Segment descriptions

Countries of the World Series
France, Part 1
                      Description: France 3

France, Part 1
:   sampler   252    (66 lecture)

What is the broader meaning of chivalry and how does it hold together the pyramidal political system of feudalism for the nobles?

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The Ancient World 




Ancient Gaul.  The various tribes of ancient Gaul and its conquest by Rome, becoming one of Rome's provinces.   Rome declines and falls in 426 AD. 




Middle Ages:  Feudalism based on pyramidal structure of political, economic, and military obligation, with the king at the top.   Family rule through the noble class which is 5% of the population.  The Bourbon Dynasty is in power until the French Revolution. Manorialism.  Serfs work the arable land, pay 1/3 of the crop to the landlord, 1/10th to the Church. 




The Arab Empire conquers Eastern and Southern Europe.  The stagnation of Western Europe under feudalism.  Moors and Jews are driven out in 1492 after the decline of the Arab Empire.  



Bubonic plague kills 23 million, 1/3 of Europe's population, in 2 years, decimating the serfs. 




Beginning of  the modern world.  Some serfs escape to the cities, join the guild system, become free after escaping 1 year + 1 day.  Capitalist Marco Polo brings unknown goods from the Far East by caravan for profit. 



Reformation of the 1600s.  Martin Luther, a German, and John Calvin, a Swiss, form Protestant movement. 



The Bourbon Dynasty is an absolute divine right monarchy, but Catholicism is still dominant. 




The 18th Century




Henry IV, a Protestant ruler, shows the importance of the business class, the bourgeoisie. The rule of Louis XIV starts at age 14.  He is capable, intelligent.  France, adding land through wars, becomes the most powerful country in Europe through the 1600s.  The cost of the 30-years religious wars between the Catholics and Protestants is paid by the serfs who fail to rebel.



The Versailles Palace is built sparing no expense and costing 2 billion 18th century dollars, paid for by the peasants.  After Louis XIV's death, Louis XV rules for 50 years until the1770s. 




The Enlightenment.  A new way of looking at the world through the rationality of science and education.  A new religious tolerance toward Jews.  Deism is a challenge to the Catholic Church.  Less restrictions against trade.  Legal changes protecting individual rights.