Hecker Horizon: The Ten Calamities

Probably the greatest challenge confronting independent historians is comprehending a narrative that’s been butchered by the clergy, filleted by court historians, and minced with anodyne waffle by gradualist academics.

The Ten Calamities
Independent researchers are advised to familiarise themselves with the Ten Plagues of Egypt from the Book of Exodus before they investigate the Black Death.

The Plagues of Egypt, also called the ten plagues, were ten calamities that, according to the biblical Book of Exodus, God inflicted upon Egypt…

○ Water into blood
○ Frogs
○ Lice
○ Mixture of wild animals
○ Diseased livestock
○ Boils
○ Thunderstorm of hail and fire
○ Locusts
○ Darkness for three days
○ Death of first born

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plagues_of_Egypt

Spot The Calamity
Readers are encouraged to play Spot The Calamity as they work their way through the various iterations of the Black Death narrative that have been published over the centuries.

The Black Death, also known as the Great Plague, the Black Plague, or simply the Plague, was one of the most devastating pandemics in human history, resulting in the deaths of an estimated 75 to 200 million people in Eurasia and peaking in Europe from 1347 to 1351.

This theory is supported by research in 2018 which suggested transmission was more likely by body lice and human fleas during the second plague pandemic.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_Death#Alternative_explanations

A Short History of 1347
In the grand scheme of things 1347 may [or may not] have been a very tumultuous year.

In 1911 the Encyclopædia Britannica reported the plague arrived in Italy in 1347.

Contemporary observers agree that the disease was introduced from the East; and one eyewitness, Gabriel de Mussis, an Italian lawyer, traced, or indeed accompanied, the march of the plague from the Crimea (whither it was said to have been introduced from Tartary) to Genoa, wherewith a handful of survivors of a Genoese expedition he landed probably at the end of the year 1347.

1911 Encyclopædia Britannica – Volume 21 – Plague
Arthur Shadwell, Harriet L. Hennessy and Joseph Frank Payne

https://en.wikisource.org/wiki/1911_Encyclop%C3%A6dia_Britannica/Plague

In 1879 Cornelius Walford reported a “dreadful famine” occurred in Italy during 1347 with the deadly “pestilence” actually arriving in 1348.

1347
Italy. A dreadful famine which swept away by absolute starvation vast numbers of the inhabitants ; and in the following year a pestilence of a deadly nature swept the peninsula.

“Such was the sufferings produced by these visitations that it was calculated that two-thirds of the whole population were destroyed.” War followed.
Encyclopaedia Britannica, Art. Italy.

The Famines of the World Past and Present – Cornelius Walford – 1879
https://archive.org/details/in.ernet.dli.2015.210941/page/n11

In 1832 the Edinburgh Encyclopaedia reported the plague ravaged Europe in 1347.

1347
A comet appeared in August, and was seen two months.
The plague ravages Europe, and is said to carry off one-fourth of the inhabitants.
The admiralty court instituted.
Calais taken by Edward, Aug. 4.
A code of laws published in Poland, and the university of Cracow founded.
Rienzi’s usurpation at Rome.

The Edinburgh Encyclopaedia – VI – Sir David Brewster – 1832
https://archive.org/details/edinburghencyclo06brew/page/286

A Protestant History
Thomas Short collected and collated “Scraps of Histories” for 18 years and his A General Chronological History of the Air, Weather, Seasons, Meteors, &c. was published in 1749.

But what several and different Effects the same Kind or Constitution of the Weather and Seasons may produce at their sundry Returns, has not yet been so well attended to and examined as the Extent and Usefulness of the Subject demands; nor could it possibly be done whilst these Scraps of Histories lay scattered in a vast Multitude of Authors of different Designs and Professions, as Historians civil, ecclesiastical, and political ; Physicians, Divines, Naturalists, Monks, Fryars, Journalists, Travellers, &c.

And while they lay dispersed so wide in an endless Number of Books, and frequently in small Fragments, we must remain entire Strangers to the only true, valuable, and proper Use of them, so highly and inestimably beneficial to Mankind.

