25 Unbelievable Facts about the 1300s

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1Cockchafer Beetles

In 1312, a few Cockchafer Beetles, which were a major pest for crop farmers, were brought into a courtroom in Avignon, France and were ordered to withdraw to their designated territory. When the beetles (obviously) didn't comply, they were collected and killed.


2. In 1355, the town of Oxford and the students of Oxford University erupted in rioting (St Scholastica Day riot) for days because some students didn't like the beer they were served and threw a pint of beer at a tavern owner. The townsfolk eventually stormed the school where 63 students and 30 locals were killed.


3. Musa I of Mali was so wealthy when he made his pilgrimage to Mecca in 1324 that he had 12,000 slaves who each carried 4 pounds of gold and 80 camels that carried 50-300 pounds of gold. He gave away so much gold to the poor in the areas he visited that it devastated their economy and caused inflation.


4. In 1348, the Scots invaded the English because they were weakened by the plague. The Scots subsequently caught the plague themselves, went back to Scotland, and killed their own population.


5. In 1325, the two Italian cities of Modena and Bologna had a war in which 2000 people died after a man stole a bucket from Bologna. Modena still has the bucket to this day.


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6Scottish soldiers

In 1313, 60 Scottish soldiers disguised as cows seized control of the Roxburgh castle held by the English.


7. In 1318, Joan of Leeds, an English nun, who, bored with her monastic and enclosed life, at some point escaped from St Clement's by York priory to journey to Beverley, where she lived with a man. To escape, she feigned her death with a dummy that was buried in her place.


8. In 1351, 30 knights from England and France fought a melee to decide which nation would inherit the Duchy of Brittany. The fight is hailed as a noble display of the ideas of Chivalry.


9. In 1315, a small change in climate caused a great famine in Northern Europe which was so grim that one day even the King Edward II of England was left without bread.


10. In 1303, a wool merchant named Richard Pudlicott stole £100,000 of valuables from King Edward I, equal to England's entire yearly tax income. Ministers discovered the robbery when priceless jewels began turning up in London brothels.


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11Nicholas Flamel

In 1382, a French bookseller named Nicholas Flamel claimed to have transformed lead into gold after decoding an ancient book of alchemy. True or not, historical records show that Flamel did come into considerable wealth around this time, and donated his riches to charity.


12. In 1386, a pig was accused of eating a child, a trial was held and the pig was given human clothes, the pig was determined guilty and sentenced to death by public hanging.


13. In 1311, the Lincoln Cathedral was the first building to steal the title of "tallest structure in the world" from the Great Pyramid, which held the title for almost 4,000 years.


14. In June of 1316, King Louis X of France drank a large quantity of cooled wine after an exhausting tennis match. He subsequently died and because of the contemporary accounts of his death, became the first tennis player known by name.


15. In September 1332, Edward Balliol, pretender to the Scottish throne, was attacked in the night by Scots rebels and narrowly escaped by riding bareback, naked from the waist down, all the way from Annan to Carlisle (about 18 miles).


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16Pope slapping

In 1303, a feud between Pope Boniface VIII and King Philip the Fair of France culminated in the arrest of the Pope by the King's troops, during which he was allegedly slapped.


17. In 1361, King Peter I of Portugal captured assassins who had decapitated his wife (Inês de Castro) and publicly executed them by ripping out their hearts with his own hands, claiming they didn't have one after having pulverized his own heart.


18. In 1398, Timur the Lame faced an army that had war elephants armored with chain mail and poison on their tusks. Timur loaded his camels with wood and hay, and then when the elephants charged, he lit them on fire and forced them onwards. The elephants panicked and turned around.


19. In 1349, football and hockey were banned in England by King Edward III so that more people would practice their archery. Archery was vital to warfare at the time.


20. During the 14th century, medical experts from Paris declared bathing a health concern because it was claimed warm water opened pores and made people more susceptible to bubonic plague.


21Edward III

In 1338, King Edward III pawned his jewels to raise money for his war with France.


22. In 1350, Charles IV, the King of Bohemia went missing. People were told he was poisoned. In fact, he was recovering from a disastrous jousting injury. He broke his jaw and injured cervical vertebrae. It would be hard to survive that kind of injury even today, but he did.


23. In 1372, according to legend Yi Kaizhan was hired to build a fort along the Great Wall of China. He ordered the exact number of bricks he needed. When his judgment was questioned, he added one more brick. That brick was never used.


24. On June 24, 1374, one of the first documented outbreaks of St John's Dance struck Aachen, Germany. People would dance uncontrollably for no apparent reason, even continuing to writhe around on the ground after collapsing from exhaustion.


25. In 1302, as part of a revolt, Guildsmen in Bruges said "Good Day" to people on the street and then murdered them if they answered in a French Accent.

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