City Government, Craftsmen, and Trade in Medieval Europe

City Government
 *Cities depended on the lay or ecclesiastical lords of the areas where they were located. The abuses of these lords led the bourgeois gentlemen to claim the right to govern themselves. They created associations, called communes, which fought to obtain a communal charter or jurisdiction from the lords or the king. Having gained their freedom, the government of the city rested on a communal council elected by the citizens. The council was responsible for collecting taxes and supplying and defending the city. The council delegated executive power to the magistrates (mayors), judges, or burgomasters, who would meet in a building which was the town or city hall. Richest and most influential families: urban aristocracy.
*The homes of craftsmen consisted of 2 floors. Lower floor: workshop and shop (opened onto the street), kitchen, store, and a yard or vegetable garden. Top floor: bedrooms. Craftsmen carried out their work by hand, using simple tools.
*Those of the same trade would set themselves up on the same street which then received the name of the trade. They were organized in guilds or associations of artisans from the same trade. The objectives were twofold: to control production and to protect its members. 3 categories: master craftsmen, journeyman, and apprentice. MASTER CRAFTSMAN: was the owner of the workshop and the expert in his field. JOURNEYMAN: would receive a salary for his work. APPRENTICE: was not paid and would live with the master while he was learning.
Cities were the major trading centers. LOCAL BUSINESS: was conducted in the homes and the shops of the craftsmen and at weekly markets. LONG-DISTANCE TRADE: was conducted at fairs (French fairs in Champagne). The revival of long-distance trade produced prosperous commercial centers. Mediterranean: Genoa, Florence, Pisa, Marseille, Barcelona. Northern Europe: Lübeck, Hamburg, Ghent, Bruges.
Cultural and Religious Renewal
The revival of culture in this period was focused in the cities where schools and universities were founded. There were 2 kinds of urban schools. THE CATHEDRAL SCHOOLS were controlled by the Church and were centered on religious studies. THE MUNICIPAL SCHOOLS were public and offered more varied studies: reading, writing, accounting law, and medicine. UNIVERSITIES promoted by bishops and kings. There were 4 specialties of faculties: Liberal arts, Medicine, Law, and Theology. Scholastic model (Scholasticism) which consisted of reading a text, raising a problem, discussing it, and finally taking a decision. CRUSADES AND MILITARY EXPEDITIONS: The Crusades were military expeditions organized to expel the Muslims from the Holy Land, which were the territories where Jesus lived his life. They were convened by the Pope and knights. The defense of the territory conquered by the Crusades in the Holy Land and the protection of the pilgrims who would come to visit them were entrusted to the military orders. THE INQUISITION AND THE MEDICANT ORDERS: In the 12th and 13th centuries various heresies or doctrines contrary to the teachings of the Church appeared. In response to these movements and to combat them, the Church created the Court of the Inquisition in 1230, which judged crimes against the faith. The Church intensified preaching of the new religious orders like the Dominicans, who taught in cities and lived on alms (medicant orders)
Gothic Art
From the 2nd quarters of the 12th century, Gothic art and architecture developed in Northern France. This artistic style was called Gothic in the Renaissance because it was considered to have been introduced by the Goths. Reflected the splendor attained by the bourgeoisie and the cities. Gothic architecture, made of stone, is characterized by the combination of the 3 building elements: the pointed or ogival arch, the ribbed vault, and flying buttresses. – POINTED ARCH: is much more dynamic than the Romanesque semi-circular arches. – RIBBED VAULT: is lighter than the Romanesque groin vault. It’s formed by the intersection of 2 arches at a central point called the key point. The weight of these arches is supported at 4 points which coincide with the angles of the vault. – The flying buttress leads the lateral thrusts of the external pillars. The walls lose their supporting role and big openings can be made in them that hold stained glass window. The most important religious building was the cathedral. The Gothic cathedral usually has a Latin cross or cruciform plan, with 3 or 5 naves, a transept, a sanctuary with an ambulatory and numerous chapels. The inside generally consists of 3 levels: arcades, clerestory or openwork galleries, and stained-glass windows. The exterior of the building has a façade framed by 2 towers, large entrance doors, and a rosette or circular window. (Notre Dame de Paris, Chartres, Salisbury, Cologne). There was also an abundance of secular buildings in cities.
In comparison with Romanesque art, Gothic sculpture and painting showed a certain interest for beauty, movement, and the expression of dramatic feelings or affection. They were also more realistic; certain sculptures appearing on tombs and paintings commissioned by nobles or bourgeoisie are considered true portraits. Free-standing sculpture became more realistic and natural. – Gothic painting was no longer limited to the walls of churches, now taken up by stained glass-windows. They were made on wooden panels. These could create large assemblies, which were then located behind the altar and called altar pieces. Stained glass windows fulfilled a triple function: they protected from the cold, they created bright colored light in a spiritual space inside the cathedral and symbolized divine light.

