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Chapter 11. The Late Middle Ages: Crisis and Disintegration in the Fourteenth Century. What just happened?. Religion- One Church 1054 Split 12 th Century Age of Faith- Gothic Cathedrals Unified Western Christian Church 1215 4 th Lateran Council Unam Sanctum

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Chapter 11

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Chapter 11

The Late Middle Ages:

Crisis and Disintegration in the Fourteenth Century

What just happened?

  • Religion- One Church

    • 1054 Split

    • 12th Century Age of Faith- Gothic Cathedrals

    • Unified Western Christian Church

      • 1215 4th Lateran Council

      • Unam Sanctum

    • Crusades 11th through 13th Centuries

    • Slaughter of the Albagensians

    • 11th Century of all Western Europe- Roman Catholic

    • Threat of Islam largely ends

Nation-State developing

England under William the Conqueror developed a more stable and unified form of government – pre-William, England had more in common w/Scandinavia- post w/Continental Europe

France- Strong territorial areas, many unique cultures, and languages…1000 years later Charles de Gaulle said—how do you rule a country with 246 different kinds of cheese

Germany- not a country but until the 13th century had an effective HRE

Poland-Lithuania- strong powerful entity North Central Europe

Russia- still smarting from the Mongols

Balkans and Eastern Empire under threat from the Ottomans

Iberian Peninsula slowly consolidating

Italy- Venice powerful merchant State, Florence developing textile industry


  • Agricultural production slowly developing

    • Almost all arable land in use

  • Some weakening of manorial ties as towns begin to develop- under Charter from King

  • Jews allowed to reenter Europe in the 11th, 12th Centuries

  • Ghengis Khan and the Mongols reestablish strong trade routes along the silk road- More East/West ties.

  • Northern Europe dominated by the Hanseatic League—trading group.

  • Italy getting the lion share of trade benefits-

  • Strong Textile industries developing in Flanders and Italy


Women’s roles

Town Life

A Time of Troubles: Black Death and Social Crisis

  • “Little Ice Age”

  • The Great Famine (1315 – 1317)

  • The Black Death

The Black Death

  • Most devastating natural disaster in European History

  • Bubonic Plague

    • Rats and Fleas

    • Yersinia Pestis

  • Originated in Asia

  • Arrived in Europe in 1347

  • Mortality reached 50 – 60 percent in some areas

  • Wiped out between 25 – 50 percent of European population (19 – 38 million dead in four years)

  • Plague returns in 1361 – 1362 and 1369

The Disease

Spread of the Black Death

©2003 Wadsworth, a division of Thomson Learning, Inc. Thomson Learning™ is a trademark used herein under license.

Life and Death: Reactions to the Plague

  • Plague as a punishment from God

  • The flagellants

  • Attacks against Jews

  • Violence

  • Mysticism

  • Hedonism

  • Wealthy people quarantined selves in countryside (inspired Boccaccio and Chaucer)

Fig. 11-CO, p. 303


Mass burial of victims in Tournai…still time to make coffins

p. 307

Flagellants wandered from town to town flogging themselves

p. 307


  • Population loss – estimated that between 25 to 50 percent of European population died between 1347 and 1351

  • Estimated 75 million before Plague – 19 – 38 million died

  • Plague did not end – came back several times

Economic Dislocation and Social Upheaval

  • Labor Shortage some decline prices for agricultural products (DEMAND DROPPED)= Drop in aristocratic incomes

  • Statute of Laborers (1351) : Limit Wages- DECLINE LABOR SUPPLY EXCEEDED DROP IN FARM PRICES!

  • Social Mobility

  • Peasant Revolts

    • Jacquerie in France (1358)

    • English Peasants’ Revolt (1381)

  • Revolts in the Cities

    • Ciompi Revolt in Florence (1378)

Occupy Medieval Street?

