Overview Economic Life Social Life Private Life No typical 16th Century European Language, custom, geography, and material conditions separated peoples in one place from those in another
Economic Life Not since the Black Death had Europe transformed so much Major transformations in economic and social organization Agriculture increased: more land cleared, crops grown, better tools More irreplaceable resources lost: more trees felled, soil eroded, water polluted
Economic Life: Rural 90% of the population lived on farms or in farming communities Villages had between 20-100 families Manors, the church and the state gained their wealth from peasants Village community had to be self sufficient 1 in 3 harvests bad, 1 in 5 disastrous Save 20-50% for seeding, to eat or not to eat?
Economic Life: Rural Housing Peasant housing was raw single long hall with a fireplace for heat single window to the outside world housing was shared during bad weather with animals property was limited—a chest, a table, a bedstead, some pots and utensils
Economic Life: Town Guilds continued to regulate the conditions of labour Towns were market-oriented Greater size of town = more variety of jobs Most citizens survived by periodic employment as unskilled labourers Domestic service was a common occupation
Economic Life: Economic Change Population growth created change 80 mil to 105 mil in Europe France and England doubled In 1500 4 cities had more than 100,000 In 1600 there were 8 15 large cities doubled their pop’n London grew by 400%!
Economic Life: Economic Change Impact of more people: Uncultivated land could now be productive More food = more workers = more goods produced = exchange for food More jobs in towns meant more migrants Large move from rural to urban Easy to find apprenticeships
Economic Life: Economic Change By midcentury a limit was reached Guilds raised fees, limited one son per father Increased population in town = poorer wages Purchasing power in England was halved Large inflation (500% in agriculture) Increased population and metals from the New World Commodity prices increased along with State debt
Economic Life: Economic Change Inflation disrupted whole societies 99 year leases Lords could buy goods at set prices (even from 300 years ago!) Push to create a surplus to sell, specialize Many who had sold land to go to the city came back with no land
Social Life Sixteenth-century social life was layered Ordered in groups, no individualism Economic change challenged traditional social organization Hierarchy everywhere! Based on status not wealth Lords – commoners Masters-journeyman-apprentices Officials in government Husband-wife-children-servants “All things observe degree, priority and place,” Shakesphere
Social Life: Social Structure European society was divided into two status groups: nobles and commoners Nobility implied certain rights eligible for high office in the state paid no taxes In return they were expected to serve as military commanders Expected to raise, equip, and lead troops Professionalism of warfare limited this by 16th century
Social Life: Social Structure Between the nobility and the commoners, a new group without clear status was emerging Some of the wealthiest and most powerful townsmen rose into the lower ranks of the nobility In the countryside, landowners separated themselves from the labourers This group is referred to as the gentry
Social Life: Social Change The expansion of the state and the creation of new wealth placed stress on the European social system Noble titles increased as the population growth required more people eligible to govern Employment in the state offered opportunities for wealth and advancement Number of poor increased Care of the poor fell on local communities State intervened when the ability of local charities was exhausted State more concerned with vagrancy than in helping the poor Imprisonment and corporal punishments were imposed on vagrants
Social Change: Peasant Revolts Social changes led to conflict between the orders Peasant revolts, although moderate and well organized, were brutally suppressed Many were in response to changes in the agricultural system imposed by surges and recessions in the economy Protection of woodlands and enclosure of open fields for commercial agriculture provoked strong peasant responses Peasant revolts broke out in Hungary in 1514, England in 1549, and Germany in 1525. German revolt saw peasants objecting to changes taking place in villages and demanded freedom from serfdom
Twelve Articles of the Peasants ofSwabia The First Article. First, it is our humble petition and desire, as also our will and resolution, that in the future we should have power and authority so that each community should choose and appoint a pastor, and that we should have the right to depose him should he conduct himself improperly. The pastor thus chosen should teach us the gospel pure and simple, without any addition, doctrine, or ordinance of man. The Tenth Article. In the tenth place, we are aggrieved by the appropriation by individuals of meadows and fields which at one time belonged to a community. These we will take again into our own hands ...
Private Life Despite various changes, there was continuity in private life Strongest ties remained to family and local community
Private Life: Family Family was at the foundation of private life Kinship ties bound the family to other groups within rural communities Also stressed the relationship between past generations and the present Among the nobility this tendency was more pronounced in the forms of inheritance and coats of arms, but it also existed in the transfer of land from one peasant generation to the next The individual household was also an economic unit, with all members contributing their labour to its welfare The husband was in charge but children and servants were responsible to both husband and wife Size of the typical family remained small Infant mortality and relatively late age of marriage for women depressed the birth rate Women endured many pregnancies during their lives
Private Life: Family The economic role of women within the household was varied Prepared food, kept domestic animals, educated children and provided primary child care, made clothing, and cleaned In towns women might add the tasks of selling goods and directing domestics. Men performed more public duties the primary agricultural tasks, the construction of farm equipment, performance of owed labour services, and participation in the political life of the village
Embroidery Depicting a Motherwith her Thirteen Daughters
Private Life: Communities Village church was both a spiritual and social center, a focal point for holidays and celebrations Communities expressed their unity by ceremonial activities in which all members of the village participated Weddings were significant ceremonies for the entire community Marriages bound families—and often wealth—together They marked the admission of a new household to the community Because property and community approval were involved, weddings were public affairs Other festivals were associated with the passage of stages of the agricultural cycle Festivals released community members from labour and presented opportunities to resolve community squabbles Festivals also offered the chance for the social hierarchy of the community to be placed on public display
Private Life: Popular Beliefs Despite the print revolution, most Europeans remained illiterate The common man’s sense of the world around him was individual and experiential, not scientific 16th century society was imbued with the magical Magical solutions abounded for medical problems, changes in the weather, disastrous harvests, and for prediction of future events Use of magical powers for evil was considered witchcraft Consultation with the black powers of evil spirits and the devil, himself, brought the repressive powers of the churches into play Prosecutions for witchcraft became common in the sixteenth century Women were most often the objects of prosecutions for witchcraft