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il tne hourr-.

nth century:

An Age of Adversiry

Cbapur

8 The High and Late Middte

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rhe High Middle Ages, began to disinregrate. These deveropments were signs thar rhe stabie and coherenr civilizarion of the rhirteenth century was drawing to a close.

During the Late Middle Ages, roughly rhe fourreenrh and early fifteenth centuries, medieval civilization was in decrine. The fourteenrh century, an age of adversiry, was marked by crop failures, famine, population decline, plrg.r.r, ,,"g_ nating producrion, unemploymenr, inflation, devastaring *urf^r", Ind abandoned villages. violenr rebellions by rhe poor of the to*ns and countryside were ruthlessly suppressed by the upper classes. The century wirnessed flights into mysticism, ourbreaks of mass hysteria, and massacres of Jews; it was an age of pessimism and general insecurity, The papacy decrined in power, heresy proliferated, and the synthesis of faith and reason, erecred by christian tr,ir.,ke.s during

new disease, bubonic plague. rtrTithin the next three years, from one-quarrer ro one-third of rhe population of Europe died from what became known, be"u,.rse of some of its symptoms, as rhe Black Dearh. Most who caught the plague died, though some survived. No one knew its cause or cure. !7e now know thar the bacteria were cransrnitred by fleas from infected rars. The unsanitary living condirions of medieval rowns and low standards of personal cleanliness helped ro

of the

were common. The progress of the prague as ir made its way through Europe and specuration on its causes, rhe rerrible tol.r o[vicrims, and various morar responses co rhe crisis are described in the following reading from the chronicle of Jean de Venecre (c. 1308-c. 1 368), a French friar who li*id througt rhe evenrs described.

spread the disease. The people were so re*ified by the incomprehensibre parrern disease's progress that superstition, hysteria, and breakdown

of civiliry

Jean de Venerte

THE BLACK DEATH


Until rhe fourteenth cenrury, rhe population of Europe had increased steadily from irs low point in the centuries immediatery following the lall o[ rhe Roman Empire in the west. Particularly from the elevenrh cenrury on, landlords tried to raise their income by bringing new land into cultivation. By improving farming technology, building dikes, draining marshland, and crearing forests,-Er.,.op.u. peasants produced much more food, which permirted more people to survive and multiply. That advance in popularion tapered off by the .u.ly for.r"..rrh cenbrought with them

tury due to many crop failures and wars, which wasted rhe countryside and red ro economic sragnarion. But the greatesr catastrophe began in the fali of 1347, when sailors returning to sicily from easrern Mediterranean porrs
a

tality ar rhe H6rel-Dieu [an early hospical] in Paris chat flor a long time, more rhan 6ue

has been heard of or seen or read of in cimes past. This plague and disease came from yma_ ginatione or associarion and concagion, for if a well man visiced rhe sick he only rarely evaded the risk of dearh. rVherefore in manv rowns rimid priescs wirhdrew, leaving rhe exercise of their ministry to such of rhe religrous as were more daring. In many places nor rwo our of cwency remained alive. So high was rhe mor-

This sickness or pesrilence was called an epidemic by the docrors. Norhing like rhe great numbers who died in the years t34S aad ll49

in rhe armpit or in che groin-in manv cases both-and rhey were infallible signs of dearh.

In a.o. 1348, rhe people of France and of a1_ hundred dead were carried daily wich grear mosr the whole world were srruck by a blow devorion rn carrs ro rhe cemerery of rhe i{oly orher rhan war. For in addicion ro the lamine Innocenrs in Paris [or burial. A uery g.ear numwhich I described in the beginning and ro the ber of rhe sainrly sisrers oF rhe H6rel_Dieu wars which I described in rhe course of rhis who, nor [earing to die, nursed che sick in all narrarive, pestilence and irs arrendanc cribula_ sweerness and humiliry, wich no thoughc of tions appeared again in various parrs of rhe honor, a number roo often renewed by iearh, world. . . . All this year and rhe next, rhe mor_ rest in peace wirh Chrrsr, as we may piously taliry of men and women, o[ rhe young even believe. more rhan of rhe old, in paris and in rhe kingThis plague, it is said, began among rhe undom o[ France, and also, ir is sa.id, in other believers [Muslims], came co Italy, and rhen parcs o( rhe world, was so grear rhat ic was al_ crossing rhe Alps reached Avignon lsite of the most impossible to bury the dead. people lay papacy in rhar periodl, where ill licrle more than two or rhree days and died cardinals and took from rhem ir artacked several rheir whole housesuddenly, as ir were in full healrh. He who was hold. Then rL spread, unforeseen, ro France, well one day was dead the nexr and being car_ through Gascony [now part o[ the south of ried ro his grave. Swellings appeared suddenly Francel and Spain, lirrle by lirrle, from rown ro
rown, lrom village ro village, from house to
house, and finally from person ro person. Ir even crossed over ro Germany, rhough it was not so