  • Did not end Feudalism, but accelerated its decline

    • Peasants changed labor dues into money rents

    • Vassals changing military and political service into cash payments


French nobles massacring the rebels in Meaux during the Jacquerie in 1358

p. 309

The Effects of the Plague

  • Psychologically - art was interested in morbid scenes (danse macabre)

  • Created an anxiety about life

Danse Macabre

War and Political Instability

  • The Hundred Years’ (sort of) War

  • France – three times the number of people and wealthier, but not united because of social conflicts; battles fought on own land; weaker royal leadership than English

  • England was superior militarily – had the longbow; smarter leadership

    • Part 1

      • French Attack on English Gascony (1337)

      • Edward III of England claims French Crown

      • Also conflicts over control of Flanders, a center of the woolen industry

      • Battle of Crecy (1346)

      • Battle of Poitiers (1356)

      • Peace of Bretigny (1360)

Causes of the War

  • Succession crisis - Dynastic conflict over who will succeed to the French crown when the French King Charles IV died in 1328 without an heir

  • King Edward III of England claimed throne because his grandfather Philip the Fair was King of France from 1285 to 1314

  • French barons did not want Edward to be King – so they selected Charles IV’s cousin, Philip VI of Valois

  • English King held land in France (Gascony) as a vassal to the French King - upsetting royal goals to centralize authority

  • Also conflicts over control of Flanders, a center of the woolen industry

  • Long history of prejudice and animosity between each other (Second Hundred Years War)

  • Royalty of both countries were arrogant – wanted glory and prestige and used their armies to achieve it

Chart 11-1, p. 311

Course of the War

  • Broke out when Edward III refused to pay homage to King Philip VI for Gascony/Aquitaine and the French King seized the duchy in 1337

  • Started out with knights, but was decided with peasant foot soldiers – mostly for the English

Burghers of CalaisThe Siege

Map 11-2, p. 314

Battle of Crecy…English longbows won

p. 312

  • Part I

    • Battle of Crecy (1346) –

      • Normandy;the French large, but unorganized army to meet the English who crushed them; the longbow by the English devastated the French; was not a turning point because English did not have enough resources to control the country; did take Calais in the North as a place to stage future invasions

    • Edward’s son, the prince of Wales, Black Prince -he roved the countryside, wreaking havoc and bringing terror to the peasants

    • Battle of Poitiers (1356) –

      • French defeat at the hands of the Black Prince in which the French King John II was captured;

    • Peace of Bretigny (1359) –

      • French large ransom for King, England gained more territory in Gascony. Edward renounced his claim to the French throne

Part II

  • Charles V ->King of France (1364 – 1380) and pushed English back, but England still was plagued by free mercenaries roaming the countryside; a time of relative peace

  • Late 14th CenturyEnglish and French Monarchs were each in turmoil- French King mentally unstable

    • Marauding bands

    • French raids on England

    • French regain some territory

    • Burgundy France rift

    • 25 yr peace treaty

  • Part III

    • Henry V (1413 – 1422)

      • Battle of Agincourt (1415) Major Victory

      • Treaty of Troyes- Marriage Henry V and Catherine French Princess

  • Part IV

    • Charles the Dauphin (heir to the French throne)

    • Joan of Arc (1412 – 1431)

    • Siege of Orleans

    • Captured by Burgundians (allies of the English) in 1430

    • Burned at the Stake (1431)

    • Gunpowder For next two decades, French pushed English North; used cannons;

    • By 1453, English only possessed Calais

  • War Ends with French victory (1453)

  • What does it all mean?

France in 1420

p. 317

Joan of Arc

p. 316

  • Joan of Arc (1412 – 1431) – Maid of Orleans

    • from Orleans, a city being attacked by the English;

    • religious visions voices of Saints commanding her to free France and to save Charles the Dauphin (the heir to the throne);

    • royal court convinced the Dauphin to send an army with her to Orleans;

    • inspired French army ->defeated the English and pushed them North;

    • Charles the Dauphin ->King of France;

    • Voices of???? INQUISITION!Burgundians charged witchcraft and burnt her at the stake for heresy;

    • Inspiration!

  • Between 1894 and 1920 Church promoted Joan to Sainthood

  • What the heck is Burgundy and why should I care?

