Middle Ages: Europe
Between the Crusades and the plague, Europe was shaky. In this song about the Middle Ages in Europe, we can help you put the pieces together. Witness the struggle for the Holy Land between the Christians and Muslims. Ever wonder who signed the Magna Carta? Or what life was like for peasants in the Middle Ages? Come find out!
I’m on a crusade for Christendom, the holy cross on my neck like floss,
Steel sword and a black horse. It’s 1095 AD,
The Byzantine Empire is in need, Alexius is calling me
Like I’m his last hope; Urban II is Pope.
I cross foreign lands with dust in my throat,
Thus began the war, 200 years or more,
Straight thuggin’ between the Christians and Muslims.
I’m led by Richard I, the lion hearted,
In a fight against Saladin and all of his men.
With legends like Robin Hood and Ivanhoe,
One king finally crowned, now the cities can grow.
We tell a story that’s right from the pages,
Talk about Europe, talk about the Middle Ages.
In dark times, we knights are the bravest,
Crusades and plagues, It’s dangerous.
Now you’re a serf, but the surf’s never up,
You’re working in the fields, but you’re covered in mud.
You’re not slave, but you can’t leave,
Need permission, like "Excuse me, could I take a walk down the street?"
You pay those high taxes to your lord,
And he protects you from invading hordes.
Knights fight from on horses, ride when their lord orders,
Own land, the strongest forces.
The king does whatever he wants, he’s a jerk,
You need a Magna Carta, "That might work!"
But get set for the men from the North,
Vikings in longboats with oars.
And there’s the No. 1 killer, that’s Attila the Hun,
Marching from the East, so get ready to run.
But even Charlemagne can’t save your hide,
When the plague rages, you’re gonna die.
Flocab Spits Facts:
Science of Skin
During the early Middle Ages, there was no such thing as Germany, Spain or Ireland. Instead, kingdoms and fiefdoms were spread out all over the place. Some kings were more powerful than others and began to consolidate their power, making alliances and taking over territory. Out of all this emerged the nation-state, a sovereign power usually run by a single king. By the end of the Middle Ages, the nations of France, England and Spain had emerged beneath royal monarchies.
The Goths saw this as an opportunity. They wanted territory near them along the Danube River, then held by the Romans. And so they took it, defeating the Roman army at the site. Emboldened by this success, they began to raid farther and farther into Roman territory. They ultimately sacked the city of Rome itself in 410. The Vandals, likewise, attacked the Romans about 27
0. They, too, were after territory and power. The Romans didn't like them, which is why someone who tags their name on a wall today is accused of vandalism.
In exchange for protection from the local noblemen, they were obliged to be foot soldiers in times of war. Even if they owned their own farm, they still had to pay the powerful for protection against thieves and invaders. Though they were free, peasants lived a hardscrabble life of work and toil and were often taken advantage of by the "noble" classes.
Knights were vassals - that is, they promised to lend their military might to a duke or baron in exchange for large tracts of land. They practiced their craft - fighting with swords, axes, and lances - constantly. When there was no battle to be fought, they would often compete in contests to show who was best. They lived by a code of honor called chivalry, which was based on courage, loyalty, and kind treatment of others - usually noblewomen. There's a common misconception that knights couldn't move around in their armor and had to be hoisted into the saddle. This wasn't true. They couldn't exactly skip, but they were plenty mobile. In the scheme of things, they had a pretty nice life. Until another knight began hacking at them.
Pages were the little brothers of the squires. They served in various capacities at the court of a knight or king, running errands and bringing messages. They learned manners, how to read and write, how to ride a horse, and began to study swordsmanship. At age 13 the page graduated to life as a squire.
If we all came from Ethiopia hundreds of thousands of years ago, then we're all one people. So why are white people light- skinned and black people dark- skinned? The answer, mostly, is vitamins.
All people originally had brown skin, most likely. Some humans decided to move north, where there was food, but the climate was colder, with shorter days and less sunlight. The people with dark skin started dying faster than those with light skin, because people with light skin were able to soak up vitamin D better. Meanwhile, some people stuck around Ethiopia or moved south. Among these people, the light- skinned people started dying faster, because dark skin was better equipped to handle the sun's rays. Genetically speaking, these are tiny, tiny differences.
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