High Medieval Economic, Technology and Politics
Lisa M. Lane 2008
The text and audio by Lisa M. Lane is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 License.
>> Okay, warning; this is my field. Okay? So, so sometimes when an instructor lectures on their field, it can get a little weird, so if I get up here somewhere, just raise your hand and say; wait a minute. You're out there; what did you say? That's always a danger. Most, most instructors you have at community college and in the lower divisions at university have a particular specialty that they focused on when they got their master's degree or their PhD, and that's like their favorite thing, because that's what they did. And in trying to teach it in a more general context, like a huge class on all of western civilization up to 1648, it can be a little bit difficult to narrow it down to just the stuff that you need to know. So, I'm hoping in creating the PowerPoint that I'll stick to it and not fly off somewhere. So, yeah. All right. The first thing that the chapter dealt with and what's really important to understand in terms of why the period they call [inaudible] is so crucial is that its foundation is population growth. You get a concentration of people that start to cause innovation and change. And, interestingly enough, the expansion of that population was caused by innovation and change; in this case, in agriculture. The chapter did a pretty good job with this. It didn't go into too much detail, a little bit, and I want to emphasize some of the innovations that made the agricultural [inaudible] possible, but keep in mind throughout that the whole point of this is that the agricultural innovations caused more people to be born, because the men and women are healthier as they get more to eat and more nutrition. And then, those babies lived longer because again, there's more to eat and more nutrition, and then they have more babies, et cetera, et cetera. So, most population increases that get really big are preceded by some sort of changes in the way that the food is produced. So, that's not surprising, but we see it here in some detail and the activity that we see in the middle Middle Ages, which they call the High Middle Ages, are a direct result of increased population, so we need to, to look at a foundation for that. This is, this is one part of the agricultural revolution that had to do with the tools that they used to actually plow the ground for planting.
>> I don't know how much experience you have with farming; I mean, most urban people don't have much experience with it. But, the idea of a plow is to be able to dig a line into the soil so that your seeds can be planted underneath the surface of the soil and covered up in such a way that birds and animals and stuff can't get them, so they have a chance to grow. The different soils require different kinds of plows. In the area around the Mediterranean, for example, in Greece and Italy, the soil tends to be kind of light. It doesn't hold water for very long. It doesn't have a lot of clay in it; it tends to be pretty sandy. And, you know from going to the beach, when water gets on sand, what happens to it?
>> Okay. Yes, some sand, it kind of goes through it really, really fast, and that's what the soils were like around the Mediterranean; they were light and sandy. And so, you could really just kind of take a stick and dig, you know, in a, to make a line, make your furrow, drop your seeds, cover them. It's really not that big a deal. It's hard in the rockier areas, of course, which is why farming was difficult in some of these places, especially in, in Greece. But, the soil itself is not a problem; the rocks are the problem. In Northern Europe though, it's a different situation and the soil itself is a problem. It's heavy and when it rains, the soil absorbs a lot of water, holds on to it. It gets really muddy. When's it a good time, in temperate climates, to plant seed; when do most people do planting?
>> In the spring.
>> The spring; early spring, you know. It takes a while for crops to grow, particularly anything you're going to eat. It has to go through several stages. It's not like growing a lawn. It has to go through some sort of fruiting stage to get to the grain. It's going to take awhile, so you want to get the seeds into the ground as early in the season as possible, so it has time to grow big and strong all summer and be harvested in the fall and be useful. That means that you are trying to plow the soil when it's wet, because that's when the rains tend to come, at the end of winter and the beginning of spring. In northern areas then, it was very difficult with just a scratch plow, they called it, which was basically a stick, to get very deeply into the soil. The seed didn't get down very far and animals tended to eat a lot of it, you know, crows and such. So, this is an innovation; the heavy plow, they called it; also called the moldboard plow. The moldboard is right, it's right here; it's just a big sheet of wood that makes it possible, because it is very heavy, for its own weight to push down into heavy soil. And, if it's pulled by very strong animals; like, this is, these are oxen, and they're quite powerful, it can dig down pretty deep as long as the plow itself is quite heavy. And the board; what the board enables to happen is as it plows through, the board is flipping the dirt, really mud, really, over to the side and as it goes along, that moldboard dumps the mud back on top of the furrow to cover up your seed. It seems like a really minor thing, but it was major, because it enabled higher food production; better yields as a result of being able to bury those seeds deeper in the mud. It also makes for a more stable, stable plant itself. So, this is a major innovation. Now, it's pulled here by oxen. Do you remember that map that you looked at, somebody looked at, of the medieval manor and how the fields weren't laid out? Did you notice, in like a, in like a field like this, that there would be stripes?
[ Sound of writing on a chalkboard ] What did you figure those stripes were?
>> Places where the plow went? It's a really big map though, so some of these areas were, were very wide and yet, you had all these [inaudible], right? And that's exactly what they are; they are the areas that you plow back and forth. And, the reason you want them to be as long as possible, instead of like little square fields; you want it to be long. It's because these guys do not exactly turn on a dime. They are slow, lumbering animals and you want them to go straight for as long as possible before you have to deal with turning them. Oxen are not very maneuverable. They're very strong, they're very heavy, they're pretty easy to manage, they're pretty docile, they don't get too feisty; but, they don't turn well, so your strips of plowing are going to be very, very long. So, when they divide up, you know, which strips are going to be farmed for the land lord of the manor and which strips for the peasants and all of that; however they lay it out, they want those strips as long as possible. What might be a better animal to use here? Yeah?