France in 1450

  • Impact of the War

  • Awakened sense of national identity among English and French

  • English increased power of Parliament because of the need to finance the war through taxes,

    • Parliament took its current two part structure (House of Commons and House of Lords);

  • France created the Estates General, but it was weak compared to the English Parliament because France still had princes, local customs and laws, French Kings preferred to work for themselves instead of depending on the Estates General to raise taxes;

  • Difficult for peasants because experienced attacks on fields and were taxed by the nobles (Jacquerie in France and Peasant Revolt in England)

  • Does not add up to 100 years – 68 years of nominal peace, 44 of hot? war

p. 316

In sum? ->Political Instability

  • Breakdown of Feudal Institutions

    • Scutage

  • New Royal Dynasties

  • Financial Problems

    • Parliaments gain power

p. 319

Western Europe: England and France

  • England: $$$$ War Cost $$$$

    • Edward III (1327 – 1377)

      • Parliament

        • House of Lords

        • House of Commons

      • Lancasters and Henry IV

  • England: War of the Roses (White York, Red Lancaster) 1455-1485

    • House of York* and House of Lancaster

      • Henry VI—(6th not 4th) loses—Tower of London

      • House of Tudor wins? Henry VII


  • Estates General formed- but weak

  • $$$ for war—Gabelle and Taille

  • France: Charles VI (1380 – 1422)

    • France: Civil War

      • Burgundy and Orleans

  • Victory in the 100 yr War--

Soldiers ransacking a house in Paris, mid 14th century

p. 320

Germany & Italy

  • The German Monarchy

    • Breakup of the Holy Roman Empire

    • Hundreds of States

    • Elective Monarchy

      • The Golden Bull (1356)

      • Weak kings

  • The States of Italy

    • Lack of centralized authority

    • Republicanism to Tyranny

    • Development of regional states

      • Milan

      • Florence- Popolo grasso, grandi, ciompi (not types of pasta)

      • Venice- Republic- Council of Ten

Italian states in the 14th century

p. 321

The Ponte Vecchio – Venice

The Decline of the Church

  • Boniface VIII and the Conflict with the State

    • Boniface VIII (1294 – 1303)

      • Conflict with Philip the Fair of France

      • Unam Sanctam (1302)

      • Captured by French at Anagni

    • Clement V->French Cardinals?


  • The Papacy at Avignon (1305 – 1378) Babylonian Captivity

    • Stay at Avignon leads to a decline in papal prestige

    • Captives of the French monarchy

    • New Sources of revenue

    • Catherine of Siena (c. 1347 – 1380)

The 13th Century Papacy

  • Roman Catholic Church - height of its power – authority was taken away from bishoprics and centralized in the hands of the pope

  • Theory of papal supremacy – included idea of “fullness of power” ->claimed spiritual head of Christendom and claims to universal temporal authority over all secular (non-religious) leaders

  • Pope exercised power as a monarch – created a law court, disposed of benefices, taxation of clergy

  • As state authority grew at the end of the Middle Ages, church and state came into an irreversible conflict

Boniface VIII presiding over a gathering of cardinals

p. 323

Pope Boniface and Philip the Fair

  • Pope Boniface VIII (1294-1303) - 1296 – Boniface told European rulers not to tax the clergy – but they did anyway –targeted King Philip the Fair of France who was taxing the clergy to fund his war against the English –King Philip refused – Boniface backed down

  • Unam Sanctum – papal bull (law) of 1302 that declared that there were two powers on earth – a temporal (earthly) and a spiritual (heavenly) – stated the spiritual power is greater than the temporal power

  • King Philip -ignore the bull and Boniface was going to excommunicate him when Philip kidnapped Boniface – Boniface rescued but died one month later

Bridge at Avignon – The City of the Popes

p. 323

  • Church dominated by French – 113 of 134 new cardinals were French-> Why does this matter?

  • Church expanded its power by consolidating its administration and creating a specialized bureaucracy

  • Clement VI (1342 – 1352)

    • began practice of selling indulgences (pardons for unrepented sins);

    • idea of purgatory (place of punishment where souls would atone for venal sins);

    • later indulgences could be sold for souls already dead

The Great Schism

  • Papacy returns to Rome in 1378- why? How?

