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Agriculture during the medieval time was a very complex system The weather played a major role in the harvest A week of unpleasant rain in May followed by an abnormal cold humid summer might have thrown off the summer harvest resulting in a shortfall of food Due to a surplus left over from the previous harvest no one went hungry But after a couple of bad harvests the surplus began to run out This happened in Europe in 1044 The Famine reared its ugly head in part caused by years of unfavorable harvest and inadequate crops but it was also complicated by a plague that seemed to thrive on human starvation By 1043 northwest Europe was in disruption Food prices which had been high in 1042 remained high especially in Belgium No doubt the high price of food was a result of the poor harvests from both the 1042 winter and summer crops From Waverly in England and Angers in France to St Gall in Switzerland and Gembloux in Belgium reports of famine disease and death circulated No relief came in the summer of 1043 In France and Germany there were reports of a terribly wet and stormy summer An entry from Swabia a province in south-central Germany best summed up the situation The entire summer almost changed to winter by winds and rains a great lack of grain and wine came about LeRoy 27 These rains must have been particularly harsh The wind and rain pounding away at the growing summer crop lowered not only yields but quality as well Almost all of the summer labors were adversely effected No doubt the rains barraged the grazing cattle as well If Emperor Henry III and his court had played ice hockey December would have been a glorious month indeed there was ice everywhere From December in 1043 to March of 1044 the great
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