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  •  Notes on A Distant Mirror (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cfk, alefnot, RunawayRose, MT Spaces, aravir

    A Distant Mirror by Barbara Tuchman
    NY:  Ballantine Books, 1978
    ISBN 0-345-28394-5

    (54)  Potatoes, tea, coffee, and tobacco were unknown;  hot spiced wine was the favorite drink of those who could afford it;  the common people drank beer, ale, and cider...

    Hours of the day were named for the hours of prayer:  matins around midnight;  lauds around three am;  prime, the first hour of daylight, at sunrise or about six am;  vespers at six in the evening;  and compline at bedtime.  The reckoning of time was based on the movements of sun and stars, were nature's timekeepers, which were familiar and carefully observed.

    (115)  At Worms in March 1349 the Jewish community of 400, like that of York, turned to an old tradition and burned themselves to death inside their own houses rather than be killed by their enemies.  The larger community of Frankfurt-am-Main took the same way in July, setting fire to part of the city by their flames.  In Cologne the Town Council repeated the Pope's argument that Jews were dying of the plague like everyone else, but the flagellants collected a great proletarian crowd of "those who had nothing to lose," and paid no attention.  In Mainz, which had the largest Jewish community in Europe, its members turned at least to self-defense.  With arms collected in advance they killed 200 of the mob, an act which only served to bring down upon them a furious onslaught by the townspeople in revenge for the death of Christians.
    NB:  Worms and Gandhi

    (210) In individuals as in nations, contentment is silent, which tends to unbalance the historical record.

    (225)  Italian White Company under Sir John Hawkwood, Tard-Venu and mercenary, at least "they did not roast and mutilate their victims like the Hungarians."

    (235) In Picardy, for more general enjoyment, the swan festival was held in July and August, when all three estates joined to chase the young swans raised in local ponds and canals and not yet able to fly.  Led by the clergy, followed by nobles, bourgeois, and commoners in order, everyone went out in boats accompanied by music and illuminations.  Participants were forbidden to kill what they caught.  For sport only, the chase lasted several days interspersed with festivities.

    (243)  Among those who shared the feast [wedding of Lionel of England and Violante Visconti in MIlan in 1368-69] were Petrarch, an honored guest at the high table, and both Froissart and Chaucer among the company, although it is doubtful if the two young unknowns were introduced to the famous Italian laureate.

    (503)  "Hopfrog" and the Bal d'Ardents which nearly killed King Charles VI in January 1393

    (584)  valor in combat is not the equivalent of competence in war

    (602)  Peasant Life in Old German Epics by Clair Hayden Bell, Columbia University Press, 1968

    (611)  The Brethren of the Common Life by Alvert Hyma, Michigan, 1930

    (614)  The Merchant of Prato, 1335-1410 by Iris Origo, NY, 1957

    (617)  Medieval Technology and Social Change by Lynn White, Oxford, 1962

    Solar is civil defense. Video of my small scale solar experiments at solarray.

    by gmoke on Wed May 11, 2011 at 07:36:56 PM PDT

    •  Thank you! (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      RunawayRose, MT Spaces

      You make me realize how I need to re-read the book.

      Tragic!  

      (115)  At Worms in March 1349 the Jewish community of 400, like that of York, turned to an old tradition and burned themselves to death inside their own houses rather than be killed by their enemies.

      The common people suffered a great deal from those roaming mercenaries while they were paid or when they were out of work.

      I am glad to see you!!

      Join us at Bookflurries: Bookchat on Wednesday nights 8:00 PM EST

      by cfk on Wed May 11, 2011 at 07:44:54 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  If you're interested in that war (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      cfk, MT Spaces, RunawayRose

      Jonathan Sumption has what may well become the definitive writeup. So far there are 3 volumes, and the third hasn't even made it to Agincourt yet (me, I'm just finishing the 1st).

      What stands out is the utter implacability of the English, sometimes calmly, often desperately, insistent on taking their country to what would be an impossibly long war that would end in bankruptcy and total defeat.

      Not that that was an exception: in the 11th century they invaded England (before they were even English); in the 12th century it was Ireland; in the 13th it was Wales, then Scotland; in the 14th it was France; in the 15th (having been kicked out of France) it was the Wars of the Roses. Makes you wonder.

      •  Yes...owning property on both sides of the (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        alefnot, MT Spaces, RunawayRose

        water caused Henry II to use England as a bank to fund his fights to hold his French lands.  Poor England.

        Endless war...very sobering.

        Thanks for the link...

        Join us at Bookflurries: Bookchat on Wednesday nights 8:00 PM EST

        by cfk on Wed May 11, 2011 at 08:28:09 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Makes you wonder if the nobility ... (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        cfk, alefnot, RunawayRose

        ... were psychopaths or sociopaths.

        Barbara Tuchman's books kept me sane* for decades.

        (*relatively speaking, of course)

        ... Deficit reduction, as it is usually discussed, is a "give to the rich" agenda.

        by MT Spaces on Wed May 11, 2011 at 08:29:40 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

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