective covering made of metal and used in combat
  13. Arthurian
    of or relating to King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table
  14. artisan
    a skilled worker who practices some trade or handicraft
  15. ascetic
    someone who practices self denial as a spiritual discipline
  16. Avignon
    a town in southeastern France on the Rhone River
  17. battering ram
    a ram used to break down doors of fortified buildings
  18. battle of Hastings
    the decisive battle in which William the Conqueror (duke of Normandy) defeated the Saxons under Harold II (1066) and thus left England open for the Norman Conquest
  19. battle of Poitiers
    the battle in 1356 in which the English under the Black Prince defeated the French
  20. Beowulf
    the legendary hero of an anonymous Old English epic poem composed in the early 8th century; he slays a monster and becomes king but dies fighting a dragon
  21. berserker
    one of the ancient Norse warriors legendary for working themselves into a frenzy before a battle and fighting with reckless savagery and insane fury
  22. bishop
    a senior member of the Christian clergy
  23. Black Death
    the epidemic form of bubonic plague experienced during the Middle Ages when it killed nearly half the people of western Europe
  24. Boniface VIII
    pope who declared that Catholic princes are subject to the pope in temporal as well as in theological matters (1235-1303)
  25. bubonic plague
    the most common form of the plague in humans
  26. buckler
    armor carried on the arm to intercept blows
  27. burgess
    a citizen of an English borough
  28. burgher
    a citizen of an English borough
  29. caliph
    the civil and religious leader of a Muslim state
  30. caliphate
    the territorial jurisdiction of a Muslim civil leader
  31. Camelot
    the capital of King Arthur's kingdom
  32. canon law
    the body of official rules governing the affairs of a church
  33. Canterbury
    a town in Kent in southeastern England
  34. Canute
    king of Denmark and Norway who forced Edmund II to divide England with him; on the death of Edmund II, Canute became king of all England (994-1035)
  35. Capetian
    of or relating to the French dynasty founded by Hugh Capet
  36. Carolingian
    of or relating to the Frankish dynasty founded by Charlemagne's father
  37. catapult
    an engine providing medieval artillery used during sieges
  38. cathedral
    any large and important church
  39. chain mail
    (Middle Ages) flexible armor made of interlinked metal rings
  40. chanson de geste
    Old French epic poems
  41. Charlemagne
    king of the Franks and Holy Roman Emperor
  42. Charles VII
    King of France who began his reign with most of northern France under English control; after the intervention of Jeanne d'Arc the French were able to defeat the English and end the Hundred Years' War (1403-1461)
  43. charter
    a document creating an institution and specifying its rights
  44. chivalry
    the medieval principles governing knightly conduct
  45. Christianity
    a monotheistic system of beliefs and practices based on the Old Testament and the teachings of Jesus as embodied in the New Testament and emphasizing the role of Jesus as savior
  46. chronicle
    a record or narrative description of past events
  47. Clement VII
    Italian pope from 1523 to 1534 who broke with Henry VIII of England after Henry VIII divorced Catherine of Aragon and married Anne Boleyn (1478-1534)
  48. clergy
    the entire class of religious officials
  49. cloister
    residence that is a place of religious seclusion
  50. Clovis
    king of the Franks who unified Gaul and established his capital at Paris and founded the Frankish monarchy; his name was rendered as Gallic `Louis' (466-511)
  51. coat of arms
    the official symbols of a family, state, etc.
