Sunday, July 8, 2012

John Ball

In 1381, feudalism had mostly lost its original rationale; yet in England and other European countries it persisted.  This was a very stratified society; in which everyone had his or her place.  Most people were at the bottom; these were the serfs. Being a serf was mostly hard work and little compensation, like being a graduate assistant with no prospects for the future.

The ruling aristocrats basically lived well off the peasantry for centuries' however, in 1381, a peasant revolt broke out.  A renegade priest, John Ball, preached a remarkable sermon, the main point of which was this:
When Adam delved and Eve span, Who was then the gentleman?  From the beginning all men by nature were created alike, and our bondage or servitude came in by the unjust oppression of naughty men. For if God would have had any bondmen from the beginning, he would have appointed who should be bond, and who free. And therefore I exhort you to consider that now the time is come, appointed to us by God, in which ye may (if ye will) cast off the yoke of bondage, and recover liberty
John Ball was hanged, drawn, and quartered for his efforts at instigating an Occupy Movememt, 1381-style.

This beautiful frontispiece appared in The Two Dreams of John Ball, by William Morris.

Let us hope that God gave this priest a pass into heaven.  And let us remember that speaking out against wrongdoing is an act of true courage.  And support other John Balls.


Elvis Wearing a Bra on His Head said...

Very interesting history note, Angel.

Mike said...

The age of serfdom is making a comeback.

Bilbo said...

Mike's right. I am a wholly-owned subsidiary of whoever it is who holds my mortgage.