>> A horse would be able to turn better. In the Mediterranean, areas where you've got just that light scratch plow, that's what they used; horses. But, for this plow, you need the strength of the oxen and, and there was a problem with using a horse. Here's the problem. You look at the upper picture here and you try to harness a horse in such a way that it could pull something as heavy as they heavy plow; you will strangle the horse, because the force of the animal going forward, you have to move something around to get that horse going, and what they had for that cut across the horse's windpipe. No problem for a light load, no big deal. But, for the heavy plow, it didn't really work. So, the second big innovation, in addition to the heavy plow itself, was the horse collar, which goes over and around the horse's shoulders and makes it possible then for the shoulders to do the pushing instead of the front of the neck. So, this is a horse collar. The weight of it; it's coming around the front to keep it on, but the, the force is coming from the horse's shoulders, not its throat. And, that makes it possible then for it to pull a heavy plow. Then, you've got a combination of maneuverability; you've got the maneuverability and you've also got the heavy plow for digging into the soil. These seem like minor things, you know, switching over from oxen to horses; switching over from a light plow to a heavy plow. They make a fantastic difference in your yield. Horses are also a little faster, and they start breeding them to be big and strong. Draft horses; you, you might have seen them before. Big, big, horses; the ones that pull the beer wagon, right? Big horses, draft horses, yeah. Clydesdales and that type of horses; all of those and Belgians, they're, they're bred to be big and strong to be able to do this kind of work. Yes?
>> [Inaudible] Clydesdale [inaudible]?
>> That's the Clydesdales and all of those big horses, those ones that are just huge, had two purposes, and they were bred; both of them bred during the Middle Ages. The draft horses were, that were bred to pull things, like the Clydesdales, for this kind of work and for pulling wagons. And the other reason they were bred big during this era was so that they could be strong enough as warhorses to hold knights who ultimately had very heavy armor, and be able to be good battle horses as well. So, there were two reasons to breed them big during the Middle Ages. Other questions about plowing, horses versus oxen, that kind of thing?
[ Silence ] The other; the third, I guess, big innovation had to do with how they used these fields. Now, I realize this chart isn't laid out in strips, but I think you can get the idea that this could be in strips or squares or whatever. Let's say your land is divided into three fields. Originally, you didn't have this system. Originally, you have a two-field rotation, and one field was planted and one field was fallow at any particular time. Do you know what fallow means?
>> What, [inaudible]?
>> It means that you're just letting it lie there so that the soil can like, regroup.
>> Yeah. [Inaudible], so you're not planting; unplanted, fallow, leave it alone, let nature take its course. When nature takes its course, the soil can recover. If you don't let that happen; if you don't switch back and forth, gradually your plants get, and you can see this within a period of just a few years. They get spindly and weak and attacked by insects and all of that. Do you know why that would happen, if you keep planting over and over and over, the same crop in the same place?
>> Right; you get soil exhaustion. Because the same plant; like you say, planted over and over, is using the exact same nutrients. And the big nutrient that's the most problem, because all plants need it, is nitrogen. Nitrogen is in the air. It needs to be in the soil for plants to grow. Most food crops need lots of nitrogen to be able to grow, and if you keep planting the same crop over and over and over again, eventually the crop itself is going to get weak and stop producing. So, that's why they did this; because they didn't know why, scientifically, but they knew that if they left a field fallow and then they planted on it again next year, everything went fine. And, that if they didn't do that, the crops went waiting; they yield went waiting. What they didn't realize was happening while they weren't planting the fields is that the natural stuff; the natural grasses and in particular in northern Europe, clover, was growing on its own in the fallow field. And so, when it came time from planting again the following year, they would just use the heavy plow and, and that clover would be dug into the ground. And, they didn't realize that clover itself is a nitrogen fixing plant; it takes nitrogen from the air and puts it in the soil in the nodes on its roots, and so it was actually fertilizing without them having to do anything. Nature was fertilizing the fields for them. They didn't know that was what was happening, but they knew that it was good; that if they left it fallow, things worked out. And that if they didn't, things didn't work out. But here, in this instance, in a two field rotation.
[ Sound of writing on chalkboard ] How much of your field is being planted at any one time?
>> Fifty percent.
>> Fifty percent. In this kind of rotation, where you're taking the same size field and dividing it into three parts and rotating through like this with two different crops; the fall crop and the spring crop and then fallow, and you're rotating that through, how much of your field is in production?
>> Sixty-six percent.
>> Sixty-six percent; year. So, you're increasing; and again, it seems small when you just look at it on a piece of paper or on a chart. It seems minor. But, going from fifty percent to sixty-six percent; if you think about all of the farmland in Europe, and there was lots and lots of it, this was a huge increase. And, there's even more to it than that. It's not just a matter of how much of the land is being planted; it's also a matter of what's being planted and in what sequence. Yes?
>> [Inaudible] for a long, long time.
>> So, why did it take so long to get a three-field rotation, because?
