By William H. TeBrake
Starting as a sequence of scattered rural riots in overdue 1323, peasant rebel escalated right into a full-scale uprising that ruled public affairs in Flanders for almost 5 years. Following their very own leaders, peasants defied the authority of the count number of Flanders by way of riding his officers and their aristocratic allies from the geographical region. In an epidemic of rebel, William H. TeBrake has written the 1st full-length account of the uprising.
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Additional info for A Plague of Insurrection: Popular Politics and Peasant Revolt in Flanders, 1323-1328 (The Middle Ages Series)
We can only assume that there were a number of factors involved, all of which in one way or another contributed toward a reduction in mortality rates. 9 In the end, it may well have been the Page 19 gradual erosion of social parasitism that made the biggest difference. By the early eleventh century, for example, the classic manorial system developed by kings, aristocrats and religious landholders during the early Middle Ages had began to unravel in a number of places. In fact, serfdom had never been very important in Flanders, and most lingering signs of servitude disappeared entirely during the eleventh and twelfth centuries.
As I will demonstrate below, non-narrative sources can provide important corrections to the sometimes distorted judgments found in the chronicles. In some cases, at least, the fuller documentation produced by militant peasant action has been used to very good effect. For example, the English revolt of 1381 has long constituted an important area of research for British historians,23 and this has helped to propel the state of late medieval peasant studies in Britain far beyond that found generally in Europe.
Population densities remained very sparse in the northern parts of Flanders until well into the eleventh century. 7 But even so, the lands in the south of Flanders were not as well suited to crop agriculture as were those further south, including the lands lost at the end of the twelfth century to form the new county of Artois. Like much of Europe before the eleventh century, Flanders was se- Page 18 Figure 1 riously underpopulated, most significantly expressed in a severe scarcity of labor. When one considers that early medieval aristocrats attempted to control such labor to their own purposes, it is hard to avoid the image of crushing poverty that was at least in part a reflection of the few exploiting the many.
A Plague of Insurrection: Popular Politics and Peasant Revolt in Flanders, 1323-1328 (The Middle Ages Series) by William H. TeBrake