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Medieval society made up of 3 “estates”:1. nobility—rulers (hereditary)2. church—spiritual welfare of society3. everyone else—mass of commoners who did work to provide for physical needs
Women were always subservient to men; her value depended on the value of the land she brought to a marriage.
Latin (church, businesses, scholars/schools)
English (common people)
• 1095-1270• The Catholic church sponsored a series of military expeditions to the Middle East to win Jerusalem and the Holy Land from Muslims. • Ultimately failed, but contributed to weakening feudalism.
Under feudalism, the king appointed bishops and gave them land; some held high positions in the government. People began to complain about government control of the church and church control in nonreligious matters.
• Barons were taxed excessively to pay for military campaigns/wars (like the Crusades).
• Barons finally fed up, in 1215 revolted against taxes and forced the king to sign the Magna Carta (placed king under the law to protect citizens).
• 1337-1453• Series of wars between England and France; England lost all of its remaining territory in continental Europe• After this, less French influence on English culture. English became the language of the nobility, courts, parliament, etc
• During Hundred Years’ War; first hit England in 1348
• Epidemic of bubonic plague; spread by the bite of infected fleas carried by rats**
• Painful swellings, high fever, body aches; death within five days of contraction.
• Called Black Death because of the way victims looked in final stages: as respiratory systems failed, bodies turned dark purple and developed soft black swellings.
• Killed about 1/3 of England’s people
• The plague still exists! Small outbreaks have occurred as recently as 1994; scientists have developed vaccines and antibiotics to stop future outbreaks
• Caused a labor shortage, so workers could demand more money and peasants could demand lower rent on their land. Landlords lost money; this meant more and larger cities, more people moved there; feudalism broke down even more
**Recently, scientists have found inconsistencies that they say prove the Black Death was NOT the bubonic plague; instead, it may have been an early ancestor of ebola.
By 1300s, Middle English spoken
By late 14th century, large and prosperous middle class was emerging (Chaucer born into this middle class).
And it was don aftirward, and Jhesus made iourney bi citees and castels, prechynge and euangelisynge þe rewme of 2God, and twelue wiþ hym; and sum wymmen þat weren heelid of wickid spiritis and sijknessis, Marie, þat is clepid Maudeleyn, of whom seuene deuelis 3wenten out, þat mynystriden to hym of her ritchesse. —Luke ch.8, v.1–3
Romance became the most popular type/genre of literature: