A Distant Mirror: The Calamitous 14th Century Short Essay - Answer Key

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1. Describe the reputation of the estate at Coucy.

Coucy is known for its generous lords and fierce nobles, who have authority over all the people who live in free towns and clergy.

2. Describe the castle at Coucy.

The castle of Coucy started as a primitive building in 910. The enormous castle was built in a week in 1223. It had five towers and a dungeon and could house a thousand people. In case of siege, there were underground passages to relieve the people inside.

3. How are taxes collected in Coucy?

There are few rules governing taxation. The nobles can tax everyone within their territory, except from men who live by the sword. Noblemen, who comprise 1% of the population, are not taxed except by the king. Taxes come from rent, tolls on bridges, fees for use of the mill and wine press, and from feudal dues. The taxes are used to keep the estate operating.

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