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History and Civics Question Bank for Class IX – “Medieval Europe”

Q1. What do Middle Ages in the context of Europe denote?

Ans: Middle Age denotes a period between the fall of the ancient Roman empire and the beginning of Renaissance.

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Q2. What do you understand by the ‘Dark Age’?

Ans: At the close of the fifth century the Roman Empire was taken over by barbarian tribes. Thus this period is referred to as the ‘Dark Ages’.

Q3. From where is the word feudal derived? What does it mean?

Ans: Feudal comes from the word ‘feud’, which meant plots of land held on condition or service.

Q4. How did feudalism reduce the power of the King?

Ans: Land, the source of power in the feudal system, belonged to the King. But repeated attacks by barbaric hordes had completely shattered the economy of western Europe. As a result the King distributed land among his retinue against an oath of fidelity. Thus feudalism entailed a gradual decrease in the power of the King.

Q5. Who was the lord in the feudal hierarchy? What special right did he have?

Ans: The King was the lord in the feudal hierarchy. He parcelled out his land to his men and those who received the land were called vassals. The lord had special right to receive specific services and payments from the vassal.

Q6. What is homage and fealty?

Ans: Homage meant public avowal of allegiance by a vassal to his lord. The oath of fealty was the duty and loyalty owed by a vassal or tenant to his lord.

Q7. How was the feudal society organized?

Ans: The feudal society was a graded society. The King was the head followed by Dukes and Earls who joined the upper nobility. They were followed by their own vassals the Barons, who in turn were followed by the Knights. The Knights were the lowest among the feudal lords. The lowest category of the feudal system was that of the peasants.

Q8. Who was a serf? What was corvee?

Ans: The lowest category of the feudal system was that of the peasants. Serfs were the lowest rung of the peasants. The serf was always in feudal servitude and was bound to his master’s land and transferred with it to a new owner. The serf was subjected to forced labour or corvee that was extracted by the lord as and when he liked.

Q9. Who were the villeins? In what way were they different from the serfs?

Ans: Villeins belonged to the peasant category but they were one grade higher than the serfs. Unlike the serfs, the villeins had to work on the lord’s fief for a ‘fixed’ number of days, while on the other days they were free to work on their fields which they received from their overlord. The villeins in lieu of their land had to give part of the produce of their land to their lords.

Q10. What was a manor? How was the manor divided?

Ans: The lord’s farm was called a manor. A manor comprised a large farm, a pasture area and common woods, which supplied fuel and timber. The manor was divided into demesne and mesne. Demesne was the land used by the lord for his personal use while mesne was the land given to the villeins and serfs.

Q11. When and where did the towns appear? Name some of the towns of the medieval period.

Ans: Towns appeared from the eleventh century onwards in Europe. Genoa, Florence and Venice were some of the great trading towns. During this time London and Bristol in England, Cologne in Germany and Reims in France were very small.

Q12. What was a bourg? What was its function?

Ans: Bourg was the fortress of the lords. They were constructed in order to shelter the population in times of war, or to check the incursions of the barbarians. They were essentially military posts and had no trace of urban life in them.

Q13. What were the three categories of members in the guilds?

Ans: The three categories of members in the guilds were – masters, journeymen and apprentices.

Q14. What is monasticism? What was the rule drawn by St. Benedict?

Ans: Monasticism was to do with the life of monks based on austerity and penance. St. Benedict tried to correct this. He drew up a rule for the monks which asked the monks to avoid all extremes and asked them to live together in a community like a family and to perform daily chores and observe strict rules of discipline.

Q15. How did the Church look after education in the society?

Ans: When lay education had disappeared, the Church did gre^t service by being an important centre of education. Gradually the Church had the monopoly over education and it was imparted in monasteries. Since Latin was the medium of instruction, only monks received this education. While study of theology was enphasized, science was totally neglected.

Q16. What was the primary reason behind the split of the Church?

Ans: The primary reason behind the split of the Church was the rivalry between the Eastern and Western Roman Empire. Both the Roman Catholic Church and the Eastern or Greek Orthodox Church wanted to assert their respective supremacy.

Q17. Who was the Emperor who followed the policy of Caesaropapism? What do you understand by it?

Ans: Eastern Roman Emperors like Justinian followed the policy of Caesaropapism. According to it, the Emperor was not only the absolute head of the State but also of the Church.

Q18. When did the servile class become a subject of study? Who was the writer who exposed the sufferings of the peasants?

Ans: The servile class became a subject of study in the thirteenth and the fourteenth century. William Langland depicted the sufferings of the English peasants in his ‘Vision of Piers Plowman’.

Q19. What is the Romanesque style of architecture?

Ans: The Romanesque style of architecture was heavily influenced by the classical architecture of Rome. The churches built under this style were simple, had spacious central halls and round arches with rows of columns. The ceiling was barrel vaulted with massive walls to support the heavy ceiling. It made the interior of the church very dark.

Q20. What is the Gothic style of architecture?

Ans: The Gothic style of architecture flourished in France which was highlighted in the cathedrals. The churches, under this style, had a pointed arch and the walls now had windows. The use of stained glass windows was a special feature of this style.

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