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04b_Ch.14-Formation of Western Europe: Response to The Black Plague!

Timeline: 14th Century! FQ: How did the combined impact of The Plague, the mini-Ice Age, and warfare contribute to 'revolutionary' change in Medieval European society?!

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Main Idea: In the 1300s, Europe was torn apart by several events. Among these was bubonic plague. The Plague was a biological catastrophe. Its decimation of urban populations left an indelible mark on human events since then. In Europe and elsewhere, the plagues impact was exacerbated by the faminecausing climate change and ever-present warfare. Social, economic, and political change was inevitable. Devastated communities challenged the inequities embedded in long-standing institutions. Like recent medical crises (eg. AIDS, Bird Flu, West Nile, etc.), this pandemic forced society to react and change.! CCSS! I. Socio-Economic-Political Impact! ! A. Social! ! ! 1. 'Acts of Passion': Acts committed because of sudden strong impulses. These impulses are often emotional in nature and do not allow for premeditation (prior planning or forethought). ! 2. Loss of a Wage Earner: Families become destitute.! 3. Orphans! 4. Hope in Religion: (Religious Rationalization/ Questioning the Faith)! The Flagellant Movement: A movement consisting of Christians who publicly announce their sinful behavior and partially atone for it by physically punishing themselves (self agellation or whipping oneself). Often groups of people from within this movement would walk from town to town and offer this option to those who seek an escape from divine wrath.! B. Political! ! 1. Peasant Rebellion: The peasant population of European countries turn away from an aristocracy that is increasingly less concerned about the plight of the peasantry. The peasantry, instead, turn to a king who is growing increasingly independent of the nobility that was once the foundation of a feudal society. The growing disaffection between the peasantry and the aristocracy at times explodes into violent clashes. (eg. England & Italy).! ! 2. Revenues decrease while expenses increase.! ! 3. Tax Increase! ! ! 4. Quelling the Masses!

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Ponder: ...if the kings and nobles do not address the needs of those from which they derive the bulk of their wealth, then that abused segment of society will force the change... John Bolle! C. Economic! ! 1. Loss of Workers/ Labor Shortage! Free Peasants & Serfs demanded wages for their labor.! Competition for laborers developed among landowners.! Landlord's made an effort to institute laws that kept wages low and workers tied to! the land. Imprisonment and ne were penalties often applied.! 2. Loss of Consumers! As demand for agricultural products dropped, many landlords ceased trying to! cultivate their land and simply leased it out.! 3. Volatility in Economic Forces (Supply, Demand, Price, & Production).! ! ! ! !

II. End of the Old Order/ Birth of a New Order.!


A. The Aristocracy!

Ponder: Plague & Mini Ice Age claim many Serf lives. From where will nobles get their income?! Options available to the aristocracy might include the following:! Raise rents/ crop payment of serfs and force them to work more? Could lead to rebellion (eg. ! England).! Allow Serfs to acquire economic freedom in return for a payment. (Tried in various localities)! ! Raise rents of townspeople to compensate for loss of serf labor? Could lead to rebellion (eg. ! Italy).! Allow towns to purchase their independence via a payment to the local lord for a town charter. ! (tried in various localities)!


If you combine the loss of life and wealth suffered by the aristocracy (Nobles class) resulting from the Crusades, Hundred Years War, battles with Mongols, Mini-Ice Age, & The Plague => the nobility is severely weakened while monarchs grow economically and politically stronger.! B. Church! ! 1. Condence in the Church diminishes. Contributing causes for this would include:! High mortality rate despite efforts of individuals and local clergy to ! prevent illness.! Inappropriate behavior of clergy when addressing the needs of the ! people, both sick and healthy.! The Church was the largest feudal entity. It had the greatest reserve of ! resources to address the needs of Europeans most susceptible to the illness- but didn't.! 2. Heretical Movements: Individuals and communities would turn to religion for answers and a chance to be spared death via The Plague. There were examples of Christian groups who organized religious movements that were not sanctioned by the Church. One such movement was the Flagellant Movement. Some devout Christians would partake of this physical suffering to atone for the sins of others- as did Jesus. These Christians, as were others in similar movements, were branded Heretics. ! 3. The growing popularity of heretical movements and activities generated increased pressure for the Church to address this issue. In ~100 years (15th C.) the Church will create an ofce charged with the task of addressing all issues pertaining to the 'purity' of the faith- The Holy Ofce of the Inquisition.1! C. Towns/ Urban Life! 1. Though town populations suffered high mortality rates, it was fast becoming host to the surviving agricultural laborers abandoning farming and the manorial estates.! 2. Many ocking to the towns pursue occupations in manufacturing.! 3. Commercial associations like Guilds and the Hanseatic League continue to survive despite the heavy loss of life.!

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III. Summary: Why it matters now.! ! Events of the 1300s led to a change in attitudes toward religion and the state, a change reected in modern attitudes.!
1 This ofce is now called Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.!

Materials/Sources: Refer to the course calendar for additional assignments and pertinent due dates.! ! World History: Patterns of Interaction! ! Slide Presentation! ! CNN's Millennium Series- The Plague & The Century of Scythe! ! Sources of Western Tradition: Fourteenth Century Pestilence by Friar Jean Venette! ! Additional Source: Lecture by Prof. Morris Rossabi, Columbia Univ. 28 Sept. '00 (Stuyvesant H.S.)/ Author of Khubilai Khan: His Life and Times