In Europe, crime flourished, for which all conditions existed. Ruined nobles, idle mercenaries and the poor, often robbed on the roads. A whole criminal subculture of the "bottom" existed in large cities. And despite the fact that the punishment system in Europe was extremely cruel. Those who were caught were killed mercilessly and bloody. It must be said that the death penalty was the usual punishment for many offenses. And the Europeans are so accustomed to the executions that they themselves were not a sufficient method of deterrence. For serious crimes applied sophisticated types of execution. People were publicly tortured to death, alternately broken bones, fried over low heat, gradually dismembered, poured molten metal into the throat (counterfeiters). Such executions were one of the favorite shows of the townspeople. There was little entertainment, so people came to the executions as if on holidays, with the whole family, with their wives and children, they tried to take places closer to get all the details, they drank and ate. We discussed with the neighbors the art of executioners.
It should be noted that it was precisely the centuries of terrible executions that were used for practically any, even a small fault, that the vaunted European “law-abiding” laid down. Europeans are law-abiding, not because they act according to the dictates of conscience and try to live by the truth, but because of the fear of cruel punishment.
Moreover, jurisprudence was a part of the foundation of the European civilization. The West was proud to have inherited the cult of law from Ancient Rome. The law was considered a self-sufficient quantity to which everyone should obey, including the monarchs. However, the laws for centuries produced so many that only experts understood them. They could prove anything on their basis. Any actions in European countries tried to justify from a legal point of view - the beginning of the war, tax increases, etc. Therefore, in all European countries, lawyers occupied a prominent place (this situation persisted in the West to this day).
Why England became the "cradle" of the new order
In England, in the war of the Scarlet and White Rose (1455 — 1485), the old elite was “circumcised”. The feudal lords practically interrupted each other in this protracted conflict between the two branches of the Plantagenet dynasty - Lancaster and York. As a result, power was received by Heinrich Tudor from the house of Lancaster, who founded a new dynasty that ruled England and Wales for 117 years.
The accession of the Tudors in 1485 is considered the beginning of the New Time in the English stories. The war of scarlet and white roses actually drew a line under the English Middle Ages. Tudor did not bet on the barons, but on the merchants, the wealthy stratum of cities and the rural population. The merchant class strongly pressed the military aristocracy. In addition, the monarch pressed the remnants of feudal nobility. Most of the fortifications, castles, which made the barons small independent rulers, were razed. Baronial squads were disbanded. Barons were forbidden to hire, train soldiers, to form troops.
On the basis of the merchant class, a “new nobility” —the gentry — began to take shape. The wealthy merchants, usurers and entrepreneurs purchased land, bought titles from the king. The new nobility did not differ militancy, preferring money to military glory. They were indifferent to traditional knightly amusements, such as knightly tournaments, duels, or hunting for a large beast, where they could die or be seriously injured. But they were businessmen, they traded, they did not disdain usury. So the British elite was reborn from a military into a usury trade. And in the future it will be diluted by merchants and bankers of Holland and Italy, who will move to London, the future capital of the world colonial empire. At the same time, the new English elite will retain terrible arrogance and arrogance. Gentry will do their best to emphasize their high position, with the help of rich clothing, carriages. They will try to intermarry with the remaining aristocratic families, posing as daughters for the poor nobles, or taking representatives of noble families as wives. As a result, a certain “mutant” will appear - the English elite, which will spoil a lot of blood throughout the planet.
The loss of patrimonial nobility deprived England of feudal administration. Therefore, an elected justices of the peace began to play a major role in managing the counties. They were not only in charge of collecting taxes, but were responsible for maintaining order. And they did not receive any payment for their work from the treasury. Therefore, this post was available only to very rich people. A feature of the Kingdom of England was the parliamentary system. The kings in the course of previous conflicts tried to win over the rich top of the cities, turning to it for money and granting a wide variety of rights. As a result, a bicameral parliament arose, which approved laws and resolved financial issues. It is clear that talking about "democracy" in this period is not worth it.
Contemporaries of Ivan the Terrible
Henry VII - the king of England and the sovereign of Ireland in 1485 — 1509, was a thrifty monarch who significantly strengthened the English budget, which was severely devastated during the Hundred Years War and the War of the Scarlet and White Rose. Under his rule, England became involved in the process of the Great Geographical Discoveries. Henry VII supported the Italian expedition in the English service of Giovanni Caboto (aka John Cabot) to America and he discovered Newfoundland.
He was succeeded by the second son - Henry VIII Tudor (rules in 1509 - 1547). He became a key figure in English history, who drew a line between the Middle Ages with its knightly cult and the domination of Christian morality and the New Age, where the cult of money and the pursuit of profit came out on top. “Enclosing” and “bloody legislation” became a kind of sacrifice before the construction of the New Order.
In his youth, Heinrich was trained to take spiritual orders. Heinrich attended up to six masses per day and wrote works on theological topics (as will be seen later, this did not ennoble this man at all). Due to the early death of his brother, Arthur, Heinrich became the main claimant to the throne. His father, wanting to strengthen relations with Spain, married him to Catherine of Aragon, daughter of Isabella of Castile and the widow of her brother Arthur.
An important era in the history of England. King Henry VIII is best known for the English Reformation, which made the British for the most part a Protestant nation. This monarch was also noted for his active family life - the king had only 6 wives. 17-year-old monarch did not like the system of thrift and economy, which developed under his father. He was young and eager for fun. He began his reign with the fact that he executed the main financial advisers, Dudley and Empson, who had thought to cross the monarch. And then he was actively engaged in what he was striving for, that is, in hunting, drinking and women.
Real power belonged to Cardinal Thomas Wolsey. This temporary worker, the son of a butcher, climbed up the social ladder under Henry VII, entering the circle of his confidants and becoming an adviser to the king. Walsi did not forget himself, took over the Archdiocese of York, became the Chancellor of the Kingdom of England and the Cardinal. For two decades of his being in favor, Cardinal Walsi (Woolsey) has made a huge fortune. He lived in luxury, built the Hampton Court Palace and laid Christ Church, Oxford. Despite celibacy, had illegitimate children. In his foreign policy, he tried to make England an “arbiter” who would oversee the state of affairs in continental Europe.
In 1512 - 1525 Henry VIII fought with varying success in France. He did not achieve much success, the treasury was empty, and the French had to make peace. At the same time in England, the process of “enclosing” - the forced liquidation of communal lands - was begun. The bulk of arable land in England was in the hands of nobles, churches and crowns, the peasants did not have the right of ownership of their land plots. Therefore, landowners lords easily seized land from the peasants, turning them into pastures for sheep. The expropriated lands were fenced off from small plots left to the peasants, therefore the process was called "fencing". With the development of the English cloth industry at the Tudors of the 15th and 16th centuries and the increase in the prices of wool, pastures became more important than the subsistence farms. As Thomas More noted in his Utopia: “We can say that sheep began to devour people.” The process of "enclosing", which lasted for centuries, caused the extinction of the English village. Another impetus to the depopulation of the village was given by the English Reformation, during which the monastic peasants were driven from the church lands confiscated to the treasury. Peasants massively became vagrants, beggars and robbers. Cities could not absorb and give work to all former peasants.
English law viewed such people as "voluntary" criminals. The beginning of the "bloody legislation" put the statute of 1495 of King Henry VII. The statutes of 1536 and 1547 were particularly brutal. Henry VIII and Edward VI. Persons accused of vagrancy and collecting alms without the permission of the authorities could be scourged, stigmatized, given into slavery for a period of time (in the case of escape, for life, at the third capture - executed). Edward allowed to give everyone who slaves into slavery to the person who reports to him. The owner could sell it, give it back into loans, like any movable property or livestock, bequeath it. Every man could take his children from the tramp and keep them with him as students - girls up to 20 years, boys up to 24 years. If they tried to escape before the appropriate age, they would become slaves of their masters. The poor were obliged to work for the district or people who pledged to feed, water and provide them with work. This kind of slaves, the “slaves of the parishes,” existed in England until the 19 century.
The Queen Elizabeth Act (rules in 1558 - 1603) from 1572 of the year provided that beggars and vagrants older than 14 years who did not have special permission to collect alms, would be subjected to severe flogging and stamping on the left ear. Under Jacob I (1603 - 1625), a person who was roaming and begging was considered a vagabond. The justices of the peace had the right to publicly flog such people and imprison those who fell for the first time for 6 months, and those who got for the second time for 2. These provisions of the law operated in the English kingdom until the beginning of the 18 century.
The English kingdom under Henry VIII was noted not only by “enclosing” and “bloody legislation”, but became another epicenter of the Reformation. I must say that the prerequisite for this was the personal life of the king. Initially, the monarch was not interested in the Reformation and was noted as a cruel persecutor of the Protestants. In 1521, Heinrich even wrote a book against Luther. Themselves Lutherans in England without long conversations sent to death. For this, he received from the pope the honorary title of "defender of the faith", which he was very proud of.