o[ His accusromed goodness deigned ro granr


rhis grace, that however suddenly men died, almosr all awaired dearh joyfully. Nor was there anyone who died wichour confessing his sins and
bread given ro rhe sick or

bad rhere as with us. During the eprdemic, God

receiving the holy viacicum Iche Eucharisric dying). , .


.

Some said rhar rhis pestilence was caused by infection of rhe a.ir and warers, since there was at rhis rime no famine nor lack of food supplies, but on rhe conrrary grear abundance. As a iesulr of chis theory of infecred wacer and air as the source of rhe piague rhe Jews were suddenly and

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Tbe Higb and

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rhan before [swarmed] everywhere jn rhe world. And this fact was very remarkable. Alrhough there was an abundance of ail goods, yet everyrhing was rwice as dear, wherher it were utensils, victuals, or merchandise, hired helpers or peasants and serfs, excepr for some heredirary domains which remained abundantly stocked wirh everyrhing. Chariry began ro cool, and iniquiry wirh ignorance and sin to abound, for few could be found in rhe good rowns and castles who knew how or were willing ro insrrucr children in the rudiments of grammar.

violently charged wirh infecring wells and wacer and corrupring the air. The whole world rose up againsr them cruelly on rhis account. In Germany and orher parts of rhe world where Jews massacred and slaughrered by Christians, and many rhousands were burned everywhere, rndiscriminarely. The unshaken, if fatuous, consrancy of rhe [Jewish] men and rheir wives was remarkable. For morhers hurled rheir children 6rsr into the 6re thar rhey mighr nor be baprized and then leaped in after chem to burn with their husbands and children. It is said rhat many bad Christians were found who rn a like

king of France, who did nor wanr rhem. He acred on rhe advice of the mascers of theology of the University of Paris, who said rhar this new secr had been flormed conrrary to the will of God,
so by the

lived, rhey were

manner put poison into wel.ls. But in rruth, such poisonings, granred thar rhey acrually were perpetrated, could nor have caused so grear a plague nor have infecred so many people. There were

other causes; for example, rhe will of God and the corrupt humors and evil inherent in a.ir and earth. Perhaps the poisonings, if they actually took place in some localities, reenforced these causes. The plague lasted in France for rhe greater parr of the years 1348 and 1349 and rhen ceased. Many counrry villages and many houses in good towns remained empty and deserted. Many houses, including some splendid dwellings, very soon fell inro ruins. Even in Paris severa.l houses were thus rurned, though fewer here
than elsewhere. Afrer the cessarion of the epidemic, pesrilence, or plague, rhe men and women who sur-

Jean de Venette vividly describes one of the more bizarre reactions to the terrible plague, the sudden appearance of the Flagellants, Marching like pilgrims across the countrysrde, the Flagellants were a group of laymen and laywomen who sought divine pardon for their sins by preaching repentance to others and scourging themselves in
a quasi-liturgical ceremony in local churches

ro the rites of Holy Mother Church, and to rhe salvarion of all rheir souls. Thar indeed this was and is rrue appeared shortly. For pope Clement VI was fully informed concerning this faruous new rire by rhe masrers of Paris rhrough emissaries reverenrly senr ro him and, on rhe grounds rhat ir had been damnably formed, conrrary co law, he forbade the Flagellants under rhreac o[ anathema [excommunicarion] ro practise in rhe furure rhe public penance which they had so presumpruously underraken. His prohibirion was just, for rhe Flagellanrs, supported by cerrain faruous priests and monks, were

enunciaring doctrines and opinions which were beyond measure evil, erroneous, and fallacious. For example, they said thar cheir blood rhus drawn by (he scourge and poured our was mingled wirh the blood of Christ. Their many errors showed how lirrle they knew of che Carholic Fairh. Wherefore, as rhey had begun faruously

o[

rhemselves and nor

o[ God, so in a

shorr

time they were reduced ro norhing. On being


warned, they desisted and humbly received abso-

lution and penance ar rhe hands of cheir prelates as f he pope's represenrarives. Many honorable women and devout marrons, ir must be added,
had done rhis penance wirh scourges, marching

and singing rhrough rowns and churches like rhe men, but after a lircle like rhe ochers rhey
desisced.

