Cale was the leader of a band of peasants who were fighting the nobility for better conditions for the poor. The peasants had been brutalized by the plague, Hundred Year's War and knights, who during a lull in the war turned to brigandage perpetrated against peasantry for the most part, as they were defenseless, being prohibited to bear arms. After Charles captured Cale, he 'massacred "3000" more peasants' and burned 300 alive. Then he beheaded Cale after reportedly crowning him as King of the Jacques with a circlet of red hot iron. Tuchman calls this 'wicked mockery' because, really, it must be hard to write about this cruelty and not comment on it ever.
Thursday, June 17, 2010
Even Historians Have to Say 'Holy Cow!' Once in a While
The title just about says it all. Still, reading Barbara Tuchman's A Distant Mirror, there are so many ways a historian reveals a bias in history writing; but it must be difficult to put together an account of the doings of kings without saying 'Holy Cow!' or something a little stronger. In her chapter on the Jacquerie, she wrote about Guillaume Cale riding to meet Charles II of Navarre by saying his 'common sense apparently deserted him'. Charles of Navarre 'preferred guile and treachery'. 'The capture of their leader by such easy and contemptuous treachery'' clearly shows the author's disgust with Charles of Navarre. He is not a likable guy.