fishermen, who, ignoring hostilities

Barbara Tuchman believed that historical facts had to precede historical theory, and that narrative was more important (or more compelling, anyway) than analysis. (She talks about historiography in her book Practicing History.) I hope to write about these points at a later date, but I mention them now to say that A Distant Mirror is far from a libertarian perspective on 14th-century history, but does contain plenty of facts of interest to "our side," e.g.,

When shortly after Easter the Duke of Lancaster left England with a large force in 200 ships to conquer the throne of Castile, the French opportunity was at hand. Information about each other’s movements was known through French and English fishermen, who, ignoring hostilities, came to each other’s aid at sea and exchanged catches, keeping trans-Channel communication open.

– Barbara Tuchman
A Distant Mirror: The Calamitous 14th Century
Chapter 20: "A Second Norman Invasion," p. 424.

I like the image of peace and cooperation persisting through commerce, defiant of the ruling war parties at home.


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