The Factors that led to the Decline of the Middle Ages

The late middle ages were years filled with turmoil. Famine, plague, turmoil in religion, and a war lasting over one hundred years all happened within the same two centuries. Many feared that these ages were the apocalypse, as these signs were those of the four horseman predicted in religious scripture. Several people ran from urban surroundings in order to escape the chaos and disease spreading in the cities. The late middle ages were the ending of something old and the beginning of something that most hoped was better.

The decline of the middle ages was the result of famine and plague, decline of the papacy, and the hundred year’s war. The middle ages declined in part because of famine and plague. The famine started in the early 14th century when the climate in Europe changed to a colder and moister climate. These cooler temperatures and wetter seasons resulted in a failure of crops in large parts of Europe, causing the prices to skyrocket. Prices of grain rose from a shilling to twenty shillings in 1315. Those who could not afford the high prices of grain were doomed to starve.

Those who starved not only lacked food but had a weakened immune system because of a lack of nutrients. Almost three decades later while people were still starving, a disease washed up on the shores of Messina known as the bubonic plague. The symptoms of this sickness were described by Georges Chastellain as, “The pulse trembles and he pants. The bones are disjointed on all sides; there is not a tendon which does not stretch as to burst. ” Giovanni Boccaccio describes in the Decameron that bodies were piled outside houses and taken to large trenches, to where they were buried by the hundreds.

This plague spread throughout Europe and only rural unvisited communities were able to stay away from the plague. None could clearly identify the cause of this plague and as a result they turned to their own individual explanations. Many thought that the plague was sent from God as a form of punishment for sins that the people had committed. Some of these people went from town to town whipping themselves hoping that God would forgive them and the people around them. Others turned to a more worldly answer and punished the Jews for causing the plague.

Many Jews were tortured to confess that they had poisoned the water supply, and they were killed because of their supposed crime. Through the combination of the plague and famine medieval society started to collapse and the deterioration of the Middle Ages. During the middle ages the church was the center of the average person’s life. However in the 14th century the papacy started to decline and individuals lost respect for the church because of the conciliar movement, and attacks from intellectuals.

Intellectuals felt that the Pope was too worldly and did not care about Christianity as much as he cared about having the finest things. Ramón de Cornet criticized the pope in Avignon saying, “I see the pope his sacred trust betray, for while the rich his grace can gain always… He strives to gather wealth as best he may, forcing Christ’s people blindly to obey,” John Wycliffe proposed several ideas about how to make the church less worldly. Two of these were about keeping the sacred practices of the church in the church instead of letting them be abused outside of the church.

All those who promoted these ideas were both condemned and executed for heresy or they were smart enough to stay away from the church officials. This caused a split in the church as some agreed with the intellectuals and others did not, causing a weak and divided Roman Catholic Church. Finally the conciliar movement is the last reason that caused the decline of the papacy. The conciliar movement was an attempt to answer the question of if there should be a council that shares the authority of the pope or if there should be a singular pope that exercises power.

In Defensor Pacis Marsilius of Padua states that, “We now wish . . . to adduce the truths of the holy Scripture . . . which explicitly command or counsel that neither the Roman bishop called pope, nor any other bishop or priest, or deacon, has or ought to have any rulership or coercive judgment or jurisdiction over any priest or non-priest, ruler, community, group, or individual of whatever condition . . . .” This division caused many people to lose faith in the pope. The Conciliar movement, along with the attacks from intellectuals caused the decline of the church and the papacy.

The final event that contributed to the downfall of medieval society was the Hundred Years War. Starting in the mid-14th century, the Hundred Years War was fought between Britain and France and ended in the mid-15th century. The war started when the king of France died with no heirs. When selecting a king, some French nobles wanted an English king that did not want to centralize the government, while other French nobles wanted a French king to maintain national pride.

This sparked conflict over English controlled lands in France. The war lasted for many years and was mostly fought on French lands. Jean Froissart’s account of a sacking during the war stated, “for upwards of three thousand men, women and children were put to death that day. God have mercy on their souls! for they were veritable martyrs,” The English seemed to be winning in the war until Joan of Arc led the French army. The French started winning, and eventually led to the removal from the English in the French territory.