  52. common law
    a system of jurisprudence based on judicial precedents rather than statutory laws
  53. concordat
    a signed written agreement between two or more parties
  54. confession
    the act of a penitent disclosing sinfulness before a priest
  55. Council of Constance
    the council in 1414-1418 that succeeded in ending the Great Schism in the Roman Catholic Church
  56. court
    the family, advisors, and retinue of a sovereign or prince
  57. crusade
    fight a holy war
  58. Dante Alighieri
    an Italian poet famous for writing the Divine Comedy that describes a journey through Hell and purgatory and paradise guided by Virgil and his idealized Beatrice (1265-1321)
  59. Domesday Book
    record of a British census and land survey in 1085-1086 ordered by William the Conqueror
  60. Dominican
    a Roman Catholic friar wearing the black mantle of the Dominican order
  61. dowry
    money brought by a woman to her husband at marriage
  62. Edward I
    King of England from 1272 to 1307; conquered Wales
  63. Edward III
    son of Edward II and King of England from 1327-1377
  64. Eleanor of Aquitaine
    queen of France as the wife of Louis VII
  65. epic
    a long narrative poem telling of a hero's deeds
  66. epic poetry
    poetry celebrating the deeds of some hero
  67. estate
    a major social class regarded as part of the body politic
  68. Estates General
    assembly of the estates of all France; last meeting in 1789
  69. excommunicate
    expel from a church or a religious community
  70. falconry
    the art of training birds of prey to hunt and return
  71. feudal
    relating to a system where vassals are protected by lords
  72. feudalism
    the social system in which vassals were protected by lords
  73. fief
    a piece of land held under the feudal system
  74. fiefdom
    the domain controlled by a feudal lord
  75. First Crusade
    a Crusade from 1096 to 1099
  76. flying buttress
    a supportive arch standing apart from the main structure
  77. Fourth Crusade
    a Crusade from 1202 to 1204 that was diverted into a battle for Constantinople and failed to recapture Jerusalem
  78. Franciscan
    a Roman Catholic friar wearing the grey habit of the Franciscan order
  79. Frank
    a member of the ancient Germanic peoples who spread from the Rhine into the Roman Empire in the 4th century
  80. friar
    male member of a religious order originally relying on alms
  81. Gawain
    a nephew of Arthur and one of the knights of the Round Table
  82. Geoffrey Chaucer
    English poet remembered as author of the Canterbury Tales
  83. Gothic
    a style of architecture developed in northern France that spread throughout Europe between the 12th and 16th centuries; characterized by slender vertical piers and counterbalancing buttresses and by vaulting and pointed arches
  84. Great Schism
    the period from 1378 to 1417 during which there were two papacies in the Roman Catholic Church, one in Rome and one in Avignon
  85. Gregory I
    (Roman Catholic Church) an Italian pope distinguished for his spiritual and temporal leadership; a saint and Doctor of the Church (540?-604)
  86. guild
    a formal association of people with similar interests
  87. Guinevere
    wife of King Arthur
  88. Hanseatic League
    a commercial and defensive confederation of free cities in northern Germany and surrounding areas; formed in 1241 and most influential in the 14th century when it included over 100 towns and functioned as an independent political power; the last official assembly was held in 1669
  89. Henry II
    first Plantagenet King of England
  90. heresy
    a belief that rejects the orthodox tenets of a religion
  91. heretic
    a person whose religious beliefs conflict with church dogma
  92. hoard
    a secret store of valuables or money
  93. Holy Roman Empire
    a political entity in Europe that began with the papal coronation of Otto I as the first emperor in 962 and lasted until 1806 when it was dissolved by Napoleon
  94. Hugh Capet
    King of France elected in 987 and founding the Capetian dynasty (940-996)
  95. Hundred Years' War
    the series of wars fought intermittently between France and England; 1337-1453
  96. illuminate
    add embellishments and paintings to a manuscript
  97. indulgence
    remission by the pope of temporal punishment in purgatory
  98. infidel
    a person who does not acknowledge your god
  99. Inquisition
    a former tribunal of the Roman Catholic Church (1232-1820) created to discover and suppress heresy
  100. interdict
    an ecclesiastical censure withdrawing sacraments
  101. investiture
    the ceremonial promotion of a person to an office or rank
  102. Islam
    the monotheistic religious system of Muslims