>> I've got [inaudible]; two things. One is the understanding of which crops could follow which crops without causing soil exhaustion. You know, trial and error over and over in years; if you've got a particularly bad crop that year, particularly bad climate conditions that year, it becomes impossible to keep a record that would tell you that this would work. So, the first problem is changing climate and difficulty with proper recordkeeping so that you could see that this would actually function. Second problem is that the traditional peasant societies that had developed over many, many centuries did not like change. They had been observing the conditions and how things worked for many years and they knew how to optimize this system. And, they didn't like people coming in and messing with it. And, there's another reason, too, which has to do with the popularity of the peas, the barley, the beans and the lentils. For a long time, it was assumed that that type of food was not really people food. It was, it was just sort of stuff that you grew if you couldn't grow, for some reason, the other thing. Beans, of course, have two characteristics that are really important. One is they have protein, which wheat and, and your other grains don't have as much of. And, the other thing about beans and peas, the legumes, is that they are also nitrogen fixing crops, which wheat and, and barley and stuff are not. So, beans and peas also do that trick that the clover was doing; pulling nitrogen from the air, fixing it in the soil; it's on the nodes of their roots and if you just hack the vines down, don't pull them out; why would you bother, and just kind of plow them in, they're adding back. So, kind of getting to the point where this particular rotation happens means that all of those factors have to come together. They have to think it's going to work, they have to have enough records to show that it's going to work, they have to get past their traditional way of doing things with the two fields, and they have to understand that as long as the beans and the peas come in the right sequence, it will improve the wheat crop that comes after it. That takes some time to get to where that is. So, all of those things are happening, and they're increasing; and it points out, this chart points out here that all of these can feed humans and that the additional oats and barley that they're adding in can not only feed humans, it can also feed the horses that they're increasingly using to be able to plow the fields. So, there's a cycle of increased productivity happening at several different levels here. [Inaudible] now maybe all of these things would add up to a massive population increase? It's just like a whole bunch of little stuff all put together that makes it this way. Did you have a question?
>> Yeah, I was going to say that [inaudible], you know, people [inaudible] wasn't the same people [inaudible] constant migration, [inaudible], crop failures. You know, people getting moved around here and there [inaudible]. So, there wasn't, like, enough time for them to really observe, you know, a certain crop.
>> [Inaudible] people who were very sedentary [inaudible].
>> Yeah, I think a good example of that would be the Germanic barbarian tribes, who initially, the ones at the very edges of the Roman Empire; they used to come into a deforested area and they would chop down a bunch of trees and clear an area for agriculture, and then they would burn the wood and the stumps and the, the brush and everything. They'd burn it and when they did that, it creates potash, which is one of the nutrients that plants need in the soil, so they could have this layer of ash that would put potash in the soil. And then, they would grow [inaudible], and they would grow for a while and after several years of growing the same thing over and over, it would use up all of that potassium and so they'd move on to another area where they'd similarly burn it out and plant there, and things would go great for a while, and after a while this place was no good anymore and they'd move on. So, you do have a lot of action, a lot of movement, and settling down on a particular piece of land and not being able to move any more means you'd have to figure out how to make that piecework for you. If you combine that settling with the climate change, we've got really good conditions here, beginning in like the 10th century, going through the 11th, 12th, 13th century. We've got a little bit of global warming going on and some nice rainfall seasons happening, and really good conditions that make it okay to settle and figure out how to work with your land because the climate's really working with you here in the, in the middle of the Middle Ages. We're going to see that fail. I want to bring this up because we're going to watch it fail. When we get to the late Middle Ages and the Black Death and everybody dying all over the place; that is prefaced by climate change and problems with growing things, the way it happened here because [inaudible]. Okay. In addition to agriculture, you had industrial growth. The last time we talked about industry and waterpower, we were talking about wealth. Power to create industrial processes throughout history has been provided, you know, by these, okay? Your hands make things happen, and they make things like pots or things made out of wood. Whatever the society needs are made with your hands and with hand tools. Now, during the Roman Empire, we saw that they created water wheels for the purpose of grinding grain to get flour to everybody. That was very cool. It's an industrial process, but it's only related to agriculture. The only thing they produced with that waterpower was flour, grain. What we get here in the High Middle Ages is an industrial revolution where they figured out how to make water wheels work for industry, not just for agricultural. Up here on the left then, are three different types of water wheels. The one on the left, that little chute; the water comes down there and makes it spin. That's the system the Romans were using. They were using; those are grinding, grinding stones at the top for grinding grain. Very simple; the wheel goes round and round as the water pushes it, and it grinds on the top, round and round, rotary motion. They had also developed during the Roman Empire two other types of wheels; one that's called an undershot wheel, because the water goes under it and pushes it, and one that's called an overshot wheel, because the water comes over the top. The velocity of the weight of the water makes the overshot water wheel the most efficient, if you can figure out a way to do it with the river and the water you've got. The Romans, again, used that sort of technology only for grinding grain, but it's a really powerful technology. The overshot water wheel can produce a great deal of rotary energy when it's hooked up to a shaft and gearing; you can do all sorts of things with it. The invention that changed this and made it possible to do other industrial processes was this one, the cam. This shows how the cam worked. This is the shot of the water wheel and as it turns, the cam is a little protrusion; the little piece of wood sticking out. And as it turns, it can lift; say, this is like a drop hammer. It can lift it up and drop it down, and lift it up and drop it down; a champing motion, that is changing rotary motion, round and round.
