Europe in the
th14 15th Centuries
The 14th Century
Events of the 14th Century
 The transition from the Medieval Warm Period to the
Little Ice Age
 Beginning of the Ottoman Empire, early expansion
into the early Balkans : Osman I, 1st Sultan of
the Ottoman Empire
 The Avignon papacy transfers the seat of the Popes
from Italy to France
 The Great Famine of 1315-1317 kills millions of people
in Europe
 The death of the Ilkhan Abu Said in 1335, causes the
disintegration of the Mongol rule in Persia.
 The Hundred Years' War begins when Edward
III of England lays claim to the French throne in 1337.
 Joan of Arc at the Siege of Orléans 1431
 Black Death kills around a third of the population of
Europe. (1347–1351).
Pieter Breughel, The Triumph of Death
Black Death: Bubonic Plague
 One of the deadliest pandemics in human history,
peaking in Europe between 1348 and 1350.
 Started in Central Asia, it reached the Crimea by
 From there, it spread throughout
the Mediterranean and Europe -- probably from
black rats on merchant ships,
 Estimated to have killed 30% to 60% of Europe's
 World population fell from about 450 million to
between 350 and 375 million in 1400.
 It took 150 years for Europe's population to
 The plague returned at various times, resulting in
a larger number of deaths, until it left Europe in
the 19th century.
The Dance of Death
The Bubonic Plague
Boccaccio’s Decameron
Collection of 100 novelle
with a frame tale
Frame tale realistically
details the Black Death
in Italy
Novelle: short tales
based set in realistic
settings with a variety of
characters from all social
Economic Effects of the Plague
 Labor shortage
 Demand for workers
 End of feudal system
 Serfs left manors to which they had been
bound – often for the cities
 Villeins (free peasants) became tenant
farmers or landowners
 Workers’ riots
 France 1358: The Jacquerie
 England 1380: Peasants’ Revolt led by
Wat Tyler
A Counting House 14th c. ms.
Medieval Towns
Rise of the Middle Class – merchants,
artisans, professionals – dependant on
commercial exchanges
Guilds – trade “unions” – protected buyers
and sellers
Charters of self-government – city-states
with elected officials
Bourgeois vernacular literature
Fabliaux: humorous narratives
Novelle: realistic, contemporary stories
Dits: urban poetry
Chaucer’s The
Canterbury Tales,
c. 1390
 Chaucer’s masterpiece
 Frame: Pilgrimage
from London to
 Brilliant portraits of
English characters
 Tales include many
genres: romance, sermon,
fabilaux, lai, etc.
Christine de Pisan
1364-ca. 1430
 First European
professional female
 Prominent in the
“Debate about Women”
 Works include
courtesy books, military
treatises, dream visions
and The Book of the
City of Women
From Christine de Pisan, 'Works'.
Copyright ©, The British Library
Book of the City of Ladies, 1405
Years War
100 Years' War Battle of
The Hundred Years War 1337-1453
 Struggle between the English and French over territories
in France and the French crown claimed by England – result
of Norman Conquest in 1066
 Importance:
 the war gave impetus to ideas of both French and
English nationality: nation states
 the introduction of new weapons and tactics, which
eroded the older system of feudal armies dominated by
heavy cavalry:
the longbow
 gunpowder – introduced by Muslims from China
 foot soldiers (infantry) – peasant military
 the first standing armies in Western Europe since
the Roman Empire
Territories in dispute
Jeanne d’Arc
 May 1429: Led French army
to victory at Orleans
 July 1429: French army under
her command captured Rheims
and the Dauphin was crowned
Charles VII
 1430: Captured by Burgundians
and sold to the English
 1431: Tried and convicted of
A miniature of Joan of Arc, painted
some time between 1450 and 1500.
