Kirill Pankratov (neznaika_nalune) wrote,
Kirill Pankratov

Историческое: к вопросу о "катастрофическом 14-м веке"

Для apoivre (и других, интересующихся историей)

В недавней дискуссии на макро-историческую тему, о неравномерности хода истории, длинных секулярных волнах или циклах, подъёмах и провалах был затронут вопрос о 14-м веке (позднем средневековье) в западноевропейской истории как длительном периоде "отката" цивилизации:
А что вы читали/можно почитать про кризис XIV века? Про "откат" европейской цивилизации - это же все как-то весьма натянуто. Только в демографическом плане, и только Черная смерть, пожалуй...

Вообще-то "катастрофа 14-го века" далеко не новая тема исследований и имеет достаточно обширную литературу, правда, к сожалению гораздо меньше материалов на русском языке. В том-то и дело что в результате по экономической и демографической истории за последние десятилетия, традиционное представление о всём средневековье как длинном "сонном" периоде весьма медленного развития, которое резко ускорилось с приходом эпохи Возрождения, оказывается несостоятельным. Этот период имеет несравненно более динамичную "тонкую структуру", в частности за периодом быстрого развития и довольно устойчивого процветания в 12-13 веках наступила эра регулярных жесточайших кризисов, голода, мора, эпидемий, затяжных войн, апокалиптических общественных настроений.

Интересно, что эта эпоха сейчас затронута на российском телевидени в экранизации "Проклятых королей", но у Дрюона достаточно слабо раскрывается контраст с другими эпохами, делающий 14-й век таким особенным и катастрофичным.

Я приведу несколько выдержек из весьма известных книг, ставших уже классикой по средневековью или экономической истории (а самая новая книга - "War and Peace and War: The Life Cycles of Imperial Nations" Петра Турчина из University of Connecticut, которую он только что прислал мне - имеет все шансы стать классикой в тематике "динамичной истории", или "клиодинамике" - очень точном термине который ввёл в оборот сам Пётр Турчин). О Турчине и его концепции я ещё буду неоднократно писать, а остальные книги следующие:
"The Great Wave : Price Revolutions and the Rhythm of History" by David Hackett Fischer - на мой взгляд лучшая популярная (но с очень солидным материалом) книга по экономической истории за последние десятилетия
"Средневековая цивилизация 400-1500" знаменитого мидиевалиста Жака ЛеГофа
"A Distant Mirror: the Calamitous 14th Century" by Barbara Tuchman - одна из самых изветсных популярных книг по Столетней Войне и "Чёрной чуме" 1346-50.

Я намеренно не включил в цитаты отрывки непосредственно относящиеся к великой эпидемии 1346-50, т.е. речь идёт о "других" кризисах 14-го века, помимо "Чёрной смерти". Всё на английском. Если кто-то из читателей заинтересуется и испыиывает трудности с языком, я могу часть перевести на русский.

"The Great Wave : Price Revolutions and the Rhythm of History" by David Hackett Fischer

Third Stage: Growing Instability
In the late thirteenth century, the medieval price revolution entered another stage, marked by growing instability. Prices rose and fell in wild swings of increasing amplitude. Inequality increased at a rapid rate. Public deficits surged ever higher. The economy of western Europe became dangerously vulnerable to stresses that it might have managed more easily in other eras.

In the late thirteenth century, the growth of population was pressing very hard against resources. Many people found themselves living precariously near the edge of survival. As the number of people increased, lands of lesser quality had been brought into cultivation. Farmers on these poor lands had to work much harder to scratch a living from the soil. Production and productivity fell for both land and labor. Many were driven to the edge of subsistence.
Exchange rates also became highly unstable in the fourteenth century. Governments tried to stabilize their fragile economies by imposing export controls. The effect was often the opposite of what was intended. England's Edward I, for example, tried to make things better by forbidding the export of English coins in 1299. By 1307, he had prohibited the removal of foreign money as well.
In the year 1298, Siena's banking boom came suddenly to an end, with the failure of its greatest bank, the Gran Tavola of the Buonsignory. This was a world bank, with agents throughout Europe and the Mediterranean basin. Among its borrowers were great merchants, cities, nobles, kings, and even the Pope himself. Increasing numbers of these loans went sour. In the years 1298, a banking panic began in Siena. The Buonsignory managed to hold things together for nearly a decade, but finally in 1307 the great bank collapsed. Many lesser enterprises went with it.

The Crisis of the Fourteenth Century
The first years of the fourteenth century were a time of dark foreboding for the suffering peasantry of Europe. The economy of the Western world was in deep disorder. Material inequalities had dangerously increased. The growth of population far outpaced the means of its subsistence. The cost of food and firewood surged to high levels. Poverty and hunger increased in many parts of the Western world.

Then, in the summer of 1314, the weather turned cold and very wet. Rain fell incessantly. Crops rotted in the fields. Grain harvests were late and desperately short. In England, Parliament asked King Edward II to impose price controls on farm products. He speedily did so. Royal sheriffs rode through the realm proclaiming maximum prices for food, poultry, and lifestock.