The Author has had it on the Anvil for 18 Years, especially the last four, wherein it has been his sole Study, except what small Time he could spare towards the carrying on and finishing this History, which has also been 16 Years in collecting and compiling, and making Deductions from it.

A General Chronological History – Volume 1 – Thomas Short – 1749
https://books.google.es/books?id=Qf9cAAAAcAAJ&printsec=frontcover

Thomas Short provides a remarkable Black Death narrative that features God avenging “the Simony, Sloth, Luxury, Lust and Covetousness of the Clergy”.

It was observable, that though it was so general, yet neither Emperor, King, Prince, Lord, Governour, nor any prime Magistrate of any Nation died of it : But as the Clergy seemed to be the principal Procurers of it by their Licentiousness ; so they, and the Herd of the Vulgar, deluded and drawn into practical Atheism by their Example, were the greatest Sufferers.

This Scourge was foretold in the Year 1316 or 17, by one Robert, a Jacobine Fryar ; that God would avenge the Simony, Sloth, Luxury, Lust and Covetousness of the Clergy shortly…

A General Chronological History – Volume 1 – Thomas Short – 1749
https://books.google.es/books?hl=es&id=Qf9cAAAAcAAJ&jtp=165

Simony is the act of selling church offices and roles.

Although an offense against canon law, Simony became widespread in the Catholic Church in the 9th and 10th centuries.

The Church of England struggled with the practice after its separation from Rome.

As of 2011, simony remains an offence.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Simony

His Black Death narrative echoes the original Protestant corrupt clergy storyline.

By the late Middle Ages, the abuse of indulgences, mainly through commercialization, had become a serious problem which the Church recognized but was unable to restrain effectively. Indulgences were, from the beginning of the Protestant Reformation, a target of attacks by Martin Luther and all other Protestant theologians.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Indulgences

The Bohemian Reformation started in Prague in the second half of the 14th century. In that time Prague was not only the seat of the King of Bohemia but also that of the Holy Roman Emperor (and King of the Romans). Prague was one of Europe’s largest cities and after Avignon, Rome and Paris was the city with the highest concentration of clergy in Western Christendom.

The beginnings of the Bohemian Reformation were closely related to the criticism of the lavish lifestyle of many priests. In the late 1370s and early 1380s the Prague university theologians and intellectuals called for the reform of the decadent priesthood in the spirit of emerging conciliarism, for education of unsatisfactorily educated priests, and for more frequent accepting of the Eucharist in the spirit of Devotio Moderna.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bohemian_Reformation

The Hussite Wars, also called the Bohemian Wars or the Hussite Revolution, were fought between the Christian Hussites and the combined Catholic forces of Sigismund, Holy Roman Emperor, the Papacy and various European monarchs loyal to the Catholic Church, as well as among various Hussite factions themselves. After initial clashes, the Utraquists changed sides in 1423 to fight alongside Roman Catholics and opposed the Taborites and other Hussite spinoffs. These wars lasted from 1419 to approximately 1434.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hussite_Wars

His Black Death narrative includes the appearance of the “terrible Comet called Negra”.

A Conjunction,and an Eclipse, happening in 1345, judicial Astrologers pretended to foretel some mighty and fatal Events to follow.

But its easy predićting what we know is already begun, as this Plague was four Years before ; not but that each Country had its own shocking Pre-monitors.

As in Ireland in 42, October the 11th, at Dublin were seen two Moons at once.

In England, the Year that it came hither, (viz. September the 28th, 1347) it rained from Christmas till Midsummer, without one fair Day; hence great Floods.

In France, besides the Rains, in August was seen the terrible Comet called Negra.