Notice the three saints sitting above her
 1431:
Burnt at the
 1456: Retrial
called by Pope
Callixtus III: Joan
was declared a
martyr. The court
declared her
innocence on 7 July
 1909: Joan of Arc
was beatified
 1920: JOAN OF
ARC was
Pope Benedict XV
Classical Humanists
Classical Humanism
 All- embracing appreciation for Greco-Roman
culture in all its aspects.
 Rebirth of classical culture: art, architecture,
philosophy, literature
 Emphasis on the individual – a rational guide to
 Check out Petrarch, Alberti, Pico della
Mirandola, Castiglione, Machiavelli, and
Lucretia Marinelli on the aspects of the
Renaissance individual.
The Ottoman Empire
The Ottoman Empire 14th-20th C.
 Oghuz tribes settled in Turkey in the 11th
 By 1400, the Ottomans had managed to
extend their influence over much of
Turkey and into eastern Europe:
Macedonia and Bulgaria.
 1453: Sultan Mehmed (1451-1481), called
"The Conqueror," finally took
Constantinople, the one last remnant of
Christian Byzantium and renamed it,
 Under Sultan Suleyman (1520-1566), called
"The Lawmaker" in Islamic history and
"The Magnificent" in Europe, the empire
reached its greatest expansion over Asia
and Europe.
Challenges to the Hegemony
of the Roman Catholic Church
 12th C: Cathar Heresy – countered by Crusade against
 13th C: Establishment of the Inquisition (1233): court
established to stamp out heresy
 14th C:
John Wyclif (1328-84): first English Bible: Lollard
Jan Hus (1369-1415): launched religious movement
in Bohemia based on Wyclif’s ideas: Hussites.
Excommunicated and burned at the stake.
Challenges to the Hegemony
of the Roman Catholic Church
15th C:
William Tyndale (1484-1536):
first printed English Bible
Rise of nation-states –
breakdown of medieval
centralization under Church and
16th C: Humanist reaction against
Church corruption
Weaknesses in Roman Catholic Church
Administrative divisions: competing Popes
Proliferation of questionable rituals
Saint worship
Endowment of masses
Sale of Indulgences – certificates of remission from
Simony – sale of Church offices
Northern Renaissance
Rise of Middle Class that patronized the
arts and valued education
Christian Humanism
Interest in classical humanism
Renewal of spiritual values and
teachings of early Church Fathers
 Criticism of Church corruption and
The Printing
 Although printing with
movable type had existed in
East Asia since at least the
700's, the invention had not
spread to Europe.
 About 1440, the German
goldsmith Johannes Gutenberg
developed movable type.
 Printing soon became the first
means of mass communication.
 It put more knowledge in the
hands of more people faster
and more cheaply than ever
 Reading and writing spread
widely and rapidly.
Erasmus by Hans Holbein
Northern Renaissance:
Christian Humanism
Grew out of German
Renaissance classical
studies: Greek and Latin
Focused on study and
translation of early
Christian manuscripts
Revival of Church life
and doctrine based on
early Christian literature
Sir Thomas More by
Hans Holbein
Lutheran Reformation
Martin Luther (1483-1546)
Augustinian monk and
Biblical scholar
1517: Nailed 95 Theses on
Church door at
Wittenberg: particularly
incensed by selling of
German translation of
“Justification by faith
alone” and “The
Priesthood of all
Lutheran Reformation
Martin Luther (1483-1546)
Two sacraments: Baptism
and Holy Communion
Consubstantiation rather than
Advocated universal
Wrote hymns: “A Mighty
Fortress Is Our God”
Supported by bourgeoisie,
merchants, German princes
Countered Peasants’ Revolt
Lutheran Reformation: Music
Luther saw music as a form of religious
Hymnals: collections of religious songs
Professional and congregational singing
in vernacular languages
Chorale: congregational hymn –
communal expression of devotion
“Ein feste Burg is unser Gott” : “A
Mighty Fortress is Our God”
Albrecht Dürer
Portraits, landscapes,
naturalistic studies,
religious meditations
Woodcut engravings
Mass produced
Illustrated books
Available to wide
Albrecht Dürer
Praying Hands
woodcut print
Albrecht Dürer
Four Horsemen of the
woodcut print
Book of Revelation (6:1–8): "And I saw, and
behold, a white horse, and its rider had a bow; and
a crown was given to him, and he went out
conquering and to conquer. When he opened the
second seal, I heard the second living creature say,
'Come!' And out came another horse, bright red;
its rider was permitted to take peace from the
earth, so that men should slay one another; and he
was given a great sword. When he opened the
third seal, I heard the third living creature say,
'Come!' And I saw, and behold, a black horse, and
its rider had a balance in his hand; … When he
opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the
fourth living creature say, 'Come!' And I saw, and
behold, a pale horse, and its rider's name was
Death, and Hades followed him; and they were
given great power over a fourth of the earth; to
kill with sword and with famine and with
pestilence and by wild beasts of the earth."
