This book presents a rough translation of the Annals of St-Bertin (AB). The AB give a detailed record of events in the Carolingian world, covering the years 830-882. They constitute the most substantial piece of contemporary historical writing of their time, a time that was a critical one in western European history. The AB contain uniquely extensive information about Viking activities, constructive as well as destructive, and also about the variety of responses to those activities. Produced in the 830s in the imperial palace of Louis the Pious, the AB were continued away from the Court, first by Bishop Prudentius of Troyes, then by the great scholar-politician Archbishop Hincmar of Rheims. The AB have little information for the year 840 after the death of Louis the Pious, and something like the earlier density of reporting is resumed only with the battle of Fontenoy. From 841 on, the AB were based in the western part of the old empire, in what became, with the Treaty of Verdun in 843, the kingdom of Charles the Bald. Thus the division of Verdun is, again, faithfully reflected in the AB's record. From time to time, information was received from Lothar's Middle Kingdom, and from Louis the German's East Frankish kingdom; but the AB's main focus after 843 was on events in the West and on the doings of Charles the Bald.
Initiating litigation could be regarded as a preliminary stage in the arbitration process; and could be threatened or continued if the parties were unable or unwilling to agree to terms. The extracts in this chapter examine the extra-judicial forms employed in the later Middle Ages, namely negotiation, mediation and arbitration. This chapter acts as a corrective to the traditional preoccupation with formal legal proceedings. Arbitration involved the surrender of negotiating and adjudicating powers to a panel of arbiters and/or an impartial umpire. Arbitration's procedures bear the imprint of legal practice, while legal thought frequently influenced deliberations. Litigants recognised the benefit of utilising both law courts and arbitrament. Undoubtedly a key resource employed by all levels of society, mediation and arbitration constituted a significant response to the breakdown in social relations in potentially providing for amicable and non-confrontational approaches.
This chapter comprises a wide range of documents on popular protest before the Black Death, 1245 to 1347 which embrace heretical movements in city and countryside and the most sophisticated industrial revolts found in these documents – strikes, illegal associations of workers, insurrections led by weavers and fullers, a general strike of all commoners, and a strike of rural labourers to achieve political ends.
This chapter consists of the original languages, and modern translation of extract from the Bible. The aim of retaining the original languages is to demonstrate the problem of access in a society which was not necessarily Latinate, and the extent to which control of interpretation could be retained by those possessing the linguistic key. The chapter mainly focuses on the second chapter of the Epistle of St James. It then provides a neat summary of the basic demands of Christianity with its insistence on obedience to the Law, assertion of the link between faith and works and the necessity for works, and its demand for fulfilment of the charitable requirements of the faith.
From 1348 to 1350 Europe was devastated by an epidemic that left between a third and one half of the population dead. This book traces, through contemporary writings, the calamitous impact of the Black Death in Europe, with a particular emphasis on its spread across England from 1348 to 1349. It charts the social and psychological impact of the plague, and its effect on the late-medieval economy. Focusing on England, an exceptionally well documented region, the book then offers a wide range of evidence for the plague's variegated repercussions on the economy and, no less complex, on social and religious conduct. It is concerned with the British experience of plague in the fourteenth century. Students of intellectual history will find a wealth of pseudo-scientific explanations of the plague ranging from astrological conjunctions, through earthquakes releasing toxic vapours, to well poisoning by Jews. From narrative accounts, often of heartrending immediacy, the book further proceeds to a variety of contemporary responses, drawn from many parts of Christian Europe. It then explains contemporary claims that the plague had been caused by human agency. The book attempts to explain the plague, which was universally regarded as an expression of divine vengeance for the sins of humankind.