If someone were to ask me, two months ago, "What comes to my mind when I hear the words, the Middle Ages?" I would have replied with something I had seen from some movie with Heath Ledger in it.
The Middle Ages began with the fall of the Roman Empire and ended with a great renaissance. The Middle Ages were shaped by its nobility, church, and middle class.
The nobility are the base of the medieval triangle. A noble man is more often described as a strong, great warrior. He is the hero that provides a somewhat sense of leadership. A perfect example of noble hero in its purest form is displayed in The Cid. The Cid is a twelfth-century Spanish epic that recounts the heroic El Cid Campeador. El Cid was loyal to no one but his followers and was pretty much a loner. While strong and brave, at the same time, he was a master of tactics. He avoided putting his men in danger at all costs and only took a proportional amount of military booty for himself. El Cid was what a noble hero was supposed to be (Cantor, ed. 3-4).
During the Middle Ages, society established what historians, today, call the "Shame Culture." This culture says that a noble man should never be one to fall victim to shame, nor is he one to hesitate when being faced by the opposition (Cantor, ed. 3). The French epic Roland shows the difficult choices facing a noble hero that is trying to rise from the pressures of the shame culture. During the war between Charlemagne and the Moslem Moors in Spain in the late eighth century, Charlemagne only lost one battle. That battle just happened to have been led by his nephew, Count Roland. Roland should have summoned for Charlemagne's help earlier, but out of fear of him shaming the French army and being looked at as a coward; Roland hesitated. The poet raises the issue of the line between military honor and reckless folly. That is a question still asked today (Cantor, ed. 7).
In 900 A.