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Ch. 9 The Late Middle Ages: Social & Political Breakdown (1300 - 1453)

- Black Plague - Hundred Years' War - The Great Schism - Medieval Russia

Luka Zischka

on 21 September 2018

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Transcript of Ch. 9 The Late Middle Ages: Social & Political Breakdown (1300 - 1453)

Ch. 9 The Late Middle Ages: Social & Political Breakdown
Outline of Chapter
I. The Black Death
A. Preconditions and Causes of the Plague
B. Popular Remedies
C. Social and Economic Consequences
E. New Conflicts and Opportunities

II. The Hundred Years’ War and the Rise of National Sentiment
A. The Causes of the War
B. Progress of the War

III. Ecclesiastical Breakdown and Revival: The Late Medieval Church
A. The Thirteenth-Century Papacy
B. Boniface VIII and Philip the Fair
C. The Avignon Papacy (1309–1377)
D. John Wycliffe and John Huss
E. The Great Schism (1378–1417) and the Conciliar Movement to 1449

IV. Medieval Russia
A. Politics and Society
B. Mongol Rule (1243–1480)

1. What were the underlying and precipitating causes of the Hundred Years’ War? What advantages did each side have? Why were the French finally able to drive the English almost entirely out of France?

2. What were the causes of the Black Death, and why did it spread so quickly throughout Western Europe? Where was it most virulent? How did it affect European society? How important do you think disease is in changing the course of history?

3. Why did Pope Boniface VIII quarrel with King Philip the Fair? Why was Boniface so impotent in the conflict? How had political conditions changed since the reign of Pope Innocent III in the late twelfth century, and what did that mean for the papacy?

4. How did the church change from 1200 to 1450? What was its response to the growing power of monarchs? How great an influence did the church have on secular events?

5. What was the Avignon papacy, and why did it occur? How did it affect the papacy? What relationship did it have to the Great Schism? How did the church become divided and how was it reunited? Why was the conciliar movement a setback for the papacy?

