The author, David Zabecki, details an English victory at Agincourt during the Hundred Years’ War when King Henry V defeated the French troops despite fewer men. According to how Zabecki described the French troops to be in a “party mood,” and how the French intended to hold the English noblemen for rather high ransoms, it is obvious that the French believed that they were going to win. Although they did claim victory at the end of the war, they suffered a humiliating defeat at the Battle of Agincourt.
In this chapter, the historian, Jean Gimpel, discusses the developments relating to agriculture that were developed during the Medieval period. Gimpel seems to consider animals and their use on farms to be incredibly vital to the Agricultural Revolution. Especially the use of horses as opposed to the oxen that were traditionally used. Gimpel provides a table in order to support this showing that an average draft horse generated 432 ft-lb/s of power as opposed to the conventionally used ox at that time which generated on average 288 ft-lb/s of power. Despite this increase in power generated by the horse, there were setbacks to its use as demonstrated by Gimpel. Firstly, the technology to properly harness the horse did not come around until the medieval period and agronomists like Walter of Henley encourages the use of oxen as opposed to horses mostly due to the cost of the horse and of its maintenance. However, in terms of value, it is noted that sheep was the most valuable since it provided meat, wool, and dairy.
In this chapter the historian, Jean Gimpel, discusses the effects of the industrial revolution of the Middle Ages on the environment in Western Europe. Gimpel makes it quite clear that there were very great adverse impacts as a result of this increase in industry mostly on the forests because of heavy deforestation, whether it be for the use of timber in various constructions or for charcoal for iron forges.
Gimpel focuses on the topic of fuel and seems to emphasize that as a major source of pollution during the Middle Ages. One example he gives is how those who worked in the iron industry had to build their forges in the forest due to how much charcoal they would need. Gimpel provides an estimation that one furnace could erase the nearby trees in a one kilometer radius in just forty days. Continue reading “Jean Gimpel’s Chapter 4: Environment and Pollution in “The Medieval Machine””