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We have graded each source in this Research Guide according to the following levels.
Brief, easy to read information which may be basic and use informal language. Newspaper articles are generally this level.
Generally includes subject-specific language, provides additional reading and may provide additional background information.
Typically, these will be longer in length, detailed and contain technical information.
Using the CUP Evaluation to critically examine your sources of information.
Charlemagne- Research Starter
By 800, when he was crowned emperor by Pope Leo III, Charlemagne had revived the Roman idea of universal empire, had preserved through the Carolingian Renaissance much of the written legacy of the ancient world, and had established the foundation for a European civilization distinct from that of ancient Rome and from the contemporary Byzantine and Islamic Empires.
Charlemagne's effort to adjust traditional Frankish ideas of leadership and the public good to new currents in society made a crucial difference in European history. His renewal of the Roman Empire in the West provided the ideological foundation for a politically unified Europe, an idea that has inspired Europeans ever since—sometimes with unhappy consequences. His feats as a ruler, both real and imagined, served as a standard to which many generations of European rulers looked for guidance in defining and discharging their royal functions. His religious reforms solidified the organizational structures and the liturgical practices that eventually enfolded most of Europe into a single “Church.” His definition of the role of the secular authority in directing religious life laid the basis for the tension-filled interaction between temporal and spiritual authority that played a crucial role in shaping both political and religious institutions in later western European history.
Illuminating Europe: under Charlemagne's influence, the monasteries shaped the future of Western education, trade, and even handwriting
The original monastic impulse was to be countercultural, to separate from the distractions of the world in order to be single-mindedly devoted to God. Under the emperor Charlemagne and his successors, however, the monasteries were thrust into the center of cultural influence--leading to remarkable accomplishments that forever changed Western Europe, and also to challenges that tested the soul of monasticism.
Medieval Sourcebook: Charlemagne: Letter to Baugaulf of Fulda, c.780-800
This letter illustrates Charlemagne's concern to promote learning in his empire.
Charlemagne and the Carolingian revival- Kahn Academy
Innocent III- Research Starter
At a period of crisis in the Catholic church, Pope Innocent III succeeded in affirming the power of his office against challenges from powerful lay rulers and from the Albigensian heresy, and in so doing became the most powerful pope of the Middle Ages. Through sweeping ecclesiastical reform, he also attempted to mute the arguments of the critics of an increasingly venal, poorly educated, and self-indulgent clergy.
Innocent III- Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia
Innocent came from an important family, the counts of Segni, to which belonged also Gregory IX and Alexander IV. He was trained as a theologian and perhaps as a jurist, and under Celestine III (his uncle) he became (1190) a cardinal. At the time of his election as pope, Innocent seems already to have formed his ecclesiastico-political doctrine that since things of the spirit take preeminence over things of the body, and since the church rules the spirit and earthly monarchs rule the body, earthly monarchs must be in all things subject to the pope; the doctrine that the sphere of the church was limited had no real place in Innocent's idea. He set out immediately after his election to realize his ideal of the pope as ecclesiastical ruler of the world with some secular political power.
Pope Innocent III- Britannica Online (use Level 3)
Innocent III, the most significant pope of the Middle Ages. Elected pope on January 8, 1198, Innocent III reformed the Roman Curia, reestablished and expanded the pope’s authority over the Papal States, worked tirelessly to launch Crusades to recover the Holy Land, combated heresy in Italy and southern France, shaped a powerful and original doctrine of papal power within the church and in secular affairs, and in 1215 presided over the fourth Lateran Council, which reformed many clerical and lay practices within the church.
Pope Innocent III and the Marks of a Great Papacy
Innocent III was one of the three popes to define the doctrine of “no salvation outside the Church,” and whose papacy has been judged both by Church historians and secular scholars as one of the greatest in history. He reigned from AD 1198 until his death in 1216. His papacy ushered in the Thirteenth Century, which some Catholic scholars refer to as “the greatest of centuries.” In the face of many difficult obstacles, he successfully strengthened the Church, clarified its doctrines, suppressed heresies, corrected clerical abuses, and firmly established the Church, in the person of the Pope, as the final arbitrator of disputes between the secular powers.
