By Barbara W. Tuchman
"Wise, witty, and lovely . . . an exceptional booklet, in a very good old tradition." —CommentaryThe 14th century provides us again contradictory photographs: a glittering time of crusades and castles, cathedrals and chivalry, and a depressing time of ferocity and non secular pain, an international plunged right into a chaos of battle, worry and the Plague. Barbara Tuchman anatomizes the century, revealing either the good rhythms of background and the grain and texture of household lifestyles because it was once lived.
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Additional resources for A Distant Mirror: The Calamitous 14th Century
Francis and in the cruelty of the Inquisition, when the Albigensian Crusade in the name of faith drenched southern France in blood and massacre while the soaring cathedrals rose arch upon arch, triumphs of creativity, technology, and faith. They were not built by slave labor. Though limited serfdom existed, the rights and duties of serfs were fixed by custom and legal memory, and the work of medieval society, unlike that of the ancient world, was done by its own members. At Coucy after the death of Thomas, a sixty-year period of more respectable lordship followed under his son and grandson, Enguerrand II and Raoul I, who cooperated with the crown to the benefit of their domain.
These works of enormous antiquarian research teem with information of more than dynastic interest, such as Anselm’s item about the Gascon lord who bequeathed a hundred livres for the dowries of poor girls he had deflowered. The French Revolution marks the great reversal, following which historians saw the common man as hero, the poor as ipso facto virtuous, nobles and kings as monsters of iniquity. Simeon Luce, in his history of the Jacquerie, is one of these, slanted in his text, yet unique in his research and invaluable for his documents.
3 Fortune’s wheel (Morgan Library: Ms. 324, fo. 5 Chaucer’s squire (The Huntington Library: Ellesmere ms. 7 View of Paris (BN: Ms. Fr. 2645, fo. 8 A country village (BN: Ms. Fr. 12 English archers (British Museum: Addit. mss. 42130, fo. 13 View of London (British Museum: Royal mss. 16F 11, fo. 15 The world as a globe (BN: Ms. 574, fo. 16 The child’s education (Morgan Library: Ms. 456, fo. 17 Pillage and burning (BN: Ms. Fr. 2644, fo. 18 A charivari (BN: Ms. Fr. 146, fo. 21 Burial of the plague victims (Bibliothèque royale, Bruxelles: Ms.
A Distant Mirror: The Calamitous 14th Century by Barbara W. Tuchman