[ Sound of writing on chalkboard ] To reciprocal motion; up and down or back and forth. And so, what that makes possible is doing more than just grinding grain; it makes it possible to engage in any industrial process that requires an up and down motion, like a hammering or a pounding, or a back and forth motion, like sawing; something like that. Up and down motion also could pump, right? Pump water, that kind of thing. So, when you have this idea of the cam, and again, I don't know why it took so long to figure out that this might work, right? But, they figured out that it would work and they started using it for everything and building these huge mills. That's what this is the model of, and I'll pass it around if you promise to be careful with it. This is a, an overshot water wheel on the side here, because the water comes over the top. And, the Roman part of this is right here with the gears and the stones for grinding. But then, there's; [inaudible] on the back. There's these cams put onto the shaft of the water wheel here that make it possible to go up and down and back in forth, and in this model they're being used to work bellows, which push air onto a fire, like a coal fire, to keep the heat constant. That makes metalworking industrial and easier to do. Pounding for hammers, they pounded a lot of things; coins, cloth. Anything that required that kind of action could be done in a factory by waterpower; sawing and pumping water. So if this thing works, and most of the time, it does, you can see how those actions happen.
[ Pounding sound ] Now, no one mill would do all of these. We're talking about a separate sawmill, a separate grain mill, separate water pumping capacities. You would build what you need, and they also needed to be against the water, right? Its waterpower; especially to be able to build a mill where they had an overshoot; the water wheel, this would do that. Uh-huh?
>> Did you build that?
>> I didn't build it; my husband built it.
>> Oh, really?
>> Yes, he does stuff like that. And I said to him; I saw something like this in a video, where they were demonstrating this. And my specialty, my area of specialization was right here; it was in the use of water-powered mills for cloth production. And so, I said; wouldn't it be cool for my students if they could see this whole thing? And he said, sure; and he built it. So, I'll pass it around. If you want to play with it, that's fine. Just be real gentle and make sure you turn the water wheel the way it would be turned if the water was coming through and not backwards. Please be gentle; it's just balsa wood. This is an example here of a, of a stamp mill for coins, the kind; I wanted you to get an idea of the scale. Obviously, that's tiny; get an idea of the scale that we're talking about here. So, here's the size of the people and about how big the water wheel would be. It's overshot water wheel you can see here and then they've got these pounding stamps for stamping out coins. Now again, imagine doing something by hand and then having this become possible; water power doing repetitive tasks over and over and over on a massive scale, and all you need is some capital and a place to build it. And, that's what a lot of these manor landlords had. The ones who were smart and were forward thinking were building mills and then renting the use of the mill out to people. So, production; you know, you read about these towns and you go; well, a town is nothing without something to sell. So, your industrial capacity has to increase, and it, it increases through this process. If you stay in Western Civ and you take History 104, there's an industrial revolution that happens later, right? In the 19th century; you take the 19th century, but the only difference is that the water wheel is replaced by the steam engine. Okay? But, the, the idea is still the same idea. In fact, the cam; there's a camshaft in your car. I mean, these technologies are almost the same. The turning of the water wheel to produce power is exactly the same technology as a gas turbine. It's the same technology that's inside the San Onofre Nuclear Power Plant, up on the freeway. The only difference is what's powering the turning. Almost all of our technologies are based on this transfer from rotary to reciprocal motion, or rotary motion itself, like in the case of the power plant. Nuclear power is simply nuclear fission used to produce steam to turn a turbine. It's all the same technology, it's just what's pushing the wheel around. And, it's a medieval invention, not a 19th century invention. Questions on any of this?
>> This is where I start going too fast. [Inaudible].
[ Silence ] So, you've got the idea then that this was a big industrial change. [Inaudible], this doesn't make sense without it. The, the growth of towns happening simultaneously has a number of different theories about why it happened, and I want to explore those theories for just a minute, because all of this is happening at the same time. The agricultural changes are occurring in the 10th century, 11th century; the towns are expanding at the same time and these technologies are being created at the same time. There's a lot going on. So, there are these different theories about how the towns emerged and why they ended up where they ended up. One theory says that as different regions began to produce more surplus, maybe extra cloth or certain products that people wanted, they started meeting up in certain places. The Roman roads, as you know, were not necessarily where they needed to be for commerce. Sometimes they were, sometimes they weren't. So, merchants would meet up at particular locations, and we're talking about again, 9th, 10th centuries, the time of Charlemagne and a great deal of disruption, dislocation; a lot of activity going on. Traders then would meet up at certain spots that were convenient, sort of at a crossroads between various areas, and they would plan to meet, say every year, every year. Champagne in France; the town of Champagne in France, [inaudible] drinking thing? That town was an example of a place where merchants would come and meet conveniently, and the weather was usually good during the summer, and they'd meet up and they'd all trade goods. And then, they'd take them back to their local areas and sell them. So, gradually what started to happen, the theory goes, is that; well, people knew they were coming every year, so other people would come too, and they'd set up, say a tavern. That's usually the first tent, right, that goes up; food and drink? And then, they would set up maybe a place to spend the night and somebody would start building buildings and figure; well, the summer trade, when the fairs come through, I'll make enough money that even if people don't come to my hotel the rest of the year, it'd be okay. And then, people do kind of come and then houses get built up around that gradually, the people who work there; and you start getting a town. That's one theory; that they start of as little trading posts and they end up being big towns. There are competing theories as well, that say; well, on the ruins of this old Roman town, a Germanic tribe comes in, for example, and decides to set up some kind of place for a political activity, let's say a council meeting, something like that. And again, people come there on a regular basis and so, merchants, who are always in it to make a buck, right, start showing up at that place. It doesn't really matter. The idea is that people started meeting in locations, and businesses began to spring up in those locations. For whatever reason they met, I'm not sure it makes any difference to us. Those towns, again; sometimes were old Roman towns that had been rebuilt, sometimes they were brand new towns that were Germanic barbarian villages originally and became towns. They start springing up and they trade with each other. And, here you can see the trade routes as they mature throughout the Middle Ages, and the ones I'm particularly interested in here are the overland connections; these towns that are named here on this map, towns like Cologne and Paris and Versailles and Toledo. These become cities because they are connectors in the trading network of Europe. You remember this happening across, say Alexander's empire? And the cities being connected with each other through trade? This is the same kind of thing; reviving after the fall of the western Roman Empire and the trade networks being established, some of them new, some of them old, in this way. Uh-huh?