Henry VIII
and the
Political Reformation
Henry VIII (1491-1547)
Proclaimed “Defender of the Faith” by Pope
Clement VII when he countered Luther’s
Sought divorce from Catherine of Aragon to marry
Anne Boleyn: refused by Pope
1534: Act of Supremacy: declared the king as head
of Church of England – Anglican Church
Ordered dissolution of monasteries: transfer of
property to crown; iconoclasm
The Tudor
Henry VIII
Edward VI
Lady Jane Grey
Mary I
Elizabeth I
Reformed Churches
Ulrich Zwingli (1484-1531)
Swiss Humanist
Salvation by grace
and works
Baptism as a
Reformed Churches: Calvinism
 John Calvin (1509-64)
French Doctor of Law
Refuted RC opposition to
usury: capitalism
Established theocratic state in
Geneva, Switzerland
 Church governance:
presbyterian, synodal,
 Huguenots, Puritans,
John Knox
Originally ordained a
Roman Catholic priest,
Knox became a Protestant
and studied with Calvin in
On his return to Scotland,
he became the leader of the
Scottish Reformed Church
Knox and his supporters
began to reshape the
Scottish church-theologically and politically.
Radical Reformation: Anabaptists
 Rejected all sacraments as sources of God’s grace: total
emphasis on Christian conscience and voluntary
acceptance of Christ
 Adult baptism: rebaptism – considered heretical by other
 The Mass is not a sacrifice but a memorial – restricted to
baptized believers
 Pacifist
 Anti-secular: religious separation from secular world
 Shunning of sinners
Radical Reformation: Anabaptists
 Appealed to lower classes and peasants: Peasants
Wars 1525-35
 Persecuted by both Catholics and Protestants –
often burned at stake
 Freedom of religion: priesthood of all believers,
Bible as sole authority, ordinances rather than
sacraments, separation of church and state
 Genealogy: Baptism and Confirmation Registries
 Amish, Hutterites, Waldensians, Mennonites,
Quakers, Baptists, 7th Day Adventists, Jehovah’s
Ignatius Loyola
founder of the
Catholic Counter-Reformation
Council of Trent (1545-63)
Called for moral reform of clergy
Strengthened Church structures and institutions
Proclamation of dogmas
Affirmation of both Faith and
Establishment of Society of Jesus (Jesuits)
under Ignatius Loyola
Vigorous missionary work in Americas and
Revitalization of religious art: Baroque
Reformation Repercussions
Rivalry between Spain and England
1588 Defeat of the Spanish Armada
Religious wars in France (1560-98)
The Thirty Years War (1618-48)
Revival of the Inquisition’s persecution of heretics
“The Burning Times” -- Witch-hunts (1550-1750)
Religious Persecution
Migration to the New World for religious freedom
French Huguenots to Florida – driven out by
Puritans to New England
Quakers and Amish to Pennsylvania
Roman Catholics to Maryland

Transition Europe in the 14th Century