The Church in Medieval Life
On April 15, 2019, a massive fire broke out at the Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris, France, destroying significant portions of the structure. Although firefighters were able to salvage the building, the cathedral's wooden ceiling and iconic spire were completely consumed in the blaze. The world mourned the damage to the historic treasure, and responded quickly: less than two full days after the fire, close to $1 billion had already been pledged toward the restoration effort.
Notre-Dame's storied history as a cultural and religious landmark helps to explain the reaction to its burning. The cathedral is considered to be a masterpiece of Gothic architecture, a style that originated in medieval France. The rise of Gothic architecture in religious places to create grander spaces to worship, like Notre Dame, testifies to the powerful role of the Catholic Church in medieval European society and in daily life.
Use the Background Resources menu to help your class explore the question, "How did the Catholic Church shape daily life in the medieval world?" Students can use scholarly perspectives and a background essay that contextualizes the period to examine the ways in which the Church structured the rituals of daily life and asserted social hierarchies. Introductory videos on cathedrals and medieval clergy, essays on architectural elements, and illuminations from the era will guide readers through the religious beliefs and values of this period and how they were made concrete through building forms and artistic styles.
"The Church in Medieval Life." History Hub, ABC-CLIO, 2019, historyhub.abc-clio.com/Search/Display/2207996. Accessed 26 May 2019.
Entry ID: 2207996