6. Why were kings in the late thirteenth and early fourteenth centuries able to control the church more than the church could control the kings? How did kings attack the church during this period?
Black Plague
Hundred Years War
Medieval Church
Medieval Russia
Boccaccio’s Decameron
It is a structured narrative
Begins with a description of the Black Death and then becomes the story of seven women and three men who are fleeing Florence by going to a country villa
Over a period of ten days each of the people tell ten stories (100 in all)
Topics covered range from stories about fame and fortune to tales of love that end tragically.
The book shows the common psychological outlook of the plague period by showing how “The wheel of fortune” can rise and fall with external influences.
The book is a satire on the Roman Catholic Church, its priest, and beliefs. This reflects the widespread discontent with the church in the aftermath of the plague
Vernacular Literature
What were the political, economic, and social effects of the Black Death??
As always the Jews were given the blame for the problems of Europe.
They were accused on poisoning the water supply and practicing witchcraft
Jews were massacred, especially in the cities along the Rhine River valley
Jews were driven out of their homes
In Strassbourg 200 Jews were burned to death by an angry mob
Jewish Persecution
The authorities, & the human & divine laws that ruled society almost disappeared.
They died or shut themselves up with their families
Many of the leaders moved away from the cities & retreated to the country
B/c they wanted limited contact with the outside world
Social Breakdown
The eruption of the Bubonic and Pneumonic Plagues could not have come at a worse time in Euro. History
Euro. Civ. over-expanded
Not enough land used for agriculture (farming) – STARVING
Mongol & Ottoman invaders were putting pressure on the frontiers and disrupting trade routes
Many areas of Europe were slipping in economic recession
Timing of the Black Death
Issues of Race in Early Middle Ages
As large numbers of people migrated from one part of Europe to another, people of different ethnic or racial backgrounds lived side by side
Racism was not based on skin color or decent, but rather on language, customs, and laws
Early in the time period legal dualism existed and people were allowed to keep their own laws and customs
In Spain Mudejars (Muslims) received guarantees of separate but equal judicial rights (legal protections)
The great exception to this was England's treatment of the Irish
The English practiced racial discrimination.
The legal structure was English and the Irish were not given access to the courts, Irish people could not make wills, and murder of an Irishman was not a crime
Problems of Race
Christine de Pisan
The most gifted and prolific French writer of the later middle ages
She wrote books and poems about love, religion, and morality
She wrote a Biographic History of Charles V
She also wrote about Joan of Arc
Vernacular Literature
Francois Villon Poet
Was once a member in a band of wondering thieves that harassed the countryside after the one hundred years war
He wrote about the underworld of the middle ages, thieves, prostitutes and other dark images
Villon was able to give voice and depth to those who populated the lower levels of society and their spiritual concerns.
In 1456 he wrote “Le Lais” a humorous poem about his last will and testament an the possessions he leaves behind both real and imagined
Vernacular Literature
The victims ate lunch with their friends and dinner with their ancestors.
Quote from Boccaccio’s “The Decameron”
Dante : The Divine Comedy
Considered the central epic poem of Italian Literature
It is an imaginative vision of a Christians afterlife
It represents the culmination of the medieval world view as it had developed in the church
The poem is written in the first person and tells of Dante journey through the realms of the Christian dead
The Roman writer vigil is his guide through hell where the sign over the entrance say “abandon all hope” and purgatory
Hell is divided into nine circles which are again sub-divided by the sin you committed
Purgatory is divided into ten levels, you must be sinless to enter and never look back. This signifies that you must make a clear change in your ways.
Dante’s ideal woman Beatrice guides him through heaven
Heaven has nine crystal spheres. Dante says that his vision of heaven is the one that his eyes can see. This means that the Christian soul stops at the level applicable to it. The more spiritually developed a soul the further it can go.
Vernacular Literature
Death Triumphant !: A Major Artistic Theme
People become obsessed with death & death imagery
Tomb sculpture is
Highly decorated & elaborate sarcophagi went form portraying Lords & ladies in the bloom of life, to depictions decomposed bodies being eaten by worms, draped in rags
Effect on Art
The plague had no permanent effect on politics
But ...
The Hundred Years War was suspended in 1348
Because so many soldiers had died, but it was restarted again
City councils were decimated
Many nobles and their families died
The legal system closed down & wills and business transactions actions could not be completed
Political Effects
Rural Areas
Entire villages died out & many farms abandoned
Whole families died
Homes & property left unclaimed
Shortage of labor
Landlords stopped freeing their serfs
Led to peasant revolts
The Jacquerie in 1358
The Peasants revolt in England during 1381
The High mortality rate had seriously disrupted economic & social relationships
“I had to laugh,” the merchant said, “The doctors purged, and dosed, and bled; “And proved through solemn disputation “The cause lay in some constellation. “Then they began to die.” “First they sneezed,” the merchant said, “And then they turned the brightest red, Begged for water, then fell back. With bulging eyes and face turned black, they waited for the flies.”
A Little Macabre Ditty (2)
“A sickly season,” the merchant said, “The town I left was filled with dead, and everywhere these queer red flies crawled upon the corpses’ eyes, eating them away.” “Fair make you sick,” the merchant said, “They crawled upon the wine and bread. Pale priests with oil and books, bulging eyes and crazy looks, dropping like the flies.”
A Little Macabre Ditty
Lancing a Buboe
Large black swellings about the size of an egg on the groin or in the armpit, which oozed blood and pus.
Extreme pain
Heavy cough and sweating
Every body fluid produced a foul smell
Death within 4 to 5 days
Imagine that you and your friends had been out together last Friday night at the football game.
Today just a few days later you find out that all of your friends had be killed by a mysterious and unexplained sickness
This evening you go home to find that many of your neighbors have developed the symptoms and some have already died
How would you react to such a situation?
Climate changes caused by the little Ice Age led to:
Colder and wetter weather that decreased the crop yield
This occurred when population was increasing
Famine became commonplace in Europe
Timing Continued
In the later middle ages there was a change away from legal pluralism toward legal homogeneity and an emphasis on blood decent.
Competition for church offices and the cultural divisions created by language or strange traditions began to break down legal pluralism
Nationalism and the desire to have a the state having one language and customs, made it harder for immigrants
In Bohemia the Dalimil Chronicle (a survey of Bohemian history) was filled with hostility toward Germans
The Guilds in the town of Beeskow passed laws to forbade the apprenticeships of people of Slavic background.
In Ireland laws were passed by guilds limiting membership to the English only
Statute of Kilkenny declared that Irish and English could not intermarry and that English was the state language
Problems of Race
Geoffrey Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales
Influenced by the Decameron
Story of Pilgrims on way to visit the tomb of Saint Thomas Becket
The characters represent all classes of society
The pilgrims agree to tell four stories each, the one with the best story shall have his trip paid for by the others
The stories all reflect the social position of the teller
Some stories make fun of others in the group
At the end no winner is chosen and not everyone has told a story
Chaucer apologized at the end of the book for any statements that seemed inappropriate
Vernacular Literature
Randomness of Death by Plague
Medieval Art & the Plague
Bring out your dead!
Medieval Art & the Plague
The Education community suffered
Schools & university’s were closed or abandoned
16 of the 40 professors at Cambridge died
The Church suffered the loss of many priest & no one was left to take the confession or conduct rituals of the church
Cultural Effects
A response to the longstanding economic & political grievances in the countryside worsened by warfare.
The rebels (peasants) were defeated by aristocratic (wealthy) armies.
The Jacquerie, 1358
Cities: hit the hardest
Business: disrupted
Debtors died & creditors found they had no way to collect payment
Not only had the debtor died but most likely his entire family
Building projects came to a complete stop or were abandoned
Craftsmen died & could not be replaced
Labor shortages
led to higher wages
Less people
Meant that there was extra food & goods to sell & prices fell
The standard of living for survivors increased
Economic Disruption
And then he sneezed……….!
“I came away,” the merchant said, “You can’t do business with the dead. “So I’ve come here to ply my trade. “You’ll find this to be a fine brocade…”
A Little Macabre Ditty (3)
Flagellanti: Self-inflicted “penance” for our sins!
Attempts to Stop the Plague
Winter of 1348
Southern France - port of Marseilles
North Africa - city of Tunis.
Spring of 1349
Spain - inland trade route
Northern France – inland trade route
Summer 1349
Florence, Rome, Paris, & London.
Mid-year 1350
The Plague is throughout Europe
Rapid Spread of the Plague
In Oct 1347 twelve Genoese trade ship pulled into the harbor of Messina in Sicily.
The sailors on these ships were all dying
The ships were coming from the region of the Black Sea where they had loaded a cargo of goods for trade and without their knowledge had also taken on the seeds of their own destruction {fleas infected with Plague carried aboard by rats}
Where did it come from?
The cumulative effect of the Wars, Economic instability and weather weakened the Primary institutions of European life so completely that the Plague, when it arrived, had an even more intense impact on society.
In fact the Plague was the culminating event of what was to be the perfect storm of disaster and catalyst of change throughout Europe.
Timing continued
A population crisis developed
Climate changes in Europe produced three years of crop failures between 1315-17 because of excessive rain.
As many as 15% of the peasants in some English villages died.
One consequence of starvation & poverty was susceptibility to disease.
The Famine of 1315-1317
This art was commissioned by churches,
Kings, and town councils to be displayed
In public places
Painting took on a brutal aspect as well. In the Dance of Death {left} skeletons mingle with living men in scenes of daily life. This interaction of the living and the dead is played out in paintings of the harvest, hunters in the forest, etc.

