There are altogether too many restrictions on my warfare. The local farmer threatens to take me to Church Court if I ride through his fields. What is this 'TRUCE OF GOD' he and these priests keep babbling about?
Dear Daffy Duke,
Since war is not conducive to growing crops (and we like to eat), Mother Church feels some restrictions need to be put on your Knightly hobbies.
In Normandy, according to David Howarth in his scholarly work, 1066, the Year of the Conquest, a surfeit of younger sons fosters a martial culture. Men become mercenary soldiers for fun and profit. Wars of every size from national invasions down to private quarrels ravage the land. Those on one side usually retreat to their strongholds and sit out seiges. Attackers, with little or no luck at taking impregnable castles, spend their time burning surrounding buildings and destroying crops. They ride the countryside fighting occasional skirmishes, plotting ambushes, and doing whatever damage they like to anyone and anything they find.
The knights themselves delight in these affairs. The people who suffer are the peasants who happen to get in the way. The Church does its best to control the incessant violence. The concept known as the TRUCE OF GOD takes into account the fact that men will always fight. By it, wars are forbidden in Lent, on certain Saints' days and Holy days, and every week from Wednesday evening to Monday morning. Peasants can feel relatively safe to till their fields for three days, rest for one and take cover for the other three days of the week. The TRUCE OF GOD came to Normandy in 1042 and was more or less observed in various parts of Europe through the Tenth, Eleventh, and Twelfth Centuries.
We in Aquitaine are a little more civilized in that we subscribe both to the PEACE OF GOD and the TRUCE OF GOD (according to Roland H. Bainton writing in The Medieval Church). The PEACE OF GOD applies mostly to classes of people and seeks to increase the number of non-combatants. According to this concept there shall be no attack upon clerics, pilgrims, merchants, women, the aged, farmers, oxen, asses, and agricultural implements. In other words, this protects our right to be saved, shop, repopulate, and eat.
Mother Church is a strong force and you will be in a great deal of trouble if you defy Her orders. So follow the clerical rules and try to avoid destroying the world you hope to conquer.
Aine du Bayonne sur l'Adour and Jane Anne Carey have eaten many a meal to the sound of the clash of arms, so all they are saying is give Peace a chance.
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