KotiRyhmätKeskusteluLisääAjan henki
Etsi sivustolta
Tämä sivusto käyttää evästeitä palvelujen toimittamiseen, toiminnan parantamiseen, analytiikkaan ja (jos et ole kirjautunut sisään) mainostamiseen. Käyttämällä LibraryThingiä ilmaiset, että olet lukenut ja ymmärtänyt käyttöehdot ja yksityisyydensuojakäytännöt. Sivujen ja palveluiden käytön tulee olla näiden ehtojen ja käytäntöjen mukaista.
Hide this

Tulokset Google Booksista

Pikkukuvaa napsauttamalla pääset Google Booksiin.

A Distant Mirror: The Calamitous 14th…
Ladataan...

A Distant Mirror: The Calamitous 14th Century (alkuperäinen julkaisuvuosi 1978; vuoden 1987 painos)

– tekijä: Barbara W. Tuchman

JäseniäKirja-arvostelujaSuosituimmuussijaKeskimääräinen arvioMaininnat
6,1581011,201 (4.14)251
The fourteenth century reflects two contradictory images: on the one hand, a glittering time of crusades and castles, cathedrals and chivalry, and the exquisitely decorated "Books of hours"; and on the other, a time of ferocity and spiritual agony, a world of chaos and the plague. Barbara Tuchman reveals both the great rhythms of history and the grain and texture of domestic life as it was lived. Here are the guilty passions, loyalties and treacheries, political assassinations, sea battles and sieges, corruption in high places and a yearning for reform, satire and humor, sorcery and demonology, and lust and sadism on the stage. Here are proud cardinals, beggars, feminists, university scholars, grocers, bankers, mercenaries, mystics, lawyers and tax collectors, and, dominating all, the knight in his valor and "furious follies," a "terrible worm in an iron cocoon."… (lisätietoja)
Jäsen:jason.goodwin
Teoksen nimi:A Distant Mirror: The Calamitous 14th Century
Kirjailijat:Barbara W. Tuchman
Info:Ballantine Books (1987), Paperback, 704 pages
Kokoelmat:Oma kirjasto
Arvio (tähdet):*****
Avainsanoja:mediaeval history

Teoksen tarkat tiedot

A Distant Mirror: The Calamitous 14th Century (tekijä: Barbara Tuchman) (1978)

Viimeisimmät tallentajatyksityinen kirjasto, tyeve, munhak, aaronarnold, jobinsonlis, Darrol, tlwright
PerintökirjastotTerence Kemp McKenna, Nelson Algren
Ladataan...

Kirjaudu LibraryThingiin, niin näet, pidätkö tästä kirjasta vai et.

Ei tämänhetkisiä Keskustelu-viestiketjuja tästä kirjasta.

» Katso myös 251 mainintaa

englanti (90)  hollanti (5)  espanja (2)  saksa (1)  ruotsi (1)  islanti (1)  heprea (1)  Kaikki kielet (101)
Näyttää 1-5 (yhteensä 101) (seuraava | näytä kaikki)
Tuchman's greatest skill is narrative - it's very difficult to think of historians with comparable talents to make what could have been a blurry smear of snore/war/gore in the 14th century into a clear, comprehensible, and fascinating history. Like many people, this period in history was kind of a morass to me, so it was welcome to have her organize this chaos of plague, war, recession, famine, brigandage, despotism, religious strife, and squabbling nobility into something not only memorable but instructive, although despite her claim in the Foreword of finding "phenomenal parallels" between the problems of this era and the Europe of World War I, she leaves those resonances mostly implicit and oblique.