A General Chronological History – Volume 1 – Thomas Short – 1749
https://books.google.es/books?hl=es&id=Qf9cAAAAcAAJ&jtp=166

See: https://malagabay.wordpress.com/2019/01/11/the-hecker-horizon-cometary-coincidences/

Jean de Venette, or Jean Fillons (c. 1307 – c. 1370) was a French Carmelite friar, from Venette, Oise, who became the Prior of the Carmelite monastery in the Place Maubert, Paris, and was a Provincial Superior of France from 1341 to 1366.

He is the author of L’Histoire des Trois Maries, a long French poem on the legend of the Three Marys, giving his name at the start of the text, and has since 1735 been also regarded as the author of an anonymous Latin chronicle of the period of the Hundred Years War between England and France.

In 1340, he speaks of a comet that appeared in that year. This comet is also described by Augustine of Trent who blamed it for an epidemic that was occurring in Italy at the time.

Another comet, still unidentified, was said to appear in August 1348 which Venette himself sees. This comet is referred to by Mike Baillie as “Comet Negra” in his book New Light on the Black Death.

Venette also refers to passages from the Book of Revelations to try to understand and explain the chaos in and around him.

The Black Plague, the Black Death, or the Plague refers to the devastating disease which first appeared in Europe in 1348. Where it originated from is still debated but Venette attributes its origin to the “unbelievers“.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jean_de_Venette

Translated from Latin – subject to interpretation

Hence, in the month of August 1348, appeared a star above Paris, coming from the west, large and very bright, after the hour of vespers [sunset], the sun still shines, close, and nearing to the setting of the sun; and these things there was not a lot of distance, such as the case of the other, independently of our hemisphere are more elevated, and it seemed close enough to the bottom.

And it came to pass, that, on the approach of night, and all that night, the star reappeared, I and many other brothers saw it, it did not seem to move from one place.

Finally, the last night arrived, we were watching very astonished as the star repeatedly became intensely large as many diverse rays scattered ; towards the east of Paris, and towards sunrise it altogether disappeared, and as a result it was entirely annihilated and ceased to be.

Chronique Latine de Guillaume de Nangis – Hercule Geraud – 1843
https://archive.org/details/chroniquelatined02guiluoft/page/210

Spot The Calamity Narrative
Readers who are playing Spot The Calamity can further exercise their analytical skills by counting how many of the Ten Calamities of Egypt are directly [or obliquely] referenced in Thomas Short’s Black Death narrative.

Bonus Calamity Narrative
Players of Spot The Calamity are welcome to scan the Nuremberg Chronicle for a bonus calamity they may have missed in Thomas Short’s Black Death narrative.

The misery in 1347 is described by Müllner in his Nuremberg Chronicle:

“it was a very barren year.
Everywhere the grapes and fruit froze.
So this year started the cruel mortality of almost the whole world was stricken until the fourth year.
There was a great mass of locust.
Everywhere in the fields there were big piles of dead locusts.
In some places, whirlwinds carried the dead locust into the sea, where they washed ashore.
The great stench from these rotting locusts poisoned the air.
Others blamed the plague on the Jews and accused them of poisoning the wells and they were persecuted in a most violent manner.
This mortality [great death] affected not only municipalities [large cities] but also villages and caused many to become deserted.
In many cities neither the council nor the court was held.
Parents abandoned their children and children their parents.”

A Chronological Listing of Early Weather Events – James A Marusek
 – 2010
http://www.breadandbutterscience.com/Weather.pdf

Hat Tip: melitamegalithic

https://de.wikisource.org/wiki/Die_Schedelsche_Weltchronik_%28deutsch%29:231

The Nuremberg Chronicle is an illustrated biblical paraphrase and world history that follows the story of human history related in the Bible; it includes the histories of a number of important Western cities.

Written in Latin by Hartmann Schedel, with a version in German, translation by Georg Alt, it appeared in 1493.

It is one of the best-documented early printed books—an incunabulum—and one of the first to successfully integrate illustrations and text.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nuremberg_Chronicle

With the invention of the printing press by Johannes Gutenberg in 1447, it became feasible to print books and maps for a larger customer basis. Because they had to be handwritten, books were previously rare and very expensive.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hartmann_Schedel

Spot The Calamity Score
Readers who have made it thus far can now assess the veracity of the Black Death narrative by locating their personal Spot The Calamity score on the chart below.