But after a few years, the situation radically changed. In France, at the court of King Francis I, Englishwoman Anne Boleyn served as a maid of honor. The young girl quickly fell into the "sphere of interest" of the French king, who was very loving and had a whole harem for these purposes. In 1520, the girl returned to England and appeared at the English court. The French experience, the skills of “gallant” France, quickly made her the “star” of the English court. The English monarch did not like and did not respect his wife Catherine of Aragon. She got him "inherited" from his brother, was older than him. In addition, all the children of young spouses were either born dead or died in infancy. Their only surviving child was Maria. In addition, the king had a stormy temperament and constantly "grazed" somewhere on the side. And he was not distinguished by French or Italian gallantry and sophistication; he took what he wanted, did not think about courtship or gifts. Mistresses in the mood could beat so that they are reported sources for many weeks lost their capacity.
Anna did not have outstanding beauty, but she was able to give a good show, had good mental abilities and started a dangerous game. The graceful, unusual girl liked the king. She kept herself stern, in bed with the monarch was in no hurry. From the place of favorite refused. The inaccessibility of the girl ignited the king and he succumbed. Decided to marry her and offered the crown. The pretext for the resignation of Catherine was the absence of an heir. Heinrich was sure that the pope would not refuse the "defender of faith." Cardinal Thomas Wolsey was instructed to “settle the King’s private affair” in Rome.
Pope Clement VII refused. Then the English king Henry demanded a divorce. Cardinal Walsi, knowing the character of his king, convinced Catherine of Aragon for the good of Catholicism and England, voluntarily agreed to a divorce and go to a monastery. However, the proud Spaniard refused, saying that she wanted to live in marriage and let her be cut into pieces, but she would not go to the monastery. The pope also refused, Catherine was a relative of the powerful emperor of the Holy Roman Empire, King of Castile and Aragon Charles V. For Wolsi, this was the end of her career. Walsi fell into disgrace, was deprived of all titles, accused of treason and arrested. All his wealth was confiscated. True, the former powerful temporary worker was lucky, he did not live to see the court, he died in prison.
The Lord Chancellor was Thomas More, who by this time was already the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and the Speaker of the House of Commons. He tried to fulfill the will of the monarch, but did not succeed in the Vatican. Henry was offended and decided to break with the Vatican at all. In 1532, the parliament, by its order, passed a law that instructed the clergy not to do anything that would dislike the king. Also, King Henry made the clergy recognize himself as head of the Church of England. Thomas Cranmer was elected archbishop of Canterbury, a protege of the king and a clear supporter of Protestantism. He broke the marriage of the king and married Henry with Anna. Catherine of Aragon continued to persist, was taken into custody and soon died (it is believed that she was poisoned). Her daughter, Princess Maria, was declared illegitimate. The heir to the throne was Elizabeth, daughter of Anne Boleyn.
In response, the pope excommunicated Henry from the church. But that did not bother. Heinrich ordered to conduct "scientific research", and the University of Oxford issued the conclusion that "Holy Scripture does not give the Roman bishop any authority over England." In 1534, the Parliament passed the “Act of Supremacy,” which reported that the king is the “supreme head of the English Church.” Only the bishop of Rochester, John Fisher and Thomas More, refused to admit it. They were accused of treason and executed.
The matter was financially very profitable. Heinrich enriched himself at 1,5 million pounds in one fell swoop. Several hundred monasteries were closed, their property and lands Henry left for himself, or distributed and sold to the "new nobility", which supported the monarch. Thousands of monks and nuns were on the street - go where you want. On the monastic lands held enclosures that deprived thousands of peasants.
Not all Englishmen resignedly met these religious experiments. In the northern counties began an uprising led by Robert Eks. The participants were nobles, townspeople and peasants. True, the rebellion turned out conditional. Its members considered themselves law-abiding and loyal subjects of the king. The riot was called the "Beneficial pilgrimage." People went "pilgrimage" to the king, and began to ask the monarch and parliament to change the decision. Heinrich pretended to be a merciful king, entered into negotiations with them, accepted petitions, promised to think and asked to disperse. When the people broke up, the 200 leaders were captured and executed, others were whipped. More willing to "rebel" was not found.
To be continued ...