  103. Jan Hus
    Czechoslovakian religious reformer who anticipated the Reformation; he questioned the infallibility of the Catholic Church was excommunicated (1409) for attacking the corruption of the clergy; he was burned at the stake (1372-1415)
  104. Joan of Arc
    French heroine and military leader inspired by religious visions to organize French resistance to the English and to have Charles VII crowned king; she was later tried for heresy and burned at the stake (1412-1431)
  105. John Wycliffe
    English theologian whose objections to Roman Catholic doctrine anticipated the Protestant Reformation (1328-1384)
  106. journeyman
    a skilled worker who practices some trade or handicraft
  107. joust
    a combat between mounted knights tilting against each other
  108. jury
    a body of citizens sworn to give a verdict in a court of law
  109. Jute
    a member of a Germanic people who conquered England and merged with the Angles and Saxons to become Anglo-Saxons
  110. King Arthur
    a legendary king of the Britons
  111. knight
    a person of noble birth trained to arms and chivalry
  112. lance
    a long pointed rod used as a weapon
  113. Lancelot
    one of the knights of the Round Table
  114. Latin
    any dialect of the language of ancient Rome
  115. lay
    characteristic of those who are not members of the clergy
  116. longboat
    the largest boat carried by a merchant sailing vessel
  117. longbow
    a powerful wooden bow drawn by hand
  118. lord
    a person who has general authority over others
  119. Louis IX
    king of France and son of Louis VIII
  120. Magna Carta
    the royal charter of political rights given to rebellious English barons by King John in 1215
  121. mangonel
    an engine that provided medieval artillery used during sieges; a heavy war engine for hurling large stones and other missiles
  122. manor
    the landed estate of a lord, including the house on it
  123. manuscript
    handwritten book or document
  124. martyr
    one who voluntarily suffers death
  125. mead
    made of fermented honey and water
  126. medieval
    relating to or belonging to the Middle Ages
  127. mendicant
    a member of a religious order who relies on alms
  128. mercenary
    a person hired to fight for another country than their own
  129. merchant
    a businessperson engaged in retail trade
  130. Middle Ages
    the period of history between classical antiquity and the Italian Renaissance
  131. Middle English
    English from about 1100 to 1450
  132. miracle play
    a medieval play representing episodes from the life of a saint or martyr
  133. missionary
    someone sent to a foreign country to spread a religion
  134. monarchy
    autocracy governed by a ruler who usually inherits authority
  135. monastery
    the residence of a religious community
  136. monk
    a male member of a religious community living under vows
  137. Muslim
    a believer in or follower of Islam
  138. nobility
    a privileged class holding hereditary titles
  139. nominalism
    (philosophy) the doctrine that the various objects labeled by the same term have nothing in common but their name
  140. Norman Conquest
    the invasion and settlement of England by the Normans following the battle of Hastings (1066)
  141. Normandy
    a former province of northwestern France on the English channel; divided into Haute-Normandie and Basse-Normandie
  142. Norse
    of or relating to Scandinavia or its peoples or cultures
  143. nun
    a woman religious
  144. Odin
    ruler of the Aesir
  145. Old English
    English prior to about 1100
  146. orthodox
    adhering to what is commonly accepted
  147. page
    a youth acting as a knight's attendant
  148. papal
    proceeding from the head of the Roman Catholic Church
  149. parchment
    skin of a sheep or goat prepared for writing on
  150. pardoner
    a medieval cleric who raised money for the church by selling papal indulgences
  151. parliament
    a legislative assembly in certain countries
  152. peasant
    one of a class of agricultural laborers
  153. Pepin
    king of the Franks and father of Charlemagne who defended papal interests and founded the Carolingian dynasty in 751 (714-768)
  154. pilgrimage
    a journey to a sacred place
  155. pillage
    steal goods; take as spoils
  156. plague
    a serious infection of rodents transmitted to humans
  157. pope
    the head of the Roman Catholic Church
  158. Richard I
    son of Henry II and King of England from 1189 to 1199
  159. Romanesque
    a style of architecture developed in Italy and western Europe between the Roman and the Gothic styles after 1000 AD; characterized by round arches and vaults and by the substitution of piers for columns and profuse ornament and arcades