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11 Responses to Hecker Horizon: The Ten Calamities

  1. Tim,
    the English church’s separation from Rome might not be when England was physically separated from Europe by the appearance of the English channel? Just a wild muse.

    • CW says:

      Are there any accounts or traditions of individuals or armies crossing from France to Britain on a land bridge?

      • Probably not – perhaps no one survived in this region when the channel was formed and a rise in sea level would have formed the channel. There is the medieval notion of sailing off the edge of the world which might be interpreted as a hazy memory of the formation of the Atlantic Ocean and the existing seas emptied into the newly formed Atlantic basin. Given the presence of roman artefacts in the north Americas, one suspects the Atlantic narrative might be linked to the end of the Roman period,Tim’s Arab Horizon event.

    • malagabay says:

      Louis,
      The North Sea “storm tides” after 1200 provide some food for thought.

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Storm_tides_of_the_North_Sea

  2. CW says:

    In 1985, Gunnar Heinsohn and his friend, colleague and co-author Otto Steiger, published a book on the witch mania that followed the Black Death in Europe. “Die Vernichtung der Weisen Frauen,” (The Eradication of the Wise Women) blames the deadly mania (huge numbers of people — mostly women — were accused of “witchcraft,” tortured, and burned at the stake) on a decision by the Church and nobility to accelerate the repopulation of Europe by wiping out birth control and abortion, both of which were widely and openly practiced. Going back to the days of the Roman Empire, European women had a number of effective methods of birth control, which were dispensed by “wise women,” who were midwives and abortionists, as well. Consequently, families were generally small. After the Black Death catastrophe, families remained small and recovery from the disaster was slow. So many laborers and workers had been killed by the plague, there were too few people to plow fields, milk cows and serve in the army. To compound the problem, Ottoman Turks entered depopulated Europe in the 1360s. Heinsohn’s and Steiger’s research shows that the Church responded to the population crisis by issuing prohibitions against interfering with the conception and birth of children, under penalty of death. Seven new papal definitions of “witchcraft” (i.e. birth control and abortion) focused on sexual activity. The new rules were strict: no sex without marriage, and no marriage without children… or you could be accused of witchcraft. To help enforce these edicts, midwives, “wise women” and herbal doctors who dispensed birth control potions, were arrested, tortured (to make them reveal the names of their clients) and burned. Homosexuals were persecuted for not having children. In the wake of this reign of terror, knowledge of birth control techniques vanished, and fertility rates doubled and tripled. The resulting population explosion produced dramatic demographic growth. Overcrowding pushed Europeans to look elsewhere for room to expand, and European explorers and settlers essentially took over the world. The witch mania subsided in the 18th century, but it wasn’t until the 19th century that the secrets of birth control were rediscovered. In areas where women are allowed to use this knowledge, Heinsohn and Steiger note, birth rates have been falling ever since. Western civilization, once threatened by plague, is now threatened by self-imposed demographic collapse.

    • malagabay says:

      ”a decision by the Church and nobility to accelerate the repopulation”

      I’m not so sure.

      The evidence suggests a baby boom on steroids [or perhaps asteroids].

      After the cessation of the Black Plague, a greater fecundity in women was everywhere remarkable — a grand phenomenon, which, from its occurrence after every destructive pestilence, proves to conviction, if any occurrence can do so, the prevalence of a higher power in the direction of general organic life.

      Marriages were, almost without exception, prolific ; and double and treble births were more frequent than at other times ; under which head, we should remember the strange remark, that after the ” great mortality ” the children were said to have got fewer teeth than before ; at which contemporaries were mightily shocked, and even later writers have felt surprise.

      The Epidemics of The Middle Ages – Justus Friedrich Carl Hecker – 1859
      https://archive.org/stream/epidemicsofmiddl00heck#page/29/mode/1up

      It’s arguable The Eradication of the Wise Women was part of a far larger purge.

