We see it everyday, power struggles between goverments, countries, money, religons, and even in our own personal relationships. Power and human rights are needed to survive. In the Middle Ages there were huge gaps in society leaving some with no rights or power and other with much, Overall, societal violence in the Middle Ages was caused by the relationship and conflicts between social classes, specificaly the want and need for power and rights.
In A Communal Revolt speaks of a revolt by towns people when the lord of the town tricks and mistreats them. "The bishop of Loan, lord of the town, had granted privledges to the townspeople in reture for a large payment. Later he rescinded his grand but kept the money, thereby angering the citizens." When the bishop decided to not grant the privledges, yet keep the money, the townspeople rose. "All the efforts of the prelate and nobles in these days were reserved for fleecing thier inferiors. But those inferiors were no longer moved by mere anger, but goaded into a muderous lust for death of the bishop and his accomplices and bound themselves by oath to effect their purpose." The conflict here was mainly caused because of a power struggle. The townspeople felt they needed more rights and the bishop obviously wanted money and did not bellieve they should have rights.
In the excerpt from Murder in the Cathedral it suggests that, "Although Henry did not order the archbishops murder, he certainly cause it by his reckless public words expressing his desire to be free of Becket." The conflict between church and state is also a huge power struggle. The kings and the bishops wanted completly diffrent things which, it seems, could only be settled by violence. All the king had to do in this instance was speak badly about the king and he was killed. Though I think this example fits into a struggle for money as well as power, I believe the want for poer was more predominate in this instance.
The Medeval Holocaust: The Cremation of the Strasbourg Jews says that Jews were blamed for poisining th wells and basically causing the Black Death. "In the mattter of this plauge the Jews throughout the world were reviled and accused in all lands of having cause it through the poisin which they are said to have put in the water and the wells-- that is what they were accused of-- and for this reason the Jews were burnt all the way from the Mediterranean into Germany." Now why the Jews? The passage does not seem to suggest any type of religous predudace though there was an abundance of it. Yet, the author suggests the the reason the Jews were killed was because the lords were in debt to them. "The money was indded the thing that killed the Jews. If they had been poor and if the lords had not be in debt to them, the would not have been burnt." This is the prominate example of why money was a major aspect of violence in Middles Ages culture. But, we all know money equals power.
Once again in A Revolt of French Peasants, Jean Froissart suggests that, "the relationship between aristocrats and peasants had degenerated as a result of the social upheavels and privations caused by the black death and the hundereds years war." The passage expalins that a group of peasants decided to revolt against the nobles. "One of them got up and said that the nobility of France, knights and squires, were disgracing and betraying the realm, and that it would be a good thing if they were all destroyed." We obviously can see the hatred peasants have toward nobles after the Hunreds Year War. Peasants have been mistreated and nobles have stolen their rights. The conflict here was caused by anger. It seems that the peasants were fed up with the nobles. Once again, a power struggle.
In The Rising of 1381 it is again suggested that a group of commoners rose against a royal commissioner. Once again we have a power struggle where peasants want more rights and nobles don't want to give up any of their power. In the passage, the commmoners ask the king for several privledges. "They asked also that no one should serve any man except at his own will and by means of a regular covenant." This is a prime example of what peasants wanted and what nobles did not. The violence in this artical was to get the kings attintion. Without violence he king would not have heard any of the peasants demands.
Also, in University Students and the Violence at Oxford, the students at Oxford were obviously wealthy and obviously nobel. The towns people who were peasants attacked them just because of the fact that they were nobel. "They [the townsmen] seized and imprisoned all scholars on whom they could lay hands, invaded their inns [halls of residence], made havock on their goods and trampled their books under foot." And the students, obviouly many fairly young men were full of themselves and did not resist the fights. "By nine oclock next morning, bands of scholars were parading the streets in martial array." This event was just a way for peasants to fight nobles because they were unhappy with their lives, which the nobles did not help.
Obviously the main causes of societal violence in the Middle Ages was the struggle for power and the conflicts between social classes. Weathe it is between church and states, aritocrats and peasants, or commeners and students, the need and want for power is what provals to be the main source of conflicts in the Middle Ages as well as the world today.