This is the essay for the 30th week of the 9th Grade Tom Woods Homeschool. In this blog post, I will be answering two questions.
The first one is: What were the causes and consequences of the Hundred Years’ War?
The second one is: What was the Great Western Schism, and how was it resolved?
The hundred years war started over a dispute over who should be the king of France in 1328. It started when the previous king of France Charles IV died without any sons or brothers. At the time there was a new principle in place that didn’t allow women to be the heir to the throne. This disallowed Isabella, Charles’ sister from becoming the Queen of France. Instead, the successor would be Charles’ closest male relative. This relative happened to be Edward III who was Isabellas’ son and Charles’ nephew. But he couldn’t inherit the throne either because French nobility said that Isabella couldn’t transmit the right to succession to Edward because she wasn’t allowed it herself, thus disallowing Edward. This was done because Edward was also the king of England and they wanted a Frenchman as the king. At first, Edward III accepted this arrangement and Philip VI, Charles’ cousin became the king of France. At this point, a part of France was called Gascony was controlled by England. After a few disagreements with Edward, Philip decided to take Gascony into the hands of the French. This time in 1337 Edward decided that he would become the king of France by using force.
At the beginning of the war, England was winning, notably in 1346 and 1356 at the battles of Crécy and Poitiers respectively. In 1360 the first part of the war ended, England being the victor. In the treaty of Brétigny, England was given ⅓ of all of the land in France. Slowly however all of this land was taken over by Charles V until England only had a few small cities left. In 1380 Charles V was succeeded by Charles VI. At first, it was going fine, but then Charles became crazy in 1392. When Henry V became the king of England in 1413 he decided to take advantage of this weakness. The French didn’t get helped by the fact that they were also having a civil war. At the beginning of the war, England was winning again with notable victories at Agincourt and Verneuil in 1415 and 1424 respectively. Charles was forced by Henry to allow him to marry his daughter. This would allow Henry to control France as well after Charles dies. But this didn’t happen because both Charles and Henry died in 1422. Henry is succeeded by his infant son, Henry VI. The person who would’ve been the king of France was Charles VII. He was supported by Joan of Arc to fight back against the English which he did. During this time England suffered many losses, also because by this point the French civil war had ended. After many defeats, the war ended in 1458 after the battle of Castillon in the favor of the French.
The consequences of the war were that England lost all of its possessions in France except a town called Calais, but that was also lost a few years after the war. Because England didn’t have possessions in France, this meant that France and England had been fully separated from each other.
The Great Western Schism was a split in the Catholic Church. During the split there were two popes and later even three popes, all claiming they were the true pope. Unlike the Great Schism, however, the split was only temporary and ended comparatively quickly. The schism started in 1378 when Urban VI was elected as the new pope. When he was archbishop of Bari, he was respected, but when he became pope, he started being suspicious and he got a very short temper which resulted in many outbursts. The cardinals that elected him, started regretting their decision almost immediately. They elected another pope on September 20th of the same year. They did this because they claimed they elected Urban because they feared the Roman crowds who were telling them to elect a Roman or an Italian pope.
We have to go back a little to understand why the Roman crowds were doing this. From 1309-1377 the papacy was established in Avignon. In 1377 pope Gregory XI decided to bring back the papacy to Rome. But in 1378 he went back on his decision and decides to return the papacy to Avignon. Before Gregory can act out his plan, he dies. Romans protest the move back to Avignon and after Gregory’s death, they want a Roman or Italian pope elected. This is because they fear if a French pope is elected, then they will bring the papacy back to Avignon.
The pope who the cardinals elected on September 20th was Clement VII. The struggle between the Roman pope and Avignon pope continued for some time, new popes being elected on both sides when the previous one died. Things changed in 1409 when a church council was called in Pisa. The cardinals in the council tried to solve the dispute. Their solution was deposing both popes and electing a new pope, Alexander V. However, the other popes still held on to their positions, which meant that the council had only made things even worse. In 1414 another church council was held in Constance. The Pisan church council was not backed by any of the popes, while normally a church council could only be held with the approval of the pope, an exception was made for the council. The council in Constance was backed by Roman pope Gregory XII and the successor pope to Alexander V, John XXIII. In the council Gregory and John resigned from their positions and the Avignon pope, Benedict XIII was denounced. After that, the schism was over and In 1417 Martin V was elected as the new pope.
Up until recently, it wasn’t confirmed which line of popes was legitimate. The Avignon popes were dismissed early on, but the popes from the council of Pisa were included as legitimate until the mid-20th century.