These disturbances seemed at first to be merely another routine disaster of a sort that had often afflicted medieval Europe. Crops had fallen short before. In the winter of 1314, people tightened their belts and prayed for better times.

But the next harvest was worse. The spring of 1315 brought heavy rain throughout Europe. Stormy weather lashed the continent for months. Dikes collapsed in England and the Low Countries. Entire fields washed away in France. Villages were destroyed by risinfg rivers in Germany.
Impoverished peasants ate cats, rats, reptiles and insects. Many tried to survive on animal droppings. Others ate leaves from the trees. In London, Paris, Ypres, Breslau and Utrecht, the streets were littered with dying people. Gangs of starving laborers roamed the countryside in search for food. Crime became widespread - mostly the theft of food, or anything that could be exchanged for food.
The death toll in this famine is unknown. It must have been very large. The town of Ypres, with a population of perhaps 25,000 souls, counted 2974 burials at public expense from May to October, 1316, not including many others whose families paid for their interments. More than 10 percent of the population died in pauperis within the lifespan of less than six months. Many other deaths must have gone unrecorded.. Ypres wasn't unique in its suffering. Some historians estimate that a tenth of Europe's teeming population perished in the years 1315 and 1316.

In the wake of famine, epidemics began to break out. Both people and animals suffered from a nameless pestilence that spread swiftly through the continent. Some of its symptoms were similar to those of modern anthrax; others were more like ergotism and disentery.
There were also acts of collective violence and insurrection. In rural France, a movement called the Pastoreaux spread rapidly through the countryside. A great mass of peasants and laborers gathered in the northwest, and began marching south and East towards the Holy Land, gaining numbers as they went. On the way, the Pastoreaux attacked castles, sacked monasteries, burned archives, released convicts, slaughtered Jews, murdered Lepers, and settled scores with the nobility for many centuries of oppression. They spread terror among the possessing classes, until finally they were dispersed and hanged by hundreds. Their gaunt bodies dangled from the trees throughout the south of France.

While these disorders spread through the western world, yet another misery was infliced upon people of Europe. As if famine, pestilence, and social violence were not sufferings enough, this period became a time of bloody war between the souvereign states of Europe. "Wars are not evenly distributed throughout the centuries", writes A. R. Bridbury, "they come in clusters". He observed that one such run of conflicts began in the year 1294, and continued for fifty years. Major wars occured between Scotland and England, England and France, France and Flanders; many smaller conflicts broke between German, Swiss and Italian city-states. Warfare had been endemic in medieveal Europe, but Bridbury and others find that its incidence greatly increased after the year 1294.
Even Venice, the most stable of Italian city-states, suffered the only major insurrection in its thousand-year history - an uprising called Tiepolo's Rebellion in 1310. It was suppressed by a vigilante group called the Councilof Ten, which made itself a permanent part of the Venetian govenrment, along with secret police, anonymous informers, savage torture, arbitrary imprisonment, and an apparatus of official terror which today is exhibited to tourists in the Doge's Palace. This system of repression was the price of stability in the Venetian republic.
In Sweden after 1290, a civil war between royal brothers ended in a popular insurrection, in the expulsion of King Birger in 1319 and in the collapse of royal authority. Denmark dissolved into anarchy after 1332, when King Christopher II was deposed by Gerhard Count Holstein, who was murdered in his turn. The Holy Roman Empire suffered a protracted civil war between contending parties called Guelfs and Ghibbelines. The popes were driven into exile for seventy years, and in Rome a popular revolution led by Cola di Rienzi overthrew the city patriciate. The Italian city-states were consumed by internal conflict. Florence, unable to govern itself, invited a tyrant named Walter of Brienne, Duke of Athens, and soon found its liberties crushed beneath his heel.
The catastrophe of the fourteenth century was followed by cultural disintegration. Jews and foreigners were massacred. Among Christians the practice of flagellation spread rapidly in cities and countryside. Processions of Christians scourged one another until their bare backs ran with blood. Entire villages and town were abandoned, the doors and shutters of the vacant buildings creaking sadly in the wind. Empty churches and deserted castles fell into ruin. Grass grew in the marketplaces, and the country roads that thronged with pilgrims were reclaimed by weeds and brush.

In the period from 1314 to 1348, the great wave crested and broke in a shattering catastrophe. As it did so, the people of Europe suffered through the darkest moment in their history: a terrible time of starvation and pestilence, insurrection and war, persecution and political chaos. This was more than merely the collapse of the medieval economy. It was the death of medieval civilization.