      The Medieval Inquisition was a series of Inquisitions (Catholic Church bodies charged with suppressing heresy) from around 1184, including the Episcopal Inquisition (1184–1230s) and later the Papal Inquisition (1230s).

      The Medieval Inquisition was established in response to movements considered apostate or heretical to Christianity, in particular Catharism and Waldensians in Southern France and Northern Italy. These were the first inquisition movements of many that would follow.

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Medieval_Inquisition

      In the Second Crusade (1147) the Jews in Germany were subject to several massacres.

      The Jews were also subjected to attacks by the Shepherds’ Crusades of 1251 and 1320, as well as Rintfleisch knights in 1298.

      The Crusades were followed by expulsions, including, in 1290, the banishing of all English Jews; in 1394, the expulsion of 100,000 Jews in France; and in 1421, the expulsion of thousands from Austria.

      Many of the expelled Jews fled to Poland.

      In medieval and Renaissance Europe, a major contributor to the deepening of antisemitic sentiment and legal action among the Christian populations was the popular preaching of the zealous reform religious orders, the Franciscans (especially Bernardino of Feltre) and Dominicans (especially Vincent Ferrer), who combed Europe and promoted antisemitism through their often fiery, emotional appeals.

      As the Black Death epidemics devastated Europe in the mid-14th century, causing the death of a large part of the population, Jews were used as scapegoats.

      Rumors spread that they caused the disease by deliberately poisoning wells.

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antisemitism#Persecutions_during_the_Middle_Ages

      https://de.wikisource.org/wiki/Die_Schedelsche_Weltchronik_%28deutsch%29:231

      The Strasbourg massacre occurred on February 14, 1349, when several hundred Jews were publicly burnt to death, and the rest of them expelled from the city as part of the Black Death persecutions.

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Strasbourg_massacre

      1416
      The first German anti-Romani law is issued.
      Forty-eight more follow between this date and 1774.

      A Chronology of significant dates in Romani history
      http://archive.is/eISXS

      See: https://malagabay.wordpress.com/2016/07/02/catastrophic-english-r-is-for-roma/

      Summis desiderantes affectibus (Latin for “Desiring with supreme ardor”), sometimes abbreviated to Summis desiderantes was a papal bull regarding witchcraft issued by Pope Innocent VIII on 5 December 1484.

      The bull, which synthesized the spiritual and the secular crimes of witchcraft, is often viewed as opening the door for the witchhunts of the early modern period.

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Summis_desiderantes

      The Malleus Maleficarum, usually translated as the Hammer of Witches, is the best known and the most thorough treatise on witchcraft. It was written by the discredited Catholic clergyman Heinrich Kramer (under his Latinized name Henricus Institoris) and first published in the German city of Speyer in 1487.

      It endorses extermination of witches and for this purpose develops a detailed legal and theological theory. It was a bestseller, second only to the Bible in terms of sales for almost 200 years.

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Malleus_Maleficarum

      But a lot depends upon how much of this history was written [or rewritten] in later centuries.