The "main character" of the book is Enguerrand de Coucy, an exceptionally gifted yet somewhat representative member of the French nobility who was involved to one degree or another in many of the more pivotal events in this tumultuous century. He's mostly a nonentity in the first part of the book, but slowly becomes a more important figure as much of the rest of the French nobility dies through one manner of stupidity or another, eventually becoming a greatly trusted counselor to royalty only to die tragically near the end of the century after the fecklessness of other important knights loses the Crusade he's on to the Ottomans during the Battle of Nicopolis. In between his birth and death lay the first outbreaks of the Black Death, the beginning of the Hundred Years' War, most of the Avignon Papacy, and all manner of horrific tribulations for your average starving, overtaxed, filthy mud-wallowing peasant. Coucy seems to have been a gentilhomme unusually well-thought of by his contemporaries:

"'Gentil' was a word routinely applied to any important and well-considered noble, meaning no more than that he or she was nobly born; Coucy, in addition, is "subtle," "prudent," and especially "imaginatif" or "fort-imaginatif," meaning intelligent, thoughtful, or far-seeing, and the all-inclusive "sage" or "très-sage," which could mean wise, sensible, wary, rational, discreet, judicious, cool, sober, staid, well-behaved, steady, virtuous, or presumably any or all of these. He is also described as "cointe," meaning elegant in manner and dress, gracious, courteous, valiant - a compendium of the attributes of chivalry."

He certainly seems to have had well above the typical amount of prudence for his age. I won't call the 14th century "transitional" because literally every era is in some sense a transition between what came before and what comes after, but we do see in this era both an unbelievable amount of pointless internecine slaughter, and the first glimmerings of true national consciousness as the residents of various proto-states begin to acquire a sense of shared destiny, and, just as important, a sense that the shared destiny of other proto-states was wrong and needed to be cleansed by violence. A Distant Mirror concentrates mostly on the dynastic struggles between France and England - whose inept and ultimately completely futile conflict brings to mind Borges' quote about the Falklands War being akin to "two bald men fighting over a comb" - but Spain, the Holy Roman Empire, Italy, the Low Countries, and the nations of the Balkans all feature to a small degree.

One problem with writing about this period, as Tuchman emphasizes in the very beginning, is that medieval sources are incredibly unreliable about basically everything: what people looked like, who their parents/offspring were, what their motivations were for their actions, how much money they had, who went to which battles and how many people fought in them, the dates that events occurred on; in short, everything a historian needs to write a history. Keeping that in mind, she still manages to keep an impressive number of plot threads going, following the follies of various dynastic lines, the growth and contraction of commerce due to the era's many tragedies, the religious factionalizations between Popes and heretics (and between Popes and Antipopes), the fates of nations, and everything else. Since the average peasant's life was not deemed worthy of documenting, most information about this period comes from avid chroniclers of the life and times of the rich, who at times seemed almost totally disconnected from the problems they were causing. Commenting on the detail provided by some medieval equivalent of a Forbes magazine article about how much money was spent at a wedding, Tuchman wonders:

"The amount the rich could squander on occasions like these in a period of repeated disasters appears inexplicable, not so much with regard to motive as with regard to means. Where, in the midst of ruin and decline and lowered revenues from depopulated estates and towns, did all the money come from to endow the luxury? For one thing, money in coin was not vulnerable to plague like human life; it did not disappear, and if stolen by brigands it re-entered circulation. In a reduced population the amount of hard cash available was proportionately greater. Probably too, in spite of the plague's heavy mortality, the capacity to produce goods and services was not reduced, because so much of the population at the beginning of the century had been surplus. In proportion to the surviving rich, goods and services may have actually increased.
Ostentation and pageantry to raise the ruler's image above his peers and excite the admiration and awe of the populace was traditionally the habit of princes. But now in the second half of the 14th century it went to extremes, as if to defy the increased uncertainty of life. Conspicuous consumption became a frenzied excess, a gilded shroud over the Black Death and lost battles, a desperate desire to show oneself fortunate in a time of advancing misfortune."

As a big fan of military history, I was pleased to see that it got its share of page time. It's truly amazing how stupid, expensive, and failure-prone warfare was during this period (I mean, above and beyond the fact that warfare is all of those things in any period), and the amount of backstabbing and double-crossing during this period is greater than any screenwriter could dream of. This description of the squabbling between city-states in Italy clearly shows the situation of small-minded waste that Machiavelli would lament so many years later:

"The interrelationships of Venice, Genoa, Milan, Piedmont, Florence, and assorted despots and communes of northern Italy were constantly shifting. As soon as one power joined another against a third for that season’s advantage, all alliances and feuds changed partners as if in a trecento square dance. Venice feuded with Genoa, Milan played off one against the other and feuded with Florence and the several principalities of Piedmont, Florence feuded with its neighbors, Siena, Pisa, and Lucca, and formed various leagues against Milan; papal politics kept the whole mass quivering."