Pope Innocent III- Good men are almost always bad men
Urban II- Research Starter
By practicing a quiet, astute diplomacy, Urban II laid the foundation for papal supremacy within the medieval Church in Europe and lifted the Papacy to the leadership of Western Christendom during the High Middle Ages.
Pope Urban II- The Middle Ages: An encyclopaedia for students
Pope and reformer. Urban II, best remembered as the pope who called for the First Crusade* , was a church reformer who helped the PAPACY recover from one of its most difficult periods. The final split between the Byzantine and Roman branches of the church had been followed by a struggle between the papacy and the Holy Roman Empire that had threatened to divide the Western Church.
Urban II- Encyclopaedia of World Biography
Urban II (1042-1099) was pope from 1088 to 1099. He laid the foundations for the papal monarchy, and his pontificate marked a turning point in the institutional organization of the papacy and in papal-imperial relations.
Urban II- Britannica Biographies
Pope Urban II was head of the Roman Catholic church (1088–99) and developed ecclesiastical reforms begun by Pope Gregory VII. He launched the Crusade movement, and strengthened the papacy as a political entity.
Pope Urban Calls for Crusades- Global Events
The legacy of the Crusades is decidedly mixed. The religious campaigns helped lift Europe out of the Dark Ages and set Western civilization on its eventual course toward its ascendant position on the world stage. But it came at a steep price: mass slaughter, religious cynicism, and tension between Europe and its eastern neighbors. Certainly, when he took the field at Clermont in 1095, Pope Urban II could never have predicted the wide-ranging effect his speech would have on world history.
The Last Carolingian Exegete: Pope Urban II, the Weight of Tradition, and Christian Reconquest
Pope Urban II (1088—99) was trained at Reims and Cluny before entering the orbit of the Gregorians around Rome. As such, Urban was first trained as an exegete. By considering how Urban used one particular verse (Daniel 2:21) and tracing that verse's intellectual lineage forward from the Fathers, through the Carolingians, we get a clearer picture not just of the vibrancy of eleventh-century intellectual life but also, ultimately, of Urban's understanding of the arc of sacred history. As a trained Carolingian exegete, Urban continued the work of his ninth-century predecessors, calling the Christian people (populus christianus) to mend their ways and strike back against the pagans, so that God would return His hand and allow the Christians to reconquer the Mediterranean world.
Pope Urban II orders the First Crusade (1095)
Martin Luther- Research Starter
Out of his own personal struggle and his conflict with the Church, Luther developed a theology and a religious movement that rejuvenated the Christian faith and had a profound impact on the social, political, and religious thought of Western society.
Martin Luther- Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia
When Martin Luther died, he left behind an evangelical doctrine that spread throughout the Western world and marked the first break in the unity of the Catholic Church. In Germany his socio-religious concepts laid a new basis for German society. His writings, in forceful idiomatic language, helped fix the standards of modern German.
Martin Luther- Great Thinkers of the Western World
Martin Luther was at the center of the storm that named the sixteenth century the period of Reformation. His views changed Western Christianity to such an extent that by the end of his life there existed competing conceptions as to how a person ought to respond to the divine. Scenes from his life such as the nailing of ninety-five theses on the door of the castle church at Wittenburg on the eve of All Saints; 1517, or his dramatic affirmation of Scripture and conscience before the emperor and the assembled nobility of Germany at the Diet of Worms, 1521, have become the stuff of Western historical memory. Very few in history have been the object of more intense condemnation and praise.
How Martin Luther Started a Religious Revolution- National Geographic
Five hundred years ago, a humble German friar challenged the Catholic church, sparked the Reformation, and plunged Europe into centuries of religious strife.
