A Comprehensive And Readable Account Of The World's History, Emphasizing The More Important Events, And Presenting These As Complete Narratives In The Master-Words Of The Most Eminent Historians
them from their sorry plight.
On the whole this was not an era to which Europe can look back with pride. The empire was a scene of anarchy. One of its wrangling rulers, Charles IV, recognizing that the lack of an established government lay at the root of all the disorder, tried to mend matters by publishing his "Golden Bull," which exactly regulated the rules and formulæ to be gone through in choosing an emperor, and named the seven "electors" who were to vote. This simplified matters so far as the repeatedly contested elections went; but it failed to strike to the real difficulty. The Emperor remained elective and therefore weak.
Moreover, in 1346 the "Black Death," most terrible of all the repeated plagues under which the centuries previous to our own have suffered, began to rear its dread form over terror-stricken Europe. It has been estimated that during the three years of this awful visitation one-third of the people of Europe perished. Whole cities were wiped out. In the