The Crisis of the Later Middle Ages 1300-1450

Report
THE LIFE OF THE PEOPLE
Economic & Social Change
Peasants’ revolts throughout Eur. – 14thC & 15thC
 Beginning – Revolt in Flanders 1320s
 Taxes and fees
 100 Years War
 Financial demands (again)
 Usually involved venting thru
 Arson
 Pillage
 Murder
 Rape
 Peasants’ Revolt – Eng. 1381
 Attempt to return wages to pre Black Death
 Reflected the rising expectations for improved living conditions of the working
class
 Resentment of aristocratic privilege
 Collection of tax on adult make
 Most revolts were crushed with ferocious force
MAP: FOURTEENTH-CENTURY PEASANT REVOLTS
Fourteenth-century Peasant Revolts
In the later Middle Ages and early modern times, peasant and urban uprisings were endemic, as common as factory strikes in
the industrial world. The threat of insurrection served to check unlimited exploitation. (Copyright (c) Houghton Mifflin. All
rights reserved.)
Copyright ©Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
THE LIFE OF THE PEOPLE
Economic & Social Change
Eur. urbanized centers
 Peasants’ revolts often accompanied by urban revolts
 Florence
 Ciompi (poor workers) demanded political rights
 New form of capitalist production
 Guild masters now ran shops that employed others to do only one or two steps of
the manufacturing process (still hand made)
 Offered opportunity – but lowered soc/econ status of most
 Guilds & Journeymen
 Restricted membership – freezing out ambitious journeymen
 Journeymen tried to organize their own guilds
 Rebelled in Florence 1378 to gain recognition & participation in republican
government (restricted to guild master)
THE LIFE OF THE PEOPLE
AP TIP!
Guild System early capitalism
 Various trades, manufactures & services – guilds
 Baker, notaries, wood merchants…
 Organized production, materials, craftmanship
 Trained apprentice to journeyman to master
 Limited hours of operation and set min. wages/prices
 Competition between cities, not within
 Social service agencies
 Cared for widows/children
 Some cities (Florence) guilds dominated gov
THE LIFE OF THE PEOPLE
Gender & Sexuality
Women
 Worked in shops – sometimes became masters
 14thC – increasingly restricted
 Excluded from guilds
 No access to political power
 Not welcome in journeymen guilds
 Marital patterns
 Married in teen/early 20s – Italy
 Noble & wealthy in mid to late 20s - northwester Eur.
 More independent of husband
 Fewer children
Prostitute inviting traveling
merchant
Poverty and male violence drove
women into prostitution, which,
though denounced by moralists, was
accepted as a normal part of the
medieval social fabric. In the cities
and larger towns where prostitution
flourished, public officials passed laws
requiring prostitutes to wear a special
mark on their clothing and regulated
hours of business. They forbade
women to drag men into their houses
(as we see the prostitute doing in this
illustration, as she invites a traveling
merchant into her house), and denied
business to women with the "burning
sickness," gonorrhea. (Bodleian
Library, Oxford)
THE LIFE OF THE PEOPLE
Men
 Older at marriage
 30s – Italy
 Mid 20s – most of Eur.
 Journeymen/university students forbidden from marrying
 Late marriage age left many unmarried men in cities
 Fostered riotous atmosphere
 Brothels
 legal
 Rules for prostitutes/customers
 Justified – prevention of homosexuality
 Rape/sexual harassment – frequent
 Female servants vulnerable
 Capital offense
 Penalties light – especially compared to sodomy, mutilation & forgery
 Homosexuality
 Considered crimes against nature
 Sodomy – capital offense
Office of the Night – created to root out sodomy
THE LIFE OF THE PEOPLE
Fur-C0llar Crime
•
Nobles
• Suffered from idleness after 100 Years’ War & inflation
• Lavish lifestyles suffered
• Fur collar – because only nobles were allowed to wear them
• Types of crimes
• Extortion
• Stealing from the poor & weak
• Kidnapping high clergy & nobles for ransom
• Corruption of judicial process
• Bribery
• Intimadation
• Tales of Robin Hood
• Desire for justice
• Resentment of the common folk
THE LIFE OF THE PEOPLE
Ethnic Tensions and Restrictions
• intensified with economic crisis
• Important clerical position decided by blood ties
• Legislation prohibiting sexual relations & intermarriage among ethnic
groups
• Public office required purity of ethnic background
• Ireland – Statute of Kilkenny 1336
This concept of blood would later morph into modern racism
English view of Irish
Depicting a subject or colonial people as barbaric and uncivilized has long been a
way of denigrating and dehumanizing the enemy. In this thirteenth-century miniature
showing the English view of the Irish, a king (in a bath) and his courtiers devour
horseflesh with their hands, without plates or eating utensils. (Bodleian Library,
Oxford)
LITERACY AND VERNACULAR LITERATURE
Helped to create a national language and national identity
 Dante’s Divine Comedy - early 14thC
Poetic triplets
Imagines the journey of Dante, guided by the Roman poet Virgil
Hell
Purgatory
Heaven
Commentary on social and religious issues
Reflected medieval intense religiosity
emerging modern materialism
secular ambition
 Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales - later 14thC
Collection of stories of pilgrims on their way to Canterbury
Earthy
Sensual
Materialistic
Dante, Inferno
In this frontispiece from an early
manuscript of Dante's Divine Comedy,
Dante, wearing a red robe, is guided by
Virgil, in blue, through the agonies of
hell. (Bibliotheque nationale de France)
LITERACY AND VERNACULAR LITERATURE
Literacy
 Increased among laypeople
 Number of schools for boys increases
 Girls sent to convent schools
Taught to read, but not to write
 Trade and commerce demanded literate workers
 Christine de Pizan - France
Writer
Most famous work – The City of Ladies – 1404
Conutered negative views of women in society
 Italian city-states
Still vital even after Black Death
New sets of values & artisitc froms
Lead to a renaissance
Christine de Pisan
Christine de Pisan (1363?-1434?), married at
age 15 to a court secretary, came into contact
with educated men who introduced her to
Latin prose and the works of Petrarch and
Boccaccio. At the age of 25, widowed and
grieving, she began to write poetry and, later,
turned her interest toward the writers of
antiquity. The success of her works accorded
her the patronage of such distinguished
people as Philip the Bold, Duke of Burgundy,
and Queen Isabella of Bavaria. She is best
remembered for her two extended works on
the role of women in society: The Book of the
City of Ladies (1405) and The Book of Three
Virtues (also known as The Treasury of the
City of Ladies). The latter volume was
dedicated to Marguerite of Burgundy and
established the criteria for women who
desired to live in the city. In this manuscript
illustration Christine de Pisan writes her
Collected Works. (British Library)

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