The contrast is horrifying because they depict the merriest of human activities while reminding us of the loss of life.
It is a cruel form of art which demonstrates the effect of The Plague on Europe’s Psyche
The Danse Macabre
Mortality Rate
50% - 75%
So many people died that the bodies had to be treated like waste, poured into trenches, no tears, no prayers.
A complete failure of the churches duty to care for the souls of the faithful.
Social Breakdown
Overcrowded & unsanitary conditions found in Europe created a breading ground for the Plague
Waste was dumped in the street
Great for the Rats
Large extended families lived in close proximity
Houses=18-25 ppl/2-3 rooms
People slept on straw or hay
Perfect habitat for fleas
Rapid Spread of the Plague
Fear created a cruel policy toward the sick
The sick & their belongings were avoided
The rules of social behavior were forgotten and people looked for care from any who would help regardless of social rank or perceived impropriety (men caring for women)
Mothers even refused to care for their own children
What would you have done?
Reactions to Fear
An obsession with death.
Medieval Art & the Plague
Peasant Revolt in 1381 was put down by King Richard II [r. 1377-1399].
After charges of tyranny, Richard II was forced to abdicate in 1300.
Parliament elected Henry IV [r. 1399-1413], the first ruler from the House of Lancaster.
Henry avoided war taxes.
He was careful not to alienate the nobility.
Therefore, a truce was signed ending French and British hostilities [for the time being, at least].
Trouble in England
A Doctor’s Robe
Attempts to Stop the Plague
Septicemic Form: almost 100% mortality rate.
The Symptoms
The Culprits
“Golden Circle” obligatory badge
“Jew” hat
Programs against the Jews
Attempts to Stop the Plague
Human is infected!
Flea bites human and regurgitates blood into human wound.
multiply in
flea’s gut.
Flea’s gut clogged with bacteria.
Flea drinks rat blood that carries the bacteria.
The Disease Cycle
Nominal cause:
English king Edward III’s claim on French throne, thwarted by accession of first Valois king, Philip VI (r. 1328–1350)
Larger cause:
English-French territorial, commercial, & cultural rivalry
French weakness:
larger & wealthier, but more internal discord
Hundred Years’ War (1337–1453)
First phase (under Edward III)
Flanders allies with England, recognizing Edward as king of France, 1340
English seize Calais, 1346
English rout near Poitiers, 1356; French king John II taken captive
1360 treaty: John II ransomed, English claims in France recognized, Edward renounces claim to French throne
Second phase (Treaty of Troyes)
English war effort flags due to peasant revolts
Recommences with English victory at Agincourt, 1415
Duchy of Burgundy joins English
Treaty of Troyes, 1420: named English Henry V successor to French Charles VI, but both soon die
Hundred Years’ War (cont.)
Third phase (Joan of Arc)
French teenage peasant Joan of Arc declares call from God to deliver besieged Orléans from English
Tired English repulsed, followed by string of French victories
Joan captured 1430, tried & burned as heretic at English-held Rouen
English forced back, conclude war with Calais as only French possession (1453)
68 years of peace, 44 of war; France devastated, but national feeling awakened; English & French peasants suffer most from taxes & services
Hundred Years’ War (cont.)
Papal monarchy established by
Pope Innocent III
Strengthened the church politically, but weakened it spiritually
’s successors:
Fought against rulers trying to tax church staff
Broadened papal powers of appointment
Popes could now have an influence on the appointment of kings & queens
The demise of
took away the main enemy of the church
Without this popular enemy the church's powers seemed excessive
Late Medieval Church
decrees (makes) new taxes need papal consent
King Philip the Fair
doesn't want to pay the tax
Cuts off flow of money to Rome (doesn't pay the Pope)
Unam Sanctam
Unam Sanctam
states that every ruler is a "subject" to the spiritual ruler of the church
French army, by orders of
King Philip
, assaults
is eventually freed
But died later due to the assualt