Sir John Froissart

THE PEASANT REVOLT OF 1381


In 1181' a rebellion of peasants and poor arrisans in England rhreatened the political power of the ruling class. The rebellion, which was crushed and whose
classes and rhe specrer

or

marketplaces. The movement foreshadowed events in which moral, social, and economic discontent would increasingly manifest itself in the form of religiously justified popular uprisings against civil and clerical authorities.

vived married each other. There was no steri.liry among rhe women, but on rhe conrrary fertiliry beyond the ordinary. Pregnant women were seen on every side. . . . Bur woe is mel the world was not changed for the berter bur for rhe worse by this renewal of population. For men were rnore avaricious and grasping than before, even rhough they had lar greater possessions, They were more covetous and disrurbed each orher more frequenrly with suits, brawls, disputes, and pleas. Nor by rhe morraliry resulring from this rerrible plague inflicred by God was peace berween kings and lords established. On the conrrary, rhe enemies of rhe king of France and of rhe Church were stronger and wickeder rhan before and stirred up wars on sea and on land. Grearer ev.ils

In rhe year 1149, while rhe plague was srill active and spreading from town co rown, men in Germany, Flanders, Hainaur [east of F.landersJ, While these conferences [of English nobles] and Lorra.ine uprose and began a new sect on rheir were going forward there happened great comown author.iry. Srripped to rhe waist, rhey garh- motions among the lower orders in England, by ered in large groups and bands and marched in which that counrry was nearly ruined. In order processron through thecrossroadsand squareso6. that this disastrous rebellion may serve as an cities and good towns. There they formed circles i" example to mankind, I will speak of all rhat i, and beat upon their backs wirh weighced scourges, was done from the information I had at rhe is customary in.England,, as. well as in rejoicing as rhey did so in loud voices.and.inging [f:11.'. J, hymns suitable to cheir rite and newly composs6 $i:feveral other countries, flor the nobility to have privileges over rhe commonaliry; thar is flor ir. Thus for th.irry-rhree days they marched through many towns doing their penance and af- ffilf say, the lower orders are bound by law ro the lands of rhe gencry, ro harvest rheir fording a grear specracle to the wondering peo, to carry ir home ro che barn, ro rhrash ple. They flogged rheir shoulders and arms with winnow it; they are also bound ro harvest scourges tipped wirh iron points so zealously as ro
draw blood. Bur they did not come to Paris nor to any parr of France, for rhey were forbidden ro do

The following account of rhe rebellion is by SirJohn Froissart (c. li37-c. 1410), a French hisrorian and poet who chronicled rhe Hundred years' $/ar berween France and England, which wreaked havoc in the counrries concerned.

leaders were betrayed and execured, revealed rhe massive discontenr of rhe lower ofsocial upheaval thar hovered over late medieval society.

prelates and gentlemen exacr of rheir inferiors; and in rhe counries of Kent, Essex, Sussex, and Bedford, rhese services are more oppressrve than in other parrs of rhe kingdom. In consequence o[ rlris rhe evil[ly] disposed in rhese districrs began ro murrlur, saying, rhat in che beginning o[ rhe world rhere were no slaves, and rhar no one or.rghr ro be created as such, r.rnless he had comrnicred rreason againsr his lord, as Lucifer had done againsr God; bur rhey had done no such thing, for rhey were neither angels nor spirics, bur men formed after rhe same likeness as rhese lords who treaced chem

carry home rhe hay.

