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The Great Famine: 1315–1322 Revisited

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Chapter Summary

In 1996 the author published a book on the Great Famine of the early fourteenth century, a phenomenon that encompassed all of northern Europe. This chapter employs a selection of these materials that the author has not treated elsewhere in order to further knowledge and understanding of the causes, experience and consequences of the Great Famine, which, excepting only the Black Death of 1347-52 and the plague cycle it initiated, was the greatest natural catastrophe of the Middle Ages. The sources on the Great Famine of the early fourteenth century are extensive and varied. The basic narrative line is drawn from a very large number of chronicles. One of the most difficult problems facing historians of the early fourteenth century is the assessment of the impact of the Great Famine in relation to the Black Death and the plague cycle.

Keywords: Black Death; chronicles; Great Famine; Middle Ages; plague cycle



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