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What is 'brought most of Europe north of the Alps and the Pyrenees to its knees'? Then, things took a turn for the worse. By 1315 a series of three wet, cold summers had brought most of Europe north of the Alps and the Pyrenees to its knees. Crops would not grow. There was no food to feed the animals. And salt was almost impossible to find. In that time and place, salt had to be made by evaporating salty water. And when it’s raining or very humid, water doesn’t evaporate well. The only way to preserve meat was with salt, so a shortage of salt was a disaster. No one but the richest landlords could afford to eat. Even the English king, Edward II, was unable to find enough bread to feed his court while touring the country that summer. This chapter is talking about the medieval misery and the above part follows a paragrah depicting Magna Carta (for some historians, this moment marks the beginning of a new age in which the rule of law began to take control from moody kings and upstart warlords.)
Sep 17, 2018 7:25 PM
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Answers · 12
To 'bring [something] to its knees' is a euphemism for completely demoralising and subjugating the [something], defeating it almost to the point of death/giving up all hope. It's probably a phrase that recalls armed combat, when your attack so overcame your opponent that he was on his knees, not quite dead yet but totally vulnerable and in despair. In your example it means that the terrible conditions had brought most of Europe north of the Alps and the Pyrenees (which is the 'it' being referred to) to the point of almost total failure, on the verge of starvation/anarchy/complete failure of society.
September 17, 2018
Hi, compare to this: - the economic crisis of 2008 has put Europe on its knees When you have syntax troubles, use the 5-W questions. By 1315 = TIME CLAUSE a series of three wet, cold summers = SUBJECT had brought = ACTION + to its knees = ACTION CLAUSE most of Europe north of the Alps and the Pyrenees = OBJECT Bye
September 17, 2018
It means such adverse weather conditions had devastated those areas, leaving them in a desolate state. "Its" refers to the mentioned areas - we normally use the possessive adjective "its" to refer to the qualities of an inanimate subject/object.
September 17, 2018
Its refers to "most of Europe north of the Alps and the Pyrenees." Its here is used in a possessive way referring to figurative knees
September 17, 2018
Its is referring to the people of the country & the country itself
September 17, 2018
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Seven
Language Skills
Chinese (Mandarin), English
Learning Language
English