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"Not for Glory, Nor Riches" ... The Declaration of Arbroath

The Declaration of Arbroath is a declaration of independence for Scotland as much as an appeal to Pope John XXII for support against King Edward II of England. Initially, the Pope will react favorably, but in the end, nothing will happen until King Edward II is dead and his son, Edward III, accepts Scotland's independence in 1328 by signing the Treaty of Edinburg-Northampton. [1]

My Take by Alex Shrugged
The Declaration of Arbroath itself is long with many praises and swearing of loyalty to the Pope as the vicar of Christ so I don't recommend it as light reading, but there is one quote that I find inspiring. I leave you with it.

"It is in truth not for glory, nor riches, nor honours that we are fighting, but for freedom — for that alone, which no honest man gives up but with life itself." [2] [3]

Beating Plowshares into Swords: the Shepherds' Crusade

The young shepherds of France have decided to go on a Crusade but this looks less like a Crusade than a vicious mob looting villages and murdering Jews all through southern France and Spain. The King of Aragon (Spain) has mobilized and Pope John XXII is nothing if he is not for "law and order" so he demands that the bishops and city fathers protect the Jews and stop this mob. When it is all over, 120 Jewish communities are destroyed and the leaders of the Shepherds' Crusade are hanging from a tree. [4] [5] [6] [7] [8]

My Take by Alex Shrugged
Historians differ on the reasons for the Shepherd's Crusade but King Louis the Headstrong had invited the Jews back to France as the King's "loan collectors" with the King as a silent partner. But now King Louis is dead, probably at the hands of the current King Philip the Tall. King Philip did little to stop the mob and now the aristocracy and clergy are feeling frightened. That mob was heading toward Avignon to unseat the Pope and despoil the riches of the city. [9]

Colder, Longer Winters Are Here

Since 1310 the winters have been getting longer and colder but the winters of 1320 to 1330 will be the second worst winters of all the Middle Ages. This will shorten the growing season and is the harbinger of the Little Ice Age that is coming around 1350. [10]

My Take by Alex Shrugged
As if these people didn't have enough problems, but this is all taxing the human body. The populace is malnourished and ripe for disease. The shelters they live in are falling apart since they have lacked the resources to do the normal repair and maintenance during the Famine. Coupled with the 100 Year War coming up, crippling taxes and another round of bad weather in the future the populous won't have a chance to rest before the Black Death gets here.

See Also


  1. Treaty of Edinburgh—Northampton - Wikipedia, , 2014 [last update]
  2. The Declaration of Arbroath (April 6, 1320), The Avalon Project. Yale University.
  3. Declaration of Arbroath - Wikipedia, 2014 [last update]
  4. Tuchman, Barbara Wertheim (Barbara Tuchman, bio). A Distant Mirror, Ballantine, 1979. pp. 40-41. (BOOK)
  5. Weakland, John E.. Pastorelli, Pope, and Persecution: A Tragic Episode in 1320. Jewish Social Studies , Vol. 38, No. 1 (Winter, 1976), Indiana University Press. pp. 73-76. (JOURNAL)
  6. Shepherds' Crusade (1320) - Wikipedia, 2014 [last update]
  7. Crusades and Crusaders: Shepherds Crusade 1320, The East and the West in the Middle Ages. 2014 [last update] (BLOG)
  8. Alfonso IV of Aragon - Wikipedia, 2014 [last update]
  9. Avignon - Wikipedia, 2014 [last update]
  10. Jordan, William Chester, The Great Famine: Northern Europe in the Early Fourteenth Century, Princeton University Press, December 15, 1997. p. 17. (BOOK)

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