Martin Luther and the German Reformation- History Today
The article focuses on Professor Martin Luther and his role in the German reformation in the early 16th century. Topics include the publication of Luther's book "Ninety Five Theses Against Indulgences" in 1517, the influence of Vicar General Johann von Staupitz of the Augustinians on Luther's life, and the lay movement called Devotio Moderna and Christian humanism.
Luther and the Protestant Reformation: Crash Course World History
Introduction to the Protestant Reformation: Martin Luther- Khan Academy
Reformation- Encyclopaedia Britannica
The religious revolution that took place in the Western church in the 16th century. Its greatest leaders undoubtedly were Martin Luther and John Calvin. Having far-reaching political, economic, and social effects, the Reformation became the basis for the founding of Protestantism, one of the three major branches of Christianity.
English Reformation- Salem Press Encyclopedia
The English Reformation was an offshoot of the larger Protestant Reformation that began in Germany in the early sixteenth century. German monk Martin Luther started the Reformation to protest what he saw as the abuses and excesses of the Roman Catholic Church, including its corruption and claims of sole religious authority. Instead of reforming as Luther had intended, the church excommunicated him. This led to a split in the Catholic Church that eventually gave rise to Lutheranism and many other branches of Protestant Christianity throughout the formerly Catholic Europe.
Scottish Reformation- Salem Press Encyclopedia
The Scottish Reformation transformed the nature and character of politics, society, and worship in Scotland. This transformation was not without its antecedents. Since the 1530’, the need for religious reformation had been apparent among leaders in the kirk (church). Initially the call for change came from within the kirk, but by 1540, Protestant preachers such as George Wishart were calling for separation from the Roman Catholic Church and a faith that was based on the Bible. John Knox, who would later be the chief catalyst of the Reformation in Scotland, converted to Protestantism in 1543. Still, the number of Scottish Protestants was small. To the majority of Scots, the kirk seemed distant, and they were apathetic toward religious matters.
Protestant Reformation- Salem Press Encyclopedia
The Protestant Reformation was a major sixteenth-century European movement, which in its inception intended to reform the beliefs of the Roman Catholic Church and some of its practices deemed as obsolete and corrupt. The conflict divided European Christians into Protestants and Roman Catholics. Many scholars consider it the catalyst for the modern age. As the religious homogeneity of the medieval era broke down, people began to think of their regional interests and individuals felt more empowered to follow their own conscience rather than traditional dogma. This gave way to diverse ideological standpoints, which in turn opened paths to new political, social, and economic goals. The Protestant Reformation was supported by rulers interested in expanding their power and becoming independent from the authority of the Roman Catholic hierarchy. Social changes were already occurring, with a growing commercial bourgeoisie in northern Europe, which weakened the traditional established order, and the rise of powerful city-states and principalities.
An introduction to the Protestant Reformation- Khan Academy
Today there are many types of Protestant Churches. For example, Baptist is currently the largest denomination in the United States but there are many dozens more. How did this happen? Where did they all begin? To understand the Protestant Reform movement, we need to go back in history to the early 16th century when there was only one church in Western Europe - what we would now call the Roman Catholic Church - under the leadership of the Pope in Rome. Today, we call this "Roman Catholic" because there are so many other types of churches (for example, Methodist, Baptist, Lutheran, Calvinist, Anglican - you get the idea).
Reformation- BBC Bitesize
The Reformation changed England’s official religion from Catholicism to the new Protestant faith. What were the real motives for this and was England a stronger country as a consequence of it?
Protestant Reformation- National Geographic
The Protestant Reformation- Crash Course
Introduction to the Protestant Reformation: Varieties of Protestantism- Khan Academy
Learn about the varieties of Protestant religion that emerged from the Reformation.
East- West Schism- Research Starter
The East-West schism was a theological rift that developed during the medieval period and eventually resulted in the division of the Christian church into the Roman Catholic Church of the West and the Eastern Orthodox Church of the East. This rift was the result of many different factors. On one level, it was a political power struggle between the cities of Rome and Constantinople; on another level, it was driven by fundamental theological differences that many felt could not be reconciled and thus had to exist in separate spheres. Still others contend that the schism was inevitable due to the cultural differences at work. Language also played an important, if often overlooked, role in the division; in the East, the predominant language was Greek, while in the West, Latin became the preferred tongue for civil and ecclesiastical communication and record keeping.
