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Aristocratic travels and pilgrimages in the Middle Ages
General typology of aristocratic travels (diplomacy, crusades and other military campaigns, for study to foreign universities) and to stress that no cavalier travels have not existed in the Middle Ages. You can also try to formulate differences between aristocratic and merchant´s journeys. Special attention is to be paid to pilgrimages.
It would be prudent to begin by indicating that life in the late middle ages was not one of globalized interdependence in the way we understand it today. The vast majority of the European population was rooted in land. That is to say that travel across the vast Eurasian lands in this time was something done with intended purpose and to a large extent an expensive commodity for the peasantry and not a form of cavalier travel.
After the initial merchant revolutions of the 13th century and the ensuing great schism and the fragile political situation of Europe at the time, we find an interesting account on the means and expanse of medieval travels when looking at the dynastic marriage of Anne of Bohemia to King Richard II and its implications at the end of the 14th century. We will hopefully show how the consolidation of the Bohemian Kingdom under Charles the IV reached its peak and by outlining the forms of aristocratic travels specifically with Prague as a central city in the 14th and 15th centuries we might see a distinction or emancipation from the structural Venetian routs of commercial travel that had been focus of Europe till then and perhaps predated the early reformation to the north.
So we can look at aristocratic conditions for travel across social spheres in Europe in categories of cultural contact that reflect the liberties afforded by the Dynastic Marriage of the two as the precondition for: diplomatic relations among courts and aristocracies and the economic realities that make up the royal networks as well as the entourage on the trip of Anne itself. There was a mutual contact at many levels of political society in the forms of military and knightly campaigns, pilgrimage, and the revenue this form of markets creates at the regional level of cities and regions.
The correspondence between England and Bohemia dates back to around the time of Otakar II and Richard f Cornwall. Travel across Europe was not unheard of, messenger roads and contact among monasteries existed formally.
Aristocratic travel fundamentally represents the mutuality of new lands under the wealth and protection of two equally affordable kingdoms. Animosities from the great schism, the hundred year war and other conflicts was kept in the background to the new contact between these cultures and Charles was successful in acting as mediator between the French and the English although ultimately his political and military alliance was with the pope in Rome and perhaps no longer with the house of Luxembourg.
At the level of culture we can see in record the level in which Anne’s entourage benefited in integrating to British society over less than a decade, reciprocally we can find safe pilgrimage under the Duke of Tesin given to English Knights. Pilgrimage to the Holy Land saw the Bohemian lands strategically benefiting by its geopolitical position. It became a land where much was consumed by passing foreigners and spurred a lively trade. Gifts on both ends were a large component of aristocratic expenses, but also a market for rare relics and production other material cultural artifacts developed in the region.
Charles the IV had enjoyed a worldly upbringing and his own earlier pilgrimages to Rome preclude the political times. Language and the exchange of ideas is perhaps at the center of the interchange. At times when students from bohemia could go study in Oxford and vice-versa, we see an important dialogue develop between the Lollards and Hussites at all levels of scholastic and ecclesiastical life. The dynastic marriage allowed not only a clear road between London and Prague, but also brought into contact two of the most important schools of religious philosophers or ‘heretics’.
Aristocratic travels at this time constituted a dramatic increase in the tempo of everyday life, it is evident that in the late Middle Ages Bohemia and Moravia both played a significant role in where members of different courts met and socialized as it was near the Hungarian, Polish and Bohemian Kingdoms. The economy of regional areas increases as domestic labor is required to match the requisites of expensive travel.
One such travels are those of Henry of Derby in 1392 in partibus Bohemia estimates the two highest expenses being 4k grams of gold in kitchen utilities and 16k grams of gold in luxury items, travel and gifts. Henry of Derby’s travels suggests that the Moravian and Bohemian regions were important meeting points among several aristocracies.
Overall aristocratic travels show that contact existed not exclusively at the diplomatic level but also has economic and cultural modes of exchange that benefited greatly the region.
2. Construction of the St Vitus Cathedral and books of the Metropolitan Chapter Library in Prague
St Vitus
We must compare the manuscripts of the accounts to check their validity. The people who administer the fund are the building director and the clerk of the works. However, the architects were professional Magister Operis invited by Charles from Germany. The material is sandstone, and villagers would be hired as carters for the quarrymen. These jobs could be carried out over several years whilst being a farmer. The cost of a stone was the quarrying plus the transport.
Stonecutters were only half employed for the hole year, of the roughly 20-35 annual people. These jobs emerge because transport is expensive, so to save money architects sent stonecutters to reduce the waist at the quarry itself. There are 3 groups of stonecutters with different incomes: whole year workers are, then temporary producers of basic components, then finally the specialized temporary producers of expensive architectural sculpture. These lodgers had a network from Bavaria to Hungary, migration provided a well-paid job opportunity. However the highly skilled jobs usually came from Baltic and Germany, and Italy (1person).
After Sandstone, building wood is the most important building material. Charles IV donates part of his forest, it was transported from the castle by river and uphill by carters. For wood you need Sawyers and thus Prague wood markets, these were carters from the urban city not village people.
The master carpenter and his assistants need rope makers and tallow. A great deal of scaffolding and formwork is required and you need work on this and molding.
IT was important to build first the roof than the Goud to provide structural support and protection from the weather. This created a need to produce lime from burning limestone in a kiln. Brick and lime kilns were dotted near the Vltava. The master Blacksmith (working with iron) and his assistants: mason trowels, hammers shovels spades melting pots. Owned workshop and produces the equipment for luxury artistic production.
The cathedral workers socioeconomic status:
Tradesmen: house of master craftsmen (carpenter, blacksmith, rope makes and tradesmen) most lived in the new town of Prague, except the lime producer Frana Terkler who gave 2/3 of the necessary lime for the year.
The Total expenses in 1377 shows that funding was based on donations of John of Luxemburg, 1/10 f silver mining profits would go to building the cathedral. Also some from payments from archbishops and members of metropolitan chapters, diocesan collections and penalty fees. However there were shortages sometimes, like delayed payments to some workers even when magister operis never misses payment.
Costs roundup: Building supervisors (architect, master mason, building foreman, custodian of lodge and servants. Next primary building crafts (carpenters, blacksmiths, masons and stone setters, stonecutters and carters separately. Finally building materials tools and wages to craftsmen.
Payment was made I Prague groschen and parvi.
Construction foreman or parler is building site supervisor link between magister operis and stonemasons.
The architect Peter was always paid and indeed quite wealthy with a paycheck full of bonuses and surpluses while these equaled year salaries for regular stonecutters. There is a level of socioeconomic stratification in the manner of method of remuneration and absolute figures. Affected by factors such as season and a poor structural financing and messy accounting resulted in some workers were far worse off.
The cost of waste when transporting sandstone represented 80% of total costs, so when the situation to transport good quality stones from a long distance, the measurements would be sent.
Rural carters became regular suppliers to the construction site. Village carters and stone cutters worked as a unit and usually were hired simultaneously. Their earnings could be compared to professional carters from the city.
There were some groups of workers whose welfare did not revolve entirely around the construction of the cathedral and then others who did more so depend on more work from poor conditions.
The metropolitan chapter received income from Kutna Hora mines.
Contributions were required by the chapters and canons since tax revenue from mines was not enough. The Prague diocese raised money by granting indulgences to the contributors.
However the accounts don’t show some gifts and other private financing from outside sources. Charles IV many times was actively financing the cathedral with his own wealth. The financing of the cathedral is an example of multisource funding’’ despite it all the fabric had temporary cash shortages delayed payments to stonemasons, carters and lime burners specially.

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