Tuchman doesn't directly draw these analogies, but the lack of centralized authority that doomed these principalities to centuries of being the playground of stronger powers is very reminiscent of ancient Greece, pre-Westphalia Germany, or Warring States-period China. Central governments, especially in the autocratic age, might be brutal and cruel, but it's difficult to read about the continuous, senseless violence perpetrated by brigands, bandit companies, unprofessional armies, and rogue knights, and not get very thankful that we live in this modern age, which, as shown in Steven Pinker's excellent history of violence The Better Angels of Our Nature, is far more peaceful and humane than the Middle Ages. It seems to have been very difficult for any rulers to look farther than a few years ahead, and in the driftless, uneducated era when the Roman Empire was not even a distant memory, perhaps there was no easy way for any leader to escape the short-sighted equilibrium they were caught in.

The easy brutality of peoples is recapitulated just the same on the level of individual knights. Modern romances make the life of knighthood seem exciting and sexy (Mark Twain famously blamed some of the Civil War-era South's foolish retention of similar ideas of honor on Walter Scott's historical novels of this period like Ivanhoe), but the only word for their commitment to the peculiarities of chivalry, personal honor, and trial by combat is "stupid", or perhaps "childish", as a surprising number of important leaders were roughly the age of college students. Not only does the the over-proud French leadership's rigid code of chivalry lead to repeated disaster at the very winnable battles of Poitiers and Crécy on home ground against the English, but also farces on an international scale, as in a siege of the Barbary pirate-held city of Mahdia at the behest of nominal French ally Genoa:

"A Berber and a Christian, meeting outside the walls, entered a dispute - probably not spontaneous, because the Berbers were looking for a way to take prisoners - on the relative merit of their religions. The Berber offered a challenge to decide the issue by the combat of ten champions from each side. Instantly responding, ten crusaders, including Guy and Guillaume de Tremolile, Geoffrey Boucicaut, and two English knights, presented themselves, while the camp buzzed in excited anticipation of the event. Only Coucy disapproved.
"Hold your tongues, you who never consider consequences," he said. "I see no advantage in this combat." Suppose the Saracens were to send not knights but mere varlets, what honor or advantage would be gained in defeating them? Suppose the challenge were a ruse to seize Christian knights as prisoners, of which they had so far taken none? Such a fight could not take Mahdia, whatever its outcome. Moreover, a trial at arms, especially with an unfamiliar enemy, should never be accepted without great deliberation nor without authority of the Senior Council and full knowledge of the challengers' identity by name and surname, rank and arms. Coucy rebuked the champions for indiscipline and for failure of the subordination to high command which ought to prevail in an army. In that concept he was ahead of his countrymen."

Of course, some of the stupider leaders decided to ignore Coucy and sent most of their knights into this tournament-style personal combat, with the result that the enemy got some free kills, and as so often happened, after a further battle that failed to even come close to taking the city, the invaders simply convinced themselves that they had gained an acceptable amount of honor and then just left the city there. Mission Accomplished! This same failure to even consider using tactical thinking would lead to Coucy's eventual death in captivity after the disastrous Battle of Nicopolis against the Ottomans. Thomas Hobbes' theories of the virtues of state sovereignty have never seemed so appealing after reading about this endless parade of idiocy.

To that point, the near-uselessness of the Church also stands out. It appears to have acted as a simple patronage operation with a religious business on the side, offering a modicum of spiritual comfort at the cost of huge numbers of cathedrals, Church officials, and Crusades. Though the Reformation did not occur for many years later, there are many signs of popular discontent with its rule, as seen both in the struggle over the Avignon Papacy and the widespread interest in freelance mysticisms, superstitions, and heresies. It's possible to write high school essay-type sentences like "the Church provided certainty in an uncertain world" and the like; yet its hold on the popular mind seems almost inexplicable, especially in light of the large number of elites who ended up dying in religiously instigated conflict. As a ruler or member of the nobility, it's one thing to use religion as a Marx-style opiate of the masses, but quite another to willingly risk being killed or captured in some far-off land to an almost-certain monetary or other loss, at the hands of an openly venial and political Pope.

