Application and Reflection Questions
How did the events of the fourteenth century contribute to the destabilization of the Europe?
What comparisons can you draw among the various political transformations and crises of authority that occurred across Afro-Eurasia in the fourteenth century? How were they similar, and how were they different?
Compare the Mongol establishment of rule in China to their establishment of the Il-Khanate in the Middle East. What actions did the Mongol conquerors of these regions take that likely angered or alienated the inhabitants of these regions? In which area were the Mongols more likely to have peaceful relationships with the inhabitants? Why?
How did climate change affect European culture and society in the fourteenth century? In what ways are these effects similar to (or different from) the ways in which climate change affects societies in the twenty-first century?
For what reasons did people travel or migrate from one region to another in the fourteenth century? Do people travel or migrate for the same reasons today? Why or why not?
Although germs do not select hosts based on their social status or relative wealth, how might such factors in the premodern world have influenced an individual’s exposure and vulnerability to infectious diseases such as the plague? How do they affect the likelihood that people will contract infectious diseases today?
Many people have compared the COVID-19 pandemic to the bubonic plague pandemic of the fourteenth century. What similarities do you see between the two? What are some of the differences? In what ways is the modern world better able to cope with pandemics?
Were the political, social, and religious changes of the fourteenth century inevitable? Why or why not?
If you were a peasant in Afro-Eurasia during the fourteenth century, how do you think you would seek to explain the upheaval that had occurred in your lifetime?