  • Rival Popes elected

    • Pope Urban VI

    • Pope Clement VII

  • The Great Schism divides Europe

    • Who supports who?

    • Mysticism?- Modern Devotion?

    • New ideas

      • Wycliffe

      • Hus

  • Council of Pisa (1409)

    • Deposed both popes and elected a new pope

    • Popes refuse to step down

    • Results in three popes

  • Council of Constance (1414 – 1418)

    • End of the Schism

  • Pope Martin V (1417 – 1431)

p. 324

Criticism of the Church

  • Marsilius of Padua (1270 – 1342) –

    • wrote that spiritual law was not superior to temporal law;

    • spiritual law should confine itself to spiritual functions;

    • the clergy had no special authority from God;

    • final religious authority should rest with a general church council, not the pope

  • John Wycliffe (ca 1330 – 1384) –

    • a radical professor of religion at Oxford who argued that the true head of the Church was Jesus Christ, not the pope;

    • Jesus and his disciples, the clergy should own no land or wealth;

    • Bible alone – not the pope – was the final authority for Christian life;

    • sincere Christians should read the Bible for themselves;

    • English agreed with him, in part because of the 100 Years War and the association of the pope with the French

    • Followers of Wycliffe were called Lollards, which means “mumblers of prayer and psalms,” referring to the people being criticized

Jan Huss (d. 1415)

  • argued a similar case in Bohemia –

  • the authority of the Bible is higher than the pope

  • was burned at the stake as a heretic at the Council of Constance

Conciliar Movement

  • Reform of the church through periodic assemblies, or general councils, representing all the Christian people

  • the pope derives authority from entire Christian community – pope was not an absolute authority incapable of doctrinal error

  • Council of Pisa (1409) – two colleges of cardinals (Rome and Avignon) summoned a council in Pisa, deposed of the two popes, and elected a new pope

    • – 3 popes!

  • Council of Constance (1414) ->Holy Roman Emperor Sigismund to end the schism, reform the church, and to wipe out heresy

  • Sigismund got all three popes to resign – and the council elected a new pope, Martin V

Culture and Society in an Age of Adversity

  • The Developments of Vernacular Literature

    • Dante Alighieri (1265 – 1321)

      • The Divine Comedy (1313 – 1321)

    • Geoffrey Chaucer (c. 1340 – 1400)

      • The Canterbury Tales

    • Christine de Pizan (c. 1364 – 1400)

      • The Book of the City of Ladies (1404)

  • Art and the Black Death

    • Giotto (1266 – 1337)

    • Ars Moriendi

Christine de Pizan, vernacular writer late 14th-early 15th century

p. 328

Change & Invention

  • Changes in Urban Life

    • Greater Regulation

    • Marriage

    • Gender Roles

      • Male: Active and Domineering

      • Women: Passive and Submissive

  • Medicine

    • Medical schools---Salerno, Montpellier, Bologna, Oxford, Padua, and Paris.

    • Midwives, barber-surgeons

  • Inventions and New Patterns

    • The Mechanical Clock

      • New Conception of Time

    • Gunpowder

Mechanical Clock in the Prague Town Hall

Discussion Questions

  • What impact did the Black Death have on medieval European society?

  • What were the causes of the Hundred Years’ War?

  • Who was Joan of Arc and what role did she play in the Hundred Years’ War?

  • How did the Hundred Years’ War impact the relations between the English King and his Parliament?

  • Why did the stay at Avignon lead to a decline in papal prestige?

  • How was the Great Schism finally ended?

  • How did Dante, Chaucer and Christine de Pisan reflect the values of their respective societies?

  • How did the Black Death affect urban and family life?

Web Links

  • ORB – Online Reference Book for Medieval Studies

  • The End of Europe’s Middle Ages

  • The Black Death, 1347 – 1350

  • Medieval Dance of Death

  • De Re Militari – Society for Medieval Military History

  • The Age of King Charles V

  • The World of Dante

  • Geoffrey Chaucer

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