What was Europe like in 600 a.d.? The people of Europe had survived many changes to their way of life by 600 a.d. The fall of the Roman Empire was now complete. A period of European history known as the Middle Ages was well under way. Tribes of new people from distant lands had moved into the lands once controlled by the soldiers of Rome. They were called barbarians because of their new ideas and warring way of life. Many battles had been fought between these invading barbarians and the local people. It was a time when “might made right!” New kingdoms had been formed as a result of these wars. But the new invaders kept three parts of the Roman Empire. They adopted the Roman Catholic religion, the Roman culture, and Roman law. As the centuries passed, these barbaric people began to see themselves as the descendants of the Roman Empire. Latin, the language of the Romans, combined with the many barbaric languages to become the modern languages of Italian, French, Spanish, and Portuguese. Likewise, the Germanic languages of English, Dutch, and German would also become influenced by Latin. During the Middle Ages the Roman Catholic Church had great power over these new nations of Europe. It would often influence lords and kings to make new laws and even to begin wars. Knights were the soldiers of the armies of Europe during the Middle Ages. Who were the lords and knights? By the year 800 a.d. one of the barbarian groups, known as the Franks, had come to rule much of Western Europe. Their leader, Charlemagne, became the Emperor of the West and controlled vast armies. In his armies, Charlemagne depended on the many mounted warriors who rode and fought from the horse. He paid these horsemen by giving them conquered lands and the power over the people who lived on those lands. 42  Chapter 4 • Arizona in the World