This led to a growth of nationalism in both countries as well as it started to cause the peasants to revolt. As Jean Froissart stated about the English Peasant Revolt, “they were too severely oppressed; that at the beginning of the world there were no slaves, and that no one ought to be treated as such, unless he had committed treason against his lord, as Lucifer had done against God: but they had done no such thing, for they were neither angels nor spirits, but men formed after the same likeness with their lords, who treated them as beasts.

This they would not longer bear, but had determined to be free, and if they laboured or did any other works for their lords, they would be paid for it. ” These revolts caused feudal society to collapse slowly, adding to the decline of the medieval society caused by the Hundred Year’s War. Overall the Hundred Year’s War, the decline of the papacy, and famine and plague, mainly contributed to the wane of medieval society.

Famine and plague was caused by cool and wet climate change as well as the spread disease throughout Europe. The decline of the papacy was the result of the attacks from intellectuals and the conciliar movement. And finally the Hundred Year’s War was the result of the selection of the French king and the argument over English lands in French territory. Medieval society declined for a number of reasons, but it never stopped suddenly. It was a gradual decline into another era filled with many facets and features.

Calculate the price
Make an order in advance and get the best price
Pages (550 words)
*Price with a welcome 15% discount applied.
Pro tip: If you want to save more money and pay the lowest price, you need to set a more extended deadline.
We know how difficult it is to be a student these days. That's why our prices are one of the most affordable on the market, and there are no hidden fees.

Instead, we offer bonuses, discounts, and free services to make your experience outstanding.
How it works
Receive a 100% original paper that will pass Turnitin from a top essay writing service
step 1
Upload your instructions
Fill out the order form and provide paper details. You can even attach screenshots or add additional instructions later. If something is not clear or missing, the writer will contact you for clarification.
Pro service tips
How to get the most out of your experience with MyStudyWriters
One writer throughout the entire course
If you like the writer, you can hire them again. Just copy & paste their ID on the order form ("Preferred Writer's ID" field). This way, your vocabulary will be uniform, and the writer will be aware of your needs.
The same paper from different writers
You can order essay or any other work from two different writers to choose the best one or give another version to a friend. This can be done through the add-on "Same paper from another writer."
Copy of sources used by the writer
Our college essay writers work with ScienceDirect and other databases. They can send you articles or materials used in PDF or through screenshots. Just tick the "Copy of sources" field on the order form.
See why 20k+ students have chosen us as their sole writing assistance provider
Check out the latest reviews and opinions submitted by real customers worldwide and make an informed decision.
Looks great and appreciate the help.
Customer 452675, April 26th, 2021
Don't really see any of sources I provided, but elsewise its great, thank you!
Customer 452697, May 8th, 2021
Leadership Studies
excellent job
Customer 452773, August 3rd, 2023
Social Work and Human Services
Although it took 2 revisions I am satisfied but I did receive it late because of that.
Customer 452603, March 25th, 2021
Human Resources Management (HRM)
Customer 452773, June 25th, 2023
Business and administrative studies
Customer 452773, March 3rd, 2023
Business and administrative studies
Excellent job
Customer 452773, March 17th, 2023
Leadership Studies
awesome work as always
Customer 452773, August 19th, 2023
excellent work
Customer 452773, October 6th, 2023
Criminal Justice
This has been the greatest help while I am recovering from an illness. Thank your team so much.
Customer 452671, May 2nd, 2021
Human Resources Management (HRM)
excellent work
Customer 452773, July 3rd, 2023
Customer 452591, March 18th, 2021
Customer reviews in total
Current satisfaction rate
3 pages
Average paper length
Customers referred by a friend
15% OFF your first order
Use a coupon FIRST15 and enjoy expert help with any task at the most affordable price.
Claim my 15% OFF Order in Chat

Sometimes it is hard to do all the work on your own

Let us help you get a good grade on your paper. Get professional help and free up your time for more important courses. Let us handle your;

  • Dissertations and Thesis
  • Essays
  • All Assignments

  • Research papers
  • Terms Papers
  • Online Classes
Live ChatWhatsApp