Overall the book raises many interesting questions about why societies were stuck in Malthusian traps for so long. Yes, there were devastating plagues that killed off big chunks of the population and so on, but even a techno-determinist who thinks that only the particular inventions of the Industrial Revolution like steam, the railroad, and mass production let humanity truly escape the peasant era would have to agree that there was still so much waste back then - punitive taxes, meaningless tournaments, widespread anarchy - that it seems like Europe could have escaped from that era a lot sooner à la L. Sprague de Camp's sci-fi novel Lest Darkness Fall by just a small number of rulers getting their acts together. Perhaps the fatalism of the era is a partial answer, encapsulated by an abbot's musings on economics:

"Money and currency are very strange things.
They keep on going up and down and no one knows why;
If you want to win, you lose, however hard you try."

Certainly if I had been a typical peasant, watching half my family die to the plague, the other half to roving bandits, and then most of my remaining possessions get commandeered to ransom my idiot local noble from the latest completely failed expedition against the Turks halfway across the known world, I wouldn't exactly be motivated to run out and invent the cotton gin.

As usual, Tuchman's clear prose makes a complicated period seem simple, or at least a bit easier to understand. While I wish she would have done more connection between the events of this time and those of the present day, this still stands as an excellent introduction to the period. Besides, figuring out parallels for yourself is half the fun. ( )
  aaronarnold | May 11, 2021 |
Tuchman, Barbara W. A Distant Mirror: The Calamitous 14th Century. 1978. Random House, 1987.
Barbara Tuchman’s readable history of the European late middle ages won a national book award. Academic historians grumped that she used outdated translations and depended too much on secondary sources. Well, OK, though their complaints do sometimes sound a little like jealousy. Certainly, though, the book’s approach to history does seem a bit dated in its great and not-so-great man approach to historical causation. How much different, for instance, would history have been if knights had abandoned the myth of chivalry for a more modern approach to warfare? Maybe a lot, maybe a little, depending on which knight managed it in which battles. Two complaints are harder to dismiss. Tuchman has an if-it-bleeds-it-leads approach to narrative. Good for selling books, but it may miss some important trends. Her narrative style also makes the book heavy on detail at the risk of burying the argument. But the details are fun, and they do often leave one shaking the head in wonder. Finally, the individual characters do come to life in some particularly modern ways. There is a late-century duke of Milan who reminds me a lot of our most recent former president. It is instructive to learn that the 14th century also had more than its share of fake news, especially regarding women and Jews. The book is certainly worth reading, therefore, if only to remind us that plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose. ( )
  Tom-e | Mar 8, 2021 |
Wonderful history, if you're interested in 14th century Mediaeval history, the malfeasance of the Church and an exposure of just how riddled with spin was the mythology of chivalry.
If you want to understand our modern era and its apparent madness[es] (corruption in high places, growing gaps between rich and poor, the impacts of a pandemic and the apparent retention of faith in the insubstantial despite evidence of earthly abuses), then this book will appease you.

'Tis long, but it needs to be.
( )
  StephenKimber | Mar 5, 2021 |
NA
  pszolovits | Feb 3, 2021 |
La historia es uno de los mejores espejos en que podemos mirarnos y reconocer lo que fuimos y lo que seguimos siendo
  socogarv | Jan 20, 2021 |
Näyttää 1-5 (yhteensä 101) (seuraava | näytä kaikki)

» Lisää muita tekijöitä (18 mahdollista)

