Monday, 13 November 2017

Social Sciences. Unit 5. What was life like in the Christian kingdoms? (1st part)


(pages 12 and 13)

From 7th to 12th centuries, at the beginning of the Middle Ages, the inhabitants of the lands conquered by Christians lived in rural areas. The cities were not yet well-developed. 

The system of social organisation in the Christian kingdoms was called feudalism (feudalismo).

They were different social groups: Kings, nobles and clergymen (clero) and peasants (campesinos).

The king needed the nobles to help him defend his kingdom. The king divided  his land into fiefs (feudos) and gave them to the nobles or lords and clergymen in exchange for their loyalty.

Nobles or lords, knights and clergymen gave part of their lands to peasants to work. Many of them depended on the lords' protection and had to pay taxes to them.

Soldiers or knights defended the lord's  lands from invaders.

In the monasteries the clergy, especially priests (curas) and monks (monjes) were important members of society. Monks copied and translated important books.

Most people were peasants. They worked o the land, growing crops and raising animals. People produced everything they needed, so there wasn't very much trade.

The non-privileged groups spoke a less elegant version of Latin. This was an adaptation to the needs and accents of each region and the origin of the Romance languages, like Galician, Spanish, Portuguese and Catalan. Only one language of the Iberian Peninsula did not have a Latin origin: Basque. 

The Christians built many religious buildings, for example San Martín de Frómista Church in Palencia.

EXERCISES. Society in the Christian Kingdoms (1st part).

1. What does feudalism mean? What was a feud?
2. Do you think this model of society was fair for everybody? Why?
3. Castile (Castilla) takes its name from the many castles that exist in its territory. Why do you think there are so many of them?
4. What is a Romance language? How many Romance languages are there? Do you speak any? 


1. ___________________ did all the work and were  not free.
2. ___________________ received their lands  from the king.
3. ___________________ defended the lord's  lands from invaders.
4. ___________________ copied and translated important books.

Write Christian Kingdoms or al-Andalus.

a. Monks spent their time translating and copying important books.
b. People were governed by lords who lived in castles. Soldiers defended the lord's lands from invaders.
c. People traded in the souk. They bought and sold things like silk and pottery.
d. The ruler was called the caliph. Sometimes he was represented by an emir.
e. People were divided into three groups: the clergy, nobles and peasants.

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