Medieval World History
This year in Social Studies, you will be studying "Medieval World History." But what does that mean?
"Medieval History" is the time period from A.D. 500 to A.D. 1500. Medieval is a synonym for "Middle Ages." But the middle of what?
Historians often divide history into three separate time periods. The first is the Classical Period. The Classical Period is what sixth graders in Carroll County schools study. It includes all of "early history" and generally ends at the year A.D. 500. The third time period is the Modern Period. The Modern Period began in approximately A.D. 1500. Why 1500? Many events happened around that year that led to the modern period: Columbus 'discovered' the new world; Guttenberg invented the printing press; Gunpowder was integrated into war in Europe. These and other events led to the decline of feudalism and the manorial system in Europe (we will be studying both of these systems this year).
So, the Medieval Period is the time between Classical History and Modern History.
Medieval specifically refers to this history of Europe. Does that mean we will be studying European history all year?
No. After reviewing the skills historians use to study history, we will learn about the Medieval History of Europe. But then we will learn what was happening around the world during the same period.
Our study this year:
- Unit 1: Skills Used to Interpret the Past (map skills, timelines, primary documents, graphs and tables, types of resources and features, etc)
- Unit 2: Medieval Europe (feudalism, manorial system, castles and war, the role of the knight, the role of the Church)
- Unit 3 (part 1): Middle East (geography of the Arabian Peninsula, beginnings and beliefs of Islam, the Crusades)
- Unit 3 (part 2): Africa (geography of northern Africa, development of civilizations, trade networks)
- Unit 4: Asia (lifestyle and rule of the Mongol empire, Chinese government, Japanese cultural diffusion and religion)
- Unit 5: Americas (lifestyle and civilization of the Maya, Aztec, and Inca)
Important info about measuring time:
A.D. = anno Domini (a Roman phrase that means "in the year of our Lord" and is used to indicate years after 0, the supposed year Jesus was born)
C.E. = common era (also used to indicate years after 0)
A.D. and C.E. essentially mean the same thing. A.D. has traditionally been used but due to its religious connotations, C.E. has been introduced as a secular (non-religious) was of indicating years.
B.C. = Before Christ/Before the Christian era (used to indicate years before 0, the supposed year Jesus was born)
B.C.E. = before the common era (also used to indicate years before 0)
B.C. and B.C.E. essentially mean the same thing. Again, B.C. has traditionally been used but has a religious meaning so B.C.E. has been introduced as a secular option.
Counting centuries: A century is a time period of 100 years. The first century is considered the years from 0 to A.D. 100. The second century is from 100 to 200. Students are often confused when "naming" centuries because the numerical name of the century is 1 greater than the numbers of the years. For example, the years from 1200 to 1300 are considered the 13th century. The year 743 is part of the 8th century. We are now in the 21st century.