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EARLY MIDDLE AGES After the third century Roman control over its northern territories gradually declined, mainly due to Germanic invasions and the Roman military weakness. The Roman Empire was divided in Western and Eastern by Emperor Theodosius in 395, each one ruled by one of his sons. In 476 the last emperor of the Western Empire, Romulus Augustulus was deposed. Some historians consider this date as the beginning of the Middle Ages. After the fall of the Roman Empire in the fifth century, three civilizations dominated Europe: • The Germanic Kingdoms • The Byzantine Empire • Islam THE GERMANIC KINGDOMS During the 5th and the 6th centuries, successive Germanic invasions put an end to the political unity of the Roman Empire. As a result, different kingdoms were created. The Germanic peoples came from the coasts of the Baltic Sea, from the forests in southern Scandinavia to the marshy areas in northern Germany and present-day Denmark. These peoples moved southwards, attracted by the splendour of Rome, in search of fertile lands and a better climate. The German peoples were organized in tribes. The maximum authority was head by the assembly of warriors and freemen. The assembly chose the chief, who made the final decisions about peace and war. The kingdoms originated were the following ones: • The Franks, in France • The Visigoths, in Spain • The Ostrogoths, and later the Lombards, in Italy • The Angles and the Saxons, in Britain THE MIDDLE AGES Dark Ages (500 CE- 1000 CE)- scholars named this as a time when the forces of darkness (barbarians) overwhelmed the forces of light (Romans) Rise of influence of barbarians as Roman Emperors had granted barbarian mercenaries land with the Roman Empire in return for military service and it was these barbarians who eventually became the new rulers IN THE IBERIAN PENINSULA At the beginning of the 6th century the Visigoths, expelled from Gaul, went to the Iberian Peninsula and founded their kingdom, which capital was Toledo. Their kingdom disappeared after the Muslim invasion in 711.

Eva Hugas


WORKING WITH VOCABULARY Read the text and match the words in bold with the pictures:

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TRUE OR FALSE? 1. The Germanic peoples took control of the Roman northern territories due to the Roman military weakness. 2. The fall of the Roman Empire took place in the third century. 3. The Germanic peoples came from the Baltic Sea, Scandinavia, northern Germany and present-day Denmark. 4. The Germanic peoples were organized in tribes and their maximum authority was the emperor. 5. The kingdoms originated after the fall of the Roman Empire were: the Franks in France; the Visigoths in Spain; the Ostrogoths and later the Lombards in Italy; the Angles and the Saxons in Britain.

ANSWER THE FOLLOWING QUESTIONS: 1. What date is considered by most historians as the beginning of the Middles Ages? 2. Why is this time known as the Dark Ages?

3. What happened in the Iberian Peninsula? Eva Hugas


EARLY MIDDLE AGES