  3. CW says:

    MalagaBay correctly spotlights the central role in the late medieval witch mania that was played by the infamous book “Malleus Maleficarum, the Witch-Hammer, “a “treatise on witchcraft.” But what, exactly, does this treatise mean by “maleficarum”, which is usually translated as “witchcraft?” Heinsohn/Steiger point out that in the 15th century the Church and witch hunters warned that being a faithful, pious Christian would not protect people against persecution and death if they practiced “maleficarum.” In Latin, “maleficarum” is the female genitive plural form of the noun Maleficus, meaning “a wicked person.” “Maleficarum” means “evil-doing females.” Now, faithful, pious Christians do not engage in Satanic rituals, devil worship, sorcery, consorting with imps and demons etc. or in similar activities, which had always been forbidden by both sacred and secular law..
    How then, could one be pious and faithful and still practice “maleficarum”? The answer is that maleficarum was birth control and abortion and, until the 15th century, both were widely accepted and practiced in Europe. Heinsohn/Steiger write that the 13th century Church scholar and theologian (today a saint) Albertus Magnus commented on birth control without giving any hint it was sinful or forbidden by law.
    However, after the Black Death population disaster of the mid-14th century, everything changed. With too few people to work their large estates and serve in their armies, the Church and the nobility began forcing women to have more children, and they did so by turning birth control and abortion into capital crimes. Even masturbation became a crime, as did other varieties of sexual pleasure without procreation. If practitioners of female medicine (i.e. midwives) told their clients how to avoid getting pregnant, or if they performed abortions, they could be tortured and killed, without appeal.
    Result: birth control rapidly disappeared from Europe, followed by “a greater fecundity in women.” The secrets of birth control were not rediscovered until the 19th century.
    Those who doubt that “maleficarum” is birth control and abortion might wish to examine the new definitions of “maleficarum” that appeared in the “Witch-Bull” issued in 1484 by Pope Innocent VIII, who began by stating his wish to see his Catholic flock increase.
    Heinsohn and Steiger write: “Long-established laws and commentaries condemning satanism and sorcery had been on the books all along. Therefore, in 1484, there was no need to put forward new laws unless these laws had new content. Of course, by dealing with the Witch-Bull as a universally binding law, the Witch-Hammer book first tells about all forbidden acts of magic to turn the persecutors’ attention toward the new ones, which thus far they had not been trained to detect.
    What is new in the Witch-Bull? In its opening statement, Innocent VIII gives a clear account of his intent “that the Catholic Faith should especially in this Our day increase and flourish everywhere” (1484, xliv;). As specified by the Witch-Hammer “increase” means procreation among the Church’s subjects. The law, therefore, decrees the death penalty for “many persons of both sexes … who by their incantations, spells, conjurations, and other accursed charms and crafts, enormities and horrid offenses, have slain infants yet in the mother’s womb, as also the offspring of cattle, have spoiled the produce of the earth …; they hinder men from performing the sexual act and women from conceiving” (xliv;).
    “Putting the misdeeds “in the mother’s womb” at the beginning of the Bull emphasizes that these new crimes are more dangerous than the traditional ones which, of course, “also” occur and have to be punished as before. The higher importance of the new witch crimes is emphasized by degrading the traditional witch crimes to an “also” position in the Witch-Hammer, where they are mentioned “besides” the new ones.”
    In short, Heinsohn and Steiger demonstrate that the disaster of the Black Death triggered subsequent upheavals, including a cruel and murderous witch mania, the disappearance of birth control and abortion from Europe, and a skyrocketing population, an explosion that altered the history of the world.

    • malagabay says:

      Thank you for such a detailed response which explains the origins of many of the [now largely retired] Western prohibitions.

      But it still leaves me puzzled by the gap between the Black Death in 1347/8 and the Papal Bull of 1484.

      Perhaps it makes more sense to argue “overcrowding pushed Europeans to look elsewhere for room to expand” the rulers of Europe needed more Europeans because the rulers wanted to colonise the World.

      Wikipedia
      The first foothold outside of Europe was gained with the conquest of Ceuta in 1415. During the 15th century, Portuguese sailors discovered the Atlantic islands of Madeira, Azores, and Cape Verde, which were duly populated, and pressed progressively further along the west African coast until Bartolomeu Dias demonstrated it was possible to sail around Africa by rounding the Cape of Good Hope in 1488, paving the way for Vasco da Gama to reach India in 1498.

      Portuguese successes led to Spanish financing of a mission by Christopher Columbus in 1492 to explore an alternative route to Asia, by sailing west.