  160. sacrament
    a formal religious ceremony conferring a specific grace
  161. saga
    a narrative telling the adventures of a hero or a family
  162. saint
    a person who has died and has been canonized
  163. Saladin
    sultan of Syria and Egypt
  164. Saxon
    a member of a Germanic people who conquered England and merged with the Angles and Jutes to become Anglo-Saxons; dominant in England until the Norman Conquest
  165. Scandinavia
    a group of culturally related countries in northern Europe
  166. schism
    the formal separation of a church into two churches
  167. scholasticism
    close adherence to traditional teachings or methods
  168. scribe
    someone employed to make written copies of documents
  169. scriptorium
    a room in a monastery that is set aside for writing or copying manuscripts
  170. Second Crusade
    a Crusade from 1145 to 1147 that failed because of internal disagreements among the crusaders and led to the loss of Jerusalem in 1187
  171. secular
    not concerned with or devoted to religion
  172. serf
    a person bound to the land and owned by the feudal lord
  173. siege
    an action of an armed force that surrounds a fortified place
  174. simony
    the buying or selling of religious jobs or privileges
  175. spire
    a tall tower that forms the superstructure of a building
  176. squire
    a young nobleman attendant on a knight
  177. St. Augustine
    one of the great Fathers of the early Christian church
  178. St. Benedict
    Italian monk who founded the Benedictine order about 540
  179. stained glass
    glass that has been colored in some way
  180. tapestry
    a wall hanging of heavy fabric with pictorial designs
  181. the three estates
    a major social class or order of persons regarded collectively as part of the body politic of the country (especially in the United Kingdom) and formerly possessing distinct political rights
  182. Third Crusade
    a Crusade from 1189 to 1192 led by Richard I and the king of France that failed because an army torn by dissensions and fighting on foreign soil could not succeed against forces united by religious zeal
  183. Thomas a Becket
    archbishop of Canterbury from 1162 to 1170
  184. Thomas Aquinas
    (Roman Catholic Church) Italian theologian and Doctor of the Church who is remembered for his attempt to reconcile faith and reason in a comprehensive theology; presented philosophical proofs of the existence of God (1225-1274)
  185. Thor
    god of thunder and rain and farming
  186. tithe
    an offering of a tenth part of some personal income
  187. tournament
    a series of jousts between knights contesting for a prize
  188. trebuchet
    a heavy war engine for hurling projectiles such as stones
  189. trial by ordeal
    a primitive method of determining a person's guilt or innocence by subjecting the accused person to dangerous or painful tests believed to be under divine control; escape was usually taken as a sign of innocence
  190. troubadour
    a singer of folk songs
  191. university
    an institution of higher learning that grants degrees
  192. Urban II
    French pope from 1088 to 1099 whose sermons called for the First Crusade (1042-1099)
  193. Urban VI
    Italian pope from 1378 to 1389 whose contested election began the Great Schism; he alienated his political allies by his ruthless treatment of his opponents (1318-1389)
  194. usury
    the act of lending money at an exorbitant rate of interest
  195. Valhalla
    (Norse mythology) the hall in which the souls of heros slain in battle were received by Odin
  196. vassal
    a person who owes allegiance and service to a feudal lord
  197. vellum
    fine parchment prepared from the skin of a young animal
  198. vernacular
    the everyday speech of the people
  199. Viking
    any of the Scandinavian people who raided the coasts of Europe from the 8th to the 11th centuries
  200. villein
    (Middle Ages) a person who is bound to the land and owned by the feudal lord
  201. War of the Roses
    struggle for the English throne (1455-1485) between the house of York (white rose) and the house of Lancaster (red rose) ending with the accession of the Tudor monarch Henry VII
  202. William of Ockham
    English scholastic philosopher and assumed author of Occam's Razor (1285-1349)
  203. William the Conqueror
    duke of Normandy who led the Norman invasion of England and became the first Norman to be King of England; he defeated Harold II at the battle of Hastings in 1066 and introduced many Norman customs into England (1027-1087)
Created on February 13, 2017 (updated March 31, 2017)

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