Tekijän nimiRooliTekijän tyyppiKoskeeko teosta?Tila
Tuchman, Barbaraensisijainen tekijäkaikki painoksetvahvistettu
May, NadiaKertojamuu tekijäeräät painoksetvahvistettu
Sliedrecht-Smit, J.C.Kääntäjämuu tekijäeräät painoksetvahvistettu
Spaans-van der Bijl, J.Kääntäjämuu tekijäeräät painoksetvahvistettu
Vries, S. deToimittajamuu tekijäeräät painoksetvahvistettu
Sinun täytyy kirjautua sisään voidaksesi muokata Yhteistä tietoa
Katso lisäohjeita Common Knowledge -sivuilta (englanniksi).
Kanoninen teoksen nimi
Tiedot englanninkielisestä Yhteisestä tiedosta. Muokkaa kotoistaaksesi se omalle kielellesi.
Alkuteoksen nimi
Teoksen muut nimet
Alkuperäinen julkaisuvuosi
Henkilöt/hahmot
Tiedot englanninkielisestä Yhteisestä tiedosta. Muokkaa kotoistaaksesi se omalle kielellesi.
Tärkeät paikat
Tiedot englanninkielisestä Yhteisestä tiedosta. Muokkaa kotoistaaksesi se omalle kielellesi.
Tärkeät tapahtumat
Tiedot englanninkielisestä Yhteisestä tiedosta. Muokkaa kotoistaaksesi se omalle kielellesi.
Kirjaan liittyvät elokuvat
Palkinnot ja kunnianosoitukset
Tiedot englanninkielisestä Yhteisestä tiedosta. Muokkaa kotoistaaksesi se omalle kielellesi.
Epigrafi (motto tai mietelause kirjan alussa)
Tiedot englanninkielisestä Yhteisestä tiedosta. Muokkaa kotoistaaksesi se omalle kielellesi.
" For mankind is ever the same and nothing is lost out of nature, though everything is altered. "

John Dryden
Omistuskirjoitus
Ensimmäiset sanat
Tiedot englanninkielisestä Yhteisestä tiedosta. Muokkaa kotoistaaksesi se omalle kielellesi.
The genesis of this book was a desire to find out what were the effects on society of the most lethal disaster of recorded history-that is to say, of the Black Death of 1348-50, which killed an estimated one third of the population living between India and Iceland.
Sitaatit
Viimeiset sanat
Tiedot englanninkielisestä Yhteisestä tiedosta. Muokkaa kotoistaaksesi se omalle kielellesi.
(Napsauta nähdäksesi. Varoitus: voi sisältää juonipaljastuksia)
Erotteluhuomautus
Julkaisutoimittajat
Kirjan kehujat
Alkuteoksen kieli
Tiedot hollanninkielisestä Yhteisestä tiedosta. Muokkaa kotoistaaksesi se omalle kielellesi.
Canonical DDC/MDS
The fourteenth century reflects two contradictory images: on the one hand, a glittering time of crusades and castles, cathedrals and chivalry, and the exquisitely decorated "Books of hours"; and on the other, a time of ferocity and spiritual agony, a world of chaos and the plague. Barbara Tuchman reveals both the great rhythms of history and the grain and texture of domestic life as it was lived. Here are the guilty passions, loyalties and treacheries, political assassinations, sea battles and sieges, corruption in high places and a yearning for reform, satire and humor, sorcery and demonology, and lust and sadism on the stage. Here are proud cardinals, beggars, feminists, university scholars, grocers, bankers, mercenaries, mystics, lawyers and tax collectors, and, dominating all, the knight in his valor and "furious follies," a "terrible worm in an iron cocoon."

No library descriptions found.

Kirjan kuvailu
Yhteenveto haiku-muodossa

Pikalinkit

Suosituimmat kansikuvat

Arvio (tähdet)

Keskiarvo: (4.14)
0.5
1 8
1.5 2
2 24
2.5 13
3 118
3.5 55
4 393
4.5 57
5 356

Oletko sinä tämä henkilö?

Tule LibraryThing-kirjailijaksi.

 

Lisätietoja | Ota yhteyttä | LibraryThing.com | Yksityisyyden suoja / Käyttöehdot | Apua/FAQ | Blogi | Kauppa | APIs | TinyCat | Perintökirjastot | Varhaiset kirja-arvostelijat | Yleistieto | 158,008,664 kirjaa! | Yläpalkki: Aina näkyvissä