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Gargoyle decorating the Cathedral de Notre Dame (1163- 1345) in Paris, France.

The Peasant revolt in Flanders 1323-1328

The Peasant revolt in Flanders 1323-1328 was a popular revolt in late medieval Europe. Beginning as a series of scattered rural riots in late 1323, peasant insurrection escalated into a full-scale rebellion that dominated public affairs in Flanders for nearly five years until 1328.

The uprising in Flanders was caused by both excessive taxations leveed by Count Louis II of Nevers, and by his pro-French policies. The insurrection had urban leaders and rural factions which took over most of Flanders by 1325. The king of France directly intervened and the uprising was decisively put down at the Battle of Cassel in August of 1328. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peasant_revolt_in_Flanders [Mar 2005]

Renaissance [...]

The Black Death [...]

The Black Death (also The Plague, and latterly Black Plague though not called this in earlier times) was a devastating epidemic in Europe in the which started in the late 1340s and is estimated to have killed about a third of the population. Most scientists believe that the Black Death was an outbreak of bubonic plague, a dreaded disease that has spread in pandemic form several times through history. The plague is caused by the bacterium Yersinia pestis which is spread by fleas with the help of animals like the black rat (Rattus rattus) -what we would call today the sewer rat. Sometimes, the term "Black Death" is used for all outbreaks of plague and epidemics. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_Death [Mar 2004]

The Canterbury Tales

The Canterbury Tales is a collection of stories written by Geoffrey Chaucer in the 14th century (two of them in prose, the rest in verse). The tales, some of which are originals and others not, are contained inside a frame tale and told by a group of pilgrims on their way from Southwark to Canterbury to visit Saint Thomas Becket's shrine at Canterbury Cathedral. The shrine was later destroyed by Henry VIII; a tourist attraction entitled The Canterbury Tales may nowadays be viewed in Canterbury.

The themes of the tales vary, and include topics such as courtly love, treachery and avarice. The genres also vary, and include romance, Breton lai, sermon, and fabliau. The characters, introduced in the Prologue of the book, tell tales of extreme cultural relevance. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Canterbury_Tales [Oct 2004]

The Divine Comedy

The Divine Comedy (in Italian "Comedia" or "Commedia", later christened "Divina" by Giovanni Boccaccio), written by Dante Alighieri between 1265 and his death in 1321, is widely considered the greatest epic poem of Italian literature, and one of the greatest of world literature. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Divine_Comedy [Nov 2004]

La Comedia, or The Divine Comedy as it came to be known, of Dante Alighieri is written in Italy. This semi-autobiographical poem sets forth one of the most influential descriptions of Hell in the literature, though Dante's vast and intricate plan has, in the public eye, been superseded by Milton's vision . Even less well-known are the two sections after Inferno that complete the poem, Purgatorio and Paradiso. --http://www.tabula-rasa.info/DarkAges/Timeline1.html#1235.1 [Nov 2005]

The Decameron (ca. 1351) - Giovanni Boccaccio [...]

  • The Decameron (ca. 1351) - Giovanni Boccaccio [Amazon.com]
    This fourteenth-century Italian book, which inspired Chaucer, Shakespeare, and Balzac, remains one of the most enjoyable anthologies of short stories ever written. Some young unmarried nobles, the "beautiful people" of the age, decide to wait out the Florentine plague in their country estates, amusing each other every evening with earthy stories, some outright bawdy, others pointing to a moral. Nine capable Brits represent the storytellers in Naxos's sampling of a graceful, uncredited translation. Well-chosen music adds to the atmosphere. Y.R. AudioFile 2001, Portland, Maine-- Copyright AudioFile, Portland, Maine

    Book Description
    The Decameron (c.1351) is an entertaining series of one hundred stories written in the wake of the Black Death. The stories are told in a country villa outside the city of Florence by ten young noble men and women who are seeking to escape the ravages of the plague. Boccaccio's skill as a dramatist is masterfully displayed in these vivid portraits of people from all stations in life, with plots that revel in a bewildering variety of human reactions.

    The Canterbury Tales (1300s) - by Geoffrey Chaucer [...]

    The Canterbury Tales (1300s) - by Geoffrey Chaucer [Amazon.com]

    In The Canterbury Tales Chaucer created one of the great touchstones of English literature, a masterly collection of chivalric romances, moral allegories and low farce. A story-telling competition between a group of pilgrims from all walks of life is the occasion for a series of tales that range from the Knight's account of courtly love and the ebullient Wife of Bath's Arthurian legend, to the ribald anecdotes of the Miller and the Cook.

    Product Description:
    With their astonishing diversity of tone and subject matter, The Canterbury Tales have become one of the touchstones of medieval literature.

    Translated here into modern English, these tales of a motley crowd of pilgrims drawn from all walks of life-from knight to nun, miller to monk-reveal a picture of English life in the fourteenth century that is as robust as it is representative.

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