Unit 4 - Romanesque and Gothic - 2º eso

The Late Middle Ages in Europe
During the 14th century, all the European countries suffered a deep crisis due to 3 huge calamities: wars, the plague, and famine. – WARS. The longest and most devastating war in Europe was the so-called Hundred Years Wars (1337-1453), in which France and England fought against each other. In other European countries, and the peninsular Christian Kingdoms, feudal lords fought amongst each other and against the king in wars that destroyed their territories. – PLAGUE: Plague epidemics were frequent during this time. The most important one, called the Black death occurred between 1348 and 1352 and particularly affected the cities. It broke out in Asia, from where it spread throughout Europe through the trade routes. – FAMINE: several successive years of heavy rainfall flooded the crop fields, which led to seeds rotting and loss of harvest. The European population declined from 80 to 45 million people between 1300 and 1400. The economy declined. Agricultural production was reduced, as was the demand of handcrafted goods and trade went into crisis. Society witnessed an increase of conflicts in rural and urban areas. Art halted construction, and expressed the pessimism brought on by the crisis in macabre ways, such as the dance of death.
The Late Middle Ages in Al-Andalus
The Nasrid kingdom in Granada, established in 1238, was the only Muslim kingdom that endured on the Peninsula during the Late Middle Ages. Its survival up until 1492 was due to various favorable circumstances. Its geographic location south on the mountains of Sierra Nevada acted as a natural defensive barrier. Political conflicts were constant in the Nasrid Kingdom throughout its history and the Christians took advantage of this to conquer small territories. Nasrid economy, however, flourished. This was due to the expansion of irrigation, mining, and textile handicrafts, silk played a prominent role.
IN THE 14TH CENTURY, rural areas were depopulated and agricultural production fell due to adverse climatic conditions, continuous civil wars, and plague epidemics. Livestock farming increased in all the kingdoms since it required less labor and wool exports provided huge revenues. (Merino Sheep from North Africa, which provided excellent quality wool). – IN THE 15TH CENTURY, cereal production recovered and cash crops, such as olives and grapevines in Castilla, and garden crops and dye plants in Aragón, were developed. Crafts went into crisis in the 14th century due to the decline in demand. Sometime later, it slowly revived when the demographic recovery began. The woolen textile sector was very important. In Castilla, coarse cloth was produced in cities such as Toledo, Palencia, Cuenca, and Osma. Production was meant for local consumption. In the kingdom of Aragón, the major textile industries were located in Barcelona and Valencia. Other important handicraft sectors were the ironworks of Vizcaya and Gipuzkoa because the introduction of firearms called for the manufacture of artillery components, and shipbuilding in Sevilla. Foreign trade was the activity least affected by the crisis of the 14th century and was highly dynamic during the 15th century. – In Castilla, the Cantabrian ports exported wool, oil, wine, and iron to England and Flanders and imported quality cloth and luxury items. The Western Andalusian ports exported agricultural products, metals, leather, and dyes and imported Italian fabrics and spices. – In the Kingdom of Aragón, Catalan trade was linked to Aragonese territorial expansion in the Mediterranean and maintained its peak until the mid-15th century. It was based on the export of food products and textiles and on the import of silks, spices, gold, and slaves.
Society and Its Conflicts
In the 14th century, European and Peninsular nobility managed to increase their manors due to the concessions made by the weak monarchs. The clergy supported the authoritarian rule of the kings and retained their economic power. In the 15th century social unrest dropped considerably in Europe, as soon as economic recovery began. Important social clashes took place.
Social Tensions
CONFLICTS IN RURAL AREAS: The decrease in production caused by the crisis reduce the income of the lords. The most important revolts in Europe were those of the Jacquerie in France (1358), and the revolt led by Walt Tyler in England (1381). On the Peninsula, the most important uprisings were those of the Irmandiños in Galicia (1431), those of the Catalan peasants (1462), and the Mallorca uprisings of 1450. CONFLICTS IN THE CITY: Tensions grew in cities between the commoners, whose life was difficult and the urban oligarchy or aristocracy who monopolized power and wealth, and who controlled urban government. – In Europe, the protest movements affected many cities. (Etienne Marcel in Paris, 1358, and the Ciompi in Florence, 1378). – On the Peninsula, the citizen revolts were staged by impoverished craftsmen, who fought in Castilla against the CABALLEROS VILLANOS and in Catalonia against the wealthy merchant.
The revolts which spread through Europe during the 14th and 15th centuries were diverse in nature. Some were spontaneous events (Jaquerie), others however, were general revolts (English peasants) and others like those in Languedoc and French Burgundy were carried out by humble people who took advantage of the situation to engage in theft and looting.