A Distant Mirror: The Calamitous 14th Century, Volume 82
, 1978 - France
- 677 pages
The 14th century gives us back two contradictory images: on the one hand a glittering time of crusades and castles, cathedrals and chivalry and exquisitely illuminated Books of Hours; on the other, a time of ferocity and spiritual agony - a world plunged into chaos. These are the years when the Black Death struck in the great plague of 1348-50, killing more than a third of the entire population between India and Iceland, and returned four times during the rest of the century... when freebooting companies of brigands terrorized Europe with impunity... when a "hundred years' war" seemed to have no beginning and no end, and, defying the belligerents' own efforts to end it, acquired a life of its own, "an epic of brutality and bravery checkered by disgrace"... when chivalry, the ideal that had formed and nurtured the nobility, was crumbling under the impact of new weapons, new tactics, and knightly follies...