>> [Inaudible] mentioned Paris [inaudible].
>> Versailles; [inaudible] except for Versailles, [inaudible] Paris and Cologne have rivers near them?
>> So, wouldn't like, water be a big deal?
>> Yeah, water; water's like a big deal. Now, not necessarily for the mills. When towns get built around water sources like rivers, they're looking for drinking water; you know, bathing water, water for their uses. They don't want a fast moving, rushing river coming down a mountain. That's not what they want. So, in the towns you don't tend to have these mills set up, because the water's kind of; it's a slow moving river, something that you could drink with. But certainly, for humanity's use, you want to be near a water source and so, yeah; most of these are, are near a source of water.
>> Vikings? [Inaudible].
>> Yeah, they didn't.
>> Yeah, they didn't go out east far [inaudible], did they?
>> And, like that's when they got to Constantinople [inaudible].
>> Down the river.
>> Down the river. So, you've got navigable rivers and rivers that can provide water for all of these resources, and then the, the, the towns usually center around those. They, they need to be able to move goods on them, on boats and barges. They need to be able to navigate them; thank you, to move from place to place. And, they need to be able to, to get fresh water. But, for power, for something like this, you actually end up away from the, the towns; you know, you [inaudible] out there, the mill's out there somewhere. That's why they tended to be built on big manors rather than in the city. There's other reasons for that too, that I'll, I'll go into in just a second here. This is a rather mature town; it's got stone buildings and that kind of thing, and you really see a combination of the old Roman ideas, building with permanent materials and building with stone, and the idea of the Germanic barbarians of having, having spaces be managed in a way that helps people get together, and in this case, wide streets so that on prayer days and market days, people could set up their tents and be able to trade.
[ Silence ] Some towns got very big and very important and were making an awful lot of money. Now, these towns are all on somebody's land. They belong to somebody. So, the question is, as towns emerge and start becoming wealthy, who gets the wealth?
>> The town.
>> Yeah, it's the town itself becomes wealthy and the merchants in the town become wealthy, but what about the person who owns the land that the town just happens to be built on? They want money, too. The town is getting wealthy and it's on their land, so taxes should be collected from the town. And how this arrangement comes about varies from place to place, but we start getting some solidity to, to that, gradually over time. Chartering becomes a nice arrangement where towns can promise to pay a certain amount every year to the person who owns the land [inaudible] sitting on. And in return for that amount, which changes only by mutual consent, they get left alone to do what they want. That's what most towns want; independence. And, they don't mind paying for it through taxation. As little as possible, of course, right? You want to pay as little as you can. Now, the question becomes; who runs the town then? Who does the lord make the deal with? And in this case, in the case of, of [inaudible], Henry; this is Henry the Second of England, who also controlled vast areas of modern day France, is issuing a charter to a particular guild here. This isn't the town's charter; this is the charter, charter to a particular guild, saying that they can pay a certain amount to him also to operate in the town. So, you get a lot of these deals between the lord who owns the land and the town itself, whoever is running it, and the guilds, or groups of merchants and craftspeople in the town. So, chartering can be very good for a guild; it can be very good for a town. Not all towns were chartered, but those that were tended to grow larger and become much more profitable because they had this arrangement. Also, since it was written down; I, I'm not sure that a lot of the lords really understood what was going on here, because most charters had a set fee every year, regardless, right? So, if the town becomes wealthier and wealthier and wealthier and wealthier, and they're still paying this tiny, set fee from like, 100 years ago; you know? The lord's kids and his kids and his kids don't end up getting such a good deal, because many of them were just like; hey, you know, I'm sorry. Your great, great, great grandfather signed this and we only have to pay 200 pounds a year. Sorry! We don't want to renegotiate; we're here. And, they're making money. Now, let's talk about these guilds a little bit; these organizations that have power inside the town. Two types; merchant guilds and craft guilds. Now, merchant guilds; I put in parentheses here that the guild's merchants, because that's what they call a merchant guild that's running the whole town. They're the ones who are receiving the charter; they're the ones who are determining what people pay, and in most cases, they control the craft guild. Towns are based on trade. Projection of crafts is only for the purpose of trading them, so the merchants really have the power here. So, this is an example of merchant guild. This is the merchant, selling wares out of, out of the store. Craft guild would be something like the weaver's guild. This is the loom. This person, person is weaving cloth on a loom; cloth for sale. The weaver's guild was usually the most powerful of all of the crafts guilds in a particular town. Cloth production; cloth was one of the main things being traded, wool and cloth. And, one of the things that made regions a great deal of money, and that's why the weavers were often the most important of the crafts guild. They still did not have the same power that the merchant guild had to run the town. Questions about the difference between the two of these or what they were doing? What do you think was the purpose of getting together a guild of people who were all doing, doing the same thing?
>> They can exchange ideas, yeah, because they were all kind of doing the same thing. But, what else are they trying to do?
>> Protection from?
>> [Inaudible] you had to join the guild or be assigned a certain trade. Like, let's say you wanted to carve stone.