Popes never again seriously threaten European rulers
Boniface VIII
Philip the Fair
Pope Clement V
moves papal court here to escape strife of Rome

To get needed revenue, papal taxes go up, and sale of
Pope John XXII
(1316–1334): most powerful Avignon pope
Avignon Papacy (1309–1377)
followers of
English spokesman for rights of royalty against popes
Challenged indulgences & papal authority
Stated that a person's morality mattered more than their religious rank/authority
Believed that religious followers should voluntarily live in poverty
Like Jesus
John Wycliffe
(1384) &
John Huss
Urban VI
Clement VII
—rival popes
England & allies support
France & allies support
Conciliar Theory
: idea that a representative council could regulate actions of pope
Council of Pisa
But both refused to step down
Council elected
Alexander V
Now there are 3 contending popes
Council of Constance
(1414–1417): provided for regular councils every few years
Council of Basel
(1431–1449): height of conciliar government of church; negotiated directly with heretics (Hussites)
Results of conciliar movement
Greater religious responsibility to laity & secular governments
Great Schism
Pope Boniface VIII
Pope Timeline
sweep through China, Islamic world, & Russia, 13th Century
Ghengis Khan
(1155–1227) invades Russia
Russian cities become tribute-paying principalities of part of
Mongol Empire
known as the
Golden Horde
Russians forced into
Mongol military service

Women taken as wives/concubines, some sold into slavery
of Russian society
1380: beginning of Mongol decline in Russia;
Ivan the Great
ends Mongol control in Russia
Mongol Rule in Russia

followers of
Began preaching while a professor of University of Prague
Similar to
burned at the stake for preaching against the Pope
John Huss being led to stake for burning
Justice System
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