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Life in the Late Middle Ages

Life in the Late Middle Ages

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Life in the Late Middle Ages

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  1. Life in the Late Middle Ages

  2. Height of Medieval Civilization • By the beginning of the 14th century, European society had reached stability and prosperity. • The economy (while still largely based on farming- manorialism) was growing, population ballooned, weather and harvests were good, political (feudalism) and religious life (Catholicism) were stable. • This drastically changed in the middle 14th century.

  3. The Black Death • Black Death (1347): • loss of 1/3 of European population (mostly in cities) • Causes: bubonic plague carried by fleas on Asian black rats; poor sanitation, overcrowded homes, poor health, poor hygiene, poor housing, change in climate conditions (little ice age)

  4. The Black Death • Results: Severe impact on European economy; in some areas workers enjoyed higher wages; • Best of clergy died (staying behind to help the sick); Jews blamed; serfdom ended in many areas; first enclosure of fields in Britain • Population did not reach pre-plague level until the mid-16th century.

  5. Crisis in the Catholic Church • Early Criticisms of the church • Marsiglio de Padua: Defender of Peace – Church should be subordinate to the state Church should be governed by a council of laity and priests superior to pope. • John Wyclif (1320-1384): church should only follow Scripture; English translation of Bible; his later followers were Lollards • John Huss (1369-1415): ideas similar to Wyclif; nationalist party in Czech (Bohemia) • Hussites: followers of Huss who staged large rebellions in 14th century.

  6. Crisis in the Catholic Church • Babylonian Captivity (1305-1378): 7 successive popes resided at Avignon, France. Damaged papal prestige (esp. in England & Germany); Rome’s economy damaged • Great Schism (c. 1378-1417): Further conflict led to election of two popes—one in Rome, one in France; further hurt prestige of church.

  7. Crisis in the Catholic Church • Conciliar Movement (1409-1418): Council of Pisa and Council of Constance, ended schism; failed as movement to put power in a church council; pope’s power still supreme

  8. Hundred Years’ War (1337-1453) • Cause—English lays claim to large areas of French land. • Three phases: • Early English Victories: Crecy (1346) and Poitiers (1356) • French reclaim territory and stalemate • English victories: Agincourt (1415), French regain lands

  9. Hundred Years’ War (1337-1453) • Joan of Arc: led French army to victory at Orleans during crucial stage of the war • Results: France kicks England out; creation of modern nation states begin (“New Monarchs”). Innovations in war technology: longbow, cannon, infantry. Decimation of landed nobles.

  10. Peasant Revolts • Causes: taxation during Hundred Years’ War, desire for higher wages after Black Death, hostility toward aristocracy, and higher expectations among peasantry. • English Peasant Revolt (1381): • ~Jacquerie in France (late 14th-early 15th c.) • Results: revolts crushed; end of serfdom in England c. 1550

  11. Life in Later Middle Ages • Marriage: avg. age for men = mid-20s; women = 16-18 divorce was unheard of, economic reasons most important for marriage (love not until 18th-19th centuries) • Work: agricultural cycles and church ritual closely linked, small % of men were artisans in towns; protected by guilds. Serfdom reduced in many areas

  12. Life in Later Middle Ages • Recreation: aristocracy – jousting tournaments; common people—archery, wrestling, bull-baiting, bear-baiting; alcoholism rampant • Medieval philosophy: scholasticism (St. Thomas Aquinas) • Attempted to reconcile faith and reason by using logic to support Christian doctrine • Worked to reconcile Aristotle’s ideas with Christianity.

  13. Results of the Great 14th Century Crisis • Feudalism in decline due to the decimation of the nobility in the 100 yrs war. • Manorialism breaking down due to increased peasant rights as a result of population decline during the Black Death. • Catholicism’s supremacy in question due to the Great Schism.