How did historical events undermine the four pillars of traditional (medieval) culture in the West in the 1300s and 1400s?
Economic system, Agriculture-based (peasants produced own food, clothing, tools, etc), Communal
Second agricultural revolution
Climatic optimum (global warming), Champion lands, Population growth, Scratch plow – needs many
horses/oxen (families), Moldboard plow
How did it work?
a.iii.1. Quite well – most people got fed, Manors – villages – parishes: communal (size of UConn), Villeins/serfs –
bondsmen (villagers) – must stay on manor (middle sized estate), Yeomen – freeborn people who got their own
small plots and owe nothing to lord, Lords – gentlemen (also institutions) (don’t work, manage manor)
Ended in Climactic Minimum - After 1310, weather deteriorated.
Temperatures dropped (2 degrees by 1500), late
summers became wet, made it difficult for certain crops to be harvested.
Glaciers on alps melted and flooded villages
and destroyed crops and farmland.
Iceland & Greenland – hay crops failed and livestock starved – Icelanders became
Slaughtered animals in fall for meat butter and cheese for winter.
Arctic flooded North Atlantic blocked ship
travel between Europe and Greenland (cutting off supply).
Freezing of Baltic Sea froze and altered fish migratory
pattern and forced fishermen to go to more dangerous waters.
Scots and Norwegians turned to oats after wheat failed to
grow – oats fit for livestock.
From beer and ale (grain based) to wine (grapes).
People moved south, crowding warmer
Upon moves, people took lesser roles, leading to more crime.
Ended in Black Death - 1347 – ship brought grain from Ukraine to Italy but crew all died by then.
blisters), feverish, incoherent, most died within 24 hours. Plague originated in China and was spread in saliva of rat fleas
(rats got into grain), breath of infected people, sexual contact. Thought was caused by God’s anger, church assured it had
Killed 1/3 of Europe.
In more organized villages, disposing of dead bodies slowed spread of
Almost ceased manorialism.
Political system, Emerged at beginning of middle high ages, Controlled aggression - managed to leave valuable manors
mostly intact & peasants alive, Except highest ranking lords, every lord was some other lord’s “man”, Every lord swore
allegiance to the lords above him – “vassalage” – only lords, Lord who swears allegiance to another lord is his vassal (to
greater), Lord to whom allegiance is worn is a liege (to lesser), Lieges protected their vassals from attack and vassals
served in lieges’ armies in war time, Govts remained small and local – vassal control, No capital cities or large
Ended in 100 years war- King of France died in 1328 with no direct heir.
His cousin Edward III took throne.
lords didn’t want an English king, would rather have Philippe VI.
Edward heard and invaded France. Phase 1: English