Great Schism- New World Encyclopaedia
The Great Schism, also called the East-West Schism, divided Christendom into Western (Latin) and Eastern (Greek) branches, which then became the Roman Catholic Church and the Eastern Orthodox Church, respectively. Usually dated to 1054, the Schism was the result of an extended period of tension and sometimes estrangement between then Latin and Greek Churches. The break became permanent after the sack of Byzantium Constantinople by Western Christians in 1204 during the Fourth Crusade.
The East-West schism- Christian History
Long-standing differences between Western and Eastern Christians finally caused a definitive break, and Roman Catholics and Eastern Orthodox still remain separate.
The great divorce- Christian History
Eastern Christendom has never forgotten the slaughter and the pillage of those three terrible days in 1204. Historian Steven Runciman wrote, "The Crusaders brought not peace but a sword, and the sword was to sever Christendom." Resentment and indignation against Western sacrilege was emblazoned on Eastern hearts. "Even the Saracens [Muslims] are merciful and kind," protested one contemporary Orthodox historian, "compared with these men who bear the Cross of Christ on their shoulders." Historians still engage in genteel debates about when the Great Schism began, but after 1204, it's dear that which had been joined together was now decisively put asunder.
The East West Schism- Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox
Great Schism or East-West Schism (Part 1)- Khan academy
After the fall of the Western Roman Empire in the 5th Century, division between the Latin Church in the West and the Greek-speaking church in the East widen over issues such as primacy of the Bishop of Rome, iconoclasm, filioque and the crowning of Charlemagne as Holy Roman Emperor.
Great Schism or East-West Schism (Part 2)- Khan Academy
After hundreds of years of increasing division between the Latin Church led by the Pope in Rome and the Eastern. Greek church led by the Byzantine Emperor and the Patriarch of Constantinople, the Great Schism in 1054 marks the beginning of the formal division between what will be known as the Roman Catholic Church and the Eastern Orthodox Church.
Crusades- Research Starter
For a two-century period between 1095 and 1270, a succession of European armies set out to recover the Holy Land from occupying Muslims. These expeditions took place at the height of the period famous for European chivalry, and succeeded in establishing "Crusader kingdoms" in the area where Israel and Lebanon are now. These kingdoms came under periodic attack by Muslims who dominated the area, and eventually the last Crusade leader, King Louis IX of France, died en route to the eighth and final Crusade.
From 1096 until the end of the Middle Ages, Christian warriors from Europe undertook a series of military campaigns, or Crusades, designed to take back from the Muslims control of the Holy Land (in the region of Palestine). After centuries of wars of expansion, Muslim powers had conquered some two-thirds of the ancient Christian world, including Palestine, Syria, Egypt, and Anatolia. Christian Crusading expeditions were also undertaken against Muslims in Spain, pagans in eastern Europe, and perceived enemies of the church in Christian Europe.
Children’s Crusade- Britannica
Children’s Crusade, popular religious movement in Europe during the summer of 1212 in which thousands of young people took Crusading vows and set out to recover Jerusalem from the Muslims. Lasting only from May to September, the Children’s Crusade lacked official sanction and ended in failure; none of the participants reached the Holy Land. Nevertheless, the religious fervour it excited helped to initiate the Fifth Crusade (1218). It was arguably the first European youth movement..
Siege of Zara- Britannica
Siege of Zara, (1202), a major episode of the Fourth Crusade; the first attack on a Christian city by a crusading army, it foreshadowed the same army’s assault on Constantinople, the Byzantine capital, in 1203–04.
Saladin, or Salah al-Din, was a famous Muslim hero. He was the sultan, or king, of all the Muslim territories of Egypt, Syria, Palestine and northern Mesopotamia. He also was a great military commander. His greatest success was the capture of Jerusalem in 1187, during the Crusades. Before Saladin’s victory, the city had been held for almost 90 years by the Crusaders, who were Christians from Europe.
