Violence and Miracle in the Fourteenth Century: Private Grief and Public Salvation

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University of Chicago Press, Sep 1, 1995 - History - 220 pages
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As war, pestilence, and famine spread through Europe in the Middle Ages, so did reports of miracles, of hopeless victims wondrously saved from disaster. These "rescue miracles," recorded by over one hundred fourteenth-century cults, are the basis of Michael Goodich's account of the miraculous in everyday medieval life.

Rescue miracles offer a wide range of voices rarely heard in medieval history, from women and children to peasants and urban artisans. They tell of salvation not just from the ravages of nature and war, but from the vagaries of a violent society—crime, unfair judicial practices, domestic squabbles, and communal or factional conflict. The stories speak to a collapse of confidence in decaying institutions, from the law to the market to feudal authority. Particularly, the miraculous escapes documented during the Hundred Years' War, the Italian communal wars, and other conflicts are vivid testimony to the end of aristocratic warfare and the growing victimization of noncombatants.

Miracles, Goodich finds, represent the transcendent and unifying force of faith in a time of widespread distress and the hopeless conditions endured by the common people of the Middle Ages. Just as the lives of the saints, once dismissed as church propaganda, have become valuable to historians, so have rescue miracles, as evidence of an underlying medieval mentalite. This work expands our knowledge of that state of mind and the grim conditions that colored and shaped it.
  

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Review: Violence and Miracle in the Fourteenth Century: Private Grief and Public Salvation

User Review  - Miriam - Goodreads

This is a great way to get a sense of just how secure our lives are in comparison to those who lived in Europe during the 13th and 14th centuries. The miracle chronicles document the fears and dangers of the time in a way that is quite vivid. Read full review

Contents

Cult and Miracle in the Fourteenth Century
3
The Church as Mediator and Victim
27
Crime and Punishment
44
The Vagaries of Family Life
60
Children as Victims
88
The Violence of Nature
105
The Ravages of War
123
Conclusion
149
Notes
159
List of Cults Cited
195
Index
207
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