>> But, you were a, a gold craftsman. Like, you, you could only do what they [inaudible]. So, if they said you're a gold craftsman and you wanted to carve a stone, you'd have to pay an extra fee to be able to carve up stone, or sometimes [inaudible].
>> It was like, protection against potential competition.
>> Potential competition, and in the town, right; then they could control. Let's say somebody comes in from out of town. Let's say a weaver comes in from out of town and says; okay, I'm going to just set up my weaving shop here. The weavers go; no, you can't, not until you're a member. And, here's the 500 things you have to do to become a member. So, protection against competition; price control, you know, and protection against competition. Yes?
>> I was going to say price control.
>> Okay, next one?
>> [Inaudible] get together and you're, you know, [inaudible]; hey, let's sell it in the future for $10.
>> No one can really argue with you because the only place they can get the stuff is [inaudible].
>> That's right. So, you've got; you can limit then as a crafts guild, which is what we're, the example we're looking at here, of say a weaver or somebody who wants to cut stone, is [inaudible] of the goldsmith's guild, okay, would have to deal with the local craft guild and join one. And, they wouldn't be able to make whatever it is they make, or sell it, unless they belonged to that guild. Similarly, the merchant guild controlled [inaudible]. You know, that's it. You either joined a merchant guild, the big town merchant guild, or you can't sell anything in the town. It's, it's illegal; they will kick you out. They used to search people coming in and out of these towns. If you look at medieval cities, they tend to have walls around them and for a long time, everybody just said; well, the wall is to prevent attack, you know. There's barbarians, there's Vikings, and [inaudible]; well, most of those people had calmed down by then. The walls are to make sure that [inaudible] isn't smuggled in and out of the town; to make sure that the merchant's guild maintained its control, to make sure that the craft guild maintained its control. And, they all have systems of; you start as an apprentice.
[ Sound of writing on chalkboard ] Let's say you have a farming family out in the countryside somewhere and they're not doing so well, barely making ends meet on the manor. They might sell one of their kids as an apprentice to somebody in the town; usually around seven years old and then that kid would learn that trade. It may be in the merchant guild; they'd learn a merchant trade. But, maybe in a particular craft field; maybe the kid had a particular skill. And, they'd have to be an apprentice for, like seven years, sometimes more, until they became a journeyman, which means they kind of know what they're doing, but they're still not given full guild privileges until they become a master. And then, they're full members of the guild and they can make decisions for the whole guild. It's like a little mini-government inside a town. The reason this is significant for us is a lot of our ideas about independence and individual liberty and freedom from oppressive taxation and that kind of stuff comes out of the way the guild merchants operated; the way they actually worked and practiced. Yes, [inaudible]?
>> [Inaudible] good example of [inaudible], like [inaudible].
>> Oh, okay, [inaudible].
>> Oh, cool.
>> Oh, cool.
>> Excellent! I will, I will look into that. Yes?
>> Weren't guilds also just to regulate [inaudible]?
>> Yes, yeah; quality control is a big thing for the craft guild particularly, because they want; they're competing. They may not be competing with anybody else inside the town, but there's out there, you know; the goods are going out there, and if they want their town guild to be known for the best possible wooden spoons, then they have to have quality control standards. And, they have to have the ability to kick out people who don't do good work and keep the quality level high, so that they can set those prices and have their goods compete on the open market at the fairs, which started to go from once a year to twice a year, to every season. You know, to trade internationally. So, they have a great deal of control and yes, [inaudible] quality control, [inaudible]. Okay. Out of town; I'm moving out of the town now, on to the manors and out, throughout all of Europe. Your book didn't do this so well, so I'm trying to set it up in a different way than your book set it up. Your book took the concept of feudalism and it chopped it up among several different chapters. It's better considering it all together, so I want to change that so that we know what we mean by that word. So, let's go back a little bit, because any time there's an invasion and the leader or king of a particular group sets up the region the way he wants it to be, they tend to set up this feudal system. Feudalism is basically a military system that is set up on the idea of rewarding your officers with land. Now, have we seen this before the Middle Ages? You betcha. Where?
>> Yeah, Alexander did this with his generals. Where else have we seen it?
>> The Romans.
>> We saw it with the Romans. We saw it with [inaudible] particularly, right? [Inaudible] personal leadership, giving out land to his loyal retainers. We've seen this twice before; three times. This is the third time we've seen it. We see the Vikings do it, we see the Magyars do it. As they move into an area and take it over, the leader distributes the land among his [inaudible]. Yes?
>> Exactly, and a lot of them still hold this as a result of that arrangement. Exactly, yeah. So, every time that happens and you've got the leader of the tribe, the clan, the group; he's controlling the land, you're giving out land. And, why do people want land? I mean, if it were me, maybe some cash, you know? Land, why? Land, what?
>> How does land [inaudible]?
>> That's right.
>> Because [inaudible].
>> Yeah, okay; you, two different ways then, at least, right? First is, your agricultural surplus gets traded and the cash comes in that way. That's the main way to do it. But, if you also have a town on the land and, you know, and you can charter it and get some money there, or tax the town, you can get money that way. If you're making stuff on your land, if you build a mill on your land and, and people have to pay to use it; you're making money that way. So, land itself is the foundation for wealth here, even as these towns are growing. Uh-huh?
>> [Inaudible] power.
>> Yeah, the [inaudible].
>> Well, not only does it give you money and everything, but it's also [inaudible] status of, you know, [inaudible] social [inaudible]; how much land you have. I mean, they didn't just [inaudible], but also, it's not like [inaudible].