"War and Peace and War: The Life Cycles of Imperial Nations" by Peter Turchin

Chapter 8
The other side of the wheel of Fortune: From the Glorious Thirteenth Century into the Abyss of the Fourteenth

...By 1300, the massive population increase strained the economic system of France and other Western European countries to the breaking point. The majority of peasants lived on the edge of starvation. Even a mild deficit in the amount of annual crops brought in spelled disaster for a certain segment of population. Unfortunately, during the fourteenths century, the climate began changing for the worse. A series of cold and wet years between 1315 and 1322 brought on disastrous crop failures and livestock epidemics and triggered the kind of famine that Europe had not known for centuries.
The terrible famines of the fouteenth century left a deep imprint on the European psyche. One of the most famous fairy tales begins like this. "Hard by a great forest dwelt a poor woodcutter with his wife and his two children. The boy was called Hansel and the girl was called Gretel. He had little to bite and to break, and once when great dearth fell on the land, he could no longer procure even daily vread. Now when he thought over this by night in his bed, and tossed about his anxiety, he groaned and said to his wife: 'What is to become of us? How are we to feed our poor children, when we no longer have anything even for ourselves?" Everybody knows what happened then. The children were abandoned in the forest and eventually found their way to a gingerbread house, where lived an old woman who wanted to cook and eat them.

"Medieval Civilization, 400-1500" by Jacques Le Goff

The Crisis of Christian Europe (Fourteenth to Fifteenth Centuries)
Although Most of the Christian nations at the start of the fourteenth century were still floating within shifting froniers, Christian Europe as a whole had stabilized... Medieval expansion was complete. When it took off again at the end of the fifteenth century it was a different phenomenon...

However, Christian Europe at the turn of the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries not only halted, but shrank. There were no more clearances or conquest of new ground, and even marginal lands, which had been put under the plough under the pressure of a growing population and out of enthusiasm for expansion, were abandoned because their yields were in fact too small. Deforestation threatened in many places. The desertion of fields and even of villages - the Wustungen studied by Wilhelm Abel and his pupils - began. The building of the great cathedrals, still unfinished, was interrupted. The population graph stopped climbing and began to come down. Inflation stopped and a depression set in.

Besides these large-scale general phenomena, certain events announced that Christian Europe was entering a crisis. Some of these were noticed by contemporaries while others only acquired significance in the eyes of modern historians. A series of strikes, urban uprisings and revolts broke out in the last third of the thirteenth century, especially in Flanders, Bruges, Douai, Tournai, Provins, Rouen, Caen, Orleans, Beziers in 1280, Toulouse in 1288, Rheims in 1292, and Paris in 1306 were all affected. The culmination was an almost general insurrection in 1302 in the regions which now make up Belgium. According to the chronicler Hocsem, "In this year, the popular party rose up almost everywhere against the great. In Brabant this uprisong was snuffed out, but in Flanders and Liege the masses prevailed for a long time."

In 1284 the vaults of Beauvais Cathedral, which had been built up to a height of 48 meters, collapsed. The Gothic dream was never to rise higher. Building of cathedrals stopped, at Narbonne in 1286, and Cologne in 1322. Siena reached the limit of its possibilities in 1366. The devaluation of coinage and currency alterations began. France experienced several under Philip the Fair, the first ones of the middle ages. The Italian banks, especially the Florentine ones, suffered catastrophic bankruptcies in 1343. The Bardi, Peruzzi, Acciaiauoli, Bonaccorsi, Cocchi, Antellesi, Corsini, da Uzzano and Perendoli, and, according to the Florentine chronicler Giovanni Villani "many other smaller companies and private craftsmen" were dragged down in the fall.
The crisis was revealed in its full extent when it reached the basic level of the rural economy. In 1315-17 a run of bad weather brought bad harvests, a rise in prices, and the return of general famine which had almost disappeared from the west, at least from the extreme west, in the thirteenths century... The Black Death made the population curve, which was already dipping, fall violently. It turned the crisis into a catastrophe. But it is clear that the crisis predated the plague, which merely exaggerated it.

"A Distant Mirror: the Calamitous 14th Century" by Barbara Tuchman

The genesis of this book was a desire to find out what were the effects on society of the most lethal disaster of recorded history - that is to say, of the Black Death of 1348-50, which killed an estimated one third of the population living between India and Iceland. Given the possibilities of our own time, the reason for my interest is obvious. The answer proved elusive because the 14th century suffered so many "strange and great perils and adversities" (in the words of contemporary)that its disorders cannot be traced to any one cause; they were the hoofprints of more than the four horsemen of St. John's vision, which had now became seven - plague, war, taxes, brigandage, bad goventment, insurrection, and schism in the Church. All but the plague itself arose from conditions that existed prior to the Black Death an dcontinued after the period of plague was over.

Although my initial question has escaped an answer, the interest of the period itself - a violent, tormented, bevildered, suffering and disintegrating age, atime, as many thought, of Satan triumphant - was compelling and, it seemed to me, consoling in a peiod of similar disarray. If our last decade or two of colapsing assumptions has been a period of unusual discomfort, it is reassuring to know that the human species has lived through worse before.

Curiously, the "phenomenal parallels" have been applied by another historian to earlier years of this century. Comparing the aftermath of the Black Death and of World War I, James Westfall Thompson found all the same compalints: economic chaos, social unrest, high prices, profiteering, depraved morals, lack of production, industrial indolence, frenetic gaiety, wild expenditure, luxury, debauchery, social and religious hysteria, greed, avarice, maladministration, decay of manners.
Simply summarized by the Swiss historian, J. C. L. S. de Sismondi, the 14th century was "a bad time for humanity"
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