The Hundred Years War & The Plague setting the stage

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The Hundred Years War & The Plague

  • The 1300s were filled with disasters, both natural and human-made. The Church seemed to be thriving but soon would face a huge division. A deadly epidemic claimed millions of lives. So many people died in the epidemic that the structure of the economy changed. Claims to thrones in France and England let to wars in those lands. The wars would result in changes in the governments of both France and England. By the end of the century, the medieval way of life was beginning to disappear.

A Church Divided

  • Pope attempted to enforce papal authority on kings

  • King Philip IV asserted his authority. Boniface, the pope, responded with an official document, which stated that kings must always obey popes.

  • “my master’s sword is made of steel, the pope’s is made of [words]”

Avignon and the Great Schism

  • Philip IV persuaded the College of Cardinals to choose a French archbishop as the new pope.

  • The newly selected pope moved from Rome to the city of Avignon in France which weakened the Church

  • After Pope Gregory XI died the Cardinals then met in Rome to choose a successor. The cardinals announced to the crowd that an Italian had been chosen: Pope Urban VI

  • The cardinals regretted their choice almost immediately. Pope Urban VI’s poor behavior caused the cardinals to elect a second pope a few months later.

  • Now there were two popes.

  • Each declared the other to be a false pope, excommunicating his rival.

  • This began the split in the Church known as the Great Schism or division

  • The Council of Constance attempted to end the Great Schism by choosing a single pope

  • By then there were a total of three popes and the council forced all three popes to resign

  • The Council then chose a new pope, Martin V, ending the Great Schism but leaving the papacy greatly weakened

Scholars Challenge Church Authority

  • The papacy was further challenged by an Englishman named John Wycliffe

  • He preached that Jesus Christ, not the pope, was the true head of the Church

  • He was much offended by the worldliness and wealth many clergy displayed

  • He also taught that they Bible alone was the final authority for Christian life, an idea which inspired the English translation of the New Testament of the Bible

  • Jan Hus, taught that the authority of the Bible was higher than that of the pope

  • Hus was seized by Church leaders, tried as a heretic, and then burned at the stake

The Bubonic Plague Strikes

  • An epidemic struck parts of Asia, North Africa, and Europe.

  • One third of the population of Europe died of the deadly disease known as the bubonic plague

Primary Source

  • “This scourge had implanted so great a terror in the hearts of men and women that brothers abandoned brothers, uncles their nephews, sisters their brothers and in many cases wives deserted their husbands. But even worse,….fathers and mothers refused to nurse and assist their own children “

Origins and Impact of the Plague

  • The plague began in Asia

  • Traveling trade routes, a fleet of merchant ships arrived in Sicily carrying bubonic plague, also known as the Black Death

  • The plague took about four years to reach almost every corner of Europe.

  • Two-thirds to three-quarters of those who caught the disease died.

  • The plague returned every few years, though it never struck as severely as in the first outbreak

Effects of the Plague

  • Town populations fell

  • Trade declined and prices rose

  • Serfs left the manor in search of better wages

  • Peasants began to revolt

  • Jews were blamed for bringing on the plague

  • The Church suffered a loss of prestige

The Hundred Years’ War

  • England and France battled with each other on French soil

  • The century of war marked the end of medieval Europe’s society

  • The last French king died without a successor, England’s Edward III, a grandson of Philip IV, a French king claimed the right to the French throne

  • Victory passed back and forth between the two countries

  • Finally, the French rallied and drove the English out of France

The Longbow Changes Warfare

  • The English introduced the longbow

Joan of Arc

  • French peasant girl named Joan of Arch felt moved by God to rescue France from its English conquerors

  • She began to hear voices of the saints urging her to drive the English out of France

  • Joan led the French army into battle

  • Joan of Arc guided the French onto the path of victory

  • The English, in turn, handed her over to Church authorities to stand trial

  • Condemned as a witch and a heretic she was burned at the stake

The Impact of the Hundred Years’ War

  • A feeling of nationalism emerged in England and France

  • People thought of the king as a national leader

  • Power and prestige of the French monarch increased

  • The English suffered a period of internal turmoil known as the War of the Roses, in which two nobles fought for the throne

  • The twin pillars of the medieval world, religious devotion and the code of chivalry, both crumbled

  • The Age of Faith died a slow death. This death was caused by the Great Schism, the scandalous display of wealth by the Church, and the discrediting of the Church during the bubonic plague

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