>> Yes, yes. The more land you have, the more land you control, the more land you have to give or lease out, the wealthier you are. And so, wealth is perceived. It's just not, not necessarily in terms of, of what we would consider to be cash. Yes, sir?
>> Then the more land you have, the more [inaudible]?
>> Exactly. Yeah, the more people who are under you, and that's a status thing, too, right? I mean, the more people who are under you, the more important you are.
>> Well, banking off of that comment, comment also; if you control a certain area of trade that goes across your land.
>> You can tax those merchants and you can say; you know, this land is making it easy on you.
>> Come together and if you, you don't want to pay the taxes, then you're going to have to [inaudible]; let's say [inaudible] between my land.
>> And the other potential meeting place for the merchants, you're going to have to go around my land [inaudible].
>> Yeah, and you can even make a protection racket out of it, right? You can say; okay, your fairs are welcome to meet here on my land, and I will make sure; I'll use my [inaudible] to make sure that the roads are clear and that you guys aren't messed with; you know, the merchants don't travel with armies or anything. We'll provide you with some protection and you can [inaudible] in return; you know, I'll take the best purple cloth you've got. That kind of deal. All right. So, the political structure, the political system is set up this way; I've also seen it as a pyramid, you know, one king on top and then some lords and then some knights at the bottom. But, that is the political system we call feudalism. There's no serfs in feudalism. Feudalism is just a military arrangement. The lower you are, the more military service you owe to people above you. The higher up you are, the more land you're giving to the people below you. And initially, this is not giving; initially, this is lending for your lifetime. The way these start; do you remember the, the [inaudible], where you have to give a, a clump of dirt to the other person and the tribe has to witness that? Okay. That's only good for you, then. The dirt's been given to you. What happens when you die?
>> It goes back.
>> Yeah, the land goes back to the guy who had it. There's no heredity here, until it starts to happen. Some of them start to assume; well, I had it, they say to the lord. My father had it; he's dead, but can we keep the land because I can do good things with it, too. And the lord starts saying; well, okay, pay me some money and you can keep the land. So, some of them come up with a financial arrangement where you can inherit, but you have to pay a fee when it's inherited, every time. Or, you have to negotiate, every generation. And gradually, as time goes by, some of these lords who, who have a lot of land; some of these guys here, these nobles, these lords in the middle, begin to think; it is their land. They begin to forget that 100 years ago, it wasn't their land, it was the king's land. And, they start thinking of it as their land because they have developed the habit of passing it down through the family and just paying a fee or making an arrangement, or marrying one of their daughters to, to whoever; whatever it is, they make that arrangement and so, they get it in their heads that it's their land and that they have a right to it. They are [inaudible], right? Well, it was mine and before me, it was my father's; and before him it was his father's, and I can trace ownership of this land back eight generations. It must be my land. So, by precedent, a lot of them come to believe it's their land. And under them, they have knights. Knights are supposed to be given land for military service, but in point of fact, many of them were simply leased the land under much tighter arrangements, and some of them had no land at all. They're essentially selling their military service to whoever will pay for it. And, the reason I [inaudible] as a pyramid with just a bunch of knights at the bottom and knights are loyal to a particular lord, is because sometimes they sign up for more than one. If we tend to think; well, the knight is loyal to a particular lord, but in reality a lot of them signed up for more than one [inaudible], so that they could have more than one job and if the two lords that they were both working for went at each other, things got a little complicated, where the [inaudible] working for two lords, and so they'd have to declare which one was their [inaudible] lord, which one they'd go to first if there was a problem. The system gets very complex, and that's why I don't think the feudal pyramid maps out very well. That then, is the feudal system. When you look at the land itself that the nobles hold and how they run it; that manor map that you looked at, that place; that's the manorial system, the economic [inaudible] of this. And, that's where your serfs are. The reason I wanted to [inaudible] that is because some people think that serfs do military service, and they never do. They're just agricultural laborers. They're the guys pushing the heavy plow. That's all they do. And in return for doing that, the serfs get the military protection of the lord, who is using his knights to do battle. So, it's, it's an arrangement at first. It's a deal, a contract if you like; a manorial contract between the serf, who wants protection for himself and his family, and the lord, who needs people to work his land. Uh-huh?
>> [Inaudible] show that a noble would [inaudible]?
>> There were some peasant families wherein the lord would pick out particular lads who seemed promising, and those families were more than happy to have their boys become part of the lord's household for the purpose of becoming a knight. So, that did happen. It's very rare circumstances where you would round up the serfs to have them protect themselves or fight or do anything; that's very, very unusual. It's not in their job description. Yeah?
>> Yeah, well; [inaudible].
>> Yeah, later.
>> [Inaudible], like 10th century?
>> [Inaudible] Charlemagne's' empire.
>> And so, you had this very basic set of [inaudible] come back and [inaudible].
>> And you had an agreement.
>> You could potentially serve in the military [inaudible] where, you know, the idea of serfs was not; it was not as big as it was [inaudible]. You didn't have serfs, but you did have [inaudible].
>> These could serve in the army like [inaudible].
>> Yeah, they could. And again, that's [inaudible]; we're not quite there yet. You're right; we're not quite there yet. We will get; and again, a lot of those arrangements also come out of this idea that, you know; hey, they serve some potential.
>> There are serfs who could do this and they could be given [inaudible] apprentice to somebody who teaches in the arts of warfare, same as he would teach him the arts and the crafts skills. Yeah, so those, those will change. But yeah, we're working on the basic situation here; what the serfs do and what the lord's responsibilities are. Questions on [inaudible]; the basic set up?
