The mid-fourteenth century was a time of maximum distress across Europe. The Black Death struck in 1348, though it was by no means the last irruption of the bubonic plague. France was about to descend into the bear pit of the Hundred Years War with England, and the Holy Roman Empire was in uproar over the Golden Bull of 1356 and the introduction of a consolidated imperial constitution and electoral procedures. Thanks to the papal schism, there was one Pope in Rome, and another in Avignon. Those few parts of the Kingdom of Burgundy which had not been lost were often disputed amongst neighbours. To cap it all, mind-boggling crises of succession erupted simultaneously in the Kingdom of France, in the Duchy of Burgundy and the County-Palatine. At this point, faint-hearted readers are advised to take a break.
Phew – I will Norman, I will!