All

rhese services the

as beasts, This chey would bear no ionger; they were derermined ro be [ree, and if chey

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laboured or did any work, rhey would be paid for ir. A crazy priesr in the counry of Kenr, called

John Ball, who for his absurd preaching had rhrice been confined in prison by the Archbishop of Canterbury, was greatly instrumental in exciting these rebellious ideas. Every Sunday after mass, as the people were coming our of church, this John Bali was accustomed to assemble a crowd around him in the markerplace and preach to them. On such occasions he would say, "My good friends, matters cannor go on well in England unril all chings shall be in common; when there shall be neirher vassals
nor lords; when the lords shal.l be no more masters than ourselves. How ill they behave to us! for what reason do chey thus hold us in
bondage? Are we not all descended from rhe same parents, Adam and Eve? And what can they show, or what reason can they give, why

silver. These wicked Londoners, rherefore, began to assemble in parties, and ro show signs of rebeiiion; they also invired all chose who held like opinions .in rhe adjoining counties to come to London; reiling them rhat they would 6nd rhe rown open to rhem and the commonalry of the same way of thinking as themselves, and that they would so press rhe king, tbat there should no longer be a slave rn
England.

murdered a rich cirizen, by name Richard Lyon, ro whom Wat Tyler had formeriy been servant in France, but having once bearen him, the [scoundrel] had never forgotten it; and when he had carried his men ro his house, he ordered his head ro be cur off, placed upon a pike, and carried rhrough rhe srreets o[ London. Thus did chese wicked people act, and on this Thursday they did much damage ro rhe city of London. To-

been expended. Considering rhe mischief which rhe mob had already done, you rnay easily imag_

By this means the men of Kent, Essex, Sussex, Bedford, and che adjoining counries, in
number abour 60,000, were broughr ro London, under command of \War Tyler, Jack Straw, and John Ball. This $Vat Tyler, who was chief of the three, had been a riler of houses-a bad man and a great enemy ro the nobility. . . \With regard ro rhe common people of London, numbers entertained these rebe.llious opinions, and on assembling at the bridge asked of the guards, "Vhy will you refuse admitrance ro rhese honest men? they are our friends, and what they are doing is for our good." So urgent were rhey, that it was found necessary ro open the gates, when crowds rushed in and rook possession of those shops which seemed besr stocked with provisions; rndeed, wherever rhey wenr, mear and drink were placed before rhem, and nothing was refused in the hope ofappeasing them. Their leaders, John Ball, Jack Srraw, and \Wat Tyler, rhen marched through London,
.

wards evening rhey 6xed their quarters in a square, called St. Catherine's, before the Tower, declaring rhar rhey would nor depart urrtil rhey had obtained from rhe king every thing rhey q/2nsscl-ungll the Chancellor [chief 6nancial of6cerl o[ England had accounred ro rhem, and shown how rhe great sums which were raised had

ine how miserable, at this rime, was rhe situarion of the king and rhose who were wirh him. . . . . . Now observe how fortunarely macrers turned out, for had ihese scoundrels succeeded in their intentions, all rhe nobiliry of England would have been desrroyed; and afrer such suc_ cess as rhis the people of orher nations would have rebelled also, taking example from those o[ Ghenr and Flanders, who ac che cime were in actual rebellion againsr their lord; rhe par.

isians indeed rhe same year acted in a somewhat

similar manner; r.rpwards of 20,000 o[ them


armed themselves wich leaden maces and caused

arebellion....

they should be more masters than ourselves7 They are clothed in velvet and rich sruffs, ornamented with ermine and other furs, while we are forced to wear poor clothing. They have wines, spices, and fine bread, while we have only rye and the refluse of the straw; and when

John Wycliffe

CONCERNING THE POPE'S POSTER


A threar ro papal power and to rhe medievar ideal of a universal chriscian communiry guided by the church came from radicar reformers, who questioned the function and authoriry of rhe entire church hierarchy. These hererics in the Late Middle Ages were forerunners of the protestant Reformation. A principal dissenter was rhe Engrishrnan John \wycriffe (c. r320-13g4). By stressing a personal relarionship berween the individual and God and by claiming that the Bible irself, rarher rhan church teachings, is the ultimate christian au_ thority, wycliffe challenged rhe lundamentar position of the medieval church: rhar the avenue ro salvation passed through the church alone. He denounced the weakh of rhe higher clergy and soughr a rerurn to the spiritual purity and material pove*y of the early church. To wycliffe, the wealthy, eraboratery organized hierarchy of the church was unnecess ary and wrong. The splendidly dressed and propertied bishops had no resemblance to the simple people who first followed chrisr. Indeed, these worldly bishops, headed by a princely and tyrannical pope, were really anti-Christians, the "fiends of Hell." wycliffe wanred rhe srare ro con_ fiscate church properry and the clergy ro embrace poverry, By denying that priesrs changed rhe bread and wine of communion inco the subsrance of the body and blood of Christ, Wycliffe rejected rhe speciai powers o[ the clergy. The church deprived rhe Lollards-an order o[ poor priests thut sp..ad $/ycliffe's teachings---of their priestly funcrions. In the early fifteenth cenrury, some of 'Wycliffe's followers were burned ar the srake. In che following selection from a pamphler concerning the pope, wycliffe contrasts rhe pope unfavorably with Jesus, The text, originally wrirten in Middle English, was rendered into Modern English by Alfred Andrea. The explanarory J.
notes are Andrea's.