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_colonialism

  4. CW says:

    Following the Black Death, with its calamitous demographic collapse, the population of Europe — which had seen slow growth since the days of the Roman Empire — carried on as before. I don’t believe Heinsohn and Steiger focus on military aspects of post-plague Europe. But I suggest that the crushing Ottoman victory over an outnumbered Christian/crusader army at Nicopolis on the lower Danube in Bulgaria in 1396, followed by the slaughter of Christian/crusader prisoners, was a wake-up call for the Roman church and Christian nobility. This humiliating defeat was followed in turn by the even more shocking Ottoman capture of Constantinople in 1453. What was to prevent the disasters at Nicopolis and Constantinople from happening across the entire continent of outnumbered Europe?
    When considering how to grow the population of Europe, It must have occurred to Popes and Christian leaders that you can’t raise armies by recruiting soldiers who had never been born in the first place.
    As Gunnar Heinsohn wrote in 2006 in the Wall Street Journal, “Babies Win Wars.” https://www.wsj.com/articles/SB114159651882789812

    In his Witch-Bull of 1484, Pope Innocent VIII states that he had only recently learned that “witchcraft” (i.e. birth control and abortion) in his Christian domain was interfering with the birth of children, and therefore with population growth. We may wonder why it took from 1347 to 1484 for the Church to move against birth control. However, medieval women (like Roman women before them) ran their own reproductive lives, with help from “wise women” (i.e. midwives who also served as female doctors and birth control advisers). The Church, on the other hand, was run by unmarried men, who, like Pope Innocent VIII, may not have known much about the realities of female sexuality. But when the Church eventually did decide to stop birth control and abortion it did so with a brutal campaign of suppression against midwives and herbal doctors that sent birth rates skyrocketing upward. Almost 200 years after the Witch-Bull, at the Battle of Vienna in 1673, a tsunami of Christian soldiers swept down on the besieging Islamic army and swept it from the field… and right out of Europe.

  5. melitamegalithic says:

    To question some of the above:
    Was the above subject the result of “medieval women (like Roman women before them) ran their own reproductive lives, with help from “wise women” ” ? Or the ever present curse of ‘elite greed’ that reaped the utmost from the workers, leaving most on the ‘breadline’ and -importantly- in abject ignorance (hobbled goats).
    Reading generally about the last 700 years, what comes foremost is the suffering of large families who had no means of providing for themselves. Land was always at a premium, and leased out only to those who provided the highest return to the owner. This, inadvertently, says it all – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parable_of_the_talents_or_minas ; quote: “He evaluates them according to how faithful each was in making wise investments of his goods to obtain a profit. It is clear that the master sought some profit from the servants’ oversight.” What about the worker who had to feed a large and still unproductive family. Child labour does not make brave soldiers, only rebels and mutineers.
    An important aspect here: Are we descending into that vicious system once more. Vide Paris.

    • CW says:

      If I remember correctly, research into burials in medieval cemeteries and other data shows that larger families were relatively rare, except in farming and laboring communities where there was always work for additional children. With birth control and abortion readily available, women had only as many children as they wanted. Laborers who survived the Black Death found themselves in a sellers’ market. The Wat Tyler rebellion in England (1381) was an attempt by workers and peasants to use their increased bargaining power to push for higher wages. It was not until after the successful campaign to eliminate birth control and abortion that large families became the norm. It was then that the exploding population began to alter European life. Women with six or seven children had to drop out of the work force to care for their families. Infants were left on the doorsteps of churches or placed in special receptacles in convent walls. Unwanted children roamed the streets, a sight that was still common in 19th century “Dickensian squalor.” And of course young men looking for work were glad to find employ in the military. With larger armies and an inexhaustible supply of soldiers, longer and bloodier wars could now be waged (cf. the Thirty Years War, 1618-1648)) As Gunnar Heinsohn has pointed out, during population explosions the supply of young men outstrips available jobs. The result will be domestic chaos, crime, rebellions and other forms of social unrest. Some way has to be found the reduce the tensions, or the supply, before these young men tear things apart. Pope Innocent VIII could hardly have foreseen that his Witch-Bull and the cruel legions of witch-hunters it unleashed would one day lead to aerial bombing, poison gas and machine guns, and to tens of millions dead in the horrendous wars of the 20th century. .

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