CORE 131
Western Civilization, Part II


Study Essay Questions for Second Exam

Remember:  in your exams you will be asked to write a clear, legible essay, using complete sentences and paragraphs.  You should plan your essay in advance.  You should use specific details in your essay, such as proper names, dates and terminology.  

  1. How did the new civilization emerging in Western Europe at the begin of the Middle Ages combine the heritage of Romans and the Germans?
  2. How did the Franks and the Carolingian family succeed briefly in uniting a Western European empire, but ultimately fail? 
  3. How did feudal politics and manorial economics help the West recover at the end of the Early Middle Ages?
  4. How did more centralized governments form in Western Europe during the High Middle Ages? 
  5. How did the the creation of the medieval papacy lead to fights with kings and other religious movements during the High and Late Middle Ages? 
  6. How did the revival of trade & towns change the West during the High and Late Middle Ages? 
  7. How did Late Medieval and Early Modern monarchs concentrate still more power in their hands? 
  8. How did the Renaissance promote the West's transition into modernity? 
  9. How did Early Modern reforms in religion culminate in wars over religion?
  10. How did the "Voyages of Discovery" begin colonial imperialism by Europeans?

  1. Discuss the changing attitudes toward religion from the beginning of the Middle Ages to 1648. You might consider the following questions: What role did religion play in people's lives? What were the institutions and reforms of medieval Christianity? What groups were outside of and threatened the Christian church? How did the papacy assert its control? How then did the Reformation create Protestant faiths and redefine Catholicism?
  2. Discuss the changes in culture from the Middle Ages to the Renaissance. You might consider what new ideas and institutions determined philosophy and theology, what forms of literature flourished, and what were the changes in artistic styles and subjects for each period.
  3. Describe the development of political states in Western Europe from the Fall of Rome to 1648. You might consider the following questions: What kind of governments replaced Roman Imperial rule; what did the Carolingians do to create unity? What new methods of rule established states in the High Middle Ages. How were these then changed through the Late Middle Ages and by the Commercial Revolution into the Early Modern Period?
  4. Explain the characteristic social institutions and behaviors which defined the Early Middle Ages (ca. 450-1000). You might consider the following questions: How was the surviving western Roman World different from societies of Byzantium and Islam? How did some Germanic kingdoms succeed in building new stability? What new practices did the western Christian Church emphasize? What were the Carolingian efforts at civilization and why did they fail?
  5. Explain the characteristic social institutions and behaviors which defined the High Middle Ages (ca. 1000-1300). You might consider what new ideas, innovations or methods transformed the political structures, the economy, the authority of the Church, education and thought, art and literature.
  6. Explain the characteristic social institutions in Western Europe which ended the Late Middle Ages and began the Early Modern Period (ca. 1300-1648). You might consider what happened to overturn old ways and promote the new regarding  the environment and knowledge about the world, the economy, the power of princes, and people's belief systems.

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