it must be water, Th'ey have handsome seats and manors, while we must brave rhe wind and rain in our labours in the 6eld; rnd it is by our labour they have wherewrrh to ;upport their pomp. Sre are called slaves, and if we do not perform our service we are bearen,
we drink,

rnd we have no sovereign to whom we can


:omplain or who would be willing ro hear us. Ler us go to rhe king and remonstrare wirh nim; he is young, and From him we may obrain a favourable answer, and if noc we musr :urselves seek to amend our condirion." \)7irh ;uch language as this did John Ball harangue :he people of his village every Sunday after xass. The archbishop, on being informed of :t, had him arrested and imprisoned for two or :hree months by way of punishment; but the Tloment he was out of prison, he returned to ris former course. Many in the city o[ London )nvious of the rich and noble, having heard of lohn Ball's preaching, said among themselves :hat the country was badly governed, and that he nobility had seized upon all rhe gold and

attended by more than 20,000 men, to the palace of rhe Savoy, which is a handsome building belonging to the Duke o[ Lancaster [rhe king's unclel, situated on rhe banks of the Thames on rhe road to $Testminster: here they immediately killed the porters, pushed into the
house, and set it on 6re. Not contenr with thrs outrage, rhey wenr to rhe house of che Knighthospitalers of Rhodes, dedicated to St. John of Mount Carmel, which they burnt rogether with their church and hospital.

Afrer this they paraded the streets,

and

killed every Fleming [citizen of Flanders] they could find, whether in house, church, or hospital: they broke open several houses of the Lombards [italian bankers], raking whatever money they could lay their hands upon. They

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ffi death in order ro bring them ro bliss. p.opl. s.ffi thar rhe pope so loves rhe presrige of rhis worldfi rhar he granrs people absolucion rh"t guuranree$..P]
a srraighr parh to Heaven4 so rhar rhey miehii perform acrs rhar redound ro his honor. Anj.rn,i' rhis foolishiness could be the cause ofrhe death.., in body and soul, of many rhousands ofpeople. And how does he follow Chrisc in chis way?: Christ was so parienr and suffered *.ong, .u. well rhar He prayed for His enem.ies and raughr
,

Chrisr was a very poor man from His birth ro His dearh and florswore worldly riches and begging,r in accord with rhe srare of primal innocence,2 but Antichrist, in conrrast ro rhis, from rhe rime that he is made pope ro rhe time of his dearh, covets world.ly wealth and rries in many shrewd ways ro gain riches. Christ was a most meek man and urged that we learn from Him,
but people say char rhe pope is the proudest man

ffi ,'n$

on earth, and he makes lords kiss his


whereas

feer,r

Christ washed His aposrles' feet. Christ was a rnosr unpretenrious man in life, deeds, and words. People say rhar this pope is nor like Chrisr in this way, for whereas Chrisr wenr on
foor ro crties and iirtle towns a.like, they say this pope desires to live in a castle in a grand manner. \Whereas Chr.ist came

His apostles nor ro rake vengeance. people iay


thar rhe pope of Rome wishes ro be avenged
in

roJohn rhe Baptist ro re baprized by him, the pope summons people


:o come to him wherever he mighr be, yea, as :hough Christ Himself, and not rhe pope, had

;ummoned rhem
zoung and poor

to Him. Christ

embraced

ay that the pope desires ro embrace wor.ldly )restige and not good people for rhe sake o[
]od, lesr he dishonor himselfl Chrisr was busy
rreaching the Gospel, and nor for worldly presige or for pro6t; people say rhar rhe pope allows his, bur he would gladly make laws ro which he ;ives more prestige and sanction rhan Chrisr,s rw. Christ so loved His flock rhat He laid down

in token of his humility; people

is life for rhem and sulfered sharp pain and


\pparenrly, an ob.lique arrack on rhe mendicanr friars, ho claimed to follow a life of Apostolic poverty io jmitaon ofJesus and his apostles, Vycliffe despised ihe friars. fhe presumed innocence of Adam and Evi before the Fall. \ long-sranding tradition.

