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The Great Famine Reaches England

An unusual rainy season in 1314 reduced the grain crops across Europe and England and consequently raised the price of grain. In reaction to the price spike, price controls were instituted in the English Parliament no doubt reducing future production. In 1315, torrential rains prevented the grain crops from reaching maturity. Now the grain stores are depleted. A wagon of wheat (about 8 bushels) that sold for 5 shillings in 1313 is NOW selling for 120 shillings a wagon, and it's nutritional value is zip. A loaf of bread cannot sustain a man. Disease is spreading amongst the livestock. The stress on agricultural resources is tremendous and there is no end in sight. [1] [2]

My Take by Alex Shrugged
The poor are eating cats and dogs and even their own children. Prisoners have begun to eat each other alive. This is a seven year plague and it is only year two! If they had stayed away from the grains as Jack had suggested or simply been more productive by grazing their livestock on fallow fields to better fertilize them they could have boosted production, but when the sun doesn't shine and the rains knock your crops out before they can ripen, you are hosed.... really hosed. And when Parliament takes what little profit there is out of farming, right before the volcano blows, well... they zigged when they should have zagged. Now they are going to die... slowly.

The King of France Is Dead... Twice. The Curse Continues

Oh, what rotten luck! King Louis the Headstrong of France has died at the age of 26 after a vigorous tennis match. Poisoning is suspected. Since his wife is pregnant they wait until John I of France is born to crown him King... and then Baby John dies at 5 days old, having the shortest reign of any king of France. Poisoning is suspected. His uncle and regent, Philip the Tall, will take the throne over John's sister, Joan. King Philip the Tall will live to the ripe old age of 29 and die of dysentery... bad water. Bad luck. [3] [4] [5]

My Take by Alex Shrugged
The curse of the Grand Templar will continue to grind away. I don't believe in curses per se but watching this curse play out would make anyone nervous. King Louis was dismantling the medieval serf structure. The noblemen objected and he may have died for it. It seems reasonable to assume Philip the Tall murdered Baby John to gain the throne and while he reigns he will consolidate the French currency.

A Princely New Pope

At the age of 72 Pope John XXII is finally elected after two years of fighting. He's actually a competent administrator. He is also a real clothes horse. He bought gold cloth from Damascus for 1,276 gold florins. In modern dollars that is...3.5g of pure gold per Florin or $192,145.76. His yearly clothing budget alone will be $1.05 million to $1.21 million. His critics will call upon him to take a vow of poverty, a call he will ignore. [6] [7] [8] [9] [10] [11]

My Take by Alex Shrugged
This new Pope will be a more competent administrator than Pope Clement every could have been but his successors will use his actions to justify their own overindulgence and this will cause a rift in the Church. It's causing one right now, in fact.

See Also


  1. Lucas,Henry S.. The Great European Famine of 1315, 1316, and 1317. Speculum, Vol. 5, No. 4 (Oct., 1930). Medieval Academy of America. pp. 348-356.
  2. Great Famine of 1315-17 - Wikipedia, 2014 [last update]
  3. Louis X of France - Wikipedia, 2014 [last update]
  4. John I of France - Wikipedia, 2014 [last update]
  5. Philip V of France - Wikipedia, 2014 [last update]
  6. Norwich, John Julius. Absolute Monarchs: A History of the Papacy. New York: Random House. 2011.
  7. Tuchman, Barbara Wertheim (Barbara Tuchman, bio). A Distant Mirror, Ballantine, 1979. p. 28. (BOOK)
  8. John XXII, everyhistory.org, 2013 [last update]
  9. Pope John XXII - Wikipedia, 2014 [last update]
  10. Florin (Italian coin) - Wikipedia, 2014 [last update]
  11. Gold Price Calculator, goldprice.org, 2014 [last update]

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