Post-classical history

A Distant Mirror: The Calamitous 14th Century

A Distant Mirror: The Calamitous 14th Century

The fourteenth century reflects two contradictory images: on the one hand, a glittering age of crusades, cathedrals, and chivalry; on the other, a world plunged into chaos and spiritual agony. In this revelatory work, Tuchman examines not only the great rhythms of history but the grain and texture of domestic life: what childhood was like; what marriage meant; how money, taxes, and war dominated the lives of serf, noble, and clergy alike. Granting her subjects their loyalties, treacheries, and guilty passions, Tuchman re-creates the lives of proud cardinals, university scholars, grocers and clerks, saints and mystics, lawyers and mercenaries, and, dominating all, the knight--in all his valor and “furious follies,” a “terrible worm in an iron cocoon.”


Maps and Illustrations


Part One

Chapter 1. “I Am the Sire de Coucy”: The Dynasty

Chapter 2. Born to Woe: The Century

Chapter 3. Youth and Chivalry

Chapter 4. War

Chapter 5. “This Is the End of the World”: The Black Death

Chapter 6. The Battle of Poitiers

Chapter 7. Decapitated France: The Bourgeois Rising and the Jacquerie

Chapter 8. Hostage in England

Chapter 9. Enguerrand and Isabella

Chapter 10. Sons of Iniquity

Chapter 11. The Gilded Shroud

Chapter 12. Double Allegiance

Chapter 13. Coucy’s War

Chapter 14. England’s Turmoil

Chapter 15. The Emperor in Paris

Chapter 16. The Papal Schism

Part Two

Chapter 17. Coucy’s Rise

Chapter 18. The Worms of the Earth Against the Lions

Chapter 19. The Lure of Italy

Chapter 20. A Second Norman Conquest

Chapter 21. The Fiction Cracks

Chapter 22. The Siege of Barbary

Chapter 23. In a Dark Wood

Chapter 24. Danse Macabre

Chapter 25. Lost Opportunity

Chapter 26. Nicopolis

Chapter 27. Hung Be the Heavens with Black



Reference Notes