This paper examines the 14th Century, part of the Middle Ages as they were more commonly referred to in history.
This paper uses Chaucer’s work, The Canterbury Tales, and Barbara Tuchman’s “A Distant Mirror” to examine the period in history known as the Middle Ages. The author compares and contrasts the opinions and descriptions of this era presented in both these works. Tuchman’s work is historical and was based upon actual events that were detailed, while Chaucer’s work is poetry. Tuchman’s work is detailed and provides us with an insight as to the actual events that transpired during this era, how Rome’s conquest of Europe during the 14th century would affect the continent for many years to come. Chaucer’s work while being fiction, concentrates on the role that the Church and Christianity played in the lives of those people living during the Middle Ages. Both authors’ works show us how the Middle Ages were the beginning of the rise of modernity in the cities as contrasted to the slower pace of development in the countryside.
“We see time and again in Tuchman’s narrative how the elaborate and essentially unified culture that Rome had spread across Europe lost ground to local, artistically simpler, politically less complex and technologically less sophisticated societies. The pervasive orderliness that Rome had brought to its colonized lands (often, of course, in very brutal ways) quickly unraveled, in large measure (as again is evident throughout Tuchman’s narrative) because the numerous small European states that were born after Rome’s fall were so busily engaged in attempting to annihilate each other that they had no time to build the great artistic and cultural achievements that the Romans had with such seemingly easy grace mastered. Politics would have mattered more in a city than on a rural manor, where local alliances would have been both more important and more stable.”