[ Silence ] Okay.
[ Silence ] This is where things get complicated and where I want to bring in some of the stuff that you read about in the chapter. The idea of triangular tension was presented to me by one of my professors at UC-Santa Barbara; C. Warren Hollister [assumed spelling], the late C. Warren Hollister. And, I thought it was a really useful model, and so, I remembered it; the idea that the big conflict of the Middle Ages is a triangular tension, ongoing, between the kings, the nobles, and the church. And, in creating the triangle last night, I suddenly realized that we've got an example of each one of these already and, and so I put it on here. But, that hadn't occurred to me; it has to do with your textbook is new to me as it is new to you, and I'm reading it as you're reading it, so I'm picking up some stuff, too. This is what I picked up. This particular chapter happens to show one historical example of each element of the triangular tension, as it happens. So, you've got kings who want power. They want total power, to the extent that they can have it, over their land and everybody under them. They want to gain power; you saw Henry the Second as an example in your chapter. At the same time, you've got these nobles who have come to think that the land is theirs. They control their own armies; they take them where they want to, as long as the king doesn't [inaudible] call them first. The nobles have people under their command, their various knights. The nobles also have profit making opportunities in the [inaudible] of the towns and countryside milling. And then, you've got the church, who you saw last time and you're going to see again in the next chapter, becoming extremely powerful as an international power. Kings are national, I guess we would say; particular regions, they're local. Nobles are even more local; their particular area inside the king's domain. But, the church can claim an international authority and try to trump the other two, which is does frequently. So, the examples it has in your chapter, and we're going to get into this more on Wednesday because we're also going to work with those documents on the Investiture Controversy. The Investiture Controversy is a great example of a battle between kings and the church; an argument over who invests the [inaudible]. What does it mean to invest [inaudible]?
[ Silence ] I, I'm hoping I'm going to [inaudible] where the Investiture Controversy was in there somewhere. What's it mean to do it?
>> To appoint.
>> Appoint, yeah. When you appoint a bishop and you make him official, you put his clothes on; his vestment, like you wear a vest. Okay? It all comes from the same, same word. This fancy stuff he's wearing; his mitre, his gown, all that are his vestments. So, it's a question of who makes somebody a bishop. Who invests them? Who [inaudible] ceremony and puts on his mitre and his gown and says; you are now a bishop, go forth to your diocese? So, it's a controversy here over who invests bishops. Is it the king, who of course will want to invest people who are friendly to the king, or is it the church? That's what that's all about. Conflict between kings and nobles; the best example from your chapter is clearly Magna Carta. King John of England, who was son of Henry the Second, the great legal mind of his era, got into trouble with his barons, the; that's what they called the nobles or lords in England. The barons didn't like John personally; it was a personal fight as much as anything else. John passed unfairly, violated previous charters and codes, tended to dictate what nobles could do with their own families in terms of marriages and that kind of thing. And, he also managed to lose most of the [inaudible] Empire; the empire his father had created that included England and most of France. John managed to lose it in war against the King of France. For all of these reasons, the barons forced him to sign Magna Carta, the great charter, a document designed to limit the power of the king and create a council of nobles who would advise him. And, people consider this to be the foundation of Parliament, which is considered to be the foundation of the United States Congress. The idea is controlling the power of your executive. I'd love to tell you that John kept his word, signed the document, and went on to be a wonderful king, but he didn't. He went back on everything that's in there, but it's still a very important document because it's the foundation of the limitations on the king, on the king's [inaudible]. So, that's the battle between this side of the triangle. And then, this one; I had to point the arrow only one-way. You know, I had these double arrows in PowerPoint and this one just didn't work. The church is clearly creating the Crusades as a power play, and we'll talk more about the Crusades next week as well. It provides the nobles with an opportunity to make a bunch of money, grab a whole lot of new land, but it makes the church extremely powerful in asserting its position as this international ruler, because when Urban the Second calls on all of the knights to come on crusade and save the Holy Land, he's calling on all the knights in Europe, not just the French knights, the Italian knights, the English knights. He's, and that move; it is a move, like on a chessboard, and chess is another medieval game with the bishops and everything, and the kings. This move on the part of Urban the Second is a move that clearly says; I am the international power, as Pope. I am the guy who calls the Crusade. You, king; you, king; you king can go on Crusade, and you can go over and help, but I'm the top guy. I'm the organizer of the Crusade. At least, this is the case in the first Crusade in 1095. Yeah?
>> Okay, [inaudible].
>> [Inaudible] first Crusade. Oh, the Crusades fall apart. By the time we get to [inaudible], this whole thing, it doesn't count. First Crusade, Urban the Second calling everybody together is clearly a victory for the church. Even though the nobles get; they don't get power here, but what they do get is a whole bunch of land and goodies over in the Middle East. They do get a lot of that and they set up their own estates and stuff far away from anybody else's control. Do dreadful things out there. Questions on this set up; what kind of conflicts are going on here? Are you [inaudible] a mess? Okay, maybe take another look. Obviously, as with all of these lectures except one; and the person who recorded that lecture was [inaudible], these are available to you online if you need to, to hear it again or see the slides again. Yeah?
>> And, you are, and yes; and knows everybody who's got a laptop is required to post their notes. I think for today that's going to be especially important. We will be doing more workshop stuff on Wednesday. Be sure that I have; so, make, make sure you bring your book on Wednesday, please don't; don't neglect that. And, your previous homework's as well. I do have your, your tests here and.
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