Kingdom of Jerusalem- Britannica
Kingdom of Jerusalem, a state formed in 1099 from territory in Palestine wrested from the Muslims by European Christians during the First Crusade and lasting until 1291, when the two surviving cities of the kingdom succumbed to attacks by Muslim armies.
The Crusades: Causes & Goals
The Crusades were a series of military campaigns organised by Christian powers in order to retake Jerusalem and the Holy Land back from Muslim control. There would be eight officially sanctioned crusades between 1095 CE and 1270 CE and many more unofficial ones. As the historian C. Tyerman points out in his God’s War, in many ways 1095 CE was the 1914 CE of the Middle Ages - a perfect storm of moral outrage, personal gain, institutionalised political and religious propaganda, peer pressure, societal expectations, and a thirst for adventure, which all combined to inspire people to leave their homes and embark on a perilous journey to a destination they knew nothing about and where they might meet glory and death or just death.
The Crusades: A Complete History
A comprehensive account of a compelling and controversial topic, whose bitter legacy resonates to this day.
The Crusades - Pilgrimage or Holy War?: Crash Course World History
In which John Green teaches you about the Crusades embarked upon by European Christians in the 12th and 13th centuries. Our traditional perception of the Crusades as European Colonization thinly veiled in religion isn't quite right. John covers the First through the Fourth Crusades, telling you which were successful, which were well-intentioned yet ultimately destructive, and which were just plain crazy.
The Crusades- Khan Academy
A series of videos that include: An introduction to the Crusades Part 1 and 2, Impact of the Crusades and Knights Templar.
Council of Trent- Research Starter
The Council of Trent provided a basis for reform of abuses in the Catholic Church as a response to the Protestant Reformation and defined key Catholic doctrines that remained in effect until Vatican II in the mid-twentieth century.
Council of Trent- Britannica
19th ecumenical council of the Roman Catholic Church, held in three parts from 1545 to 1563. Prompted by the Reformation, the Council of Trent was highly important for its sweeping decrees on self-reform and for its dogmatic definitions that clarified virtually every doctrine contested by the Protestants. Despite internal strife and two lengthy interruptions, the council was a key part of the Counter-Reformation and played a vital role in revitalizing the Roman Catholic Church in many parts of Europe.
The Council of Trent- Renaissance: An Encyclopedia for Students
In 1545 Pope Paul III called bishops and theologians* together in the northern Italian city of Trent to respond to the challenges raised by Protestants and by reformers within the Roman Catholic Church. This meeting, known as the Council of Trent, met over three distinct periods between 1545 and 1563. The decisions it reached had a major impact on the later history of the church.
The Council of Trent- New Catholic Encyclopedia
The Nineteenth Ecumenical Council, which opened at Trent, Italy, on Dec. 13, 1545, and closed there on Dec. 4, 1563, having held 25 sessions. The council's objective was the order and clarification of Catholic doctrine, and legislation for a thorough reform of the Church.
The Council of Trent-Europe, 1450 to 1789: Encyclopedia of the Early Modern World
Considered the nineteenth general council of Western Christendom, the Council of Trent met after much delay in response to the call of both Lutherans and Catholics at the Nuremberg Reichstag of 1524 for "a general free Christian council in German lands" to reform the church.
Catholic Counter-Reformation: Crash Course European History
When the Protestant Reformation broke out in Western Europe, the Catholic Church got the message, at least a little bit. Pope Paul III called a council to look into reforming some aspects of the Catholic Church and try to stem the tide of competing Christian sects popping up all over the place. The Council of Trent changed some aspects of the organization, but doubled down on a lot of the practices that Martin Luther and other reformers had a problem with. Today you'll learn about the Council of Trent, the rise of the Jesuits, and Saint Teresa of Avila.
The Council of Trent in 5 and a half minutes