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A Drastic Jump in Wheat Prices

After two wet seasons, there is a scarcity of wheat in England. Prices have jumped 700% and will remain high through next year. Eventually prices will drop but they will jump again as the vagaries of weather and bad crop decisions continue to torment the peasantry. Since the lord of the manor often has first call on the harvest most of the nobles will be fine but the lords that have been economically stressed are facing financial collapse. Many of these nobles will find their lands transferred to distant, richer relatives and their names struck from the rolls of the nobility. [1] [2]

My Take by Alex Shrugged
It hasn't been mentioned for awhile but famine is part of life in every country. This sudden jump in wheat prices will no doubt cause the poor to seek out other foods... including eating bugs. Luckily, farming methods have been changing so other crops are available IN SOME AREAS but farming is in transition. If you live in an area using old farming methods, your life is going to be a real struggle, that is, if you manage to live through this crisis at all.

Additional Comment: In modern times this problem is mitigated by transporting harvests from one area to another, but transportation costs in the Middle Ages are very high so the price of non-local food would be out of reach of the poor.

The "Prince of Music" Does the Classics

John Dunstable has changed the face of music. He introduces what is called today: counterpoint. To put it simply... what we call "classical music" is really several musical themes played simultaneously that support each other but are not necessarily harmonious. Much of John's life is a mystery. He is known by the composers who were influenced by his innovation. He will produce many works, mostly with religious themes. When he dies his grave marker will be inscribed, "The Prince of Music." [3] [4] [5]

My Take by Alex Shrugged
You can get a better feel for what John Dunstable has done by listening to one of his works. Click on the link below for an example on YouTube.[6] You will say to yourself, "Yeah... I've heard this stuff a million times," but the folks this year are hearing it for the first time and they are loving it.

The Transylvanian Peasant Revolt

With government debt high after several years of war with the Ottomans and the Hussites, King Sigismund, the Holy Roman Emperor and King of Hungary reduced the amount of silver in his currency. The bishop in northern Transylvania decided not to collect taxes for a few years, probably because he didn't trust the currency but now that the King has issued new gold coins, the bishop has decided to collect the past-due taxes in a lump sum in gold. The peasants are now in revolt led by a man named Budi. They will be joined by a number of minor nobles but the revolt will be put down before the year is out after King Sigismund dies. Then negotiations will consist of executing the leaders of the revolt and enslaving anyone who objects. [7] [8]

My Take by Alex Shrugged
The peasants were separated from the minor nobles when the nobles were granted amnesty which left the peasants hanging in the wind. King Sigismund dies at age 69 without a male heir. He is the last of the Luxembourgs. He is succeeded by his son-in-law, Albert the 5th. (Also known as Albert the 2nd in some contexts.) [9] [10]

This Year in Wikipedia

Year 1437, Wikipedia.

See Also


  1. Farr, William. The Influence of Scarcities and of the High Prices of Wheat on the Mortality of the People of England. Journal of the Statistical Society of London , Vol. 9, No. 2 (Jun., 1846), Royal Statistical Society. p. 162. (JOURNAL)
  2. Fleetwood, William. Chronicon Preciosum or an Account of English Money, the Price of Corn, and Other Commodities, for the Last 600 Years.... London: C. Harper. 1707. (BOOK)
  3. Grun, Bernard. The Timetables of History: A Horizontal Linkage of People and Events. New York: Simon and Schuster. 1991. p. 207. (BOOK) Quote: "John Dunstable develops counterpoint in musical composition."
  4. John Dunstaple - Wikipedia, 2014 [last update]
  5. Polyphony - Wikipedia, 2014 [last update]
  6. Dunstable, John. Dunstable: Quam pulchra es - YouTube. Time Length: 0:2:56. 2014 [last update] (VIDEO) Description: "Three-voice polyphonic composition with musical notation illustrating what is being voiced."
  7. Budai Nagy Antal Revolt - Wikipedia, 2014 [last update]
  8. Sigismund, Holy Roman Emperor - Wikipedia, 2014 [last update]
  9. Grun, Bernard. The Timetables of History: A Horizontal Linkage of People and Events. New York: Simon and Schuster. 1991. p. 206. (BOOK) Quote: "Emperor Sigismund d., last of the House of Luxembourg; succeeded as king of Hungary, Bohemia, and (1438) Germany by his son-in-law, Albert V."
  10. Albert II of Germany - Wikipedia, 2014 [last update]

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