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The 14th-Century Crisis and how Europe revived after those Devastating Crises

The 14th century in world history is the time of great human suffering as the series of devastative events such as the Black Death and the consequences of the crisis of the late Middle Ages crept their way across Western Europe that ended European stability. This essay answers the set of questions related to the 14th-century crisis and how Europe revived after those devastating crises.

Question no. 01: Provide a summary of at least two sources for the plague epidemic in Western Europe. What are their biases? How would you compare them?

The plague epidemic made the 14th century an age of adversity when spread through medieval Europe from 1347 to 1352 CE. One of the two main sources that contributed to its trade to Europe was when 12 ships entered Europe via Italy from the Black Sea with a horrifying surprise as people saw many of the sailors were gravely ill while the majority were dead. People who were ill had black broils on their bodies and blood and pus were seeped out of those broils(The Past, Present, and Future of the Bubonic Plague – Sharon N. DeWitte). The second source that spread the plague across Western Europe was thought of the catapult of dead victims of the plague by the Mongol Army over the walls during the fight with Gabriele de Mussi. However, recent research by a well-known historian Hanna Barker proclaimed the real cause of the plague spread in Europe was brought through rat-infested ships sailing from the Black Sea in the name of the grain trade to the major cities of Western Europe(History 111 Spring 2022 Fourteenth-Century Crisis with Narration).

Question no. 02: List two demands of the Ciompi rebels in fourteenth-century Florence?

Ciompi’s spontaneous strike in Florence made the situation worst in Western Europe. They constituted approximately 25% of the population of Florence but still had no political rights because they were a poor community who worked for 14 to 16 hours a day. They along with artisans mounted a revolt and demanded political rights as well as a 50% increase in their daily wages. Their demands regarding political rights included one-fourth share of seats in the government sector, a ciompi guild to grant ciompis citizenship, formation of people’s militia gonfalonier post of justice, and equal rights for all the residents of the city of Florence. The ciompi managed to form a militia and made Michele de Lando the head of the government with whom ciompis managed to organize a starvation blockade in Florence and refused to open cloth-making, food, and other shops (Rebellion Documents).

Question no. 03: How did the demands of the Ciompi assert the interests of the poorer citizens of Florence (as opposed to the members of the elite)?

Michele betrayed the Ciompi rebels and artisans deserted the ciompi which led to the suppression of the revolt, and ciompi leaders were executed. However, the revolt brought the consciousness of political rights and universal equality among the people of Florence. The revolt even though not successful however earned a significant impact on 15th century Florence as Florentine’s government and elite attempted to alleviate the plight of poorer citizens of Florence (Rebellion Documents). The scar of rebellion on one hand-built tension and hatred among the elites and nobility of Florence as they constantly feared the secret plots of the lower laboring class but on the other hand, the revolt brought reforms such as lessening the taxation burden. However, nobility of the Florence after the rebellion was crushed favored the authoritative Florentine government so that the rabble’s secret plans and rebellions could be crushed through a centralized government.

Question no. 04: Why was Petrarch enraged by conditions in Avignon?

Petrarch, whose anglicized name was Francesco Petrarca turned Avignon into an avaricious papacy, Babylon as he denounced Avignon as the evilest place as he felt really depressed over the Avignon papacy “I have been so depressed…I can only give voice to sighs and groans” since the days of ancient Babylon from imperial Rome (Internet History Sourcebooks Project).

Question no. 05: Why was Joan of Arc condemned as a heretic?

Joan of Arc was condemned for being a heretic once the court could not find any proof of her doing witchcraft as she found a virgin upon examination as there was a supposed belief that a female who does witchcraft has had sex with the devil. She was found guilty of being a heretic through a pre-planned scenario in which British authorities convicted her of wearing men’s clothes which was forbidden in the Old Testament. The reason why she was convicted of heresy before the court was because Burgundians and English wanted her dead to demoralize French troops. (“Internet History Sourcebooks”)

Question no. 06: Based upon what you have read, please discuss two examples of crises in Western Europe during the fourteenth century?

In relation to what happened during the 14th century, that age was an adverse age due to the many disasters that affected Europe to the great extent. The Hundred Year’s War and Black Death are examples of those disasters that resulted in a profound crisis. In 1328, political conflicts resulted in Hundred Year’s war that destroyed crops and led to mass starvation and malnutrition in Europe. The situation led to the imposition of taxes on the nobility as well as the poor class to pay for military expenses for the war. Later, in 1348, a terrible Black Death plague due to poor hygiene and hunger conditions in major parts of Europe devastated European stability even the entire continent. The plague was major devastation as it killed a quarter of the European population across Europe (Grafton and Bell, 2018).

Question no. 07: How might the fourteenth-century crisis have contributed to the revival in Western Europe?

Contrary to the devastations the 14th century brought, Europe revived in terms of urban expansion and development that was paused due to the 14th-century plague, prolonged Hundred Year’s War, and financial collapse because of these devastations. In the nutshell, Europe in the Middle Ages was conceived of as an age of adversity but the resiliency of Europe aided to survive all these crises and therefore European revival continued through the 15th, 16th, and 17th centuries. (Grafton and Bell, 2018)

Works Cited

“History 111 Spring 2022 Fourteenth-Century Crisis with Narration.”,

“The Past, Present and Future of the Bubonic Plague – Sharon N. DeWitte.” YouTube, 18 Aug. 2014,

“Rebellion Documents.”,

“Internet History Sourcebooks.”, 2018,

“Internet History Sourcebooks Project.”,

Grafton, Anthony, and David A Bell. The West: A New History. Volume 1. New York, W.W. Norton, 2018.



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