1334

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Retiring Your Debt by Execution

A million dollars (roughly in current US dollars) is a lot of money to owe anyone, but in many ways the lender is sweating it more than you are. In this case, the borrower has the power of life and death over the lender and decides to kill his debt by killing the lender. Archbishop Walram of Cologne, Germany, has Meyer Von Sieberg arrested and put to death on the charge of aiding and abetting counterfeiters. After the lender's death, Sieberg's wife, Judith, forgives the debt. The Archbishop was not entirely unappreciative and protects Judith and her family from rampaging mobs threatening to kill the Jews until his death in 1349, when obviously he could protect them no longer. [1]

My Take by Alex Shrugged
There were no ATMs in those days. There was no real bank as one would imagine it today. Some merchants had cash on hand and were willing to lend it to people with interest. Merchant laws in Germany (and those non-German towns following German merchant laws) usually did not apply those laws to the Jews. They were specifically exempt. That allowed Jews to engage in certain types of commerce... what we would call "pawn shops" today. In one sense, Jews were allowed to accept stolen property BY LAW. It was dangerous work but there was not much of a choice. The choices were: lend money, buy and sell things or starve. When a powerful person wants to borrow money and you are not a powerful person yourself, you roll the dice and hope they don't come up "snake eyes" in the end. [2]

The Holocaust Pope

Pope John XXII has passed away early in December, so before the year is out the Cardinals have elected a new Pope... Benedict XII. Benedict was a local bishop, the son of a baker and an unpleasant figure. He gained fame in his bishopric for his execution of 183 men and women by burning them at the stake: "a holocaust, very great and pleasing to God." He wiped out the heretical Cathari movement in his diocese. We are seeing a conflict arise amongst Christian factions as to the proper role of the Pope. At the moment, a Pope is like a king and a king needs an army and a fortress to fight evil. The Cardinals have chosen a warrior in that battle. The building of his fortress will begin next year in Avignon... the Palais des Papes. [3] [4] [5] [6] [7] [8] [9] [10]

My Take by Alex Shrugged
Judging from a quick review of the Cathari movement... most Christians today would see it as heretical... though not deserving of death. This, however, is the Middle Ages and the movement represented a direct challenge to the Church especially since many aristocrats followed it. When evaluating the job performance of the various Popes, historians will focus on different ideals. John Norwich in his book "Absolute Monarchs" is critical of those Popes who are at variance with modern Christian ideals. On the other hand, Norman Cantor sees the Pope and the abbots as good or bad administrators as the case may be... looking out for the overall organization in the political climate it finds itself in.

The Black Death Breaks out in China

Five million people die in the Hebei Province in the northeast of China due to the bubonic plague. This is the first documented case of the Plague outbreak in China. [11] [12]

My Take by Alex Shrugged
The actual documentation on when the Plague started in China is not reliable so we can only make educated guesses as to when it started and how. This is the first documented occurrence of the Plague in China, but it must have been going long before this.

This Year on Wikipedia

Year 1334, Wikipedia.

See Also

References

  1. Cantor, Norman F., In the Wake of the Plague: The Black Death and the World It Made, Harper Perennial, 2001. p. 161-162. (BOOK).
  2. Jewish Encyclopedia: Magdeburg Law (Magdeburg Rights)
  3. Norwich, John Julius. Absolute Monarchs: A History of the Papacy. Chapter 15 Avignon. New York: Random House. 2011. (BOOK)
  4. Ladurie, Emmanuel Le Roy. (trans. Bray, Barbara) Montaillou: Cathars and Catholics in a French village 1294-1324, Harmondsworth: Penguin Books. 1984. (BOOK)
  5. Pope John XXII - Wikipedia, 2014 [last update]
  6. Pope Benedict XII - Wikipedia, 2014 [last update]
  7. Pamiers - Wikipedia, 2014 [last update]
  8. Montaillou - Wikipedia, 2014 [last update]
  9. Catharism - Wikipedia, 2014 [last update]
  10. Evans, Mary Anne. The Palais des Papes (Pope's Palace) in Avignon, About.com, 2014 [last update]
  11. Black Death in Asia: Bubonic Plague, Kallie Szczepanski, About.com.
  12. Hebei - Wikipedia, 2014 [last update]

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