. . . I shall 6rst show, rhar Chrisr himself came into rhe world not to dominare men, nor ro judge them by [remporal] judgmenr . . . nor ro wield temporal rule, buc rather to be subjec as regards trary, seeks his own glory in .r..y *ry, yea, even tlre starus of the presenc life; and moreover, thac if ir means rhe loss of rhe worship otGod And he wanted to and did exclude himself, his aposso he manufacrures many grorndless gabblings. tles and disciples, and their successors, rhe bishIf these and similar accusations u.. ,.r. of Jhe , ops and priescs, from all such coercive aurhority pope of Rome, he is the very Anrichrist and nor i or woridly rule, both by his example and by his words of counsel or command. I shall also show Chrisr's vicar on earth that the leading apostles, as Christ's rrue imirators, did rhis same rhing and raught their succes_ sors ro do likewise; and moreover, rhat borh 4A reference ro rhe Roman Church's indulgences, Chrisr and rhe aposrles wanred to be and were which had become increasingly sysremized and pipular during continuously subjecr in property and in person ro the twelfth and rhirteenth cenruries (see page )9g). the coercive jurisdicrion of secularuulers, und that they raught and commanded all ochers, to
;, ,:.

every way, by killing and by damning and by orher painful means rhat he devises. Chrisr taughr people ro live well by the example of His own life and by His words, for He did whar He taught and caughr in a manner rhat was conso_ nanr with His acrions. People say rhar the pope acrs conrrary to rhis. His life is nor an example of how orher people should live, for no one should live like him, inasmuch as he acts in a rnanner thar accords ro his high srare. In every deed and word, Chrisc soughr rhe glory of God and suffered many assaults on His manhood for this goal; people say that rhe pope, ro the con-

quired no guidance flrom a higher authoriry; rherefore, he said rhat the state should oot be made to conform to standards formuldted by the church. For Marsilius' che church was soleiy a spiritual institution; ir possessed no temporar power, and rhe clergy were not above the laws o[ rhe state. pope John XXII branded him a heretic for publishing this work, and Marsirius was forced ro seek the protecrion of rhe German prince, Louis of Bavaria.In rhe folowing passage, Marsilius outlines rhe relationship between church and state .r,ustirh"a uy
Christ.

resisted by Pope Boniface vIIl (1294-1303). \l/hen Boniface threarened to excommunicare all who cooperated in such tax coilection, rhe king cut off all papal revenue from France. The struggle continued throughour Boniface,s pontificate, ending in an atrack in r303 by French agenrs on the papal residence in Anagni, Italy, during which the aged pope was physically assaulted. The bitrer struggle called fo*h aseries of responses from both sides describing rheir..rp..rir. plitions on rhe proper relationship between srate and church. papal theorists, of course' emphasized the superioriry of the spiritual power of the church over rhe temporal power of the state, and insisted thar ir was the dury of earthly aurhority to aid the church in che performance of irs spiritual duties. ln Tbe Defender of tbe peace, Marsilius of padua (c. 127 5_1342) made a radical break with traditional medievar politicar thoughr. Marsilius argued that chrisr never intended that his Apostles or rheir successors, the bishops, should exercise temporal power. Political tife operared according to its own principres and re-

man bishop and of rhe orhers. For ignorance on rhis poinr has hirherro been and scill is rhe source of many quescions and damnable conrroversies among rhe Christian l:airhful, as was menrioned in the firsr chaprer o[ chis discourse. And so in pursuit of rhese aims we wish to show rhac Christ, in his purposes or inrentions,
words, and deeds, wished ro exclude and did exclude himselfand rhe aposrles from every of6ce of

rulership, contentious jurisdicrion, governmenr, or coercive judgment in chis world. This is firsr

shown clearly beyond any doubt by the passage in

Marsilius of Padua ATTACK ON THE $TORLDLY POSTER OF THE CHURCH


The fourteenth century brought a new crisis in church-stare relations. King philip the Fair (1285-1314) tried to raise revenues for the French government by taxing the property and income of the clergy without papar consent, efflorts thar were

