Social Studiesby Matthew Caggia

Unit 2B: The Middle Ages in Europe

Chapters 7 & 8

After the Fall of Rome, Europe enters a "Dark Age". While historians may disagree over the term "Dark Ages", Plutarch coined the phrase during the Renaissance comparing this time period as relatively dark compared to the brilliance of the classical period of Greece and Rome. Times were difficult during this era in Europe as technology regresses and the region is beset with violence both internally and from invasion.

Study Tools

Online Textbook Resources

These pages contain links to online content for studenty practice. It includes worksheets, section summaries, note taking guides, self-tests and self-quizzes.

Chapter Resources
Geography Interactive
History Interactive


Link to Quizlet! Vocabulary is the key to understanding any subject. Once you can break down the barrier of language the ideas and concepts are wide open. Here you can find the vocabulary for the unit to practice by using online flash cards and by practicing online generated vocabulary quizzes.

Three Banners of Feudalism

Feudalism is a system that encompasses a social hierarchy, political structure, and economic system all in one. The basis is land.

Rising Monarchies

Competing rivalries in the Middle Ages between kings, feudal lords, and clergy led to conflicts in Europe. Over time, events and individuals contributed to the increasing power of the monarchs, at the expense of the rest.

Economic & Cultural Revival

The High Middle Ages saw an increase in knowledge from the east and an increased desire for educated individuals to fill new government roles. All this brought changes to culture and improvements to the economy.

A Time of Crisis

Presentation about the undoing of the Middle Ages by way of a few events: Bubonic Plague, Great Schism, and Hundred Years War.


The History Channel's "The Dark Ages"

A great documentary by the History Channel (when they used to actually show history shows) that cleverly descrbes many different events, people, and the conditions of the Dark Ages in Europe. While the video describes things in a pretty basic sense and leaves plenty to be desired, it does an adequate job of bringing a lot of information in a short amount of time. In class, we watched most segments of the video one at a time and discussed what was shown and learned from each.

Crash Course World History #14: "The Dark Ages"

Cleverly made videos that summarize key historical information using fun graphics and witty descriptions. This video is about the period of the Dark Ages in Europe, but does not solely focus on Europe. Instead, they begin there but also point out how great things were in other places in the world at the same time, such as in China and the Middle East.

Crash Course World History #15: "The Crusades"

This video entertainingly puts a different perspective on the Crusades and adds some information not discussed in class. The main reason, that much detail isn't necesssary. On the other hand, while watching try not to get distracted by some of the random graphics or the narrator's of topic rants.

Life in the Middle Ages: Social Structure

Sometimes I show this video in class and sometimes I skip it. It is another clever video that attempts to keep the attention of high school students by presenting the information in a somewhat witty but accessable way. I admit, at times they get a little bit "corny" but if you can bear it you will learn something about everyday life in the Middle Ages.

Life in the Middle Ages: The Knight

Another video I sometimes show but sometimes not. From the same series as the social structure above, get some insight to the life of a knight. Their code of chivalry, their equipment, their duties, their evolution over time.


A PBS production, this video is based on a book of the same name by David Macaulay. Macaulay has an interest in architecture and additionally is rather skilled at drawing. His book and this video teach us about the construction of castles in England from their purpose and construction, to their lasting legacy centuries after their have "faded into obsolesence."


A PBS production, this video is also based on a book of the same name by David Macaulay. In this video, Macaulay describes the construction of cathedrals and the problems that accompanied it. Many of these cathedrals, unlike castles, have not become obsolete, but instead remain in use to this day.

Copyright M. Caggia 2014