Beşinci maç iki Ortaçağ kitabı arasında. Birincisi İstanbul'un 1204'te 4. Haçlı Seferi'nde yağmalanmasını anlatan The Fourth Crusade and the Sack of Constantinople kitabı. İkincisi ise 1300'lerde İngiltere'de günlük hayatı anlatan Time Traveler's Guide to Medieval England.

15 dakikada her iki kitabın da başından %10-15'ine göz gezdirdim. İlk kitapta ilk haçlı seferlerine değindikten sonra 1180'lerden itibaren Haçlı Seferi'nin toplanmasını konu edinmiş. Sürenin kısalığı ve sanırım malzemenin daha bol olmasından dolayı konu hayli ayrıntılı anlatılıyor.

İkinci kitap 1300'lere ışınlansanız bir İngiliz şehrinde nelerle karşılacağınızı anlatıyor. Dili daha rahat ve amacının tarih yazımından çok eğlendirmek olduğunu düşündürüyor. Ayrıca siyasi tarih gibi bana artık sıkıcı gelmeye başlayan bir konudansa, günlük hayatın tarihi gibi boş nostaljiye deva sunan konulara ilgim daha fazla. Bu sebeple ikinci kitabı okumaya devam etmeye karar verdim.

Fourth Crusade

The Fourth Crusade and the Sack of Constantinople

In the case of the Fourth Crusade there is, compared with some other expeditions, a generous selection of source material to choose from. Part of this was the work of eye-witnesses (warriors and churchmen), and part was composed by European-based monastic chroniclers who recorded the stories of returning crusaders. Prior to the twelfth century, literacy was almost exclusively the province of churchmen.

Several contemporary Byzantine writers witnessed the campaign and their observations survive in the highly ornate and learned style of classical authors, so beloved by the court of Constantinople.13 Alongside these accounts, travel writings are another important resource. Just as today’s tourist looks to a plethora of guide-books, so too did the medieval traveller, and the commentaries of these individuals—be they Muslim, Jewish, Greek Orthodox or Catholic—are often interesting and evocative supplements to the main narratives.

The capture of Jerusalem released an horrific tension within the crusaders and they massacred the Muslim and Jewish defenders of the city. A later Frankish writer described the terrible scene: ’... everywhere lay fragments of human bodies, and the very ground was covered with the blood of the slain. Still more dreadful was it to gaze upon the victors themselves, dripping in blood from head to foot.’ Yet, alongside this horror, ‘Clad in fresh garments, with clean hands and bare feet, in humility they [the crusaders] began to make the rounds of the venerable places which the Saviour had deigned to sanctify and make glorious with his bodily presence.’17 The people of Christendom were overjoyed at the news —truly God had blessed the crusaders and, by their success, He had signified divine approval for their cause.

This numbering system is actually a creation of eighteenth-century French historians and applies only to the largest of the crusades, although we can now identify several smaller campaigns between (for example) the Second and Third Crusades that fulfil the criteria of a papally authorised holy war.

At times, however, the Greeks and the Catholics were on good terms. Contacts between Emperor Manuel Comnenus (1143—80) and the kings of Jerusalem were very positive, with intermarriage between the royal houses and the submission of King Amalric (1163—74) to Byzantine overlordship in 1171. Manuel also used western administrators and officials in his government and was friendly with King Louis VII of France (1137—80).

Time Traveler's Guide

Time Traveler's Guide to Medieval England

And then you notice the smell. Four hundred yards from the city gate, the muddy road you are following crosses a brook. As you look along the banks you see piles of refuse, broken crockery, animal bones, entrails, human feces, and rotting meat strewn in and around the bushes. In some places the muddy banks slide into thick quagmires where townsmen have hauled out their refuse and pitched it into the stream. In others, rich green grasses, reeds, and undergrowth spring from the highly fertilized earth. As you watch, two seminaked men lift another barrel of excrement from the back of a cart and empty it into the water. A small brown pig roots around in the garbage. It is not called Shitbrook for nothing.

And Shitbrook’s stench is no longer in the air; now there is a remarkable absence of animal dung in the streets. All is revealed in South Street when you see a servant shoveling up horse dung from the area in front of his master’s house.

The total of 100,000 taxpayers in the thirty largest communities indicates that about 170,000 people—about 6 or 7 percent of the population of the kingdom—live in towns. There are about two hundred other market towns in England with more than four hundred inhabitants. In total, about 12 percent of English people live in a town of some sort, even if it be a small town of just a hundred families.

All towns have at least one walled-off religious enclosure, and some have more than a dozen. For this reason, space inside even the most extensive city is relatively scarce. Often a third of the whole area inside the walls is given over to the monasteries and religious precincts. Add the tenth or so given over to the royal castle, and a similar area for the parish churches, and it is clear that almost the entire population has to live in half the city—with most of the best sites occupied by the large houses of the wealthy.

Before you leave, turn around and look back along the main street. Have you noticed that the roads are practically the only public spaces? There are no public parks, no public gardens, and large open squares are very rare in English cities except where they serve as the marketplace. The street is the sole common outdoor domain. The guildhall is only for freemen of the city, the parish churches are only for parishioners. When people gather together in large numbers they meet in the streets, often in the marketplace or at the market cross.

Contrary to what you might expect, the woodland area is not very much greater than in the modern world—that is to say about 7 percent of the land. However, almost every inch of the medieval woodland is managed carefully. Some areas are cornered off and coppiced and then surrounded by high earth banks with hedges on top to stop the deer and other animals from eating the new shoots.

The modern tradition states that the last English wolf was killed in North Lancashire in the fourteenth century but you are very unlikely to meet it. Ralph Higden, writing at Chester in 1340, comments that there are now “few wolves” left in England.11 The last set of instructions to trap and kill wolves is issued in 1289, so if you want to see an indigenous wild wolf, you will have to go to the Highlands of Scotland.

In total more than a thousand villages have been deserted and are in ruins by the end of the century.13 Thus a visit to England in 1300 is a very different experience from a visit in 1400. Even those communities that continue to thrive are affected by the Great Plague of 1348–49 (“the Black Death,” as we refer to it). In the 1350s and 1360s most villages have abandoned houses on the outskirts. Robbed of their valuable timbers, their roofless cob walls are sadly collapsing into the mud and untended grass and weeds. In some places the repairs to a once-prosperous parish church are beyond the means of the parishioners. Rather than replace the roof of one aisle or one chapel, they will pull down the walls and fill in the arches, shrinking the church to suit both their budget and their requirements.

No one can tell you exactly how many people there are in fourteenth-century England. Estimates tend to be around 5 million in 1300 (give or take half a million) and around 2.5 million in 1400 (give or take a quarter of a million)1.

And all these figures are for those who have already reached the age of twenty: half the population will die before this age. Life expectancy at birth can be as low as eighteen, as at the Yorkshire village of Wharram Percy.

For this reason the majority of medieval people are relatively young. Between 35 and 40 percent of those you will meet are under fifteen. At the other end of the age spectrum, just 5 percent of fourteenth-century people are aged over sixty-five. There are many more youths and far fewer old people. The contrast is most striking when you consider the median age. If you were to line up every modern English person in age order, the man or woman in the middle would be thirty-eight. If you were to do the same in the fourteenth century, the median would be twenty-one. Half the entire population is aged twenty-one or less.3

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