whom rhey preached or wrore the law

o[truth, to

do likewise, under pain o[ erernal damnation. : Then I shall wrire a chaprer on rhe power or aurrthority ofche keys which Chrisr gave ro the apos_ .t::t1.. ,nO rheir successors in olfice, bishops and
ffiPrtesrs,
so rhac

the eighteenth chapter of che gospel ofJohn, For when Chrrsr was broughr before ponrius pilare, vicar of the Roman ruler in Judea, and accused o[ having called himself king of rhe Jews, pontius asked him wherher he had said rhis, or wherher he did call [rimself a king, and Chrisr's reply included chese words, among orhers: "My kingdom is nor of rhis world," thar is, I have nor come ro reign by cemporal rule or dominion, in the way in

ir may be clear whar

is rhe nacure,

ffiaualitf,

and exrenc o[such power, borh ofrhe Ro_

which worldly kings reign. And prooFof this was given by Chrisr himsel{: rhrough an evident sign
when he said: "If my kingdom were of rhis world,

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my servanrs would certainly fighr, thar I should not be delivered to the Jews," as if ro argue as foliows: If I had come into this world to reign by worldly or coercive rule, I would have ministers for this rule, nameiy, rnen ro 6ght and ro
coerce rransgressors, as rhe other kings have; but I do not have such ministers, as you can

Like Chrisr and rhe aposrles, then, the Ro, iitr{


man bishops and priesrs and the whole clergy of Rome and the orher provinces used ro live under the coercive governmenr of rhose who were the rulers by aurhoriry of rhe human legislaror. But larer on, certain Roman bishops succumbed ro rhe persuasion and rncitarion of rhat ruler of rhis world, that 6rst parent of arrogance and presumption, chat inculcator of all
,::..l
:..|:

clearlysee,...
. . . It now remains to show that nor only did Christ himself refuse rulership or coercive judgment .in rhis world, whereby he furnished an example for his apostles and disciples and their successors ro do likewise, but also he taught by words and showed by example that all men, both priests and non-priests, should be sub,ject in property and in person to the coercive judgment of the rulers of this world. By his word and example, rhen, Christ showed rhis 6rsr with respecr to propemy, by what is written in rhe twenty-second chaprer of Marthew. For when the Jews asked him: "Tell us therefore, what dost thou rhinkT Is it lawful to give tribute to Caesar, or not?" Christ, after looking at the coin and its inscriprion, repled: "Render therefore ro Caesar rhe rhings that are Caesar's, and to God rhe things that are God's." . . . So, rhen, we ought to be subject to Caesar in ali things, so long only as rhey are not contrary to piecy, that is, to divine worship or commandment. Therefore, Chr.ist wanted us to be subject in property ro rhe secular ruler. . .
.

vices, the devil; and they were led, or rather misled, ro a path foreign ro rhar of Christ and the apostles. For cupidity and avarice, invading their minds, expelled therefrom thar supreme meritorious poverty which Chrrst had introduced and esrablished in the church. . , . And again, pride and ambition [or secular rule, invading their
minds, expelled therefrom rhar supreme humiliry which Christ had enjoined and commanded the church or whole priesrhood ro mainrain. This, then, as we have said, is and was rhe

primary source of the present strife and discord between the emperors and rhe Roman
pontiffs, since the conrroversies over rhe d.ivine
rulers have died out entirely. For rhe Roman bishops wrongly wish to possess excessive temporal goods, and refuse ro be subject to rhe laws and edicts of the rulers or rhe human legislaror,

law and over rhe heresies of certain

thereby opposing the example and teaching of Chrisr and rhe aposrles, . .
.

REVrE\Y 0UESrIONS

l.
2.
3.

In the absence ofany scienti6c knowledge abour the nacure and causes ofthe bubonic plague, how did the populace reacr ro rhe mysrerious spread o[the disease2 In the chronicler's opinion, what were some oFrhe long-term moral, socral, and economic consequences o[ the plague? What speci6c grievances motivated uprisings in England in rhe lare fourteenrh
century
?

4. Vhatpoliticalprincipleswereinvokedbytheleadersof therebellionof

1381 ro

justrfy their demands and acrions? ). Why was John Vycliffe critical o[the church? \Xrhy did the church regard his teachings as a serious threat ro irs mission2 6. Vhat arguments did Marsilius use ro strip the church of its pracrice of holding or claiming temporal political authoriry2 7. In Marsilius's opinion, who or what was ro blame lor the church's claim to exercise temporal poli rical authori ry?