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Challenges of the Late Middle Ages
• Religious Crises:
– Heresy: speaking beliefs that opposed the official
teachings of the Church
– Many de-emphasized role of clergy and the
– Religious Officials were frightened and tried to fight off
heresy by:
Inquisitions (legal procedures)
New Religious Orders develop
Conducting War
Challenges of the Late Middle Ages
• Wars and conflict:
– Hundred Years War:
• 1328 French kings dies without heir
• Only living relative was King Edward III of England
• The French did not want to be ruled by England so they named
Philip VI King of France
• English king is upset, gathers army and invaded France in
• English win many victories because of superior weaponry
• 1429 – Joan of Arc helps change course of war
• Joan of Arc claims saints tell her led French into battle, she
marches on the city of Orleans and defeats English
• She is captured, tried, and executed by English
• The French took much of the lost territory back and eventually
kicked out the English
Challenges of the Late Middle Ages
• Wars of the Roses:
– The Lancasters (red rose emblem) vs. The Yorks
(white rose emblem)
– Yorkists were successful at first
– New King Richard III faced uprisings and was
eventually killed in battle
– After Richards death, King Henry VII of the Tudor
Family took over
– Henry VII was married to Elizabeth of York
– Henry VII’s rise to power marked end of Wars of the
The Culprits
The Famine of 1315-1317
 By 1300 Europeans were farming almost all
the land
 A population crisis developed.
 Climate changes = crop failures between
 15% of peasants in England died.
 One consequence of
starvation & poverty
was susceptibility to
1347: Plague Reaches
The Symptoms
Septicemic Form:
almost 100%
mortality rate.
Lancing a Buboe
The Disease Cycle
Flea drinks rat blood
that carries the
multiply in
flea’s gut.
Human is infected!
Flea bites human and
regurgitates blood
into human wound.
Flea’s gut clogged
with bacteria.
Medieval Art & the Plague
Medieval Art & the Plague
Bring out your dead!
Medieval Art & the Plague
An obsession
with death.
Boccaccio in The Decameron
The victims ate lunch with
their friends and dinner with
their ancestors.
Attempts to Stop the Plague
A Doctor’s
Attempts to Stop the Plague
Self-inflicted “penance” for our sins!
Attempts to Stop the Plague
Pograms against the Jews
“Jew” hat
“Golden Circle”
obligatory badge
The Mortality Rate
35% - 70%
25,000,000 dead !!!
A Little Macabre Ditty
“A sickly season,” the merchant said,
“The town I left was filled with dead,
and everywhere these queer red flies
crawled upon the corpses’ eyes,
eating them away.”
“Fair make you sick,” the merchant said,
“They crawled upon the wine and bread.
Pale priests with oil and books,
bulging eyes and crazy looks,
dropping like the flies.”
A Little Macabre Ditty (2)
“I had to laugh,” the merchant said,
“The doctors purged, and dosed, and bled;
“And proved through solemn disputation
“The cause lay in some constellation.
“Then they began to die.”
“First they sneezed,” the merchant said,
“And then they turned the brightest red,
Begged for water, then fell back.
With bulging eyes and face turned black,
they waited for the flies.”
A Little Macabre Ditty (3)
“I came away,” the merchant said,
“You can’t do business with the dead.
“So I’ve come here to ply my trade.
“You’ll find this to be a fine brocade…”
And then he sneezed……….!
What were the
and social effects
of the Black Death??