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Famine and death in Western Europe, 10001350: Origins and Internationalisation of the European subsistence and mortality crises


In the proposed course of postdoctoral research at the LaMOP (Universite de Paris I), the applicant, Dr. Pere Benito, aims to investigate the international scope of the alimentary crises of the High Middle Ages (1000-1350) and their relation to mortality and to great pandemics.

This project is a continuation of three years of work at the University of Barcelona aimed at establishing, on a regional scale, the chronology, duration and relative gravity of the periods of dearth that Catalonia experienced and of the mortality crises that usually followed them.

The existence of international famines and mortality crises poses four great questions which this study strives to answer based on a thorough examination of direct sources, chronicles and documents, from several regions of Western Europe:

- What were the geographic origins and the causes of the food shortages and famines? Which regions were first affected by disparities between grain supply and urban demand, and what led to these disparities? To what degree can climate explain the regional origin of these disparities?

- How did these shortages spread and what factors favoured their growth: international trade in grain, interconnection of urban networks, war as a distorting factor in the circulation of surplus, political responses to the crises?

- The origin and diffusion of the great pandemics. Did the diffusion and virulence of epidemics always have a cause-and-effect relationship with hunger, or were there epidemics that thrived independently of malnutrition?

- The relations between dearths and mortality crises: In which cases was there a cause-and-effect relation between starvation and mortality? To what degree were mortality crises a mechanical consequence of malnutrition, and how did mortality affect the evolution and gravity of the dearths that followed them.

Call for proposal

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Funding Scheme

EIF - Marie Curie actions-Intra-European Fellowships


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