Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Medieval Palace In Poitiers

Medieval castles of the greatest note usually have association with a great medieval ruler. One such example is Chinon Castle in the Loire Valley where King Henry II Of England died. His wife, Eleanor of Aquitaine, survived him and lived until she was 80 years old. Her story is a magnificently colourful one and she is perhaps amongst the greatest, if not the greatest, of medieval women.

We are blessed to have been able to visit numerous places associated with Eleanor, particularly in France. Chinon is one example as mentioned above. Another is the city of Poitiers where she was educated as a child. The Ducal Palace in Poitiers was a focal point for Eleanor as a child as it was her grandfather who made it the main family residence after becoming Count of Poitou (he was already Duke of Aquitaine).

Here is a video clip of the inside of what was once the Great Hall in the Ducal Palace, now part of the law courts in the city.


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Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Heresy, Lollards & Medieval Troubadours

Heresy is something that is rarely spoken about these days but in medieval times it was deemed a sin for which people were burned at the stake. Most of our medieval blog readers might have heard about the Cathar heresy and the brutal Albigensian crusade (AD1209-1229) which crushed it but 150 years later there was a heresy which grew in England - it became known as Lollardism and was started by John Wycliffe.

Just as for the Cathars, John Wycliffe argued against the wealth and prosperity of the Holy Roman Church. At this time the Pope was based in Avignon and the payment of Papal taxation was seen as a tax to the French which at the time of the Hundred Years War meant that there was a lot of sympathy with the Lollards.

Unfortunately, the support for Wycliffe began to falter. His primary sponsor, John of Gaunt, moved abroad as he pursued his claim to the Castillian throne. Then John Ball became one of the leaders of the peasants revolt in 1381 and he was also a supporter of Wycliffe. After this the ruling class started to see the heresy as a threat to their rule.

What were the legacies of the Lollards?

1. They had a tremendous influence on later reforms.
2. Wycliffe's bible translations between 1382 and 1395 started the movement to make the bible more readily available to the laiety.

3. Their ideas and beliefs were absorbed by the Protestants and coming after the reformation those who were baptists, puritans or quakers all carried a small part of this original heresy with them.
This map shows the extent of the "heresy" in England

Courtesy of Wikipedia

The art of medieval troubadours has close assocations with the Cathars - read more about medieval troubadours on our main website.

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